Com­pet­i­tive edge

Yachting World - - On Test: Clubswan 50 -

So, why is she so cool? Just look at the de­sign fea­tures. She’s ag­gres­sive and flared, with mus­cu­lar, pow­er­ful lines that pos­sess a raw sex ap­peal. Juan Kouy­oumd­jian seems to have pushed all con­tem­po­rary fea­tures to the ex­treme: the pro­nounced, curved re­verse sheer and stem to­gether with the men­ac­ing bowsprit for­ward that cre­ates a sword­fish look; the for­ward sprayrail and hard chine aft; the prom­i­nent flare to the quar­ters and the an­gu­lar com­pan­ion­way.

The mast is po­si­tioned well aft, deck­stepped and raked back like a mul­ti­hull. This cre­ates a mas­sive J area for fly­ing pow­er­ful A-sails, com­bined with a po­tent square-top main­sail. It’s mono­hull meets mul­ti­hull, race­boat meets lux­ury per­for­mance. If there were a Top Trumps game for mono­hull de­sign this would be the card to hold. This is the first Swan not de­signed by Ger­man Fr­ers in four decades. Nau­tor held a de­sign com­pe­ti­tion with a brief for a con­tem­po­rary, fast, com­pet­i­tive one-de­sign that could sail off­shore and be con­verted to a sports cruiser sailed with lim­ited crew. A small ask, then! More im­por­tantly, it said: ‘In one word, this yacht has to be cool.’

In Juan K it found a de­signer with sim­i­lar Ar­gen­tinian flare to Fr­ers, but with a more in­no­va­tive, cut­ting-edge rac­ing fo­cus. He is known for his very shal­low, wide-stern de­signs and his re­peated VO70 suc­cesses – ABN Amro, Eric­s­son 4, Groupama 4 – and more re­cently the sil­ver bul­let Ram­bler 88.

“I looked a lot at what Fr­ers had done with Swan to try to keep the Swan DNA,” Juan K ex­plains. “For me it was es­sen­tial to keep it as a rac­ing boat that could cruise, not the other way around. Weight was es­sen­tial.”

The 50 is se­ri­ously light at 8.5 tonnes. A good in­di­ca­tion of her slip­pery pro­file was im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent as we planed away from Nau­tor’s ma­rina in Pi­etarsaari – un­der en­gine. The whole struc­ture is built in car­bon epoxy Sprint lam­i­nate. Even her keel fin is car­bon – only top rac­ing yachts such as VO65S have that. The mod­ern in­te­rior is a les­son in dis­guise: all-car­bon dressed in wafer-thin leather and teak ve­neer.

Glance through the specs (off-the-scale for a pro­duc­tion yacht) and you can imag­ine Juan K gig­gling like a mad pro­fes­sor as he came up with the de­sign. The out­ra­geous sail area:dis­place­ment of 36.5 is by far the high­est ra­tio I’ve seen for a se­ries-built yacht. The 50 also has a feather-light dis­place­ment:length ra­tio of just 86 – and over 40 per cent of that dis­place­ment is in the keel’s tor­pedo bulb. She can set nearly 3,000ft2 of asym­met­ric sail.

Above: lit­tle more than a few guid­ing fin­gers are needed on the helm. The dual rud­ders pro­vide a del­i­cate mix of feed­back and grip. In­tox­i­cat­ing!

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