- from shed to famous boatyard
What today is called Hallberg-Rassy Varvs AB was originally two yards.
Harry Hallberg, who lived between 1914 and 1997, commenced his boatbuilding career as a boy of 14, constructing boats made of wood. In 1943 he opened his own yard at Kungsviken on the island of Orust in Sweden.
At first, he built his wooden boats more or less by instinct. Different possibilities were discussed with the customer and solutions pointed out. Blueprints hardly existed at all. It was said that: "Someone who cannot build a boat without drawings cannot call himself a real boat builder".
The first boat to be built in a series was the Folkboat. He also had good success with Kungskryssaren (Swedish for the king’s cruiser), not to be confused with the Finnish King’s Cruiser which has nothing at all to do with Hallberg-Rassy. The Kungskryssaren was constructed in the mid-50’s. Both the Folkboat and Kungskryssaren was also built by other yards.
Christoph Rassy was brought up in Bavaria in the south of Germany by a lake named Starnberger See. As a young guy, he in his spare time built models of boats and also real boats. He wanted to learn more about boats and became an apprentice at a small yard for wooden boats in southern Germany.
The Kungsviken yard
To stretch his cash flow young Mr Rassy built boats for himself in his spare time. He raced these boats, won, and sold them at a profit.
Soon Christoph Rassy wanted to strike out on his own. As luck had it, this coincided with a leading boat builder's change of premises. This boat builder was Harry Hallberg. In the mid-60’s the yard at Kungsviken had become too small for Mr Hallberg and he built new premises in Ellös, 10 kilometres to the southwest on the island of Orust.
When Christoph Rassy started his own business he bought the old Hallberg yard in Kungsviken.
Harry Hallberg and Christoph Rassy were competitors 1965-1972
In the years of 1965 to 1972, Harry Hallberg and Christoph Rassy were competitors. At first, Christoph Rassy built boats on a one-off basis.
The first boat that became part of a series was the "Rasmus 35", designed in 1966 by the then leading Swedish designer of elegant yachts, Olle Enderlein. The first two were built entirely in mahogany and took one year each to construct. This boat was in many ways ahead of its time. It was a pioneer long distance cruiser with a powerful engine and a centre cockpit protected by a windshield. This is a design that has remained with the Hallberg-Rassy yachts to this day. When the Rasmus was presented many eye-brows were raised. Some thought that the boat was much too large. In those days 35 feet was regarded as an enormous boat size. In addition, it was a sailing boat with a windshield. This was a combination never seen before. Today it is taken for granted on a good cruising boat.
Two yards became one: Hallberg-Rassy
Harry Hallberg retired in 1972. Again, fate intervened; Christoph Rassy was looking for larger premises. Ellös now produced the "Mistral 33" featuring a superstructure of mahogany, the 1/2 ton "Mistress 32", the best-selling "P-28" and the little yellow 24 ft "Misil II", all designed by Olle Enderlein, with the exception of the P-28 which was designed by Harry Hallberg.
In 1972 the Rassy yard in Kungsviken purchased Harry Hallberg’s yard in Ellös. As the Hallberg brand was by far the most well-known with its four designs and the Rassy yard only had the Rasmus; the new company was named Hallberg-Rassy.
As a matter of curiosity, we like to tell about a prospective boat-buyer, who in 1972 was torn between buying a Mistral 33 from the Hallberg yard or a Rasmus 35 from the Rassy yard. The Rasmus had centre cockpit and the Mistral had aft cockpit. The prospect asked a salesman at Hallberg’s why he should choose the Mistral: "- As the boat has an aft cockpit you do not risk water splashing into an aft-cabin" was the answer. The prospective buyer later went to the Rassy yard to look at the Rasmus. The following discussion took place: Prospective buyer to Mr Rassy:
The bestseller - the Monsun 31
The first new design under the name of Hallberg-Rassy was the Monsun 31, which was created in 1973 and launched 1974. The boat proved a great success, and 904 were built up to 1982, the highest number of units built of any kind of Hallberg-Rassy to this date.
Hallberg-Rassy 41 - the new flagship
The next design was the Hallberg-Rassy 41. This quickly became a trendsetter. This was the first boat with a proper walk through to the aft-cabin below deck. The basic principle for the layout, though greatly improved, is used to this day. One can question if this is due to routine or if this represents the optimal interior design of a centre-cockpit boat. On further study it becomes rather evident that this is indeed an optimal design.
Further the Hallberg-Rassy 41 was a long distance vessel with the keel and rudder separated, and among other things a blue brim around the cockpit, which was slightly elevated, to give room for the passage below deck.
Hallberg-Rassy 38, designed in 1976/77, was also a trendsetter with the same interior concept, though a higher freeboard, and was the first boat with the characteristic blue stripe around the hull.
The Hallberg-Rassy 352 from 1977/78 was a substantial sales success, with more than 800 built until 1989. This was the first time a designer had managed to combine, in a 35 foot boat, a walk through to the aft-cabin with spectacularly elegant lines. Hallberg-Rassy 352 offered large-boat characteristics at a moderate price.
