Swan 41's ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-08-2007 Thread Starter
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Swan 41's ?

What do Sailnet's folks think about a Swan 41. The one I looked at was about $140k, born in '74, had teak decks that had been replaced. The sails and electronics were dated but it's likely I would replace then over the next couple of years anyway. It's 7' draft is a problem in the Chessie but not in New England. She's heavy, has lots of expensive and old, gear and rig. Also the amount of woodwork is a bit intimidating in terms of cost to repair.

I would keep her in winter here in Maryland and sail the bay in late fall and early spring. July 1 I would take her offshore to Buzzards Bay. Bring her home perhaps Columbus Day week. I don't want to liveaboard full time just a week or so. Don't want to cross oceans either. I won't solo her but I often sail shorthanded. The routine maintenance work, varnishing & winterizing & lubrication, I will do myself. Structural stuff I will leave to the pros.

She's very beautiful but scary all at the same time. What do you all think?
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-08-2007
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I guess the only negatives I would have are the very deep draft for the Chesapeake and the small fuel supply. Obviously a 30+ year old boat is going to have some issues depending on the care it has received and how the owners have kept up with things. Even though the initial build quality on swan is superb...time and/or neglect can ruin even the nicest boats so you'll need to get a good surveyor and marine mechanic and rigger to go over her before you spend your money. They should be able to give you an evaluation of both what is wrong and what it will take to put her right. then you can decide if the effort is worth it.
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post #3 of 16 Old 10-08-2007
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The old S & S Swans where lovely boats no doubt. Quite fast for their day, beautiful below decks , nice layout, workable galley, good sea berths blah de blah de blah. Typical IOR boats. Fast uphill, scoot along under spinnaker but with only main and genoa up not so hot off the wind. Cruising chute would fix that if you don't want to use a spiinaker.

Negatives (to my mind) were serious in terms of live aboard cruising. Moderate, at best, tankage (our 34' VDS holds nearly as much fuel as the S41 holds water.)
7' draft.
Design of the main companionway is a worry. Not because it is unseaworthy, its not. In fact that companionway is nearly as good as it gets for keeping the salty stuff out and gives you a bridgedeck to die for. No serious bluewater cruising boat should be without a bridgedeck but the Swan design effectively turns the companionway into a hatch. Makes for some difficulty coming and going and leaves the interior particularly cave like. It also makes the installation of an effective dodger well nigh impossible.

You also pay a premium for the name and given that many Swans did a fair bit of racing after 30 years she could be pretty tired.

ps - I say all that having seriously considered buying an S43. More traditional companionway which was nice but still that draft problem and it was the draft issue that was the final crunch in not buying her.

Andrew B

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― Terry Pratchett, Nation

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Last edited by tdw; 10-08-2007 at 10:34 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 10-08-2007
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I talked a friend out of an early 70s Swan 40 or 41 just a few months ago. It was an S&S design - the older style, tumblehome hull and a deckhouse, not the quasi flush deck style that came later.

It suffered some serious structural and cosmetic issues and still was listed for over $100K.

I wasn't aware of the tankage issue, that's a biggie, and found the accomodations less than impressive (esp by later standards) and some of the berths positively claustrophobic.

Based on that viewing I think they rely a lot on the name, and that they, as much as any boat, need a good hard look and serious survey. Also likely to be overpriced.
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post #5 of 16 Old 10-09-2007
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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
I talked a friend out of an early 70s Swan 40 or 41 just a few months ago. It was an S&S design - the older style, tumblehome hull and a deckhouse, not the quasi flush deck style that came later.

It suffered some serious structural and cosmetic issues and still was listed for over $100K.

I wasn't aware of the tankage issue, that's a biggie, and found the accomodations less than impressive (esp by later standards) and some of the berths positively claustrophobic.

Based on that viewing I think they rely a lot on the name, and that they, as much as any boat, need a good hard look and serious survey. Also likely to be overpriced.
You do need to very careful with the really old ones like the 36, 41, 43 or 55. Like a lovely classic car they can suck you in and convince you that any shortcomings can be easily overcome. In your dreams that is.

Having done the exercise and having nearly made a very expensive mistake I'm now much more likely to go for a younger boat, pay more up front, but have less hassles down the road. (Down the Main ?) The boat I considered buying is still on the market over 18 months later , same price but supposedly they have thrown $30.000 at it since then.

The old Swans suffer from interior comparision in particular, although only if your idea of the perfect yacht interior is the likes of Benneteau etc. Me , I prefer the old style althought with the Swan the amount of work to bring one up to scratch for liveaboard cruising is, to my mind, not worth the trouble. If what you wanted was a lovely old boat for pottering the bays and harbours with not much offshore then it may be a different story.

