Often referenced and sometimes misquoted, the idea of a finished product being more than just the sum of its parts was first introduced nearly 2,400 years ago by Aristotle. The poor guy likely had no idea how his thinking would be applied centuries down the road. But since it works here, I’ll be more than happy to borrow it. In short, in creating its new 60-footer, Hylas Yachts has combined an established brand, a world-class design team and a renowned yard to create something truly special. You’d expect the result of this amalgam to be impressive, and you’d be right.
Design & Construction
For the company’s first “from scratch” design under their leadership, Hylas’ Peggy and Andy Huang reached out to Germán Frers to draw a head-turning profile coupled with the offshore performance long expected of the brand. The bow is almost plumb with an elegantly sculpted composite fixed sprit. The drop-down transom is ever so slightly reversed, and the triple-spreader fractional rig carries just over 1,800ft of sail. Twin rudders ensure a firm grip on the water, even at aggressive angles of heel. The standard rig is aluminum. A carbon rig is also available as an option.
Built at Queen Long Marine in Taiwan, the hull is infused in vinylester with a Divinycell core. It has a somewhat high (6ft) freeboard, is available with either a shoal or deep-draft keel with bulb, and includes a number of watertight bulkheads for safety. Beam is 17ft 3in amidships, 15ft 6in at the transom, meaning there’s plenty of volume aft for things like accommodations. Although the Hylas 60 still pulses with Hylas DNA, the profile is very much a departure with its low cabinhouse and flush foredeck.
Although renderings show the Hylas 60 available with a long, open “walk through deck” cockpit, our test boat (hull #1) sported the “bridge deck” configuration, featuring a recessed lounging area forward, complete with a drop-leaf table and settees. From there, a raised deck flows aft to a second working cockpit, with twin helm seats set behind a pair of composite wheels and yet more deck area aft of that. A single low step to starboard and port separates this aft-most area from the side decks, making it possible to essentially walk the entire perimeter of the boat on a single level.
The helm pods are exceptionally sleek and look like they were pulled directly off a superyacht. The large consoles include a nice set of interior grabrails and engine controls at waist level, right where they belong. One small issue: I would prefer the consoles were angled rather than flat, in the interest of reducing glare and making the instruments (which on our test boat included a pair of large Raymarine HybridTouch multifunction displays) that much easier to read, especially when seated.
The end-boom mainsheet is managed by a single winch, slightly elevated and placed on centerline at the forward end of the working cockpit. It can’t quite be reached from the wheels, but with the autopilot engaged, this shouldn’t be a problem, even when sailing shorthanded. Another pair of winches is located immediately forward of the helms for handling headsail sheets. These are well within reach of the wheels for when jibing or coming about. Overall, this is a cockpit layout that will work equally well whether on a boat that’s professionally crewed or owner-operated.
Unlike her predecessors, which sport reverse transoms and molded-in swim steps, the Hylas 60 has a drop-down transom hiding an expansive dinghy garage large enough to carry a 9ft Highfield tender—a nice touch as the garage not only provides room for water toys, but also does away with the need for any kind of davits that might otherwise mar the boat’s sleek lines.
Forward, the fixed sprit serves as both an anchor roller and an attachment point for an A-sail. A self-tacking staysail is available as an option. I was glad to see the nice, high lifelines that made it into this design, something every offshore boat should have, but which many don’t. Deck hatches are all flush, and a combination toerail/bulwark stretches from stem to stern outboard the substantial side decks, providing additional security when going forward.
Hylas is a semi-custom builder offering plenty of options to meet the specific needs of its individual customers. The standard layout includes three cabins and two heads, with the master cabin aft, a VIP cabin in the bow and an over/under cabin to port that can be made into an office, if you prefer. I’m not sure why anyone would choose to do so, but you can also split the aft stateroom in two, thereby creating a four-cabin arrangement.
The boat’s in-line galley, long a Hylas trademark, runs along the starboard-side passageway. Countertops with integrated fiddles are plentiful and made of Meganite, a material that is less porous and therefore more hygienic than many other solid surface materials.
The saloon is vast and deep, with no less than six steps leading down from the cockpit to the cabin sole. Storage is excellent throughout, as well it should be on a world cruiser, with lockers everywhere, including outboard and above the settees and around the two main berths fore and aft. Systems and tankage are grouped wherever possible beneath the raised cabin sole in the interest of lowering the boat’s overall center of gravity. To port is a substantial navigation station, with room enough not just for electronics, but for spreading out paper charts as well.
The interior aboard hull #1 relied heavily on a very light wood and leather finish. Hull ports and abundant indirect lighting served to make things feel bright and spacious. The aesthetic is a pleasantly clean one overall, neither traditional nor stark. A darker teak-colored finish is also available.
Our light-air test sail took place on Biscayne Bay, although we couldn’t explore the lower bay because with an air draft of over 91ft, we couldn’t fit under the bridge. Putting the boat through her paces against the backdrop of the downtown Miami skyline, we sailed 6.1 knots on a beam reach in 11 knots of breeze. A 13-knot puff yielded 6.5 knots as we came up to an apparent wind angle (AWA) of 60 degrees. Easing off onto a broad reach, we ghosted along at 3.7 knots at an AWA of 120 degrees.
Hull #1’s suit of North Sails NPL laminated sails included an in-mast furling mainsail and a 105-percent jib. Together they took much of the drama out of boathandling. In the puffs, we heeled slightly as the leeward rudder dug in, and the boat accelerated smoothly and predictably. With a lightweight displacement of just over 62,000lb, the Hylas 60 is both well behaved and fluid in a seaway, like a Cadillac of the waves, with a seakindly motion that will be easy on her crews.
Auxiliary power is provided by a Volvo Penta D3 150hp diesel. We notched 8.1 knots at 2,900 rpm and wide-open throttle on flat water. A more economical cruising setting of 2,200 rpm moved the boat along at 7.4 knots. The Jefa steering system was both smooth and responsive as we threaded our way in and out of the marina.
At first glance, this new 60-footer doesn’t necessarily scream “Hylas.” The composite sprit, low profile, closed transom and (optional) split cockpit all represent new ideas for a clientele used to a certain aesthetic. Change, however, is good, and the synergy of the three underlying powerhouses that created this new design is even better. The whole, in this case, truly is a good deal more than just the sum of its parts.
LOA 59ft 2in LWL 54ft 9in Beam 17ft 3in
Draft 6ft 6in (shoal); 8ft 10in (std.)
Sail Area 1,827ft
Fuel/Water (GAL) 370/391
Engine Volvo Penta D3 150hp
SA/D Ratio 19
D/L Ratio 169
Ballast Ratio 36
What do these ratios mean? Visit sailmagazine.com/ratios
Designer Germán Frers
Builder Queen Long, Taiwan, hylasyachts.com
U.S. Distributor Hylas Yachts, West Palm Beach, FL, (561) 515-6027