|Harry Hallberg, (1914-1997) began his boatbuilding career at the age of 14, In the early 40’s he opened his own yard at Kungsviken on the island of Orust in Sweden. 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. |
Harry Hallberg’s most distinguished contribution was his understanding of the advantages of using GRP and to build boats in a series. In 1963 he was one of the pioneers in serial production of sailboats using GRP. He was the first successful builder of GRP hulls with wooden superstructure in a series. His P-28 was a great accomplishment and in many aspects a forerunner.
Christoph Rassy was brought up in Bavaria in the south of Germany by a lake named Starnberger See.
In his spare time he 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.
Soon he wanted to build and sail larger and finer boats and wanted to live by the sea. He thought that Sweden, a large country with lots of water, was bound to build large and splendid boats. Consequently, he wrote to many Swedish boatyards, requesting work.
One yard wrote that they would welcome him, and in 1960 Christoph moved empty-handed and with a bicycle as his only possession to Nötesund, Sweden to build boats. During the day he built boats for a boatyard that today since many years is out of business.
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.
In the years of 1965 to 1972, Harry Hallberg and Christoph Rassy were competitors. At first, Christoph Rassy also 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. At the same time Harry Hallberg built his boats in Ellös. Smart, attractive boats at a reasonable price, thanks to serial production and a GRP hull.
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 "Misil 24", 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.
Harry Hallberg and Christoph Rassy, however, have never been partners.
Hallberg-Rassy Varvs AB
SE-474 31 Ellös
Phone: +46 - (0)304 54 800
Fax: +46 - (0)304 513 31