At the end of May, the first yacht in the new Swan Line range, designed for Nautor's Swan yard by renowned designer Herman Frers, was launched in Finnish Pettersaari. The new line is purely cruising: the shipyard has moved away from its usual racing and cruising concept. The more interesting it is to see what the result is.
In early June the company arranged an early test drive of the Swan 78 for dealers. Among the first people who were lucky enough to test the Swan cruiser without an attachment «racing»- a master of sports of international class Mikhail Kondratyev. Mikhail Kondratyev is mostly known as CEO of successful sailing project PROyachting; since 2013 he is also the official representative of Nautor's Swan in Russia. Itboat talked to Mikhail about his first impressions of the sailing boat.
The first thing that strikes you when you get on this yacht is the inner space. I've been on another manufacturer's 78-foot boat across the ocean, and I can say it's heaven and earth: it's like twice the space here. I've never seen a yacht of this size or this interior space.
This sensation is achieved due to well thought out ergonomics.
The owner of the first hull, which I was able to test, chose the layout with a master cabin in the bow. Personally, I would have chosen the option with a cabin aft - less rocking in the rough sea. After all, the Swan 78 is a sea-going ocean cruiser and the best thing to do on it is to go to the Transatlantic. But the layout with the foreman has its advantages: this is the quietest place in the parking lot.
With both layouts on the lower deck, there are a total of five cabins with separate bathrooms: the master suite, VIP suite, a pair of twin beds and a crew cockpit designed to accommodate two to four crew members.
The 24-meter boat is easily operated by a modest crew: the hydraulically driven winches are close to the control posts, all ropes are pulled back, the telescopic keel is gently pulled out at the push of a button located on the pedestals.
I raced in the Caribbean on the 115th model with a telescopic keel - it's very convenient: you can dock at the shore in the marina instead of lowering the dinghy. However, if someone is confused by the telescopic keel, Swan offers the 78th model with fixed keels - with more and less draft.
We were lucky with the weather on a test drive day: sunshine, wind 10-12 knots, air temperature 12-15 degrees Celsius - for Finland it is excellent. We went out into the water area of the Gulf of Bothnia, went to the maneuvering against the wind, made a few turns and went down the wind full course. The maximum speed of the yacht under such conditions was 8.5-9 knots against the wind. In the wind we twisted the jib and went with one mainsail, so the speed was about the same range.
At the end of the test, the dealers' opinion was clear: the Swan 78 is the winner in its segment. It's not just about excellent ergonomics and huge interior space. Swan has always built high-speed yachts and even a purely cruising series has turned out to be the Finns' fastest.
In terms of speed performance, she could compete with Baltic, but the price of a production Swan is seriously beaten by a full custom Baltic.
Another advantage of Swan yachts is the build quality. My advice to those who choose a boat: don't be lazy to look underneath paillas, in hidden rooms, in lockers and lockers. If inside the material is qualitative, everything is made without gaps, if the door does not squeak, put good fittings, door closers - this is one of the first signs of quality assembly.
I look at the arrangement of the wire bundles and see what water hoses are supplied. There are budget, there are more expensive, but of better quality. Swan puts the ones that are more expensive. Is the drain hole on the water tank made at the top or bottom? It's more comfortable at the bottom, but if you have a tank or a connector, it will all be in the hold.
Some people are scared away by the price, others are just not ready to own a Swan now.
The brand is well known in the sailing community, but for a newbie who is buying a boat for the first time it is difficult to understand why Swan is more expensive than other yachts of the same size.
The worldwide community of Swan owners is very cohesive. The shipyard always arranges cocktails, parties, trophies for its clients within the existing regattas. Every year Club Swan holds a regatta called the Swan Cup. Last time, on its 50th anniversary, the regatta was held in Sardinia. The very first Swan 36 Tarantela took part in it. Despite the respectable age, the boat is on the move and feels great.