Andrew B

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post #6 of 16 Old 10-09-2007
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I love the old Swans. Am uttery devoted to a lifelong lust of them.
But havin now been on board an old 38, a couple of 40+ footers and a 56...I can honestly say that I love them best of all when they belong to someone else who gets the priveledge of paying their bills.

I took the owner of the 56 for a sail on my boat while his was getting a going-over on the hard. A pretty basic bottom paint and general spruce up wit some rig tuning...Cost more then I had paid for my boat outright.
Thing is, he enjoyed exactly the same sunset from the water and enoyed working at getting my boat to go fast round the course, and enjoyed goign for a drink afterwards and sharing stories wih other sailors...Just as much as he does by owning a yacht several orders of magnitude more espensive then mine.

Using that as a yard-stick, for 90% of how we use our boats, I think I come out ahead.
It was a sobbering thought.

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post #7 of 16 Old 10-09-2007
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We own one. We went through the same analysis that you are going through now a little more than a year ago. Ours had new teak decks, electrical system and newly varnished below. This made our decision much easier.

It is a great boat. Built like a tank. Loves to go to wind. Points high and surprisingly fast to hull speed, despite heavy displacement. Extremely stiff and sturdy. Beautiful lines. Only negatives, from my point of view, are downwind performance in light air without a chute and much smaller below than a modern 41 foot boat (which wasn't particularly important to us). Also, I wouldn't want to have to put a new teak deck on her.

You can PM me if you have more specific questions. I think I know which boat you are considering, but haven't seen it, other than the ads.
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post #8 of 16 Old 10-11-2007 Thread Starter
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I love the lines of the old Swan's. The S&S pointy ends, the rounded tumblehome, the racy looking flush deck. Yes I'm a completely irrational old guy.

That said the cost of repair worries me. I have heard stories about the rudders not being big enough so that one has to perfectly manage the main in heavy air to maintain control. I don't like the pure IOR rigs. The main hatch goes from the top of the deckhouse roof to the floor of the cabin sole. About an 8' climb. That can't be safe when heeled. Pipe berths in the fo'cstle aren't cool but I think I can fix that with plywood and some nice teak trim. All the other bunks are narrow sea berths. The look and feel seaworthy but are not real comfortable at anchor.

For sure I will get a surveyor. Because of my fear of the cost of repair, the engine mech and rigger sound like a good idea.

So at this point I am ambivalent.
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post #9 of 16 Old 10-11-2007
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Originally Posted by LyleRussell View Post
I love the lines of the old Swan's. The S&S pointy ends, the rounded tumblehome, the racy looking flush deck. Yes I'm a completely irrational old guy.

That said the cost of repair worries me. I have heard stories about the rudders not being big enough so that one has to perfectly manage the main in heavy air to maintain control. I don't like the pure IOR rigs. The main hatch goes from the top of the deckhouse roof to the floor of the cabin sole. About an 8' climb. That can't be safe when heeled. Pipe berths in the fo'cstle aren't cool but I think I can fix that with plywood and some nice teak trim. All the other bunks are narrow sea berths. The look and feel seaworthy but are not real comfortable at anchor.

For sure I will get a surveyor. Because of my fear of the cost of repair, the engine mech and rigger sound like a good idea.

So at this point I am ambivalent.
For what it's worth, we have not had any issues of being overpowered due to the rudder. Another way of looking at it is the skeg rudder is arguably safer, as you are less likely to lose it or have it damaged at an inconvenient time (although I guess any time is an inconvenient time for rudder damage).

We have also had no problem with the hatch or companionway, even when heeled, and I have two young kids who like to enter and exit at the most inconvenient times. And this configuration makes it less likely to have water get into the cabin in bad conditions and enables the fairly sizable aft cabin.

I've also found the berths to be comfortable and more than roomy enough (I'm 6'4"). We do not use the v-berth for sleeping.

I can't argue that it may cost more to maintain than some other boats. But the integrity of the hull and overall construction should be exceptional for a thirty year old boat. Of course, GET A SURVEY.

If I sound like a saleman, sorry, but we really like the boat.
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post #10 of 16 Old 10-11-2007
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There is an S41 same vintage at the dock near me (Solomons MD), and it looks like a FSBO, 100k IIRC. But oh dearm the decks are enough to scare you away. The poor teak is weeping black crud, and lifting and all I can see when I look at her is $$$$. But this boat is in serious need of a commited sugar daddy/momma. Yours sounds much better off.
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