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Old 27-09-2010, 18:25   #1
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Buy a 1990s Swan or a Brand New (but Cheaper) Brand ?

Hello everyone;

I believe I'm not the only one here, who happen to have a fetish for Swans, especially their larger models -60,68 and 77 of 1990's. For boats almost 20 years old, these old gals are still incredibly sexy and yet just as expensive.

For a short period of time, I thought of Hanse 630e but after reading the horror stories, returned back to the idea of owning a Swan.

Now, my questions are simple :

1. Are these old gals still reliable and rock solid as they used to be?
2. Can they be sailed shorthanded as their new siblings do?
3. Can they be trusted for a circumnavigation?

With price tags between 1-2 mil$, there're thousands of brand new alternates, but does it really worth it. I'm looking forward for everyone's (especially former or still Swan owner's) input.

Best Regards,
M. CAN
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Old 27-09-2010, 19:14   #2
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Good question.
My view is that there is very little that you ever hear going wrong structurally with either old or new boats. Hulls, Keels, Standing Rigging seem to last. The problem with 20 years plus boats is failure of all the bits and pieces partcularly engines, electrics, fridges, anchor winches instruments etc to say nothing of sails and other wear parts like rudder bearings and steering gear. Reliability has little to do with the boat design, it is the state of repair and quality of the kit. You can adapt pretty well any boat for shorthanded sailing it is just about spending dollars. All lines to the cockpit, electric winches strategically placed. Chart plotter at the helm etc. For peace of mind for a circumnavigation I reckon a new boat production boat with good quality kit is the way to go and you should get ten years use before things start to go wrong.
I'll leave it to the Swan owners to sing the praises of old boats!
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Old 27-09-2010, 21:20   #3
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I'm guessing you don't know a lot about sailboats. If that's the case I would recommend you go with the newer boat until you have gained more knowledge.

Older boats require an experienced DCman to keep the li'l things from going wrong at just the worst time. Murphy was a sailor that was Shanghi-ed.
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Old 27-09-2010, 21:27   #4
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I have a reasonable amount of experience repairing old Swann's - and they are very expensive to maintain. Parts are mostly unique European and very costly to replace. And they have teak decks. They are great sailing boats, but you better have deep pockets financially to keep one up.
- - A newer boat will be - hopefully - a lot less to maintain especially if it is a main stream make/model with lots of easy access to parts. Anything over 10 years old is ripe for major systems replacement.
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Old 28-09-2010, 04:42   #5
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With price tags between 1-2 mil$,
Spend $2 million and you will get a fine boat. But if you are going cruising I would suggest you look at an Oyster. At least as well as looking at Swans.

I did a trans Atlantic from canaries to Argentina via Cape Verde and Brizil on a Swan 651 and there is no way anyone could sail one shorthanded. 8 winches at the base of the mast, plus 2 coffee grinders and 6 winches in the crew cockpit.

You can pull one leg and it'll play Jingle Bells, but you can't sail a racing 65 footer by yourself. Oysters, however, are designed for a couple to cruise. The last short handed crusing boat Nautor built was the Swan 57RS. Dunno why they discontinued it.
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Old 28-09-2010, 04:59   #6
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As someone said, the hulls last practically forever, but a cruising sailboat is made up of thousands of bits with limited lifespans, and a 20-year old boat can be prohibitively expensive to bring up to snuff.

On the other hand, if you find one which someone has just refitted (refitted properly; be careful), this can be a great bargain, as the person who did the work will never recover his investment.

I have spent time on Swans and they are lovely things. I agree with Mark, however, that Oysters are also lovely and tend to be better cruising boats than Swans, which are mostly pretty performance oriented and less comfortable and liveable. Oysters are pure cruising boats, and they are works of art.

I tried hard last year to buy an Oyster but couldn't find one which was a reasonable buy. Even being willing to pay a significant premium. All the ones I looked at were used very hard and were not well maintained, and would have needed a huge expenditure to get up to decent condition. I even had a signed contract to buy an Oyster, with a deposit down, but after the survey could not agree on the price adjustment for the huge list of problems turned up in the survey. I got a picture of the typical Oyster owner as being someone who does actually use the boat a whole lot (almost every Oyster I looked had been across the Atlantic a few times) but is not mechanically inclined and does not keep up with maintenance and replacements. All the Oysters 10 years old and older I saw were pretty well knackered, needing a complete refit; less than 10 years old and they were simply unaffordable (I also happen to like the Humphrys designed Oysters a lot less than the Holman & Pye Oysters, which are simply gorgeous, floating sex, but H&P stopped designing boats for Oyster about 10 years ago).

