Nautor’s Swan will celebrate its 50th anniversary in style in 2016 by launching a feisty new 50ft one-design class: the ClubSwan50
This is very positive news from a yard that one may have presumed was concentrating on its larger yacht range, after recently launching its first of four new 115ft superyachts. But the ClubSwan 50 is the second new ‘smaller’ size model to be announced in as many months however, following news of a new cruising Swan 54.
And in a significant departure for the Finnish yard, she is designed not by German Frers, but by fellow Argentinean Juan Kouyoumdjian. “The Club Swan 50 will the first time [in modern times] we have used a different designer from German Frers,” said Barry Ashmore, Swan’s regional sales and marketing director.
“We held a contest among the best designers in the world to create an innovative design that would include new technologies and materials, be stylish and iconic, high performing but easy to sail,” explained the Chairman of Nautor’s Swan Leonardo Ferragamo. “The result is the ClubSwan 50, a stunning yacht that will appeal to the young and competitive, while still allowing the pleasure of cruising in the true spirit of Swan.”
The ClubSwan 50 has many of the hallmarks for which Kouyoumdjian is so well-known, from his IMOCA 60 and Volvo 70 designs to Rambler 88. She is a very current-looking, beamy yacht (4.2m) with chines, twin rudders, reverse sheer line and a dreadnought bow.
“It is an honor for me to design a boat for Swan,” says Juan K. “From performance, seaworthiness and the capacity to sail easily with a reduced number of crew… it is a tremendous challenge.”
The design seems to strike a balance between racer-cruiser and Grand Prix style racing yachts. “It will be very fast; performance is first and foremost,” said Ashmore. “This represents innovation the easy way. We wanted a rocket boat, but one that would perform well under IRC and one that is suitable for an owner-driver.”
The square-top mainsail is sheeted to the very aft of the boat. The sailplan shows a vast foretriangle, one that should suit flying sails set from the fixed bowsprit (up to 296m2 downwind sail area).
The carbon mast is deck stepped and has three swept spreaders to negate the need for a fixed backstay. She will be built in carbon epoxy Sprint laminate to a lightweight displacement of 8.5 tonnes.
‘In one word, this yacht had to be cool’, says Swan on its dedicated new website. But she wouldn’t be a Swan if she didn’t have some sort of interior too. So like Wally Yachts, the ClubSwan 50 can be also converted for weekend cruising, and has two double cabins, plus galley and heads down below.
It is important for Swan that the boat can be transformed easily for short-handed cruising. It has a furling genoa and four of the six winches are cited around the helms. These are electric as standard and can control all sail functions on board. “We wanted a boat that would offer the maximum fun possible but be able to convert into a weekend cruiser for two people without a major effort,” says Ashmore.
Don’t be fooled by that though, this is a racing yacht first and foremost. The ClubSwan 50 will be a professionally managed owner-driver class, with a global racing circuit. Events will be run across three continents (Europe, North America & Asia) and four fleets.
See the full presentation of the class here:
“It will be a full carbon boat and the base price will be €800-900,000,” says Ashmore. “It will be marketed as a package so that it won’t be necessary to optimise for racing and has some limited comfort options. But the point is that the cheaper the boat the faster it will be.”
Is it an alternative to the popular TP52s? “It’s unfair to compare this to the TP52. It is the opposite of those, which need a project manager and an optimisation programme,” says Ashmore. “This boat will be cheaper, it’s one-design, it can be crewed by fewer people, eight compared to the TP52’s 14 or 15, and it looks like it will rate well under ORCi.
“The TP52 are single rudder boats so they are not easy to sail; this has twin rudders and will be easier for an owner-driver, but they will challenge the TP52s as they will be carrying less crew weight.”
Nautor intends to have a fleet in action at the first world championships by 2018. They believe they could have as many as 20-30 yachts built and racing by then, but possibly more. “The best case scenario would be 50 – we have the capacity for that.”
To expand their building capacity they are going to develop a build facility alongside their lamination factory in the Finnish village of Kalby, some miles from where Nautor’s larger yachts are being built. They may create two moulds so that builds could progress simultaneously.
“We felt it was time to innovate,” says Ashmore “and that we could ring fence the ClubSwan brand.” The company has plans to extend the range if the new ClubSwan proves as popular as they hope. “We can absolutely see a smaller version of sub 40ft being built,” says Ashmore.
The ClubSwan 50 joins a growing Swan one design fleet that includes Club Swan 42, Swan 45, Swan 601 and Swan 60. In terms of current trend and interest, it looks right on the money, so don’t be surprised to see Swan’s positive predictions for this new class fufilled.