Hylas 45.5 Review: Spreading the Word

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PDF Flyer (Click To Download)

The 45.5 epitomizes how we became involved with Hylas Yachts. When, two years after introducing the 45.5, Hylas deprecated the 45.5 and introduced a fully extended 46 version, Jordan Yachts sold 44’s and 45.5’s of owners who wished to purchase the new 46. A flood of pre-owned Hyli went on the brokerage market. This sudden increase helped spread the word about the Queen Long quality and Frers beauty of these fine yachts. These events eventually culminated in Hylas’ readjustment from a charter based to an private owner based builder and the introduction of larger designs like the 54, 66, and 70 for an ever more sophisticated audience.

In 1992 with the increased influence of Caribbean Yacht Charters, Hylas added a sugar scoop stern to the 44 and called her the 45.5 along with introducing the Frers 51. The 45.5 followed the success of the 47’s extension to the 49. Dick and Joseph followed the same basic tenet of Tony Seifert’s 47 extension. They added a swim platform to optimize the 44 design for Caribbean chartering. Her hull is the same Frers design as the 44. Queen Long Marine extended the H44 mold to H45.5 and built a new 45.5 deck mold. They delivered the first 45.5 on July 8, 1993. They have the same rig and bridge clearance. Like the Frers Hylas models, they come in both shoal and deep draft versions with external bolt on keels. Queen Long factory built 9 of this rare model. Please see our Hylas Models Page for information about other Hyli.

First Impression
The 45.5 looks like what she is – a 44 with a swim platform. The stern has one step compared to the 46’s two transom steps. The cabintrunk is the classic design of the 44 with low slung, oblong portholes. It is a traditional look that still works and appeals to me. Shoal (scheel wing) and deep keels share about half and half of the 9 built. The specifications of this era continue to underestimate the drafts which really are 5’5″ and 6’6″. The rig is the same as the 44 with a backstay and 55′ clearance.

The 45.5’s were produced in an era when Queen Long used Airex to core the deck. The keels are lead external ballast of 11,020 pounds bolted like a shoe onto a fiberglass stub. Compared to the 22,320 pounds displacement, this makes for an impressively fast design. The hull is solid hand laminated fiberglass with a hull deck joint secured by 5200 and aircraft bolts on 6″ centers. The shaft is 1 1/2″ stainless with collar. Tankage is stainless steel standard with 2 water for 200 gallons and 2 fuel for 75 gallons.

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PDF Flyer (Click To Download)

What To Look For
Besides the nine factory built 45.5’s from 1993-1995, late model 44’s were extended into 45.5’s. This process started when the BVI charter owners decided to extend CYC 44’s into 45.5’s. According to a Hylas friend, “They had 44’s converted to a 45.5’s when the boats were in charter with CYC. Queen Long made the new stern and shipped it to St. Thomas where CYC glassed it on to the existing hull. They did this because many CYC charters wanted the sugar scoop transom to get on and off the boat instead of using a ladder.”

Queen Long built a sugar scoop stern mold. They produced and shipped two extensions for CYC who glassed on the sterns to existing 44’s in St. Thomas. The second owner was unhappy with the result, so he purchased the mold from Queen Long, brought it to the states, and had his redone. Now that the mold was in the USA, other owners used it to retrofit their 44’s. I asked Queen Long, and they had no recollection of these refits. “We have never heard of 44 owners retrofitting their 44 into a 45.5.” It is unknown how many 44/45.5’s exist along with the factory nine. On the rare occasion that one of these is offered for sale we list it as a 44/45.5. The 44/45.5 versions can have nuances. These are built by different yards, and you should ask about and inspect the workmanship. An owner of a 44/45.5 relates how her lazarette in the ducktail ships water, the stern shower installation is easily stepped on, and the caulking of the teak steps are not terminated.

On Deck and Down Below
While Queen Long built an entirely new deck mold for the 45.5, the design is not much different from the 44. She has the same molded non-skid and no chainlocker access forward. The rig is the same sloop with 55′ clearance. It is proof that the 46 is well canvassed with her 63′ mast. One owner told me about why he preferred the 45.5 to the 46. “I have a bridge that is 55′ clearance and draft limitations to 6′. With a 46, I could not go through. I have to have a 45.5 or late model 44/45.5.” The 45.5 has the layout like the 44 not the 46. The forward stateroom is a berth all the way forward. The 46 has the head forward and a portside Pullman aft. Aftmost is the classic centerline queen. These are semi-custom yachts with many options and customizations.

Hylas 45.5
Hylas 45.5

Engine and Underway
The engine was a 55 HP Yanmar. Access is the same as the 44 – not the best under the dual galley sinks. German Frers designed the 44 to sail, and the 45.5 is the same hull. These are wet boats especially the 45.5 with her low freeboard, sugar scoop stern. Her fine entry, deep keel, and high ballast to displacement ratio make for one exceptionally fast yacht. She has no tendency to pound and runs before high seas with ease.

Not as many owners as they expected jumped to the 45.5. Hylas realized that adding the swim platform was not enough. The 45.5 still had an outdated trunkcabin, shallow forefoot, etc. They moved onto the current 46 in 1994. The rare 45.5 is an exceptional value on the brokerage market. Prices range from $150,000 to $250,000 compared to at least $300,000 for a Hylas 46.

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