The Club Swan 50 is a brand new full-on racing yacht from Nautor's Swan, which is also designed to convert to a comfortable sports cruiser that is tame enough to be handled by a couple.
Each of the three existing one design racers from Nautor’s Swan, the Club Swan 42, Swan 45 (one of the 6 best Swan yachts of all time) and Gazprom Swan 60, have been hugely successful, attracting some of the very biggest names in yacht racing, both among owners and professional crew. The Club Swan 50 follows directly in this mould and is intended as an innovative and quick boat that will be easy for an owner to sail on the limit.
The styling is immediately eye catching, thanks to an impressively crisp, yet efficient, deck layout with as many lines as possible concealed out of sight. The low freeboard hull carries maximum beam almost right aft and features a reverse bow, reverse sheer, concave aft sections and soft chines allied to lots of topsides flare in the aft sections.
The boat has a semi-modular interior accommodation that enables easy conversion to a secondary role as a sports cruiser. For this boat Nautor turned to a different naval architect to the company’s normal office, entrusting the legendary Juan Kouyoumdjian to draw a vessel with the ability to win in handicap racing, while also providing one-design racing at Swan events around the world.
On deck and performance
Although the 8,500kg displacement is more than a tonne heavier than the latest generation of TP52s, planing performance can still be expected downwind. The structure is of Gurit’s carbon and epoxy Sprint laminate, while both spars and the fixed bowsprit are carbon.
A combination of deep draught, a heavy bulb keel and twin rudders will help to tame the power from the big rig. The sail plan has a fat head mainsail and running backstays – a configuration that’s optimized for the racecourse. However, when cruising shorthanded, in light airs the sweptback spreaders allow the runners to be positioned at the mast, while in heavier airs once two reefs are tucked in the mainsail will pass happily inside the runners in tacks and gybes.
The big cockpit provides a decent amount of room for a full crew to work the boat around a tight inshore race course – it’s significantly better in this respect than that of mainstream performance cruisers of a similar size.
Although it’s designed primarily as a weekend sailer, the interior offers a level of comfort and refinement that makes cruising a feasible proposition for a couple or small crew who are happy to trade interior volume for a boat with stunning sailing qualities. There’s spacious double owners cabin, with a peninsular double berth in the forepeak, which can be removed to make space for sail stowage when racing. There’s also a smaller double quarter cabin for guests.
The saloon features two generous L-shape settees, the back rests of which hinge up to make additional sea berths for use when racing offshore. There’s also a small, but ergonomic galley, aft on the starboard side of the boat, plus a well appointed heads compartment and shower stall forward of the saloon. As befits a race boat, the ends of the vessel are kept open to minimise weight both forward and aft – when in cruising mode this gives the benefit of extensive stowage space, including a large lazarette aft and a sail locker right forward.
Equipment and options
The Club Swan 50 a number of labour saving features on deck that would not normally be found on a high-end race boat of this size. For instance, in place of a coffee grinder for handling headsail and spinnaker sheets are conventional electric winches, the headsail has an under-deck furling system and there’s a weight saving synthetic teak deck as standard. In cruising mode optional cockpit cushions with rigid back supports convert this area into a comfortable lounging space. Additional options include a bow roller and windlass, while there’s also an optional shoal draught keel, with a draught of just 2.2m in place of the standard 3.35m draught.
What it does best
This is an interesting new design that is likely to appeal predominately to those who want to race at a very high level in high profile events held at the world’s top sailing destinations. History suggests that these owners mostly don’t use their race boats for cruising, but the attention paid to creating a boat that can convert to a sports cruiser also has clear appeal.
In the past Nautor has been accused of succumbing to the temptation to put too much fine interior joinery in its out-an-out racing yachts, resulting in an unnecessarily heavy boat, or a reduced weight of lead in the keel’s bulb. However, the company doesn’t appear to have fallen to the same temptation with this model – while there’s adequate comfort when needed, and plenty of style, there’s no unnecessary weight.
Other models in the range
Nautor’s ClubSwan range includes the older Swan 45 and 42 models, as well as the Gazprom Swan 60. The company’s main SwanLine performance cruiser racers range encompasses seven models from 54ft to 115ft. See also: Swan 65: the sought-after sailor’s yacht and 6 of the best Nautor’s Swan yachts of all-time
When buying a Swan you’re not only getting a top-quality yacht, you’re also buying into an ecosystem of world-class regattas around the globe that arguably no other manufacturer can match. Having said that, X-Yachts also runs a successful regatta programme and its Xp50 model is clearly an option. While aimed at the racing market, it has a comfortable and fully-fitted interior, though is significantly heavier than the ClubSwan 50.
Given that owners of Nautor’s new boat will clearly race predominately with professional crew, an option for those who seek genuinely high-octane racing and don’t need the boat’s sports cruising potential would be a TP52. Alternatively, at a significantly lower price point there’s the McConaghy Ker 46, a well proven and hugely successful design, but without the cachet of the Swan’s regatta programme.
Specifications: Club Swan 50 review
Hull length: 15.24m
LOA: 16.74m (inc fixed bowsprit)
Fore triangle area: 56sq m
Mainsail area: 131sq m
Asymmetric spinnaker area: 191sq m
Fue:l 300 litres
Fresh Water: 500 litres
Black water: 80 litres