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Clubswan 28

2023 October 1

This new sportboat is the shape of things to come

I’m struggling to find a name for the new crop of high-performance racers like this brand new ClubSwan 28. They are not extreme. I’d say the label of extreme belongs to the foiling America’s Cup boats and similar boats that depend on foiling for optimal performance. Radical doesn’t work because there are too many of these types of boats racing now to be considered radical. Boats like the new ClubSwan 28 are extensions of the sportboat movement that gave us active one-design classes bigger than the typical one-design dinghy classes. Let’s take a look at this new design from the office of Juan Kouyoumdjian.


The one common element of these new racing daysailers is the focus on the windage of the hull and deck. The “hatchet” stem profile is now common. I think we could argue that it reduces drag while maintaining sailing length. It might save a small amount of weight also. But now we see a lot of sculpting to the foredeck to help clean up the airflow to the headsails. I don’t think this would be critical if your boat maxed out at 10 knots of boat speed. But if you are targeting 20 knots of planing boat speed it could be significant. 

I am wondering how or if they are trying to measure this effect objectively. Wind tunnel tests come to mind. That would be fun and expensive. The resultant overall hull and deck shape to this effort to reduce windage is a very attractive boat. To my old eye it looks quite natural, organic even. 

The D/L of this boat is 45.4. That is very low. The L/B is 3.4. That’s normal and may have to do with the ability to trailer the boat. The keel is very far aft. Draft is only 5 feet 11 inches with an L-configuration bulb keel. The keel is a lifting type to aid in trailering. I would have guessed more draft. The rudder is an extremely high-aspect-ratio shape extending down to almost full draft. There will be some high loads on that deep rudder.

What strikes me immediately when I look at the sailplan is just how far aft the mast is stepped. Note that the aft edge of the mast almost lines up with the trailing edge of the keel fin. The retractable sprit is about 7 feet 6 inches long.  That should keep the loads on the asymmetrical chute well forward so weather helm will not be an issue. I have never designed a boat as cutting edge as this boat so I am a bit out of my comfort zone on rig geometry choices. Case in point being the SA/D ratio. Back in the day, a high SA/D was anything over 25. The SA/D of the ClubSwan 28 is 55.92. Put the chute up and that jumps to 76.2. The 28 is aimed at light to moderate air conditions. One-design class rules limit the crew to five, the other spec sheet says four, but there is no max weight limit. 

Reading the promotional material I have from Nautor it would not surprise me if the one-design class organizational aspects of the project did not precede the design stage. In other words, Nautor went to Juan K. with the class structure intact then asked Juan to provide the boat to fit. That makes sense to me anyway. The idea is to race these boats all over the world. Launch for the first boats is scheduled for the summer of 2024. Obviously the new 28 will be a lot of fun and very exciting to sail.

LOA 27’10”; Beam 8’3”; Draft 5’11”; Displ. 2,204 lb.; Sail area 592 sq. ft.; D/L 45.4; L/B 3.4; SA/D 55.92 www.nautorswan.com