Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Hardy 50 on the secondhand market and what features to look out for…
In build: 2004-2008
Price range: £380,000-£595,000
When John Hardy founded Hardy Marine back in 1976 he focused on the production of small motor sailers. So popular were his high quality Colin Mudie-designed craft, that in 1982 the company’s North Walsham, Norfolk manufacturing facility was expanded to accommodate demand.
As the company grew, the focus switched to small but solidly built motor boats, including the evergreen Pilot 20 and popular Seawings range but in 1997 the company took a big step upmarket with the Andrew Wolstenholme-designed semi-displacement Hardy 36.
This was followed by the Commander 32, the Commodore 42, the Hardy 50 of 2004, and ultimately the Hardy 62 in 2013.
Some years earlier, John Hardy had sold the business to Mark Funnell but Mark’s untimely passing in 2012 at the age of just 49 took the wind out of the company’s sails.
In 2013 the business was sold to Windboats, which retained ownership until 2020 when Falmouth-based Cockwells Modern & Classic Boatbuilding bought the brand and started breathing new life into the range. Hardy’s rugged construction, useful turn of speed and legendary seaworthiness means the popularity of its craft isn’t limited to leisure boaters alone.
A reputation for being able to put to sea when others are hunkering down in port attracted the interest of some big-name customers, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which in 2004 bought two Hardy 42s as training vessels that are still in weekly use at the RNLI College in Poole, and Raymarine, whose Hardy 42 Raymariner is used as a mobile test bed for its latest nav gear and can often be spotted in and around the Solent.
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While the power of association – the marketing mantra which asserts we judge each other by the company we keep – might lead you to think that these connections with the RNLI and Raymarine would push sales of the Hardy brand into the big league, the larger models at least remain strangely elusive. The Hardy 50 featured here, for example, is one of just six built.
Looking back it seems the Hardy 50 was always destined to be a niche player. Its very creation came about at the request of sea-school owners David and Kim Griffiths, who wanted something a little larger than their Aquastar 48.
In addition to plenty of space, the vessel also boasts an RCD A ‘Ocean’ rating. This means it’s capable of operating in seas of up to 23ft and winds of up to Force 9 (strong gale, 41-47 knots), making the Hardy 50 a truly formidable all-weather seagoing vessel.
It’s this capability and the potential for adventures it opens up that first attracted Hardy 50 owners Nick and Julia Hawes to our featured boat, Pasiphaë, which is being offered for sale by Berthon, Lymington, for £535,000 VAT paid.
In fact, the Hawes currently own two Hardys, the other being the first 62 to roll off the line back in 2013. This definitely puts them in the Hardy super-enthusiast bracket – so what’s the appeal?
“Well, I previously had a Princess V48 and was wondering what to go for next,” says Nick. “We went to a Nelson rally but then looked at the Hardy range and just fell in love with their boats. We viewed a 42 but, with its extra space, decided the 50 had to be the one for us.
“Julia was new to boating and was a little bit nervous of walking along side decks so I wanted something that would be safe – and with its high guardrails all the way round, the Hardy 50 is just so safe.
“When we took it out on a sea trial, I just loved its capabilities. We bought the boat back in 2018 and since then we’ve done some good trips from Lymington to the West Country and have been across the Channel and to the Channel Islands.
“We cruise at about 17 to 20 knots but she’s capable of 30. Because you’re not racing through you don’t get the feeling of slamming through the waves. Whereas some boats leave you feeling like you’ve done a massive journey, this one just pushes on and is so comfortable – it’s not a tiring boat when you’re at sea.
“Even though we purchased the 62 just over a year ago, if we decide to downsize in three or four years’ time, we’d definitely go back to the 50.”
In terms of layout, the generously proportioned Hardy 50 is an easy boat to like. As owner Nick pointed out, the side decks – which extend aft to where a walkaround behind the aft cockpit gives access to the bathing platform – are super safe.
Up top is a flybridge with twin seats at the centrally mounted helm and extensive wraparound seating with lockers beneath to both sides and aft.
While a lowish windscreen provides partial protection from the elements, guests will still feel the wind in their smiling faces as the boat slices its way through the waves. Two sets of steps lead down from the flybridge; one to the aft cockpit, the other directly to the saloon.
With its wet bar, grill, fridge and bags of deck space for a free-standing table and chairs the aft cockpit is the place for al fresco dining, while the main saloon provides a full complement of creature comforts for whenever the weather turns.
The saloon, which can also be accessed from doors on either side deck, is split into three distinct areas. Firstly there’s the portside-mounted helm, which like the flybridge has twin seats.
Directly ahead of the helm is a beautifully crafted wooden dashboard, which is kept commendably uncluttered due to much of the instrumentation being mounted in an overhead panel which runs the full width of the saloon’s leading edge.
