With transatlantic boat viewings off the cards for now, American yard Hylas Yachts has employed innovative measures to showcase its new Hylas 60

COVID-19 lockdown saw a bonanza of virtual boat shows and there’s every chance they are here to stay. A well executed virtual experience can give potential buyers a good feel for a particular design before they even rock up at an exhibition or a dealer’s dock.

Hylas was quick to realise this and released an excellent virtual tour of its three-cabin version of the new Hylas 60.

The first example of this twin-rudder German Frers design that’s aimed at the European market is now on the water. It’s a stunning yacht, with a new look for the brand including plumb bow, broad transom and clean, uncluttered foredeck.

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The contemporary styling is married to a powerful, yet easily handled, rig with hydraulic in-mast furling and a choice of a 105% headsail or a self-tacking jib. There’s also a self-tacking staysail for use in heavy weather, while asymmetric kites and code sails can be flown from the fully integrated sprit.

The yard partnered with Milan-based Hot Lab to create what chief interior designer Enrico Lumini describes as: “…keeping the traditional feeling of a pure sailing yacht interior, yet contemporary and tranquillity-inspiring”.

Keel options comprise bulbed fins with 2.00m or 2.50m draught, or a telescopic lifting keel. Cruising conveniences include a self-deploying anchor, hydraulic swim platform and optional automated passerelle. CZone digital switching is a standard fit for controlling interior systems.

The virtual tour allows you to step through the entire interior of a three-cabin model, from the forward guest cabins to the owner’s aft stateroom. Dozens of 360° images have been captured in high definition from close to 40 different locations, making the experience as close as possible to physically being on board. For the best experience you’ll want to look at it on the biggest screen you have.

An important advantage of a virtual tour over real life is the ease with which you can keep going back to check different details. For the Hylas there’s even a measurement mode that allows the dimensions of everything from the chart table size to bunk lengths to be checked – although you won’t be able to physically see how easy it is to get your knees under the chart table, of course.

Nevertheless, the format offers far more than simply a quick view of the boat – it’s easy to spend time looking into intricate detail, from shower arrangements to the neatly laid out engine room.

On deck you can stand behind one of the carbon wheels, while assessing the location of winches, throttle, thruster and pilot controls. Then step forward to the beautifully appointed and well-shaded guest cockpit.

At the moment the format is not quite perfect – a couple of times we found ourselves teleported to the forecabin when attempting to stroll forward to check out the anchoring and headsail arrangements. (Hint: before clicking on one of the 360° icons, hover the mouse over it to reveal a glimpse of what it shows).

While a virtual tour can never be a substitute for seeing a boat in the flesh, this approach can help potential buyers pare down their shortlists. It will also help inform the list of items a prospective buyer might want to check out at a boat show, dealer or factory.

Well produced virtual tours also have the potential to bring a new design to market faster, as manufacturers needn’t be constrained by the calendars of international boat shows. Similar tours could be created using only renders, but it feels more real and far more reassuring when the images are of a completed yacht that is already afloat and in commission.


LOA: 18.05m (59ft 3in)
LWL: 16.80m (55ft 0in)
Beam: 5.26m (17ft 3in)
Draught: 2.00m (6ft 7in) or 2.50m (8ft 2in)
Displacement: 29,800kg (66,000lb)
Price: US$1,700,000