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Old 26-09-2010, 16:50   #46
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I also get a little wry amusement out of those who denigrate the IOR vintage boats per se.

Of course, hull designers now dance to a different tune (i.e. rule) and as such, modern designs do have better hull shapes for downwind and off the breeze sailing, but there seems to be a commonly held view that IOR boats are terrible downwind and off the breeze. That view is based, as far as I can tell, on performance in offshore racing, fully crewed with every scrap of canvas up (including blooper) to try to extract the last fraction of a knot out of the boat. Having raced a few IOR boats, I know that this is difficult and the boat is a handfull in such situations. Nevertheless, when cruising, you don't need to push the boat hard, and short handed you probably aren't in a situation where you can.

Our old IOR boat is a real handful downwind when loaded up with a heap of sail, but crusing, with a more appropriate sail-plan up, she is well enough behaved. Sailing around the cans, our 25+ year old IOR 40' "pig" with Dacron sails, beats a 5 year old racing-configured Bene 40.7 with exotic Kevlar & carbon sails, over the line, about half the time.

Personally, I'd have a Swan if I could afford one.

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Old 26-09-2010, 18:46   #47
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If you ever raced the old Swans, you would understand 'squirrily downwind'. The 41, 43, 441, 446 designs would go about 8 knots in any direction. Downwind with everything up, they would throw a quarterwave which would swamp a cruise ship, and once the rock and roll started, it usually was only a matter of time till they spun out.

That was because you were trying to go 9 knots in an 8 knot hull. In the cruise mode, seamanship says you simply shorten down sail until everything is comfortable and under control.

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Old 26-09-2010, 21:27   #48
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G'Day All,

Another anecdotal data point --

Our previous boat, Insatiable (not to be confused with Weyalan's imposter Insatiable) was a 1973 IOR Mk 1 design by Franz Maas, built by Palmer Johnson. Typical big beam amidships, fine entry, pinched ends, lots of tumblehome, deep draft and pretty heavy.

When we first bought her (1984) we raced her in SF bay for a while. Early on we were coming down the cityfront with about 30 kts true on a deep reach under a penalty-pole kite. Helmsman (me) inexperienced with the boat, crew equally so. Result, as Don suggests was a huge roundup, nearly t-boning an innocent saturday sailor. Scared the **** out of all of us! Totally unsuitable boat for cruising, right??

Except that Ann and I DID cruise her, for 17 years and 86K miles, double handed and we had a good time, too! Never had a sailing problem that I could attribute to the IOR design... they were all my fault.

This boat was pretty similar to the Swans of similar vintage, and was often confused with an S&S 39. To write off those beautiful early Swans as unsuitable for cruising offshore is kinda silly. On the other hand, I'm not sure that they represent good value for mioney... but that's a personal view.

Asking for data from folks who have not actually tried cruising in ANY particular kind of a boat will only get uninformed opinions. I fear that this will include those who have had experience racing them... it's fun, it's educational, but it's a different world with different parameters, and does not really apply to the cruising experience.

As far as the suitability of the below-decks layout and volume, that requires a very personal evaluation, and our opinions don't count for much no matter how experienced we are.

So there ya are... another old fart heard from!


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Michaelmas Cay, Qld, Oz
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s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 27-09-2010, 08:27   #49
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My IOR experience is limited to quarters and halves and they all handled horribly in the real world ;-) outside of the cans area. I have also sailed Swans, I have not even noted they were like the smaller boats.

I have also sailed a Farr 40, and this one, built to another, newer racing formula was a dream to handle. The difference was in responsiveness to the helm applied. If we did lose control it was because we were flying the kite in 30 knots of breeze while the boat was on the plane (I think 15+ knots). Do not try this while cruising.

I believe many pure racing boats can be great cruisers - they have most efficient hulls and rigs, so as long as the driver can control them, the boat and her crew will be fine and relatively comfortable too.

Is a modern day Bene or Bava easier to control than an IOR? Well, not to me. Is a (say) Rustler easier to control than same era IOR? It is to me.

Some IORs should be definitely avoided - those that were build to the extreme and then again trying to cheat the formula and gain sthg by some doubtful modifications. But this does not seem to apply to Swans, or at least not to those I have been on.

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Old 27-09-2010, 09:35   #50
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Today walked past a Swan 65 and a mid 40's oldish one. They both looked like crackin good boats

Thing that struck me was the companionway was just similar to a vertical hole in the deck somewhat near a small, shallow divot called a cockpit. On the 65 I remember well the 2 cockpits and trying to get from one to the other at sea... a tad adrenalin pumping,... Even we did not consider using the hatch to the aft cabin as it was a death-step.

Anyway we are talking about the smaller ones.

So in a racing context having a companionway suitable for an athletic teenager to swing down is fine. A retiree female, of the average age/fitness cruiser, would consider being a spider monkey in her dotage to be beyond the pale.

