Sailing the New Swan 78 with the legendary Germán Frers
Earlier this summer we were invited to Nautor Swan to sail the new Swan 78 alongside the designer Germán Frers. Being able to sail with the naval architect was fantastic. So was having the very knowledgeable team team from Nautor onboard with Production Line Leader Vanni Galgani in charge.
Hearing first hand what thoughts went into the different aspect of this advanced yacht design was very interesting indeed.
On a sunny day in Pietarsaari, we stepped onboard The Swan 78-001 Haromi. The first of four already sold, she had just been launched and laid there eager to stretch her legs. Painted in light grey with golden teak decks she was a beauty!
She is a powerful boat. Throughout the day she would move gracefully through the water in great speed and superior comfort.
The Swan 78 is designed from the get go as a blue water yacht. Her length has been deliberately contained in order to meet the EC 24.00 meters length overall limitation, and her hull form is beamy and very powerful. Modern hull lines, with a flared stern above the waterline, twin rudders and a telescopic keel make Haromi a performance yacht capable of fast long-distance cruising, or an ideal home-from-home.
For Germán Frers and Nautor, a blue water yacht doesn't mean a slow yacht. On the contrary, owners sometimes wants to race in between cruising. Or the other way around.
Haromi was fitted out with a performance package to upgrade her racing ability. This included a longer bowsprit, carbon rigging, halyard locks, a square-top mainsail with running backstays, a mainsheet traveller and additional powered winches on the coachroof.
Hull and bulkheads were in prepreg glass/carbon, deck and structures in full carbon, epoxy sandwich with Corecell foam core, vacuum and oven cured. In other words, state of the art boatbuilding from Finland.
She was fantastic to helm. Steering was a little unfamiliar as we believe the yacht was fitted with a hydraulic autopilots which affects feel a little bit. When we left the helm to Germàn Frers the speed picked up almost two knots (!). We need more practice in helming bigger yachts it seems:)
Long ocean races have brought significant changes to the principles of yacht design, with enormous advantages in terms of stability, safety and performance. Today’s bluewater yachts are stable and fast. They are gliding on the waves and are quickly gaining speed with a significant increase in daily mileage. At the same time this lowers the strain on the gear and rigging.
This translates to greater durability. Not only because of design, but also the incredible build quality found onboard. They are particularly stable in terms of less rolling thanks to the new hull design and in directional stability, which is also enhanced by the twin rudders.
The hull sections feature a tapered entrance and a powerful aft section, and are designed to maintain their symmetry at different heeling angles, with the optimal balance between performance and sea kindliness.
The wide beam, that is nearly constant aftwards, contributes to the yacht’s stability and provides the added bonus of extremely large and comfortable accommodation below.
The design is a mix of curved lines and multifaceted surfaces, with 360 degree windows and a generous roof that doubles up as a sunbathing area. The recessed sprayhood and the large bimini keep guests and crew well protected in the cockpit/lounge area.
The contemporary deck design features clean spaces and simple but effective solutions for sail handling and life at sea. The impression is one of neatness. Forward visibility is great.
The layout has been optimised for shorthanded sailing with five standard powered winches close to the twin helm stations, and all lines lead aft from the mast. Of course everything is push button and the yacht can be sailed with two fingers. Or indeed only one if you engage the autopilot.
The cockpit has been designed with maxi-style C-shaped settees, two separate tables and a wide sprayhood with recessed stowage. A large opening transom with a huge swim platform creates a perfect teak-decked ‘beach’ over four meters wide.
Forward of the mast the deck is completely uncluttered, an expanse of pure teak that ends at the bowsprit with a large anchor locker.
The interior is typical Nordic Design. Bright, classy and accommodating. S/Y Haromi was built with the owners cabin in the bow section. The double bed design was very clever and we can attest to the comfort. The discreet use of stitched leather on the bedpost and handrails adds to the exclusivity. And properly sourced and treated leather is very durable as well as creating a snug feeling. The saloon is spacious with much available light flowing from topside windows and hatches. The galley is of oceangoing type where it is easy to brace yourself to stand safely. Plenty of handrails and places to hold on to at sea.
Yachts should be reviewed blindfolded. Only then you can get a sense of how logical and safe the design is. When your eyes are closed your other senses are amplified and feedback to the brain is enhanced. We would take a Swan blindfolded any day!
While sailing with Germàn Frers, Nautor used the opportunity to make a little film where the legendary designer is talking about the new Swan 78.
The team from Nautor underlines that the most impressive thing about the yachts is hidden under the surface. Having seen first hand how thoughtfully and clever electronics, hydraulics and systems are organised is very interesting and helps explain the five million euro price tag. From the proper watertight bulkhead, the noise dampening appendages hidden under the panels in the ceiling to the carbon details. Everything onboard is strong and seaworthy. The older S&S Swans were known to have been built as brick houses. The new ones are built even better and smarter. Strength is added in high load areas and the precise amount of materials have been carefully calculated.
Nautor Swan has really stepped up the game lately with almost the whole range being newer designs. The upcoming Club Swan 125 is marvel in design and build as we witnessed first hand during the visit to the production halls. So is the new baby ClubSwan 36. The 65 and 98 coming soon are also designed around the same concepts as the 78.
Nautor's strategy has changed with the times, as what used to be known as the worlds most secretive yard, has now opened its doors to a wider audience. Customer or not, we think it is one of the smartest things to do. Evidently, Nautor Swan will remain relevant for years to come.
Order yours here!