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Old 04-06-2010
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Swanson -- 31 Carmen

Hi All

We currently have a Tophat 25 mkIII -- designed by Capt. John .H. Illingworth (ex-Royal Navy) & Angus Primrose. It has proven itself to be a very competent coastal cruiser but we are looking for something a little bigger and with an inboard diesel.

One of the designs we like is that of the Swanson and in particular the 31 Carmen, but there does not seem to be much information on this model available.

We would love to hear from anyone that has sailed one, or any information on this design...

Thanks in advance

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Old 04-06-2010
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I can't help you with too much info re the Carmen other than to say that a couple I knew at the time had one in the early '80s. Fabulous little boat, they sailed her up and down the east coast and across to New Caledonia, Solomons, PNG etc.
Only problem I had with the design was headroom. Other than under the cuddy it was all crawl space for me.
Even so that boat was a real favourite of mine.
Now if I'm correct the Carmen was in fact a Swanson copy of a Herreshoff design but I'm not sure which one.
I'd have thought you might find the Carmen to be a bit cramped after the THIII and that if you were to move up from the TH then you'd go something with a bit more room e.g a Clansman, Duncanson 28, Compass 28/29.
Great boat though, a boat to fall in love with.

ps - If memory serves me well there were some GRP Carmens built with a longer than normal trunk cabin that extended forward past the mast. I've never been on board one of these but I'd guess they'd have a lot more usable space down below. Not as pretty as the flush decker though.

pps- my sentimental feeling for the Carmen may be in part due to the fact that I was absolutely besotted by the female half of that boat's crew. Unrequited though my 'besottlement' was. Ah me.....such it is.
Andrew B

"Do you think God gets stoned? I think so... Look at the platypus." Robin Williams.

Last edited by tdw; 04-06-2010 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 04-06-2010
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Thanks for the info and laugh TDW, not exactly sure what the reference to the crew of Carmen is? Maybe you could enlighten me there?

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