An ad for the Hallberg-Rassy 312 from 1979 said: "The new fast long distance cruiser. It is easy to recognize the new Hallberg-Rassy 312, by its contemporary lines and the design which has become characteristic for yachts from Hallberg-Rassy; an elegantly laid teak deck, a modern and easy to handle rig, ample elbow-room inside and exquisite woodwork." 690 Hallberg-Rassy 312s were built up to 1993.
One-off boat Rassker
Hallberg-Rassy 382 - the final Enderlein design
Armchairs in 1985
One-off Rassker Magnum
Computer Aided Manufacturing from 1987
Own hull lamination from 1987
Hallberg-Rassy 45 - the first Frers design
When the Hallberg-Rassy 45 was launched in 1988 it was a trendsetter. This was the first Hallberg-Rassy designed by Germán Frers.
The revolutionary Hallberg-Rassy 34
New 53 ft flagship
Hallberg-Rassy NewsLetter introduced 1995
Website introduced 1996
When the Hallberg-Rassy web site got online back in 1996, it was one of the very first web sites for any boatbuilder in Europe. Already then it was unusually extensive.
First GRP boat in a museum a Hallberg-Rassy
Separate company for spare parts and accessories founded
Yet a larger flagship
Shoeless Queen visited Hallberg-Rassy
In August 2001, as model year 2002, the Hallberg-Rassy 43 was introduced. Sales really exploded and the model won many awards;
A new production workshop in 2002
At the Open House weekend August 2002, as model year 2003, the Hallberg-Rassy 40 was introduced. She won a further bunch of prizes;
Yet a new building 2003
Hallberg-Rassy honoured an own street
In 2005, Hallberg-Rassy was honoured with its very own street name: Hallberg-Rassyvägen, in English: - The Hallberg-Rassy Street.
New lamination workshop 2007
New head office 2008
In 2008 Hallberg-Rassy opened a new head office. The new office building is situated partly on the water, resting on pillars.
The office is part of the harbour and the demonstrator boats are found just outside the office windows. There is also a large mooring deck. At the far end of the building above the water there is a large conference room.
The new head office hosts the sales department, reception, financial department, development and CEO. There are also guest showers and toilets that have easy access from the outside.
Already the very first day the Hallberg-Rassy 372 was launched, August 2008 for the 2009 season, this was reported: What a great day! Already from the first moment it was clear: the new Hallberg-Rassy 372 sails like a dream! She is quick, easy to steer and she is great fun to sail, always under control. She exceeds all high expectations. She has wonderful sweet lines, even more beautiful in reality than on the synthetic images. This is another milestone in Hallberg-Rassy's history."
Two new state of the art varnishing machines
In 2008 and 2009 two new state of the art varnishing machines were installed. This improved both finish, durability of the varnish, and environmental care. The new headoffice in the harbour crated the necessary space for those machines.
New flagship - the Hallberg-Rassy 64
The Hallberg-Rassy 64 is the greatest Hallberg-Rassy ever built. The world premiere took place at the Düsseldorf boat show in 2011. The Hallberg-Rassy 64 was the largest sailboat at the world's largest boatshow.
Showroom opened 2012
The Hallberg-Rassy 412
In 2012 the Hallberg-Rassy 412 was introduced. It is the largest aft cockpit Hallberg-Rassy ever built. It is the first time twin aft cabins are offered on a Hallberg-Rassy. She is a comfortable cruiser that wins races. The first Hallberg-Rassy 412, with in-mast furling, won her category in Tjörn Runt 2012, among 48 boats, both on calculated time and actual time. This shows that at comfortable cruising boat doesn't need to lack in performance.
Everything started 72 years ago in the heart of the Swedish archipelago. Today 9,400 Hallberg-Rassy yachts are delivered all over the world. There are Hallberg-Rassy ambassadors in the very cold areas of the world as well as in tropical heat. Many of the features that help to protect against the cold, work just as well protecting against the heat and intensive sunshine. For example the wind screen with sprayhood canopy or the insulated hull. A Hallberg-Rassy is dedicated to world wide cruising. The success confirms that the Hallberg-Rassy concept is right.
The last few years’ business for Hallberg-Rassy includes orders from Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraina, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the USA.
We have stayed true to the concept of sturdy craft, well protected cockpits, high endurance and good sailing qualities with a high degree of comfort. The boats are easy to handle by a small crew. All this means we can build long series of boats with a quality that is affordable.
Have a look at a Hallberg-Rassy! Come on board! The superb woodwork gives it an unmistakable atmosphere.
The Hallberg-Rassy group of companies are to 100 % owned by the Rassy family. Hallberg-Rassy is since 2003 headed by the second generation; Magnus Rassy. Hallberg-Rassy has never had financial troubles. Every buyer may get a bank guarantee at low cost price. Every Hallberg-Rassy yacht is delivered right on time.
A Hallberg-Rassy is a safe investment