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Kissen (see Whats in a name?) is a Hallberg-Rassy 36.

KissenHallberg-Rassy is the largest of a collection of Swedish yacht builders on the Swedish island of Orust, just north of Gothenburg. In an idyllic island setting, they turn out 250 boats a year ranging from 31 feet through to 62 (the largest size determined by the dimensions of their shed). The boats are out-and-out cruisers, although a faint hint of sportiness has crept in over the last few years courtesy of designer German Frers.

The HR36 was the largest seller of the marques, being the smallest centre-cockpit model, with over 600 built over about 14 years. She has now been replaced by the HR37, almost identical, but with a fairer hull, a feature that has caused much tutting and shaking of heads by the dyed-in-the-wool fraternity, who value the sea-kindliness of the earlier models.

SaloonIn truth, we’ve found the boat to be almost ideal for 2 handed cruising. It has reasonable reserves (diesel, electric, water), a good seaworthy layout, loads of storage (with proper lockers, not just shelves and bins), very strong build, and a docile rig. The standard boat comes with only a working jib, and needs about 10-12 knots of wind to get started, but replace that with a reasonable Genoa, and she is more flexible, ghosting along in the slightest of breezes. She is not though a lightweight flyer, a feature much appreciated when it starts to blow. Astonishingly, we’ve never (yet) been seasick on her.

GalleyInternally, the boat is awash with rich mahogany, and joinery of a very high quality. Some people find this a bit dark, but the modern boats have a silk finish and much more light - we find it tasteful and a good environment. The layout is practical at sea, with a good chart table and sea berths on either tack. The galley comes in for some criticism (it is considerably larger on the HR40) but it suits us.

Unlike the most European boatyards, HR build the whole hull in a separate factory at Kungshamn, and ship them down to Ellös with deck and hull already attached for fitting out. This means that all the furniture has to go through the hatch, just like you and me and cant be prefabricated. It does though mean that the hull to deck join is made and glassed properly before anything gets in the way. The quality of the glass work hidden by the furniture is as good as that exposed.

Sails:Apart from the Elvstrom Main and Working Jib that came with the boat, we have an Asymmetric Spinnaker and a 140% multi-weight laminate Genoa from Jon Parker of Quantum Sails in Levington.

Electronics: Although we use a Garmin GPS, the rest of the electronics are from Raymarine. The instrumentation is ST50 with a ST6000+ autopilot (a boon). We also have a Pathfinder Plus Colour Radar/Plotter linked to a Smart Heading System and we use a Mastervolt Monitor (aka Link 10) to keep an eye on the batteries.

Engine: A 55Hp Volvo MD22. In reality, it´s a Perkins Prima (as used in the Morris Montego) with added Volvo bits. The HR fitter said “we paint it green and charge you much more for it — Ha Ha”. We’ve replaced the original 3 bladed fixed prop with a 17” feathering MaxProp and also fitted an Ambassador marine Stripper. We’re too proud to invest in a bow thruster.

Full specifications for the Factory HR36 can be found at www.hallberg-rassy.com

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