Work in Progress: In construction - Clubswan 125
Only a handful of the world’s shipyards can afford to announce – they rightfully expect to be believed – here’s something which will set a mile stone in the yachting world. And there’s no doubt whatsoever that Nautor’s Swan is among this élite. This renowned Finnish company, which has been led by Leonardo Ferragamo since 1988, has recently announced to have begun to build what’s to become the fastest sailing mono hull supermaxi ever at the shipyard in Pietarsaari: the Clubswan 125. Enrico Chieffi Vice President at Nautor’s Swan said, “We’ve brought together some of the world’s best consultants to form a technical team to handle every aspect concerning this new revolutionary yacht”. And in fact the team is currently made up of impressive specialists beginning with project designer Juan Kouyoumdjian, who is known also for the quantity of medals he has collected for a variety of diverse accomplishments in top events on the same level as America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Olympics, Offshore Speed Records, and World Championships. He explains, “The preconditions set at the basis of this project can be summed up in the need to combine performance, state of the art technology and luxury. This means performance in terms of the feelings and sensations that are unique to sailing, combined with extreme comfort in very special interiors. The owner’s complete trust and his desire to create a high-performance superyacht are the perfect ingredients. We couldn’t have hoped for a better environment in which to work than this”. The working relationship between the owner team and the yard, especially in the initial phase of a unique and personalised project such as this one has to be perfect. MCM (Marine Construction Management) company’s founding member Peter Wilson, also owner’s representative confirms this: “I am pleased to report there’s been first-rate collaboration between Nautor’s Swan, the engineering design/team and the owner’s team. The construction process has been going well and we look forward to the good progress continuing over the coming months, in
order to conduct sailing trials in the Spring of next year”.
This exceptional Clubswan125 team which is grinding away at the yard includes two main experts: Killian Bushe, involved in the construction of the hull and structural components and Bob Wylie, for the deck and sail handling, including specific performance-driven systems. Wylie is a world class sailing professional who has competed in grand prix yachting at the highest levels for 34 years, is one of the kingpins of the project. He’s got a formidable reputation for directing complex projects on cutting-edge boats and optimizing their performance within class rules. Wylie said:”on the Clubswan125 we’re pushing the limits of the sailing systems with some innovative ideas on how to sail the boat with a small crew. I’m thinking about the innovative daggerboard system which will not be seen on deck and Harken’s new ideas for the hardware and we’ve been working with Cariboni to discover how best to handle the size of the sails and loads on the yacht along with Southern Spars and North Sails to ensure we have the correct placement of hardware, to suit the sail inventory and loads. It’s been an enthusing experience”.
Let’s take Wylie’s inspiring comments to look deeper into the role of some of the companies called in to collaborate. The Italian Eligio Re Fraschini company which has been carrying out research work on diverse materials for seventy years has supplied precious technical innovation to America’s Cup racers, to Volvo Ocean Race boats as well as to Formula 1 and to the automotive industry. The company has been selected to build the keel, bulb, daggerboard and rudders. The daggerboard system is clearly innovative and futuristic even and the curved shape of the hydro-foils involved are technically very advanced. Their shape is curved to obtain the best lateral thrust in given conditions as well as delivering more efficient lift at higher speeds. The objective is to reduce drag while containing the loss of the righting moment. Still, to enhance correct transversal balance, the daggerboard’s canting function becomes fundamental in balancing the boat accordingly while sacrificing very little in terms of weight. Harken has been selected to supply most of the deck gear. For example carbon-top primary 1235 winches have an extended load capacity of 11 tons. They derive from the 1135 grand prix winches with a load capacity of 9 tons. Harken’s 990 series cockpit winches which have been proven over thousands of miles in many ocean races and are currently serving in the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet. Not mention the firm’s special titanium sheaves for maximum efficiency. North Sails sports a close and longstanding working relationship with Nautor’s Swan and with designer Juan Kouyoumdjian on various projects, prior to this one. Jens Christensen North Sails Executive Committee Member said: “We immediately appreciated Nautor’s Swan vision for a boat that is fast but is also easy to handle. Having participated in the early stages of the project made it possible for us to be accurate not only in sails geometry details but to anticipate essential aspects of performance that would affect the sails, such as deck layout and overall balance with hydrofoils matching the sails above the deck. North Sails and its sister company Southern Spars have worked together to present a cohesive harmonious package capable of exceeding the high expectations of the owner”. Steve Wilson, designer at Southern Spars added: “Our team has pushed the design to its limit to achieve a mast that’s as light as possible, while maintaining the degree of safety and reliability
which are a must in a superyacht of this size. Deploying all of North Technology Group’s - our mother company - exclusive rig and sail design tools, we’ve been able to optimize the rig in terms of weight, VCG and sail shape control, which delivered with fine tuning capabilities puts a considerable degree of control in the hands of the crew”. Talking of which, Future Fibres the world’s leading composite rig-
ger is not be forgotten inasmuch as they too contributed in creating this unique project. Previously Future Fibres worked with Southern Spars on Clubswan 50 also designed by Kouyoumdjian. Future Fibres will be supplying a special torsional forestay in carbon which delivers out of the ordinary extra strength and reliability. Let’s not forget Gurit from Switzerland. This company has been supplying competition yachts for about thirty years, with composites that have also been extensively tested in the aerospace sector. Considering what’s been said so far, we may risk forgetting that a superyacht like Clubswan 125 must also be able to cruise fast and safely also with mechanical propulsion. Well designer creativity and inventive has scored once again: A diesel engine has been foreseen forward of the mast to further dampen noise but also to distribute weights more efficiently while a specially designed hydraulic drive unit will lower the propeller into the water only when required which means there will be no resistance to forward motion while using the sails alone as the propeller won’t be in the water. Finally we come to the architecture of the interiors which are both spectacular and luxurious, as one would expect from a superyacht of the kind. In this case too Nautor’s Swan took on this other challenge and created a new technologic generation; where ample deployment of special ultra-light, weight saving composite materials, will be used as well and at times also with fine wood veneers which add elegance and create a pleasing contrast that in a certain sense will befit the yacht’s dual personality. And not only. Still thinking about weight and its distribution, many of the elements making up the furniture and the decor will possess a structural function as is the case for the refined sofas in the saloon/living room area which will surely be very comfortable but will also double as useful structural stiffeners. As for the layout, the interior designer team has faithfully interpreted the owner’s requests in separating the crew and technical area from the large saloon and from the owner’s suite which runs full beam across and when necessary it can be transformed into two cabins with separate bathrooms by inserting a bulkhead lengthwise. “We’ve managed to draw up the interiors which fully comply to the requirements of a superyacht and to those of a record breaking racer. And being part of a team which can realise a project such as this one, is an experience which will be always remembered” said Heini Gustafsson, interior & styling senior designer. Can’t tell him he’s wrong, correct?