April 20th 2014. By Zuzana Prochazka.

Hylas 44: A Capable Center Cockpit Cruiser

This classic German Frers design has graceful lines, spacious accommodations, and good performance.

Hylas is a successful line of semi-custom, moderate displacement, center-cockpit cruisers from Taiwan’s Queen Long Marine. These boats have a long history of combining quality, performance, and value, and many (including the 44), were used in CYC charter throughout the 1980s and ’90s.

A photo of a Hylas 44 resting at anchor.

The Hylas 44 offers exceptional value and performance in a spacious center cockpit configuration.

This German Frers design has graceful lines and a sleek low profile. She has a 44-foot, two-inch overall length with a 13-foot, six-inch beam. The mini-winged, fin keel draws only four feet nine inches in the shoal-draft version. Ballast is a lead keel of 11,000 pounds with a partial skeg-hung rudder. A ballast to displacement ratio of 49 percent keeps her well-balanced and swift upwind, although like many boats, she waddles a bit when dead downwind or on a broad reach in large seas.

The hull is constructed of hand-laid fiberglass glass from a one-piece female mold, which provides a strong, seamless structure. The clear, wide decks are cored with Airex foam, which makes them stiff, light, and well-insulated.

On a delivery in the South Pacific, we managed 150-mile days. The boat is happiest with 18 to 20 knots of wind coming across the deck on a beam reach, but moves surprisingly well in light air as well.

Cockpit and Rigging
The Hylas 44 was designed as a sloop with a tapered, keel-stepped mast carrying 864 square feet of sail area. The high-aspect, masthead, double-spreader rig came with a conventional hoist or and in-mast furling main. Unfortunately, however, the large main tends to block the 130 percent genoa when sailing dead downwind, so it ends up doing all of the work.

The cockpit is compact and allows for easy foot bracing when heeled, but is fairly shallow. Backrests were added at the factory to increase comfort. Unfortunately they tend to get in the way when you need to move in or out of the cockpit in a hurry.

A layout diagram of a Hylass 44 sailboat.

The Hylas 44 isn’t only smart-looking, it has an incredibly spacious layout, too. Image courtesy of Hylas Yachts

Layout and Accommodations
The Hylas 44’s layout is a modern design that ensures everyone aboard will enjoy comfort and privacy. The spacious interior begins with an offset V-berth forward, followed by an enclosed head and shower to port. The main saloon features a U-shaped settee to port with a straight settee to starboard that converts into a double bunk or makes a good sea berth with a lee cloth. This is the best place to be on this boat while underway and off watch.

Dual passageways lead aft with the galley to starboard, the navigation station to port, and the engine compartment in the middle. The engine space is insulated and accessible from the galley on one side and the aft head on the other. The hinged companionway steps swing out into the saloon to allow further access to the front of the engine without having to stow bits of the steps in an unsecured manner in the main living area.

The aft stateroom has a centerline queen berth with plenty of stowage around it and below. A walk-through head, with a separate shower compartment, is to port. The emergency tiller attaches under the master berth, which means that steering under these conditions is difficult unless you’re tall enough to stick your head through the aft hatch to see. This is not ideal, but then neither is having to steer with an emergency tiller.

The forward-facing navigation station has electronics placed in a manner that puts them within view of any cockpit crew sitting up under the dodger. Stowage for everything from soup to socks is good even if tanks do take up space beneath both the cabin sole and behind the settees.

Systems and Mechanical
The original engine was a 55-horsepower Yanmar, which was situated under the companionway steps. It would take a bit of rearranging to squeeze a generator into the engine room, but it is definitely be possible (many 44 owners have found the space). Originally designed for charter, the Hylas 44 carried 80 gallons of fuel standard, which some owners have nearly doubled for distance cruising.

I covered nearly 1000 miles from the Marquesas to Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, down to Papetee on Tahiti Nui, and on to Moorea and Huahine. It was a good amount of time to learn about the boat and have a great cruise through paradise. If you’re searching for a good, used cruising boat that can go the distance, the Hylas 44 can take you to there as well.

Specifications: LOA: 44’2” • Beam: 13’6” • Draft: 6’ or 4’9” • Displacement: 22,320 lbs • Sail Area: 864 sq. ft. • Fuel Tankage: 80 gal. • Water Tankage: 80 gal.

See listings for Hylas boats.

Zuzana Prochazka
Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.