Dolphin Dance II is an Hallberg-Rassy 342 (hull nr. 98) built in 2007. The boat is designed by German Frérs and the model was introduced in 2005. However, 342 is basically a modernized version of the popular HR 34, which was designed in 1990.
Argentinian naval architect Germán Frers is among the most famous yacht designers in the world. He worked at Sparkman & Stephens in the 1960s before returning to Argentina to take charge on his father’s office in 1970. In the early 1980s he started working with legendary Nautor’s Swan and in 1988 as an exclusive designer for Hallberg-Rassy.
The first Frers designed model in HR line was 36, which is a fairly conservative center cockpit cruiser. The HR34, introduced in 1990, was the largest aft cockpit boat for Hallberg-Rassy yard at that time, and also marked a start of very gradual shift towards aft cockpit boats in HR’s line of design.
Hallberg-Rassy has been modernizing its model line gradually and has been fairly conservative to adapt to the new trends in the sailboat design world.
From HR29 to 342
Prior to HR342, we sailed with Hallberg-Rassy 29 (an Olle Enderlein design) for eight years. Although being a small boat, HR 29 feels like a bigger yacht at sea and we liked very much how softly and always with a sense of safety HR29 handles even the rough seas. With Dolphin Dance II, we wanted to achieve the same level of seaworthiness, sturdy construction and comfort, but with a bit more living space (as HR29 doesn’t have an aft cabin) and improved sailing performance.
With HR342 we were looking for an optimal balance between tradition and modern features. For example, 342 has bulb lead keel (1,8 m), balanced spade rudder (with a small skeg) and a modern fractional rig, which gives a possibility to use self-tacking jib. Hull shape is wider especially in the aft section compared to its predecessor. However, HR342 has a tapering stern section and more rounded shapes compared to modern wedge-shaped designs. The cockpit in HR342 is designed initially for tiller steering, which is quite rare for a +30 ft cruising boat nowadays. 342 is also available as a wheel steering, but tiller steering makes it easier to handle the boat singlehandedly and also opens up the cockpit nicely, when the tiller is raised up.
HR342 has a fairly traditional layout for a boat at this size. Galley is on the port side, a spacious navigation table on the starboard side. The owner’s cabin is located in the fore peak.
The #98 was already equipped for a long-distance sailing, as we bought the boat, so there was no need for a major upgrades. For the season 2019, we bought a new inflatable dinghy with a rigid aluminium hull. As the dinghy is not foldable anymore, davits were installed for carrying the dinghy on longer passages.