Yacht Class n°33 (june-july-august 2023)
Nautor Swan / Persico Marine
With the ClubSwan 80, the Finnish shipyard Nautor launches a One Design with a very pronounced “racing” profile, with an all-carbon construction and removable fittings. Amazing and impressive.
Written by: Christophe Varène – Photos : DR
No need to introduce the Finnish shipyard Nautor Swan. Its collaborations with the greatest architects, Olin Stephens, Ron Holland, German Frers… and the quality of its constructions have built an almost unequalled reputation in the yachting industry. With the ClubSwan 80 – that expands the One Design range (ClubSwan 36, 50 and 125) – a minor step sideways is taken : the design has been entrusted to another talented architect, and compatriot of German Frers, the Argentine Juan Kouyoumdjian, and the construction is carried out at the Persico Marine shipyard, in Italy using aeronautical technology for the carbon lamination. As a matter of fact, this boat is a real racing machine, designed for one-design racing, with a deck layout that an IMOCA would not disavow, a pivoting upwind daggerboard in front of the mast foot and a 447 m2 upwind sail area. Downwind, after extending the 4m sliding bowsprit, one reaches 1,000m2. The inverted bow and the convex deck should also contribute to the good flow of air in the bottom of the headsails. To this, we must also add a canting keel – the 42-degree tilt on each side takes 5 seconds ! – with a ballast of 6 t for a displacement of 19.2 t. A technical marvel. And speeds of 27-28 knots are announced.
A deck plan designed for racing
To reinforce this competitive spirit, the ClubSwan 80, in race configuration, is stripped of most of its fittings – because yes, she is also a cruising yacht. But before taking a look inside, let’s take a look at the cockpit. With a crew of around twenty people in a race, not all of whom are concentrated aft, this space must be large and uncluttered to facilitate manoeuvres and adjustments. There are two steering columns, with discreet dashboards containing most of the navigation information and the keel and daggerboard control, and six electric winches on the sides for the runners, bowsprit and headsail sheets, the majority of which run below deck, and a central winch for the mainsheet, the track of which is recessed into the deck. One can also point out some details, such as the particularly non-slip covering – teak is not used here for weight reasons – the sliding hatch on the foredeck to “swallow” the spinnaker when manoeuvring and, still in this area, the foot bar on the outside.
Even the bowls are carbon
The interiors of the ClubSwan 80, in its racing version, resemble a dark cave, due to the omnipresence of carbon, with simple orange lines corresponding to the wood used for the floor joints and some structural frames, and austere, totally devoid of any element of comfort. You have to imagine the pile of sail bags, ropes and other regatta equipment. It takes about two days to put this boat back into cruising mode, i.e. by reinstalling tables and benches in the saloon, double bed, wardrobes and even the owner’s cabin bathroom. Only the two cabins aft of the companionway retain, in all configurations, their superimposed bunks and their bathroom facilities. Once reinstalled, the fittings, designed by Nauta Design, provide an elegant touch, in a modern and refined style, and an acceptable level of comfort. In the saloon, there is a bench seat with backrest along each side, two tables and two benches. Before accessing the owner’s cabin, a galley is added, with a cooker on starboard and a sink on port. The owner thus has a nice space in the forward third with a central island bed, bathroom with toilet and, on the other side, a shower cabin. Canvas wardrobes hung on rods are also available. Although rather spartan, the whole is done with taste and care.