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ClubSwan welcome their latest, and somewhat ginormous, family member

ClubSwan Yachts, the high-performance division of Nautor’s Swan, are celebrating the ClubSwan 50’s selection as European Yacht of the Year 2018 in the Performance Cruiser category by announcing that she’s soon to have a new, much bigger sister.

The ClubSwan 50 encapsulates high-performance sailing developed by Nautor’s Swan after 50 years of success in the boatbuilding business. The ClubSwan concept is high-performance yachts that can also be cruised, that focus on speed, technological innovation and competitive sailing potential, without compromising comfort and style.

An award-winning yacht created by the team at Nautor’s Swan, and designed by Juan Yacht Design, has proved the concept has enormous appeal to owners who want fast, close racing on beautifully finished, cutting-edge yachts – with over 20 ClubSwan 50s sold.

Now the concept is about to be implemented on a completely different scale. Currently in build at the Nautor’s Swan yard in Finland is the ClubSwan 125, a 125ft full carbon racing supermaxi. Aiming to repeat the success enjoyed by the ClubSwan 50, Nautor’s Swan commissioned Juan Yacht Design to help them create a boat without limits: the fastest supermaxi ever launched.

‘The main drivers in the conception of this stunning new project were performance combined with luxury and the ultimate sailing experience,’ said Kouyoumdjian. ‘That means performance in terms of the feelings and sensations that are unique to sailing, combined with extreme comfort in very special interiors. The complete trust of the owner and his desire to create a high-performance superyacht are the perfect ingredients for a designer. We can’t have a better environment.’

The conceptual vision embraces pioneering design principles to create the ultimate lightweight racing supermaxi yacht. Perhaps the most striking example of the breakthrough design features on this boat is the single C-shaped foil. Part deployed, it offers side force to enable the use of a canting keel; fully deployed, it also offers lift to reduce drag and improve righting moment, and in harbour it rolls away inside the hull.

Innovation bursts from every bulkhead on this boat. She will have a diesel-hydraulic propulsion system with the engine room forward of the mast to minimise the noise for owner and guests. The prop itself is mounted on a carbon T-foil skeg that retracts into a carbon wetbox to reduce drag.

For Enrico Chieffi, vice-president and director/production line leader of ClubSwan, the challenge was to enhance the ClubSwan team with the expertise required to design the new ClubSwan 125 and build it to the highest standard possible: DNV GL 1A Sail Yacht. ‘We have created a world-class technical team that is capable of dealing with all the aspects of this complex new yacht,’ said Chieffi. ‘Only Nautor’s Swan, with its heritage and experience, could have accepted this challenge.’

The team built by Chieffi reads like a Who’s Who of supermaxi boatbuilding. Indeed, at their initial meeting ClubSwan 125 project manager Kristian Kjellman noted, ‘The meeting room resembled an America’s Cup launch. I think those present had around 600 years of collective yacht building experience.’

In the build management role, Peter Wilson, founding partner of Marine Construction Management (MCM) and owner’s representative, reports excellent progress. ‘There has been first-rate collaboration between Nautor’s Swan, the engineering/design team and the owner’s team. Such open lines of communication are important to create and achieve what will be a groundbreaking, elegant and high-performance superyacht. Construction is going well, and we look forward to the good progress continuing over the coming months to conduct sailing trials in the spring of 2019.’

Taking charge of construction of the hull and structural composite components, and deck and the hydraulic sail-handling systems are, respectively, Killian Bushe and Bob Wylie. Bushe is one of the elite among high-tech boatbuilders, responsible for five Whitbread/ Volvo round-the-world race winners in succession. Wylie has been a grand prix sailing professional for 34 years and is one of the world’s leading project managers. ‘We are pushing the limits of the sailing systems with some innovative ideas on how to sail the boat with a small crew,’ he said.

