Published on Friday April 17, 2020
Our CEO, Brendan Hunt, shares some thoughts on Swan cruising yachts
It is interesting to reflect upon the evolution of serious cruising yacht design over the years. And this is a discussion which can go on over many hours in the midst of a group of sailors.
I would say, that after many years of cruising and sailing aboard many boats, my own ideas have evolved and changed also.
In this diatribe, let us consider monohulls. And in particular the boat which, for me, shines above many others, the Swan 54.
With well over 100 years of development, the choices for cruising yachts are endless. And many very different boats can offer new interpretations to describe the “ideal cruising yacht”. But what makes a boat stand apart?
There seems a general feel that a good long term cruising boat to suit a couple should be somewhere between 48 and 55 feet. A smaller boat can be easier to handle and keep maintained. Whilst at the upper end, the very good boats can offer an ease of motion, ample room for lounging around, and a cockpit to entertain.
Most important, as a premise to start with, is consideration to the rule of “2-4-6”. This equates to a boat fitting the following formula:
2 – The boat must be set up, and be handled easily by just two, usually a cruising couple.
4 – It should also offer private facilities and berths for a minimum four persons (two couples).
6 – And finally the best boats should offer the ability to entertain in absolute comfort and style a minimum of six people.
There are boats of all sizes, which aim to offer the 2-4–6 in varying ways, but it is rare to see each of these parameters done so very well in just one boat.
Timeless (and fast)
At Vicsail, we are the official representatives for Nautor’s Swan in Australia and New Zealand. Since the mid-60s Nautor’s Swan have produced many very nice and stylish yachts. Many of these yachts are destined for Ocean cruising. It is in fact a hallmark of Swan, that their boats will offer fast and moderate designed sailing, where the aim is for a comfortable and very safe sailing yacht, with the ability to perform acceptably in Regatta and Ocean racing.
However, the unifying and consistent design parameter for all the Swan cruising yachts has been the DNA of an Ocean sailing yacht. A boat where the owner may feel confident at any stage in his ownership, to cast off the lines and travel across oceans.
In recent years they have developed the “Swan-line”. For a cruising couple this includes three models: the 48, the 54 and the all-new 58.
Let me share some thoughts on the beautiful Swan 54
In October 2018, I was fortunate and thrilled to be part of the final commissioning and preparation for COCO, a Swan 54. We left for the factory in Pietersari Finland, right into the teeth of a fierce and cold wind. Sailing directly across to the lonely northern Swedish islands and then some lovely cruising down the Swedish coast.
It was a perfect test, and personally gave me a good chance to reflect on just how much I enjoy sailing a well prepared and strong yacht. It certainly helped that COCO was also a very beautiful and striking yacht, with a shiny dark blue hull, black covers, excellent set of North sails and a towering cabin mast.
Could COCO, the Swan 54 be described as a good and capable cruising yacht – Absolutely, she was in fact a beautifully understated vessel. Owners Alex and Jacqui, continued on to complete a half circumnavigation back to their home in New Zealand ( See their fantastic blog). I suggest you take a browse and enjoy their adventures.
But what were some pertinent points about the Swan 54:
- Simplicity of layout – The 54 is beautifully fitted with owners and guest cabin fwd of main bulkhead. Aft there is also a larger sleeping cabin to Port and just behind the galley is a further cabin with bunks which offered everything for pantry to laundry, storage and management area. This then left a generous but not cavernous main saloon, With Hull windows, there was a lovely expansive and comfortable lounging area.
- Perfection in sailing. The carbon mast, the beautifully presented teak decks make COCO a stunner. But it’s the thought which goes into everything. From the standard anchoring gear, the oversized electric winches, the powerful engine and bow thruster. Yes, just about everything chosen was the very best available. After 30 years of boasting, COCO still stands strong as the best “package’ of an ocean cruising boat one could wish for.
And the Swan Line goes on…
The recently launched Swan 48 is a design evolution from the 54. With her generous beam extended further aft, she is reflective of the more modern style cruising yacht. With twin rudders and a dinghy storage garage, she has a fit out and layout reminiscent of the Swan 54. At 48 feet she is slightly more performance orientated. But with the very same attention to detail and superb finishing. We are expecting some great things from this model. We will have the first boat arriving soon to Australasia. Keep a look out, it will be a boat to aspire to.
The all-new model
Above the 54 sits the all new Swan 58. This model also is reflecting the modern design parameters of a moderate wedge style hull. With twin rudders and a carbon mast. At 58′ feet she reflects the larger end of the Ocean cruising choices. But this boat has all the options to make her easily handled and well performed.
Where is the cruising yachts’ design headed? I applaud Nautor’s commitment to the true ocean capable boats as reflected in the Swan Line range. It is very pleasing to see the fluid and experienced lines of German Frers in the creation and reality of these yachts from Nautor’s Swan.
To share more the experience of superb Ocean cruising yachts, call your “experts in yachting” at Vicsail +61 02 9327 5131