Even younger chickies on the way up from the Saloon may take umbrage at the vertical climb: "Are you checkin out mah BUTT?"

No, But I can give you a hand if you need a push in the toosh

There are many things to look at when picking the perfect cruiser. I am not against any particular type of boat. But I do worry when people select one type because they are as blinkered as the milkman’s horse

i.e. You'll use the companionway stairs a hell of a lot more than the spinnaker. Storms are .1% of the time and can be sailed with mitigation of effects, but life for the other 99.9% of the time gets to be a hassel if the enjoyment is mitigated 99.9% of the time.
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Old 27-09-2010, 09:57   #51
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Mark you nailed it. That hole in the deck is a dumb idea for a cruising boat.

You want an easy to navigate, secure and protected companionway and steps/ladder. If the boat doesn't have that, it's a deal breaker despite the sweet lines.
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Old 27-09-2010, 11:10   #52
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Originally Posted by defjef View Post
Mark you nailed it. That hole in the deck is a dumb idea for a cruising boat.
What? You all don't like the submarine styles?
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Old 27-09-2010, 13:25   #53
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I climbed up and down of a Stevens 51 companion black hole (half open towards the cockpit) and cannot quite understand why the inconvenience? This boat shipped hardly any water and there was a huge dodger too ... I bet the mould came like that and nobody in Taiwan knew how to modify it for the cruising crowd.

I remember one of the Rivals (38?) has the same. I think it is a great solution safety-wise but definitely not a user friendly one.

Being chucked out from a very seaworthy boat probably not quite as good as staying with a less seaworthy one!

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Old 03-10-2010, 22:17   #54
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Originally Posted by Pete the Cat View Post
As a former delivery skipper in the 80's, I would definitely agree with the above. I delivered two Swans of this vintage and it was a joy. I have no idea where this stuff about "squirrelly downwind" came from on IOR boats. S&S designs have always been "sea boats" unlike the cocktail barges that are sold as sailboats from some of the more recent manufacturers--that your wife, who would probably prefer to be back at the condo anyway, would really will like. I would deliver almost any Swan anywhere over one of those flat bottomed, tiny ruddered, fat butt, queen bed below the cockpit, French-derived boats that pound and point 80 degrees from the wind. If I was using it for a bedroom or bar, OK. If you really want to go to sea, I have never seen an S&S design I would not prefer. Ask the folks who have been there and done that--not the brokers or dockside experts who have read all the books who repeat each other's "expertise". I would buy a Swan if I could afford it. Some other folks built IORs too light for the scantlings (not S&S) and that, and some wretchedly poor seamanship caused most of the problems of the 1979 Fastnet that caused a lot of people to think and write about IOR boats in a negative light. Most people want a bedroom and a bar, so be sure of what you are going to use the boat for before you buy it.
Good one Ray! I'm with you all the way.

I heard of a broker who reportedly said that "Swans have too many winches"!

Arch Duke Ferdinand once told Mozart that his latest composition had "a few too many notes," to which Mozart replied, "which few would you have me remove, Sire?"

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Old 04-10-2010, 00:36   #55
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Originally Posted by Pleiades View Post
I heard of a broker who reportedly said that "Swans have too many winches"!
I saw a boat yesterday that I thought was a Swan, but it turned out to be a Grand Soleil. It had 6 winces on each side
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Old 06-10-2010, 12:04   #56
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Came back to this thread after a long time away. Still love my S&S Swan 41. This weekend, we did a beer can race in 25 knots + with a crew of four. Only four boats total showed up in our class, due to the conditions, I suppose. (Two dropped out before the start.) Most of the other boats were overpowered and several suffered equipment failures. A smaller sport boat actually sunk. We were the only boat that I noticed without a reefed main (with a small jib). We pointed high, had a comfortable motion, were never overpowered and plowed through the substantial chop. In these types of conditions I am grateful for the stability and upwind performance of our Swan.
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Old 06-10-2010, 13:07   #57
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Being I own and sail a 41' S&S designed boat almost identical to the Swan 41, and am familiar with the Swan 41, I would not hesitate to sail that boat anywhere, anytime, Period.
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Old 06-10-2010, 13:49   #58
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Originally Posted by bob_77903 View Post
Being I own and sail a 41' S&S designed boat almost identical to the Swan 41, and am familiar with the Swan 41, I would not hesitate to sail that boat anywhere, anytime, Period.
The Tartan 41 is a great boat. We have one in our fleet which finished first in its division to Bermuda and also finishes first in our beer can series. Beautiful lines and sailing characteristics. Keep enjoying the boat.
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Old 25-10-2010, 17:16   #59
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Swans and IOR boats from Early 70's

I'm old enough to have actually raced and cruised such boats for tens of thousands of miles in the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic, and Mediterranean.