Main picture: it’s not just the reputation for fast yachts of the highest quality that helps Nautor sell boats of this size, it has to be conceded that colour renders like this of a fully powered-up ClubSwan125 must prove more than a little alluring for the lucky few in the market for a dual-purpose maxi of this sort. Black hulls that spend a lot of time in the sun test the lay-up skills of even the best yards, but it’s nothing that this yard has not dealt with successfully in the past

Above: it is hard not to applaud the unbridled enthusiasm Juan K brings to each new project. Very respectful of the Nautor heritage, as he showed with the ClubSwan 50, Juan is frankly just confident enough to take an aggressively broad view of what can be achieved within every design brief. The new ClubSwan 125 is going to be a mighty new addition to the maxi circuit and, with curved foils and an immense sail plan, for a boat of this size – and this degree of luxury – it promises to be a genuine exceptional performer. Will the ClubSwan 125 ‘brand’ find more admirers with deep enough pockets… there are good reasons to think so, particularly when you consider other more complex alternatives

‘The main areas are how the rig and sails interface with the performance prediction of the yacht. The innovative daggerboard system, which will not be seen on deck, is particularly interesting. We’ve been working with top suppliers like Harken on new ideas for the hardware, Cariboni on the hydraulic and PLC logic to discover how best to handle the size of the sails and loads, with Southern Spars and North Sails to ensure we have the correct placement of hardware to suit the sail inventory and loads. It’s been a nice experience, pushing boundaries.’

Construction of the appendages, keel, bulb, daggerboard and rudders has been entrusted to Italian carbon specialist Eligio Re Fraschini. This gives the ClubSwan 125 team 70 years of experience in carbon work, in marine for the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race, in automotive with Formula 1 and in aerospace applications. The result will be the most innovative, futuristic and technologically advanced structural foils.

The delivery of winches, deck hardware and the hydraulics for sail handling and rig management has gone to Harken, and chairman Peter Harken could not be happier: ‘We first became involved in this project about 13 months ago when it was merely an idea in some very smart people’s minds. I just saw some of the most recent detail drawings and everyone on our team was grinning. It’s rare to see innovation in so many areas on one boat.’

For the primary winches Harken have specified their carbon-top 1235s. These are developed from the 1135 grand prix winches to include their integral winch base and ring gear assemblies machined from a single block of stainless steel, and will extend load capacity from nine to 11 tonnes. The two utility pit winches are Harken 990s, currently on the Volvo Ocean 65s.

The custom athwartship jib system employs Harken titanium TTR2 sheaves for maximum efficiency. The custom mainsheet system is a development of Harken MEGA CRX traveller cars, again with Harken titanium TTR2 sheaves. All padeyes are in-deck soft-attach titanium loop padeyes. All in-deck sheaves will be titanium TTR2 as well. Harken TRR2 loop blocks and the new generation of Harken high-load snatchblocks have been specified for sheet leads above deck.

The real engine room of the ClubSwan 125 towers above the deck, and responsibility for sails, rig and rigging goes to North Sails and Southern Spars with Future Fibres’ ECsix rigging package. ‘Participating in the early stages of design ensures accuracy, not only in sail geometry details,’ said Jens Christensen, a North Sails executive committee member, ‘but in anticipating essential aspects of performance that would affect the sails, such as deck layouts and the balance with hydrofoils matching the sails above the deck.’

‘North Sails and their sister company Southern Spars have become instrumental in presenting the boat with a cohesive package that exceeds the high expectations of a new owner,’ continues Christensen. ‘North Sails have used their design suite to establish the “engine above the deck” concept, integrating boat design and rig design, to create size and sail shape, which determines sheeting positions and loads. Finding the right balance between the size and shape of each sail set is key to ensuring the performance requested by the owner.’

As for the mast itself, Southern Spars have delivered a highmodulus rig package that benefits from the latest advances in automated carbon fibre placement, as Southern Spars designer Steve Wilson explains: ‘The team have pushed this design to its limit to achieve a grand prix mast that’s as light as possible, while maintaining the safety and reliability aspects that go hand in hand with a superyacht of this size. Utilising the power of North Technology Group’s suite of exclusive rig and sail design tools, we have been able to optimise the rig in terms of weight, VCG and sail shape control. All of this is delivered with a fine-tuning capability that puts a great deal of control into the hands of the crew.’

The interior designers have worked hard to save weight, for instance using sofas in the saloon which are essentially huge stringers with cushions on top. All cabins will have natural light and hull sides will showcase the carbon work. The heritage of Nautor’s Swan is echoed in the satin-finished walnut veneers and soft, natural leathers, while the ambition of ClubSwan sees elements that would have been crafted in laminated woods now precisely engineered in carbon.

‘Never have so many professionals from the racing industry been working around the ultimate-performance Swan,’ said Heini Gustafsson, senior designer for interiors and styling for the ClubSwan 125. ‘Teamwork is paramount and we have created an interior that meets the criteria of a superyacht and a recordbreaking racer.’

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