The yard had received as many as 16 orders for the Swan 48, the smallest boat in its classic line, even before it hit the water. It was formally presented at the autumn boat shows
by Niccolò Volpati photo by Karolina Isaksson /Bildbolaget Du&Vi
IT DOESN’T HAVE “SWAN” WRITTEN ON IT ANYWHERE, not even in small writing on the stern or sides. It doesn’t need to. German Frers has the knack of making these boats quite distinctive. The range and the models are being updated, but their style and overall look are still recognisable. The 48 is the smallest, and also the latest. If you think that owners always want bigger boats, you are wrong. They want beautiful boats that are well made, but not ones that are necessarily especially large.
Luxury can find a place for itself even on a 48-footer. That is what the market wants. And the figures don’t lie. In one year, the Finnish yard has doubled its order book, increasing output from eleven to twenty boats. Sixteen versions of the 48 were sold even before it had been presented. The 48 is part of the classic Swan line. It is the smallest in the range, which has boats of up to78 feet, while the MaxiSwan range goes up to 120 feet, and the ClubSwan racing boats up to 125.
The 48 is designed for cruising, and has been made with an obsessive attention so as to ensure comfort and safety when under way, as well as good performance. In fact, with just a few, simple changes you can compete in races. It is not a racing model, but the performance level is nevertheless guaranteed. The 15-tonne displacement, and the sail area works on the fact that the semi-square top mainsail covers 77 square metres, and there is the option to rig up as many as four headsails, each with its own furler. There is a genoa, and a Code 0, but there is also a staysail and a gennaker.
The yard recommends using a self-tacking staysail, which means that if you are sailing in a very strong wind, you can also have a headsail that is easy to handle. The windlass is entirely housed in the anchor chain well. It was designed to even take one hundred metres of chain without knots developing that would hinder mooring operations. Right in the bows there is a watertight bulkhead that isolates the area from the rest of the interior. And it is actually there that the retractable bow thruster is housed. Tunnel bow thrusters have all too often caused problems, sometimes even resulting in boats sinking. Whereas a retractable bow thruster, especially if it is kept in a sealed compartment, is an absolute assurance of safety.
In the stern there is the garage for the tender, which can be reached from the moveable platform and this area also has a compartment for a self-inflating life raft. The deck has very clean lines, and all the sheets and halyards are located under the deckhouse, and that is also where the spray hood is kept when retracted, so as to keep the gangways clear. The sheets and halyards come out next to the cockpit area, so as to be easily reached and accessible both by whoever is at the helm, and by anybody who is helping manoeuvre the boat.
There are two wheels, and the connections can be easily inspected from the stern area of the tender garage. It is also a system that is designed to reduce problems and difficulties as much as possible, so that you can comfortably move to using just one wheel, if one should cease to function. Everything is easy and to hand. There are four winches, all of them electric and all of the same size, so when you are cruising you can choose which are the easiest ones to use. You don’t need a skipper or a sailor to sail the Swan 48’.
During my test in Finland, I tried it out on a sea that was practically flat, and the wind wasn’t excessive because it always stayed under ten knots, but that was enough to try out the performance levels provided by the new 48. We were the first on board, and the boat had only been launched the previous day, so the instruments weren’t yet rigged up. The feeling I got was that it was a boat that was easy to handle, but at the same time a nice one.
It isn’t super light, with fifteen tonnes displacement, and yet it really performs superbly. It sails upwind at just under wind speed and really gives the feeling of getting going extremely easily. It doesn’t even lose speed when tacking, and accelerates quickly. It is perfect for cruising, but also for the classic Mediterranean races. In a few words, the48’ is another Swan, with all the features that Swan owners expect.
Below decks you immediately feel the build quality and finish. The cabin doors, for example, are made from a material that means that they can be strong without the weight that solid wood would have meant. There is no plastic and not even adhesive film. Nowhere. It is all varnished wood.
There are moulds for every kind of corner and fitting. As you open up doors and lockers, you realise that the structure isn’t just made from a panel of plywood, but by using perforated canvas mounted on a frame. That way, it is straightforward to check the gap between furniture and the hull if required. You just have to consider how easy it is to take action without having to dismantle all the furniture if there should be some small cracks or leaks.
The layout of this first version of the boat has the owner’s cabin in the bow, with a bathroom complete with separate shower cubicle, as well as two other cabins and a bathroom in the stern. The two stern cabins are not symmetrical. The VIP cabin has twin beds, while the other has got just one bunk. The dinette and kitchen are notable for their size. To starboard there is a linear sofa with an adjustable height map table, while to port there is a U-shaped sofa around the dining table.
I liked the windows, and the fact that they are large without being enormous. That ensures natural light, and also a view outside. But they haven’t forgotten about safety below decks. Proof of that comes from the grab bar that leads from the stern right up to the owner’s cabin. There is a handhold to hang on to in every part of the dinette when the boat is heeling and sailing upwind.
PROJECT: German Frers
HULL: LOA 14.78m • LWL 13.88m • Maximum – beam 4.59m • Draft 2.4m • Light mass displacement 15,000 kg • Ballast 5,200 kg • Fuel tank volume 360 l • Water tank volume 500 l • Main sail 77.1m2- Genoa 62.5m2•Gennaker 216.7m2
MAIN PORPULSION: Volvo Penta D2 • Outlet mechanical power 55 kW (75 cv) • 4 stroke – 4 cylinders • Bore&Stroke 8mm x10mm – Compression ratio 23.3:1 • Swept volume 2.2 l – Maximum rotational speed 2700-3000/min – Dry weight 264 kg
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT A
PRICE: 730,000€, Excl.VAT (as standard)
Nautor Holding Italian Headquarters
Borgo SS. Apostoli 29
+39 055 240382
(Swan 48, little big Swan – Barchemagazine.com – Ottobre 2019)