Club Swan 42: A One-Design Racer for Commodores and Corinthians

From our January/February 2007 issue

NYYC42St
Stuart Streuli

The Club Swan 42 is the ninth one-design keelboat sponsored by the New York YC. While the Swan/Frers pedigree is nice, and the performance predictions look sparkling for a 42-foot racer/cruiser, it's the support of club members-24 put down deposits before even setting eyes on hull No. 1 this fall-that has put this boat on the fast track.At more than $600,000 on the water, this 42-footer is more expensive than most similarly sized racer/cruisers-it is after all a Swan, with a comfy interior. Building a class one owner at a time at that price might've proven difficult, but with more than 30 already locked in, we can look at the attributes of the boat without worrying whether we'll ever see enough on a starting line for enjoyable one-design racing.Of all the things that stood out about this boat during a short test sail in October, it's the clean deck layout. Halyards are led underneath the coach roof, and the mainsheet under the side decks. The cockpit is plenty roomy, a feeling accentuated by the twin wheels, which also give the helmsman a great view of the telltales.At 1,175 sq. ft. upwind, 2,652 sq. ft. downwind, the sail plan is powerful, especially downwind where the masthead, sprit-flown asymmetric is 20 percent bigger than that of the Swan 45, a boat that's 40 percent heavier. Yet upwind, in a gusty 8- to 18-knot northerly, the boat tracked beautifully, with just a flick of the wheel to leeward required to keep it tracking in a straight line when gusts put it on its ear.Tuning the two-spreader carbon rig and maximizing the drive from the IRC-optimized main will be vital to good upwind boatspeed, and a challenge for the mostly amateur crew specified by the class rules. One-design rules stipulate an owner/driver and only two Category 3 sailors, neither can be paid to sail. Downwind, with the speed reaching 15 and 16 knots in heavy air, handling the enormous spinnaker will require precise timing and a degree of athleticism, but it's a challenge amateur sailors should be lining up to take. The Club Swan 42 is a great platform for Corinthian one-design racing, and should hold its own in IRC buoy racing and distance events.New York YC 42 SpecsLOA: 42'6"LWL: 37'Beam: 13'DSPL: 5,166 lbs.SA (u/d): 1,175 sq. ft./2,652 sq. ft.Draft: 8'9"Design: German Frers Jr.