Hylas 54 Raised Saloon Boat of the YearBEST FULL-SIZE CRUISER (OVER 48ft.) - THE HYLAS 54

When boats approach the 50-foot range, operational considerations are pushed to another level. With vessels of this size, most people need help with the boat- and sailhandling equipment, which generally means either more bodies or mechanical assistance. When considering the candidates for Best Full-Size Cruiser, how the respective manufacturers dealt with this matter was an important factor for the BOTY judges, who understand that the CW reader usually sails with just one other person.

The volume and displacement of a boat are related to the cube of its length, and so therefore is the power needed to drive it through the water. Standard equipment must address this requirement; cost goes up in similar proportion. As the price increases, so too does a buyer's expectations for the whole vessel, particularly in terms of detail and finish. The Hylas 54 wraps a comprehensive package of properly specified standard equipment into a hull, deck and interior that are constructed and finished to a standard a notch higher than expected, and in doing so took the banner for its class.

Hylas 54 Raised Saloon Interior

In the 54's standard configuration, Hylas Yachts has included most of the features that the BOTY judges regard as essential to offshore cruising and that CW readers would expect to find in a sailboat of this size. Take the anchoring system. The stemhead fitting is a massive stainless-steel fabrication that incorporates dual anchor housings. A vertical Maxwell Nillson 2200 VWC windlass handles rope and chain, and a large hatch gives ready access to the chain locker as well as to storage for fenders and other bulky deck gear.

The Hylas 54 is built by Queen Long Marine in Taiwan and sold by Hylas Yachts, a U.S. firm that also charters the boats through a sister company, CAribbean Yacht Charters. The chartering connection may explain the attention to detail. The design itself is classic German Frers. He got the sheer right, made the proportions remarkably fine considering the outrageous headroom, and blended today's fashionable (and functional) near-vertical stem very nicely into the overall appearance.

Hylas 54 Layout

There's little doubt that this is a very contemporary sailboat. True to form, despite the roller-furling main, the hull sails very well on all points of sail. The 7-foot draft, which allows a decent keel span and lowers the ballast package, helps achieve this. The ride is steady and smooth, which increases the feeling of security you get from the solid, well-laid out, and easy-to-navigate deck.

If the Hylas 54 falls at all short as a voyaging boat, it is because the accommodations speak less to the needs of "getting there" than they do to the wants of "having arrived." If you plan to spend more time there than on the way, then the balance is right, but it doesn't alter the fact that straight settees are at all times more comfortable than curved ones that won't let you lie down. Sacrifices to the stylist aside, on the whole the arrangement of the Hylas 54 works well.

The saloon itself is not long fore and aft, but employs the full beam of the boat and the open areas of the nav area and galley to gain the impression of a large space. The near-7-foot headroom enhances the effect, though it creates a problem in that the overhead grabrails are too high for anyone under about 5 feet 8 inches to reach. When coming down the companionway with the boat on starboard tack, it's imperative that you plan your next move very carefully.

Forward of the saloon to port is a cabin with a pullout queen berth; forward of that is another cabin with a centerline queen berth and adequate drawers and lockers. These two staterooms share a roomy head on the starboard side. Aft is the huge owner's stateroom with centerline berth and a head with disco-sized stall shower. A good sense of space and ventilation is effected with opening ports, including one in the transom, and a large overhead hatch.

Hylas 54 Master Bed

The passageway is to starboard through the galley, with its acres of Corian countertop, masses of lockers, and large top and front-opening fridge and freezer. The sink is near centerline, so it can be used on either tack without backflooding. This counter covers the whole of the engine box behind the companionway, and the view is open into the nav station to port. The 54 can be customized somewhat, as our review boat was; here, the outboard-facing nav desk seemed a bit of a compromise on such a spacious boat. The tradeoff for this owner was a clothes washer.

At the end of the day, it's the arrangement of the ship's systems and the equipment employed that shows how seriously the shipyard takes the needs of the customer. And the bigger the boat, the more numerous and complex are its systems; witness the electrical panel with its six gauges and dozens of circuit breakers. Hylas has taken great pains, aided no doubt by what one judge referred to as "the charter-boat learning curve:' to render all systems accessible for inspection and maintenance. This approach, and the general high quality of all the craftsmanship and equipment, made the Hylas 54 stand out in its category.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW HYLAS SAILBOATS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

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    56' HYLAS 56 CARBON RIG (2011)

    Awarded Cruising World Magazine's 2011 Boat of the Year the Hylas 56 offers several significant features over the successful Hylas 54 including increased performance with a longer waterline also adding to the already impressive interior volume. The new H56 also features a significantly larger cockpit along with a sleeker more stylish coachroof offering a beautifully laid out deck for offshore cruising. [displayForm id=6] Listed by David...

    Awarded Cruising World Magazine's 2011 Boat of the Year the Hylas 56 offers several...

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    46' HYLAS 46 (2012) "FEATHER"

    POWERFUL COMBINATIONThe Hylas H46 is a serious contender when space is a premium. This yacht offers many of the benefits usually only found on much larger vessels. With its powerful combination of elegance, innovation, and precision, this sailing vessel performs flawlessly as it glides across the ocean.[displayForm id=6] Listed by Cruising Yachts THIS BOAT IS SUBJECT TO AN EXCLUSIVE LISTING AGREEMENT WITH THE BROKER LISTED ABOVE...

    POWERFUL COMBINATIONThe Hylas H46 is a serious contender when space is a premium....

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    46' HYLAS 46 (2008) "TRUE"

    Form and function combine with the keen eye and steady hand of renowned designer German Frers to produce this "must-see" cruising yacht. A true watertight collision bulkhead forward and another aft define the 46 as a serious offshore yacht. But it gets even better. Step below into a world of refined elegance, beautifully hand-finished teak furniture, splendid totally private comfort for two couples, plus room for up to three additional guests....

    Form and function combine with the keen eye and steady hand of renowned designer German...

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This review/article originally appeared in Cruising World Magazine, March 1999. For more great sailboat reviews, visit their website at: www.cruisingworld.com

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