|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. |
By 1963, Harry Hallberg had become a pioneers in serial production of sailboats using GRP. He was the first successful builder of GRP hulls with wooden superstructure in a series.
Christoph Rassy was brought up in Bavaria and became an apprentice at a small yard for wooden boats in southern Germany. In 1960 he moved to Sweden to build boats.
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 kilometers 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 center 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.