The Boat


Sister anchored at Allen's Cays, Bahamas

Sister is a Hallberg-Rassy (see The Yard) 53. She's 53 feet 11 inches long, her beam is about 15 feet and and she draws about 7 1/2 feet of water.

She's a sloop which means that she has one mast and is normally rigged with a mainsail and a jib. She also has additional rigging which can be used to set another foresail (a staysail) in a configuration that is normally referred to as a "cutter" rig. She's constructed entirely of fiber glass. The gorgeous teak decks that you see in the picture are not part of the deck structure. The decking is glued and screwed into the fiberglass deck after the hull and deck have been molded separately then joined. The teak provides one of the best deck surfaces available. It is durable and essentially non-skid regardless of how wet it gets.

Sister's jib and mainsail are furling sails. That means that they wrap around either the forestay, in the case of the jib, or a shaft that is inside the mast. Further, the furling mechanism is driven by a hydraulic system which is controlled from the cockpit. The point is not only to make her easy to sail shorthanded but also to eliminate the need to go forward to handle sails when the weather sucks.

The furling system is a good thing. Christophe Rassy, the owner/founder/chief sailing guru at Hallberg-Rassy sails his similarly equipped HR 62 by himself.

Two significant aspects of Sister's design are evident from the picture.

First, she is a center cockpit boat. Note that the cockpit, while not exactly in the middle of the boat is considerably forward of the transom. Center cockpit designs are not rare but not nearly as common as aft cockpit designs. I personally prefer the center cockpit because I think it makes for a gentler, drier ride. Having the cockpit forward also allows more space below decks for an aft cabin. Our aft cabin (the "owner's" cabin)  is very spacious and comfortable.
Second, she has a hardtop. We chose this option because it affords excellent protection for passengers and crew from oncoming wind and seas. On a test sail of an HR46, on a cold, windy, rainy day in March in Puget Sound I managed to tuck myself in under the hardtop and with warm air flowing up from the cabin I was amazingly warm and cozy. The hardtop also helps protect instrumentation which is installed in the cockpit.
Look at the Hallberg-Rassy web site to see pictures of all their boats, including the HR 53.

Copyright Ames Lake Systems 2001-2002