Simple lines and sailing pleasure define the values of the beautiful new Swan 115 launched by Nautor at the Monaco Yacht Show
A year after the debut of the Swan 105, Nautor returned to the Monaco Yacht Show last week with a yacht even larger. The first Swan 115, the dark blue-hulled Solleone, represents a key part of the Finnish company’s grand plan to extend its range in both directions.
With orders for four 115s, the move to semi custom carbon superyacht territory has been perhaps more successful than even Nautor dared hope. The company seems to have timed it just right: after a sharp contraction in sailing superyachts builds since 2008, demand is returning, though tentatively, and Nautor’s Swan is well-placed by being such a long-established prestige brand.
“In a world full of custom yachts, this will still be a Swan in ten years’ time. Owners have an idea what the cost will be. You can adapt, but it’s a formula. We spend so much money and time on designing and engineering; you are not paying for this optimisation,” says Barry Ashmore, Nautor’s regional sales and marketing director.
But leave aside the marketing proposition and look at the yacht itself and you see something truly lovely. This really does feel like a pure sailing yacht, in every respect. On deck it is exceptionally uncluttered, with a large forward cockpit seating area, and clean decks from there forward. Systems are deliberately simple for the size, with manual steering, and deck winches rather than captive winches for runners, mainsheet and headsails.
The sheer pleasure of sailing the boat (designed like all other modern Swans by German Frers) has been foremost. Hull no 1 is a 115 ‘S’, a semi-raised saloon model (a flush deck version is available), and has been cruised this summer by Nautor’s owner, Leonardo Ferragamo. Spars are carbon and the rigging is Southern Spars’s ECSix carbon. She has a large fat-top mainsail to capitalise on light winds, and is fully powered up in 12 knots of wind.
There are large twin rudders for easy sailing at lower speeds and though we have yet to test sail this boat, I can well believe the company’s boast that her handling is akin to a 60-footer. In the 3,500 miles logged since she left the yard in Finland, Solleone has covered around half of that under sail and her captain says that she makes a very manageable average of 15-16 knots in reaching conditions of 18-20 knots under single reef and jib.
On deck, the Swan 115 sports some fine detailing. The teak decks are laid straight, rather than following the hull curve, and there is no king plank – Frers’s suggestion. The effect, together with light grey caulking, gives the deck a crisp and clean look.
A bimini is lowered and raised on gas struts and folds down into recessed stowage just forward of the companionway entrance, rather like the roof of a soft top car. A sprayhood can be raised out of the same recess.
Below there is a large seating area on both sides and a dining area in the lower part, both of which can be used for parties. Crew accommodation is forward and two guest cabins and a full beam owner’s stateroom aft.
For this yacht Nautor and Ferragamo have elected to stick to an archetypal Swan look. Next year the company marks its 50th birthday and will be celebrating this heritage. The Swan ‘look’ that has kept their boats among the most coveted and sought after is easily recognisable here and confidently goes against the grain of most superyachts.
For example, the joinery in teak has a high gloss finish, just like on the original Swans. The louvred doors and lockers have old school look, and with a few other discreet retro fittings this is beautifully effective.
Nautor has kept the design and layout deceptively simple with little adornment other than small and not immediately noticeable touches such as stitched leather handholds, leather-covered horizontal surfaces and picture frames that open up to reveal lockers. It is a totally clean look that is an absolute fit.
Superyacht it may be, but this looks like a proper sailing yacht and its design and execution has a timeless quality that would not be foreign to any Swan owner of times gone by.
The new Swan 115 is only part of a branching out for the company and a wave of fresh investment in growing the brand and company. Next comes an even larger design, the Swan 130, which matches a similar sized design coming from rival company and near neighbour Baltic Yachts.
But Swan also has its regatta racing background and is on the verge of launching a new one-design performance racer (more after the unveiling later this week). This will be an exciting extension and updating of the ClubSwan concept, which will be used to introduce more radical designs.
The company has yet more plans to reach into smaller yachts. They recently announced a new Swan 54, another yacht that has hit square on latent demand. Swan made sales of four of these in the fortnight following the launch.
They also have plans for a Swan 78 for serious bluewater cruising, and are looking at the possibility scaling down at the smaller end of their range and “may have a 46 or a 48.”