I ended up buying a Bill Dixon designed Moody 54, not as pretty, but very much the same idea as an Oyster, lightly used, well-maintained, and in superb condition, and a much better buy, probably 30% cheaper than a comparable Oyster. I have been very pleased with the Moody, which has another bonus of having an extremely good rig, three spreader mast, eight cockpit winches, remote control jib cars and the whole bit, and so faster and more fun to sail than the comparable Oyster (which has a two-spreader mast and less sophisticated rig), more like a Swan in that respect. I routinely see speeds of over 10 knots in mine and averaged over 9 knots the last long passage I did across the English Channel, although we were just two-handed and not working hard at all.

You can buy a Moody 54 or 56, or the somewhat sleeker and more expensive Moody 49, for well under a million, less than 10 years old and in good ready-to-use condition. Most of them are in the UK, however. If you are looking for a bigger boat, Moody made a few Dixon-designed 64's and 66's, which you can buy for less than $2 million (that's a real thoroughbred, combining very high performance with a very high level of comfort, an outstanding bargain in my view). You will find that they are much more solid, seaworthy and sophisticated than boats from Hanse, which coincidentally now owns the Moody brand.

About the Moody 64, see: http://www.cruisingworld.com/article...=397&catID=571

The prototype, in cruising trim, finished 4th overall in the 2002 ARC, ahead of most of the racing fleet and 1st among cruisers, ahead of all the Swans and Oysters, maintaining an average over the whole passage of more than 200 miles a day. An extremely fast and capable boat, probably one of the very best combinations of very high performance with easy short-handed sailing and high degree of comfort available in the world. This is a tribute to Bill Dixon, who is one of the world's great designers (not to take anything away from German Frers, who designed most of the Swans of the last couple of decades).

Oh, and while you're at it, the Hylas 54 is also a fantastic cruising boat in this class. Probably a bit nicer than the Moodys, but a bit more expensive. Definitely better cruising boat than a Swan. Designed by German Frers so a lot of the same DNA as Swans. If you love Swans but don't intend to race, the Hylas 54 might be your very best choice, if you can afford it.
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Old 28-09-2010, 09:16   #7
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I spent a lot of time on a Swan 68 and really liked the boat. And not just for the fit and finish. She sailed superbly and was very well balanced. We shorthanded her (two of us) from Florida to Grenada and had no problems. We "reefed early and often" and took proactive rather than retroactive action. The owner and is family moved aboard (wife, two young kids) and the last I heard they were in the Pacific and doing very well with the family on board.

I've also worked on board Jongert, Oyster, Perini Navi, Hinckley, and other top shelf sailboats from 38-70' and found them superb sailboats. They hold their value because they never seem to age.
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Old 28-09-2010, 13:24   #8
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First, I was expecting to see one or no answer to this thread today but happen to come up with all these info; thanks a lot guys.

At the moment, I'm in the virge to stay in small size and go for a Sirius 35DS (I know, not even close to 60-70 feet Swan idea, but it seems to be a great boat with true single handed sailing capability) or take a leap of faith.

As a matter of fact, I'm a huge fan of Oysters as well -especially the 655. However, like most GB built boats, they're incredibly expensive. O.k., you get what you pay for but -call me crazy-, after paying several million quids, I just want the boat brand new and for that you need to pay just as much once again.

For Swan's, my sailing tactic would be just like Capt Douglas, reef early than to be sorry. And I want to take the challenge now, when I'm at the peak of my physical endurance.


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Old 28-09-2010, 14:00   #9
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One more thing. The new Moody 62DS seems to be a very good boat and it's somehow cheaper than a 6-8 year old Moody 64. What do you think gentlemen?

Mehmet CAN


P.S. : I just love it how discussions loose track even after 5-6 threads!
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Old 28-09-2010, 14:27   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MehmetCan View Post
One more thing. The new Moody 62DS seems to be a very good boat and it's somehow cheaper than a 6-8 year old Moody 64. What do you think gentlemen?

Mehmet CAN


P.S. : I just love it how discussions loose track even after 5-6 threads!
Quote:
Originally Posted by MehmetCan View Post
One more thing. The new Moody 62DS seems to be a very good boat and it's somehow cheaper than a 6-8 year old Moody 64. What do you think gentlemen?

Mehmet CAN


P.S. : I just love it how discussions loose track even after 5-6 threads!
Well, the new Moody 62DS is cheaper than a 6-8 year old Moody 64 because the Moody 64 is a real English-made hand-built Moody, and the Moody 62DS is a German-built production line Dehler, who bought the Moody name to use as their premium brand.

