EARLY DAYS I sailed up to the age of 20, including extensive cruising on-board my family’s boat. My first Swan was a 441 (Ron Holland design) followed by Swan 45 Earlybird, and most recently a ClubSwan 50. After many successes in the Swan 45, I became interested in fast, planing boats. I purchased a Soto 40 and sailed in South America and the Med but then the class collapsed in Europe so I sold the boat and was looking for something new, ideally a combination of the Soto 40 and Swan 45. At the end of the day I find the concept of the ClubSwan 50 to be magic.
In the very first presentations two years ago at the Copa del Rey, I wasn’t sure if it would be sufficiently racing oriented…
I also had to get used to the reverse bow and I asked for a lighter displacement, deeper keel, carbon fin and a few other things that have since been changed. For example, my opinion always was that she needed to be more a racer than a cruiser: I want the chance to beat the TP52s. I said that if you build an 8 tonne boat I’ll buy it: we are now between 8.1 – 8.2 tonnes with the heavy bulb!
FIRST SAILING IMPRESSIONS
Here (at the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean) we have had perfect sailing. Ideal wind conditions and it is warm.
She is a new boat for me but I find her exceptionally agile. She is extremely dynamic, in fact behaves like a big Soto 40. She accelerates downwind and is very easy to steer and control. The twin rudders provide big advantage downwind and make it easy to keep on the edge. Also upwind we have been averaging 8.5 to 9 knots. We hit 20+ knots downwind and average 18 knots. She’s very safe, very easy.
Gybing up to 15 knots is easy, over that is exciting, if you do it with not enough power the boat slows to 12 knots. I’m considering the pedestal grinder for this reason.
The ClubSwan 50 is very different than the Swan 45. The primary difference is that the boat is much faster but also more sensitive and unforgiving to steering mistakes. It accelerates fast, while the Swan 45 takes more time, but if you are out of the angle with the ClubSwan 50 she can slow down easily.
Tacking also needs more attention, you need to tack faster and be careful. It has its challenges and upwind helming is more demanding.
All in all, she feels safer and faster. She has fulfilled my hopes.