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Sailboat Review: Hylas 63

By B.S.
If you ask any sailing enthusiast, why purchase a sailboat? The reply will likely sound something like this: Whether you’re talking about an hour, a weekend, a vacation or an entire lifetime, you will find very few activities to do in this lifetime that are as graceful, peaceful, exhilarating, challenging, or as enjoyable as sailing your very own boat. 
All emotion aside, there is much to be said about serenely sailing the seven seas on your very own vessel, with your best mates, that special someone or as a family unit. Master of your own destiny, etc etc… sailing is one of the few pastimes where one can truly escape the chaotic ebb and flow of urban life. Even if you reside in a seaside paradise such as Pattaya; let’s face it, the landward side of this city relentlessly teems with traffic, Thais and tourists at all hours. 
Conversely, Pattaya’s seaside and surrounding islands have no shortage of cozy coves, isolated island anchorages and secluded waterways in which to explore. With a sailboat at your beck and call, you’ll have a private island that doubles as a water borne conveyance, a drifting domicile, a floating restaurant, and a vehicle on which you can escape, fish or experience the thrill of heavy weather or sailboat racing. And, if you decide that you actually want to partake in what the hustle and bustle of crowded city life has to offer – that private island can safely see you there as well.
The Hylas 63
In respect to quality bluewater boats, the Hylas brand is a name that, year in and year out, has been synonymous with solid construction, dependable engineering, seaworthy design, and attention to detail. At 63 feet in length and nearly 18 feet in beam, Hylase’s latest offering is the powerful and handsome Hylas 63, the “ultimate performance cruiser” and Cruising World magazine’s boat of the year.
The hand laid hull is comprised of alternate layers of Twaron, a fiber that is two and a half time stronger than steel, and high-strength e-glass, a type of fiberglass bound together by vinlyester resin. The laminate hull is then vacuum-bagged in a high fiber to resin ratio of fiberglass for additional strength, and two coats of epoxy are applied below the waterline to retard osmotic blistering. All of the watertight bulkheads are glassed to both the hull and the deck. In the bow, the collision bulkhead behind the spacious sail and anchor lockers divides that area from the interior. Likewise, the aft collision bulkhead, similarly partitions the port and starboard lazarettes and dingy garage, which also has plenty of room for scuba equipment, from the accommodations.
Like most center cockpit designs the Hylas 63 features a spacious aft deck and a wide foredeck on which guests can bask in the tropical sun or simply enjoy the view. The wide side decks, connecting the fore to the aft deck, ensures ample room and are both fitted with hand and toe rails for added security. The expansive cabintop, just forward of the mast has also been provided with ample handholds to ease one’s passage when moving about. All of the above mentioned solid laminate decks are reinforced with a balsa core in the high traffic areas and are trimmed with deck moldings that are vacuum bagged, glued and through-bolted to the hull.
Sail & Mast
The 88 foot tall triple spreader, keel stepped mast accommodates a total of 2,077 square feet of sail area comprised of a mainsail, genoasail and staysail. All of which are set via hydraulic furlers. Halyard and sail control lines are handled by 10 strategically placed winches, 6 of which, those controlling the genoa, main, and stay sail winches are powered by 24 volt motors.
The Hylas 63 is unique in respect to other sailboats as the design of its long and wide cockpit incorporates a layout which makes it both a working and a lounging cockpit. The aft section, which is adequately separated from the recreational space, features a pair of helms and state of the art control panels, as well as luxurious twin helm seats, both of which are well padded and therefore extremely comfortable. This fact, transforms the otherwise mundane task of keeping watch into an absolute a pleasure! The forward cockpit is fitted with bench seats on either side that are large enough, depending on your mood, for napping, lounging or sitting. A centerline table with a bench seat on both sides, and plenty of legroom bisects the forward cockpit area. A companionway connects the cockpit to the side decks, as well as the three stepped transom or aft deck on which a pair of roomy lazarettes are situated. For the readers who are not well versed in nautical nomenclature a lazarette is a storage locker.
Cabins & Heads
The stock layout of the Hylas 63 below decks, which can be customized, calls for four cabins and four heads. Essentially this is the nautical speak equivalent of four bedrooms and four bathrooms. In other words, it’s spacious enough to accommodate a family of four or more or an equal measure of crew and guests. The master stateroom, situated in the aft or rear of the boat, is generous in area, and features a centerline berth, i.e. bed, plus an ensuite toilet and shower. Slightly smaller in size, but equally luxurious, the VIP living quarters, also with its own ensuite shower and toilet are located further up in the bow. Both of these staterooms are replete with ample storage in the form of lockers, shelves and drawers. Sandwiched between the saloon and the VIP stateroom over on the port or left side, and just across the companionway from the VIP toilet, you’ll find the Pullman berth, which is about two-thirds the size of the VIP stateroom. Amidships over on the starboard or right hand side (when facing forward), is a modest toiletless berth whose over and under style ‘bunk bed’ will sleep two.
Saloon & Galley
The saloon on the Hylas 63 is best described as functional and welcoming. With 7 foot high ceilings and ample sunlight streaming in through the six wraparound transom windows and two skylights, this great room rivals the magnificence of any five star hotel. To the port side is an L-shaped settee capable of seating as many as eight individuals around its adjacent table. If additional seating is required, the saloon is fully equipped with two extra folding chairs. It’s also worth noting that this settee can be pressed into service as a sixth bed. Across from the settee, against the starboard bulkhead is a sofa, which at the time of purchase can be swapped for a pair of armchairs if desired. To the aft of the sofa is a navigation table facing an instrument display and switch panel that will bring a tear to the eye of your inner nerd. Interior details are comprised of a choice of cabinet styles, counter colors, and teak and more teak or teak and bamboo finishes, either with or without inlays.
The galley on the Hylas 63 is more expansive than the average kitchen in most landlocked condos. There the ship’s cook will be delighted to find more than enough counter space, and enough storage and refrigeration to ensure that passengers and guests never miss a meal and are never bereft of a cold drink. In actuality, the galley conveniences include a two drawer refrigerator and a separate top and side loading freezer, a combination three burner LPG stove and oven, and twin sinks for washing up. A dishwasher, wine cooler, ice-maker, microwave, and even a washer/dryer are also available.
Systems & Auxiliary
Just like the amenities of the interior, the mechanical and electrical systems of the Hylas 63 have also received considerable attention. In all a total of 16 batteries are required to power the sailing and domestic electronics, LED lighting, VHF radio, winches, windlass, generator, bow and stern thrusters, as well as the boats auxiliary propulsion aperatus. Speaking of auxiliary propulsion, when the vessel is not under sail, said propulsion comes in the form of a 220hp Yanmar diesel engine with dual fuel filters, and a built in oil exchange pump for the generator and the transmission. This will ensure that wind or no wind, you will always be able to safely travel from port A to port B. The engine has been thoughtfully laid out in such a manner so that all of pumps, filters, and essential maintenance points are easily accessible. The 384 gallons of diesel fuel is divided amongst four tanks, all of which have been set low in the boat. To help ease the boat in and out of its berth, two Sidepower thrusters have been installed at both the bow and the stern.