Swan 601 - Sail Magazine

Swan 601

The 601 is the second of a string of new one-designs from the Finnish builderOf the 950 yachts racing at Skandia Cowes Week last summer, only one was referred to by her crew as "a bit of a weapon." This was fitting flattery, for Sir Peter Ogden’s Spirit of Jethou was exactly that, with her black hull, sleek coachroof, and carbon-fiber sails.Even so,
Author:
Publish date:
Swan601

The 601 is the second of a string of new one-designs from the Finnish builder

Of the 950 yachts racing at Skandia Cowes Week last summer, only one was referred to by her crew as "a bit of a weapon." This was fitting flattery, for Sir Peter Ogden’s Spirit of Jethou was exactly that, with her black hull, sleek coachroof, and carbon-fiber sails.

Even so, after spending a day as part of her racing crew, I could find nothing menacing on board. That’s because this German Frers–designed Swan 601 is just too sweet of line, too shapely in a lean sort of way, to be anything other than very elegant. She’s more a rapier than a broadsword, I would say. The yacht is the second model of Nautor’s more overtly race-oriented one-design classes and follows the similarly tautly styled and surfaced Swan 45.

Ogden used to own a Swan 60, which he campaigned hard in England and abroad. His old 60 was a large-volume, high-freeboard, masthead-rigged yacht. In contrast, his new 601 is slippery and low and is powered by a towering fractional rig with blade jibs.

Spirit of Jethou is precisely the sort of yacht you would buy if you could. And Ogden can, thanks to a career that went from Durham and Harvard Universities to Morgan Stanley and finally to Computercenter, the company he founded in 1981 and took public 16 years later.

Ogden loves boats and sailing and has only one professional on board, skipper Stuart Branson. Ogden steers himself and prefers to race with friends, family, and a legend or two, such as 72-year-old Owen Parker, who was sailing master on all five of Edward Heath’s Morning Clouds. “Sailing is sociable, and I like it that way,” says Ogden. “I’ve had people on board who’ve said, ‘Why doesn’t someone else steer better?’ They don’t get asked back,” he says with a raucous laugh.

Nautor has already sold six 601s, including Island Fling to noted Hong Kong accountant Paul Winklemann. “The yacht is a racer-cruiser—big A, big R, and a small C” is how Nautor UK’s Pat Lilley, another old Morning Cloud hand, likes to describe the new 601. It’s easy to see what he means. The deck, for example, is basically one long shallow trench. This makes it easy to race with a large crew because there are none of the usual obstacles to crossing the deck and cockpit during tacks. However, a bridgedeck option is available, and yachts with that configuration have a third head that can serve one of the two-berth aft cabins. The other configuration has a shared head for the after cabins.

The forward master stateroom runs from the mast to the bow. There is a proper double bed with a headboard, though I suspect that most owners of these yachts won’t be spending too much time aboard other than for a brief family cruise after something like Antigua Sailing Week or the Rolex Swan World Cup at Porto Cervo in Sardinia. At this rather rarefied end of the market, most sleeping will occur aboard a mother ship or in a hotel or rented accommodation ashore.

This is not to say the 601 lacks amenities or space, but these accommodations aren’t what attracts owners. It is also why there aren’t the vast banks of batteries, generous tankage, or washing machine often found on cruisier Swans.

Owning a 601 is all about sailing, of course, and it’s hard to believe there are only six multi-function winches and one coffee-grinder on this yacht. Twenty-five years ago, the classic Frers-designed Swan 46 sported 18 winches. While the 601 may look like a beast, in fact she’s actually a very simple and well-laid-out yacht. And when it’s time for cruising, powerpacks can be plugged in to handle the mainsail, genoa, furler, and windlass. That has produced some compromises, of course, such as small jibs and simple mast controls.

But like any performance sailboat, the 601 does require a lot of concentration from her helmsman and trimmers, all of whom must work together to keep the yacht from falling off her numbers. Building speed out of a tack or gybe, for example, requires a carefully coordinated effort.

Construction utilizes full raceboat technology, and composite specialists at SP Technologies have acted as advisors on the project. Extensive use of carbon fiber throughout and the SPRINT resin-infusion system for the deck brought the first hull out of the mold at just 2,200 pounds. That's just 5 percent of the yacht's total sailing weight—and the sort of thing that will attract attention from potential performance-oriented owners. Judging from the reception thus far, it is well on its way to becoming another performance class, like its predecessor, the Swan 45.

Tim Jeffery is SAIL's European correspondent.

Specifications

Designer: German Frers, Via San Paolo 1, I-20121 Milan, Italy; 011-3902-86-46-56-17; www.germanfrers.com

Builder: Oy Nautor AB, Box 10, 68601 Pietarsaari, Finland; 011-358-6760-1111; www.nautorswan.com

LOA

60'

LWL

53'

Beam

14' 11"

Draft

12'

Displacement

39,700 lbs

Ballast

18,700 lbs

Sail area (100% foretriangle)

2,076 sq ft

Auxiliary

Yanmar 100-hp turbo diesel with/Gori 3-blade low-drag prop

Fuel

68 gal

Water

100 gal

Sail area-displ. ratio

28.44

Displ.-length ratio

119.87

Related

ElanGT5-a

Boat Review: Elan GT5

Aboard many modern yachts, it can be hard to remember exactly what boat you’re on until your eye happens to light upon a logo. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Elan GT5, a performance cruiser with a look all its own and style to burn.Design & ...read more

01-Lead-P1060210

Handheld VHF Radios

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call. None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important—and this goes ...read more

Seascape24

Boat Review: Seascape 24

Since its inception in 2008, Slovenian builder Seascape, founded by a pair of Mini Transat sailors, has focused solely on creating boats that are both simple and loads of fun to sail. With their 18-footer and then a 27-footer they succeeded in putting out a pair of trailerable ...read more

01-Trash-Tiki_in-partnership-with-Subtch-Sports_starting

The Adventurers Aboard Trash-Tiki

If you were in Gotland, a popular island vacation destination off the coast of Sweden, on the morning of July 3, your holiday might have been interrupted by a startling sight: a tiny island of trash approaching shore with people aboard. It was, in fact, a sailboat made from ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

hardangerfjord

Cruising: Holland to Norway

In 2015, we cruised to Norway’s Lofoten Islands on our Nordic 40, Juanona, which we’d sailed transatlantic from Maine to England. Our 2016 plan was to cruise through the Netherlands to the Kiel Canal, sail into the Baltic as far as Stockholm, then cruise the western coast of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comThe Watch-keeper’s Nightmare The commercial watchkeeper’s most awkward decisions come with a vessel converging from abaft the starboard beam showing a red light. If he’s more than 2 points, or around 22 ...read more

cosair760R

Boat Review: Corsair 760R

We’d only been out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay aboard the Corsair 760R a few minutes when Corsair Marine marketing manager Shane Grover and I began bemoaning the fact neither of us had a GPS with us to determine our boatspeed. Moments later, though, we both came to the same ...read more