Sailing World - - Boty -

DE­SIGNED FOR One-de­sign class racing THE JUDGES LIKED De­sign Build qual­ity All-around per­for­mance RE­QUIRED CREW Eight to 10 PRICE AS TESTED $1.3 mil­lion

Heel — 18 de­grees of it — is some­thing to get used to with the Club­swan 50. Flat is not fast. This Juan Kouy­oumd­jian cre­ation is the first one-de­sign of Nau­tor’s Swan new di­rec­tion. Where sim­i­larly sized Swans of yore were laden with cruis­ing in­te­ri­ors, this one is not. It’s a fur­ni­ture- free 50- foot onedesign race boat to be sailed hard and put away wet ( with a de­hu­mid­ifi er, of course). For an owner look­ing to get into Tp52-style boat-on-boat racing with­out the new- boat arms race, the Club­swan 50, the judges say, is one way to go, here and now.

“It’s def­i­nitely more of a one-de­sign-class racer than an off shore racer,” says Ste­wart. “With the big cock­pit and the clean Euro styling, it’s a bitchin’ look­ing boat on and off the dock, and the class racing will be a lot of fun when you get to fleets of 15 or 20 boats.”

Con­sid­er­ing two dozen own­ers or­dered boats within the first year of the Club­swan 50’s launch, and a ro­bust re­gatta cir­cuit is al­ready un­der­way in the Mediterranean, Nau­tor’s Swan is de­liv­er­ing to a de­mand in Europe for big- boat class racing — that’s where the one- de­sign ac­tion is at. The chal­lenge for far­away Amer­i­can own­ers, how­ever, is the de­signer’s in­ten­tional dis­re­gard for any and all mea­sure­ment rules. Hand­i­cap racing is not the point of the Club­swan 50, nor its sell­ing point. “The de­vel­op­ment of a one-de­sign class in North Amer­ica will be the ul­ti­mate suc­cess,” says Nau­tor’s Swan’s Tom Li­han, who is tasked with re­cruit­ing U. S. own­ers, “and that’s the goal.”

Roughly $1.3 mil­lion will put the boat on the race­course, with 10 to 12 crew mem­bers to feed and dress. Ac­cord­ing to the judges, it’s a boat that de­mands a pro­fes­sional bow­man and two good sail trim­mers. The one- de­sign sail in­ven­tory is ro­bust — main­sail, four up­wind and four down­wind sails, as well as two storm sails — will re­quire proper man­age­ment on the boat and of the morn­ing sail shuf­fle to and from the con­tainer.

As a wide, high- vol­ume plan­ing hull with twin rud­ders ( scalloped trail­ing edges to make them unique), the Club­Swan 50 is also a yacht that re­quires the owner’s/ driver’s un­di­vided at­ten­tion di­rected to­ward the in­stru­ments. With only six winches and the use of

It’s a bitchin’ look­ing boat on and off the dock, and the class racing will be a lot of fun when you get to fleets of 15 or 20 boats. GREG STE­WART

con­stric­tors to free up winches at times, there’s a lot of danc­ing through ma­neu­vers. There’s a lot to get right and a lot that can go wrong, but that’s the ap­peal of big-boat racing, right? Clean mark round­ings and pre­ci­sion boathandling are what get you to the podium.

A year of de­vel­op­ment with first-gen­er­a­tion hulls re­sulted in a 700-pound diet, which puts the class min­i­mum weight at 18,086 pounds (“or some­where around there,” says Li­han). The big­gest weight sav­ings were ac­com­plished by up­grad­ing to a car­bon keel fin and trim­ming ma­te­ri­als where over­built. Ex­plor­ing Hull No. 3’s deep­est re­cesses, Tom Rich found no flaws with the con­struc­tion, and over­all, the judges gave the build high marks. Back at Nau­tor’s yard in Fin­land, CNC ma­chines cut pre- preg car­bon cloth be­fore vac­uum- bag­ging and pres­sure-cook­ing the hull with all the in­te­rior com­po­nents and struc­tural bulk­heads in place.

The deck- stepped rig sits atop a solid car­bon in­te­rior struc­ture ( Li­han calls it the “phone booth”), which cre­ates a clear cen­ter­line run­way for sails go­ing to and fro. The in­te­rior fin­ish, while min­i­mal­ist and easy to strip for re­gat­tas, says Ste­wart, is ap­pro­pri­ate for the boat’s pur­pose while re­tain­ing just enough touch of Swan lux­ury.

There’s mod­ern min­i­mal­ism with the deck hard­ware as well, says Rich, point­ing out that the boat has fewer winches than he’d ex­pect on a boat this size. Two cabin- top winches are in high de­mand, es­pe­cially dur­ing jibes. The big chal­lenge is jib­ing in 20 knots of wind with­out a pedestal, Li­han ad­mits. Con­se­quently, Club­swan 50 class man­age­ment is ex­plor­ing an elec­tric op­tion for the cabin tops, or a pedestal. “There is an op­tion for a pedestal, but no­body has or­dered one yet,” he says. “You can’t do reachto-reach blow-through jibes, so you just do proper out­side jibes, come out low to get that last bit of sheet, and then point it up again. It’s one-de­sign, so as long as ev­ery­one is do­ing the same thing, does it re­ally mat­ter?”

In strong winds, the Club­Swan 50 will be a pow­ered-up ma­chine, says Allen, one that will be fun and for­giv­ing to drive but de­mand solid crew work. With class rules in place, own­ers al­ready tak­ing charge, and sanc­tioned re­gat­tas sched­uled in the U.S. in 2019, there’s now a turnkey plat­form into big-boat, big-boy, one-de­sign racing.

As the most ag­gres­sivelook­ing one-de­sign yet from Nau­tor’s Swan, the strict one-de­sign Club­swan 50 piles grand-prix con­cepts into a straight­for­ward boat that will chal­lenge am­a­teur crews but re­ward them with speed, es­pe­cially when the breeze turns on.

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