The new Swan 45 McFly, owned and helmed by Tony Mack, has made its debut at Skandia Life Cowes Week.

The new Swan 45 McFly, owned and helmed by Tony Mack, has made its debut at Skandia Life Cowes Week.

This new one-design, which is the seventh boat out of the mould, was launched and completed ready for racing just last week and has already notched up an impressive set of results, including a first on Wednesday. Going in to the penultimate day’s racing she is currently lying in fourth place overall.

This stunning looking yacht, with its fine lines and typical Swan features including teak decking and uncluttered layout, is probably one of the most appealing boats to hit the big boat race scene this year.

Ben Collett (trimmer) and Neil Mackley (from North Sails) were onboard the boat this morning when we caught up with them and they were looking forward to the forecast wind for today’s race.

Mackley commented on the racing so far: “We’ve been having some really good battles with Carphone Warehouse and we’re currently two points behind Kirribilli. In reality, Carphone Warehouse doesn’t have a discard outside the top four, so I think she’s going to be a tough one to beat.”

“McFly has been a pleasure to sail,” added Collett, “and we’ve spent the week getting used to her. Thankfully, everything falls to hand easily and we’ve really had few complaints about her performance.” One of the things about the emerging Swan 45 fleet is that it’s an owner/driver class, so professional skippers can only helm unless they own the boat.

As a yacht which is used for cruising as well as out-and-out racing, the designers have been careful to subtly blend in comfort features without sacrificing racing performance. Down below, there’s plenty of headroom and the generally spacious interior layout means there’s ample room for the sail wardrobe.

On deck, the layout of rig controls has been well thought out with all the main lines being led back to jammers near the pit area, on the coach roof. Most of the deck gear is fairly standard as far as the one-design rule is concerned with a combination of Harken blocks and Lewmar winches. “We’ve upgraded our winches from the standard spec,” commented Mackley, “and other boats are now upgrading the mainsheet to a three-speed winch. That’s really all we’ve modified. The rest we’re generally very happy with.”

McFly has a carbonfibre mast built by Hall Spars and a wardrobe from North Sails, the design of which Mackley believes are well down the development line. “These are second or third generation sails already,” said Mackley. “When they built the prototype Swan 45 last year we made a suit of sails for that boat. These were analysed on and off the water and small changes were made. What you see here are sails that incorporate very small changes so we’re already a long way down the line and we’re really pleased with what we have now.”

Once Cowes Week finishes, McFly will be taken to Sardinia to the Swan worlds where there’ll be five other Swan 45s to compete against. This time next year, for the Swan Europeans which will be held here in Cowes, there should at least five new UK-based boats. Rumour has it that Nigel Bramwell, Glynn Williams (owner of Wolf) and Harry Evans (owner of Alvine) have all put their names down, which should make a total of 15 boats in the one-design fleet.