The early Swans were S&S designs. When in 1977 Imp, a 40 foot Holland design kicked tail in the SORC and then in summer racing in England, including a very heavy weather Fastnet, Swan switched to Holland designs. By the early 1980s, new Swan models were designed by Freres. There is a BIG difference between the designers, and their designs!!!

Note also that often Swan models are in production for quite a long time, so you can't assume that a boat built in 1984 is not an S&S design.

The S&S designs are MUCH dryer sea boats than the Holland or Freres designs, because the S&S boats have curvature to the topsides and are fuller forward, while the more modern designs are quite slab sided, allowing the water to keep climbing up the hull sides.

Also, the S&S designs have deadrise (a V shape) the entire length of the hull, whereas more recent designs are more typically flat across the middle. The deadrise dampens pitching when heeled going upwind, and provides additional directional stability on all points of sail. This difference is quite dramatic.

The build quality of Swans, and the S&S Swans in particular, is amazing. Very few leaks, creaks, groans. Rare to find systems that don't work underway as well as at the dock. The ergonomics on deck and below are also good underway, in very rough conditions, or at anchor. And most can be rigged with very effective dodgers.

The downwind handling issues of many racing boats is very well known. But what is missed is the conditions when problems occurred, and how the boats could be sailed safely in heavy conditions downwind.

First, the root of the handing problem was the pinched ends, deep midships, and very small mainsails first encouraged by the RORC and then by the IOR racing rules. When pushing the boats downwind at over hull speed, the trough of the wave train would be under the middle of the boat, so rather than being supported by that beamy middle, the boat was balanced on the very narrow ends. This condition was made worse by the tall masts, large spinnakers, and small mainsails, and the fine bow sections combined with the racer's intent of pushing the boats to the maximum.

For example, a Cal 40 had rig dimensions of I=46' J=15.2 E=40 P=17.5 while a smaller Ranger 37 one tonner had dimensions of I=49' J=15.7' E=43' P=11.7

The extra leverage of the spinnaker on a 3' taller mast, 6" longer pole, was poorly balanced by the 6' shorter boom!

The semi-solution to these handing problems was the Blooper, essentially half a spinnaker flown to leeward of the spinnaker sheet, to make up for the missing mainsail area. The blooper also moved the center of lift further forward. However, it also put another sheet point right at the transom, so if you started to round up with a blooper, it was a total wipe-out.

So there were lots of racers who moved from, say Cal 40s to, say, Ranger one tonners, and sure enough, the down wind conditions that were no problem on the Cal 40 were a big problem on the one tonners. "20 knots of wind, sure we'll pop the chute!"

If one sailed those boats like a cruising boat, there was no negative, only really big positives: the boats go upwind great in any condition, from light to heavy air, from flat seas to really huge breaking seas. They are easy to work on deck and below at sea as well as at anchor.

Let me be very specific about one early S&S Swan design, the Swan 65. To quote from the Swan web site: "A production Swan 65 (Sayula II) effortlessly won the first Whitbread Race in 1973/4. The second Whitbread in 77/78 saw the Swan 65 take 2nd, 4th and 5th."

I sailed a Swan 65 from Newport Beach to the Med. Only human powered winches. Electric autopilot. Roller furling headsail. Slab reefing main. Conventional spinnakers. We did one person watches the entire way. I never once called anyone up on deck for any reason. Not even one single time was there an "all hands on deck" condition. We did use everyone on spinnaker sets, drops, and gybes, but these were never emergencies, and we chose to always do such things in daylight. We had exactly one failure: the autopilot when we were in Cozumel. We sailed from Cozumel to Marathon in the Keys without autopilot. No problem, the boat sailed itself using the lock on the wheel.

When we got to the Med, I had lost something, so I lifted the board under the midship berth by the mast. There was still DRY wood sawdust in the bilge from the original construction! By this time, the boat was 8 years old and had sailed from California to Tahiti and back, then California through the Panama Canal, up to Florida, through the Bahamas, to Bermuda, the Azores, Gibralter, to the Baelerics.

A wonderful thing about a boat that goes the same speed in all directions in all conditions is that you are not tempted or forced to always sail downwind or on a reach. You can go anywhere you want, any time, any conditions.
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Old 25-10-2010, 19:31   #60
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That was a great post Gramps u4ea32; good info, well reasoned. I also can remember IMP's arrival on the scene quite well (I'm that old too). It seemed to me after Imp nobody built a pretty racer.

One question- I have always thought the flatter shapes of the newer boats led to more pounding upwind, eg a short, abruptly decelerating pitch while the older V- shapes suffered greater pitching (a larger range of motion) but with a much softer, more comfortable landing. Am I misinterpreting something here, or am I just plain wrong (both have happened with disturbing regularity)?


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