The Moody 62DS is one of those radical new catamaran-like cruisers in the mold of the Moody 45DS. Love em or hate em, they are something different. Interestingly, they were designed by the great Bill Dixon just like the old "real" Moodys.

I have to confess that although I probably wouldn't want one, as blue water capabilities and sailing ability is definitely comprised, I find the new DS boats to be fascinating and beautiful in a strange way. They are made to be a crossover between a sailing yacht and motor yacht or a catamaran. Since most sailboats are used for short coastal trips, this is probably a great idea. The main salon is entirely above deck, so on one level with the cockpit (between which there is a catamaran-like sliding door). The view must be fantastic. If hard-core sailing for sailing's sake is not your objective, these must be really cool boats.
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Old 28-09-2010, 14:40   #11
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Well, I've started with the idea of a Swan, since hardcore sailing is an ideal of course. However, I'll not be sailing alone and my gal loves the idea of sailing to arctic -if she ever accepts to circumnavigate!!!

It's quite easy to guess that the boat lost a knot or two and will not be as stable as a purebred flush deck sailor. However, if this means spending 3-4 days on an ocean passage while doing it with the georgeous view, why not? Plus -as you've mentioned- it's still a Dixon design and built to German Lloyd specs, so it should behave I guess...

I look for a big boat for 3 reasons :
1. I'm a big fella and I really don't like cramping up
2. Will be traveling with family and since this will be their first true blue water long term experience; interior space and time between ports will be primary for them.
3. She seems to be rock solid and once again, safety first when traveling with the family.


Last but not least, o.k. M64 looks good, but I really don't fancy the boxy designs of previous generation deck saloons. G5 Oysters are much sleeker than G4's, don't you think???
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Old 28-09-2010, 15:59   #12
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Well, I've started with the idea of a Swan, since hardcore sailing is an ideal of course. However, I'll not be sailing alone and my gal loves the idea of sailing to arctic -if she ever accepts to circumnavigate!!!

It's quite easy to guess that the boat lost a knot or two and will not be as stable as a purebred flush deck sailor. However, if this means spending 3-4 days on an ocean passage while doing it with the georgeous view, why not? Plus -as you've mentioned- it's still a Dixon design and built to German Lloyd specs, so it should behave I guess...

I look for a big boat for 3 reasons :
1. I'm a big fella and I really don't like cramping up
2. Will be traveling with family and since this will be their first true blue water long term experience; interior space and time between ports will be primary for them.
3. She seems to be rock solid and once again, safety first when traveling with the family.


Last but not least, o.k. M64 looks good, but I really don't fancy the boxy designs of previous generation deck saloons. G5 Oysters are much sleeker than G4's, don't you think???
Well, it's a matter of taste. The Russians say -- there's no truth in [women's] legs. I don't like the Humphreys (G5) Oysters. They have fat asses, chunky bows, and no spring in their sheer. There is something clumsy about them which the pseudo-elegant arabesqued salon windows can't conceal. The Holman & Pye Oysters, especially the 485, are works of art which deserve to be in the Museum of Modern Art. Such subtlety, grace, and tension in the lines. Fine entries, a nice taper to the stern, elegant sheer line, low freeboard -- floating sex.

As to the "classic" Dixon Moodys, you have to make up your own mind. I didn't like them so much at first (comparing them unfairly to the H&P Oysters), but they are not completely without grace. They have grown on me very much this last year. Click image for larger version

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After having been in some 10 meter breaking swell, I have ceased to sneer at the highish freeboard. Certainly, these are much higher performance, hard-core sea boats, than the Dehler-built Moodys. But if you're doing mostly short coastal hops -- then the new ones might be just the ticket. But you've come very far away from your initial Swan idea!
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Old 28-09-2010, 16:19   #13
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Look at my Taswell 58As, also a Dixon design (see avitar). It doesn't have the fat backend of the Moodys, is better made and almost half the price of a similar vintage Oyster. By the way, it is for sale as we are moving back ashore after seven years as liveaboards.
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Old 28-09-2010, 16:30   #14
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One more thing. The new Moody 62DS seems to be a very good boat and it's somehow cheaper than a 6-8 year old Moody 64. What do you think gentlemen?
I think the Sirius 35DS is a far better boat for you than either the 62DS or the 64.

Thats Sirius 35DS has something!




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Old 29-09-2010, 03:38   #15
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sailing ability is definitely comprised
in relation to themoody 45DS or62 DS, how do you know, I have sailed the 45 it sailsvery well indeed and is no "motor sailer" thats for sure. Sure the design is radical, but its a strong boat ( with one or two faults that put me off, front engine access being one),

PS it has no angle of vanishing stability. no negative part under the line at all!!!

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