Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why I can't have a Swan 43' sloop.

Its very simple. I want one so badly but I just can't bring myself to change my whole life in order to have one. I have been lusting after a Finnish built Swan 43' sloop designed by Sparkman and Stevens from the day I first saw one. To me this design has been the epitome of Classic beauty in a fiberglass mid size offshore sailboat.
I look at this boat with lust just like looking at Gabriel Reese the super tall Volly ball player and model. Never mind that she is happily married to that big guy that surfs a lot.
Just look at the lines of this beauty from any angle. Perfect. Just the thought of steering her to windward as this is what this beauty was first designed to do well makes my eyes water. Pure bliss gazing foreward over her clean deck with everything all in its place with perfect proportions. I'am talking of the Swan now not Gabriel.
Yes I have wanted to own one of these for ever.
So what has stopped me to acquire one of these beauty's? It's not as hard as if I'am trying to lure Reese away from Laird Halmiton being 5'3" tall, married to a shorter Reese and not that much into surfing now.
I'll tell you now the sad but true facts....
I'am not the man for either today, simple as that.
My story,
This past month I noticed that the Swan 43' sloop anchored in Falmouth harbor in Antigua was for sale. I looked her up online. The asking price was $99,000.00
She looked to be in good shape on the surface but I know that This boat has not been sailed much in years. Idle boats need lots of work.
I went to sleep dreaming of this boat. Thinking I can have her. 
But then being the list guy I am I started on comparing her to the Hogfish Maximus and going over all the changes I would have to make to be able to sail this beauty.
Here's some of what I love about the Swan 43'.

The sheer and flush deck. So pretty.
The simple cockpit. Enough room for a few people underway and at anchor.
The timeless beauty and looks. Nice to look at when in your dinghy.
The powerful sailplan.
The open interior plan set up for offshore sailing and racing.
The galley, simple.
The nav station old fashioned with no electronics below decks.
The deep cut away keel and separate rudder. Pure S&S design work.
The fact this is hull # 50 built by Nautors in Findland.
The fact that sister ships are always winning races here still. A fast boat.
Oh and did I mention she is so pretty.

Then I started on the things that I have taken for granted having designed and built the Hogfish Maximus to suit my personal needs for an offshore sailboat. A boat that I can sail alone every where at any time.

I would have to get used to not having the following,

A great all weather anchoring retrieval and setting system.
Shallow draft. 4'6" more draft. Ugh
A simple sailplan that can be reefed in seconds.
A place for our 12'3" hard dinghy on deck.
Three separate full double bunk cabins with privacy.
Huge amounts of storage space.
Every part of the hull accessible in minutes.
Solid total watertight construction.  
Being able to use miss matched hardware. You can't do that on a Swan.
An enclosed all weather dog house and steering station.
Easy wind vane access and installation.
Easy steering gear access.
Easy rudder removal.
Mast tabernacle.
Large galley.
Shower in the head.
Low initial cost to me In 1999.

This is what  I would have a hard time dealing with in trying to be a Swan Man.

The anchor system on the bow is mainly for one anchor with a power windlass that is small. These boats were designed to be raced and not really cruised in much.

The bow J area is huge. Great for big powerful head sails that can be changed back and forth by young crews that don't worry about being swept overboard at night when heeling over. A roller furling headsail would be a sacralidge to looks and performance. Too many sails to change at my age.

The mainsail as designed is bigger than on this boat today. Having sailed on lots of S&S boats over time some have lots of weather helm with the original mainsails. My guess is that's why this boats Boom is shorter.

The cockpit is open to the weather so would have to fit a very well done low canvas dodger to try to have a place out of the weather. Looks will suffer. Ugh

The deck is flush but with a large dinghy on deck the bow area would be a bit tight. Would have to go down in size in hard dinghy.

The draft I could live with. But it would change our sailing dramatically. No more fun sailing across shoals. Bummer. And it won't fit into our slip back home as 6' is all we have there now without dredging.

Below she is classic and very pretty but set up for racing. Virtually no privacy. The worst part is she has a soft head liner made up of many panels. Horrors to me. All the deck hardware nuts and washers below have been very nicely glassed over. But how to change out without a project. Ugh

The steering and rudder are on a cable and steering wheel system. Alright but not easy to get at at sea back in that pinched beautiful stern.

There's is no way I could put a windvane on that transom. It would be like asking a beautiful woman to tattoo over all her cleavage. Just can't do it. So now I will need a good auto pilot or crew. Ugh

The galley and nav station are fine. The head is fine. The vee bunk is alright but will be a jump up for me to get into. The engine access is perfect.

The cost? A hundred Grand asking price is fair in today's market. I would do my best to lower it. I have several people that would buy the Hogfish so I could swing that price and the extra costs it would take to get her up to speed. But I would spend all my profit from the sale of Hogfish on her and then some. The Hogfish is in near perfect offshore going condition, shape with lots of new upgrades. Truth is the Swan is not in this condition.

It was a nightmare of a dream. Could I trade in my known girl for another unknown one that on the surface sure looked good. Boy would I love to get to know all her parts, her moods, what made her go. 
In the end I woke up and looked over at my "Reese" lying next to me in our very comfortable vee bunk.
I felt relived to know that " Hoggy " was still ours to sail the seas on. She may not be the sexist looking sloop out there but she works for me in so many ways.

Pretty small here. But you can look her up online.

At the dock in Antigua.

I would paint the hull a soft grey with an off white deck. The teak toe rails have been epoxied over and painted white. that's why the sheer does not stick out well enough. See the short boom. I would add back the 3' that's been removed.

Hey girl... Nice stern you have there.

This Swan was a yawl once. That's why the wheel is forward and the boom is short.

That's it. I'am over my infatuation. Some times you have to look around to see clearly.
My wife Rachel's cool, she's used to seeing me checking out all the beauties in the Caribbean.

Oh and please don't say anything to Laird. He's a big guy.


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