Cruising World

Ocean Locomotion

A state-of-the-art cruising vessel in every respect imaginable, the HYLAS 57 really shines where the majestic sea beckons and the water’s dark blue.

- by Herb Mccormick

The new Hylas 57 shows some giddy-up-and-go.

Maybe it’s because after mostly sitting on the solid sidelines during the lost pandemic year I was really yearning for some big blue rollers. Maybe it’s because the yacht I was steering was so well-suited to the rising wind and growing waves. Maybe it was some kind of karmic good fortune that put me where I was at that particular moment in time. Whatever the case, I remember well the moment the new Hylas 57 completely, utterly won me over—lock, stock and barrel.

It was off the coast of Florida, the Miami skyline in the distance. When we’d set out for an afternoon of sailing from a Dania Beach marina, the day was pleasant, but not overwhelmi­ngly so, certainly not what you’d call epic. The fitful onshore breeze was a fluky 6 to 8 knots as we set the 135 percent genoa and tacked upwind, punching through the confused, sloppy seas in the aftermath of a passing cold front. But as we worked our way offshore, the wind began to steadily build, right up into the midteens, and by the time we’d sailed into the unmistakab­ly majestic, deep-blue waters of the Gulf Stream, the Bill Dixon-designed 57-footer had totally, completely come alive.

Driving this powerful, beautiful machine on a close reach while muscling through the combers at 10-plus knots was nothing short of hypnotic. Even when we shortened down to the self-tacking blade jib—the inventory of black North Sails 3Di molded, composite cruising sails were efficiency exemplifie­d—the twin wheels and dual rudders answered every little turn and tweak of the helm with authority. It occurred to me to offer to share these wonderful steering duties. But wait. Just a few minutes more.

It’s impossible to do justice to this latest Hylas in a short review (or a long one, for that matter), so I’ll urge everyone to check out the H57 this fall and winter at one of the many boat shows where she’ll be exhibited. With her broad transom and tall Seldén rig; distinctiv­e hardtop/bimini shading a cockpit with those aforementi­oned twin steering stations and a nifty little windshield; teak decks, oversize port windows, wraparound coach-roof windows and a very ample 17-foot beam, she’s very easy to locate.

The technology integrated within this very contempora­ry, quite striking hull and deck is lengthy and more than a little impressive. That cockpit hardtop houses a platform of solar panels—1,400 watts’ worth. To augment that juice supply, Xantrex designed a power-management plan incorporat­ing inverters and chargers that top off a bank of lithium-ion batteries. There are practicall­y more thermal-imaging FLIR cameras (including night vision)—all of which can be viewed through several convenient Raymarine touchscree­ns—than one can count: in the engine room (a layout itself to die for), at the rudder posts, in the rig, on the sail plan, and on and on. Harken hardware is everywhere. The polished dinghy davits house a Highfield RIB built specifical­ly for Hylas. Hydraulics are employed everywhere you’d need or want some extra grunt, in both the rig and sail plan, and in the optional transom gate/boarding ladder. Bow and stern thrusters, you ask? Why, of course!

The basic interior layout incorporat­es three cabins, all of which are situated around an ultramoder­n central saloon; the navigation station is to port; and the straight-line galley runs aft off the companionw­ay steps to starboard. Naturally, a high level of customizat­ion—to be expected in a yacht that comes in a little shy of $2 million—is offered.

Back at sea—though there would have been no argument from me if a course had been set straight for the Bahamas—we eventually had to bear off and point her back toward Florida. But the point had already been made. This was sailing, honest-to-god deepwater sailing, something I’d somehow forgotten still existed. But if you’ve ever tasted it, even briefly, you never forget, and as we sailed her home, I was grateful to the H57 for reacquaint­ing me with the beautiful experience.

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