Nautor’s Swan 80 FD

The New Launch of Chessie

Text by Scott Shane Photos courtesy of Nautor's Swan

Article originally featured in YTM #18 issue - Spring 2015

Nearly fifty years ago, Pekka Koskenkyla built the first Swan, a 36-foot Sparkman & Stevens design that, according to the builder, came out of the box race ready. Ninety of those international regatta winners were eventually built. Germán Frers assumed Nautor’s Swan’s design duties in 1982, and builder and designer have now collaborated on over 700 yachts.

Chessie is Nautor’s Swan’s newest launch, an 80-foot flush deck (FD) layout. This maxi-cruiser is a stunning representation of the company’s workmanship and its “less is more” philosophy. Her sweeping, clean lines and uncluttered top deck make this high performance cruiser user friendly for owners and guests. The 80 FD is also available in a semi-raised (S) and raised saloon (RS) version.

A top priority for Nautor’s Swan is keeping displacement to minimalist levels and strength of construction to their highest when performance is the mission. They utilize a foam-core, carbon fiber layup in the hull to achieve those goals. The hull has a near plumb bow, then, according to the company, beneath the waterline, it opens to a modest beam carried aft with a broad flat section towards the stern. She sports a T-shaped bulb keel with a deep balanced rudder.

Chessie’s aft cockpit is situated behind the twin steering stations and forward from her open transom; there’s a closed transom option. A second cockpit is positioned centerline towards the bow and is deemed a social area with ample, comfortable seating and access to the cabin below.

The 80 FD has wonderfully wide and unencumbered sidedecks looking down from a bosun’s chair view. There’s plenty of opening hatches for natural ventilation and ambient light. For the most part, all that’s necessary for sailing and navigation are within the confines of a concise area near the steering stations.

Nautor’s Swan has three separate production locales, each highly specialized in their tasks. Each facet of design and construction is dissected down to the most minute accent. Heini Gustafsson is in charge of the interiors and was quoted about passionate attention to detail right down to, “… the color of the stitching on a leather belt inside a bookshelf or the light that switches on inside a small locker for crystal glasses.”

It’s this attention to seemingly low-level and unimportant ornaments the reason for the well-earned accolades. Chessie’s elegant interior is a perfect blend of symmetry and beauty. The joinery is varnished teak. The company even saves a sample to ensure a perfect match if future repairs are needed. Wherever possible, the builder uses weight-saving sandwich veneers. (The mast and boom are strong and lightweight carbon fiber.)

Each owner has choices with the floor plan, though the two constants are full-beam saloon and crew quarters positioned far forward. The master cabin can be positioned forward or aft. The Swan 80 has two additional VIP cabins and the option for a crew or additional guest stateroom. The galley and dinette are portside and a large settee is opposite the dinette on Chessie.

Nautor’s Swan continues to produce yachts of exacting function, discerning grace and outstanding performance whether its mission is  to be a family cruiser or a high-tension racer.

Swan 80 FD

LOA:  82.28’  25.03 M

BEAM: 19.95’  6.03 M

WEIGHT:  79,150 lbs.  35,900 kg

FUEL: 396 gal.  1,500L

WATER:  317 gal.  1,200 L

POWER: 1 X 190 hp (140kW) Steyr M0196 K35 diesel

SAIL AREA:   Fore Triangle 1614.5 square feet/ 150 M

Main Sail 2030.1 square feet/ 188.6 M

 Jib 1744 square feet/ 162 M