To starboard, just aft of the helm, is a dinette with L-shaped seating providing seating for three or four guests. While there’s a pouffe to boost the number of seats by one, this does somewhat beg the question of where would a full complement of guests dine if the weather precluded the aft cockpit?
The answer may well lie behind the dinette where two steps down lead to the bright and airy saloon proper, a cavernous area equipped with a plush horseshoe settee. While our review boat sported a coffee table in front of the settee, there’s plenty of room here for a free-standing table if need be.
Opposite the settee is another top quality wooden unit, this one incorporating storage space and a pop-up TV. Ahead of the dinette another set of steps lead down to the wraparound galley. Ergonomically designed and well thought-out throughout, this is another area where form and function combine in perfect harmony.
Everything required in the galley – hob, oven, twin sinks, microwave and fridge – is here together with a substantial amount of storage and locker space.
Opposite the galley is a lobby area which leads to the boat’s day heads and the engineroom which, as befits an ocean-going vessel, lies behind a watertight bulkhead door. Inside, a central walkway gives excellent access to the twin MAN diesels.
Also off the lobby is the smallest of the boat’s three cabins, which is fitted with twin bunks and a modest amount of stowage space. The other two cabins are a somewhat different story with both offering plenty of room and lockers.
Located in the forepeak, the second cabin is a V-berth, while the spacious full beam aft master cabin accommodates a double-bed with copious amounts of storage to either side.
There’s even more stowage in this cabin’s forward bulkhead, which also houses the boat’s second television. Completing the picture is the master’s ensuite with toilet, basin and a separate shower stall.
In some ways, it is perhaps surprising that only six Hardy 50s exist. For not only does the model stand up well to its contemporaries in terms of the quality of its build and fitments, it also has the added advantage of that RCD A rating.
Then again, that’s something that not every boater would be looking for; nice to have, but not essential to all but the diehards among us. But if you’re among that number, and are looking for something that’s not far from a one-off, maybe the Hardy 50 is the boat for you.
Hardy 50 specifications
LOA: 50ft (15.24m)
Beam: 16ft (4.9m)
Draft: 4ft 5in (1.39m)
Air draft (mast lowered): 13ft 5in (4.1m)
Displacement: 27 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 3,636 litres
Water capacity: 660 litres
Fuel consumption: 8.9 l/nm @ 24.8kn
Cruising range: 260nm @ 24.8 knots
Type: Flybridge trawler yacht
Designer: Andrew Wolstenholme
Hull type: Semi-displacement
RCD category: A
Annual fuel burn: 6,375 litres (based on 25 hours @ 24.8 knots and 25 hours @ 8.5 knots)
Mooring: £10,820 (Annual marina mooring on the Hamble River downstream of Bursledon bridge)
Hardy 50 surveyor’s report
Conceived and built as a larger stablemate to the Commodore 42, this handsome semi-displacement craft was handbuilt to the owner’s specifications when new.
The Andrew Wolstenholme hull features a round bilge but fine entry forward, which helps to provide a comfortable motion through head seas and up to 30-knot performance when required.
These boats make for a comfortable, refined passagemaker or work equally well as a spacious weekender that will rarely force you to change plans due to the weather.
Construction-wise, Hardys I have surveyed have been consistently good, with very few significant latent issues, such as osmosis, delamination, cracking or flexing. The quality and finish of gelcoats is almost always good, provided it has been well maintained.
Points to note when considering buying:
- Make sure the flybridge layout and the route to and from the flybridge, especially the stair design and handholds, suit your requirements.
- Whichever engine option you go for, ensure the service history is checked and verified, including heat exchanger cleaning. A thorough sea trial when surveying is vital, with an extended run at maximum revs to ensure temperatures remain within specs throughout.
- Ensure all the ancillary equipment is working – I have noticed an increase in issues with generators, heating/air conditioning systems, holding-tank pumps and electrical items due to lack of use during the pandemic.
- For the same reason, double-check fuel separators and filters prior to passagemaking. It may be necessary to have the existing fuel pumped out, polished, and returned to the tanks.
- Check the teak decks and swim platforms haven’t been over scrubbed or, if synthetic teak, ensure the material is still well bonded to the substrate.
A sound, well-maintained example of this vessel should provide you with years of comfortable cruising thanks to sound design, enduring build quality and timeless lines that will not age.
-Chris Olsen, Olsen Marine Surveying
What’s on the market?
Price: £535,000 (VAT paid)
Engines: 2 x MAN R6 800hp
Contact: Berthon International
First published in the June 2023 issue of MBY.
In association with SETAG Yachts. Design and refit specialists SETAG Yachts bring luxury to the pre-owned market – by creating the bespoke yacht of your dreams, with no compromise. To fall in love with your boat all over again visit www.setagyachts.com or call +44 (0)1752 648618 for more details.
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