By Fridtjof Gunkel, YACHT magazine

Swan, the highly regarded builder whose name is synonymous with the highest quality of Scandinavian craftsmanship, started out in 1967 with the Swan 36 Tarantella, which today is owned by the company and is sailed by Swan employees. Between the first and the latest Swan with build number 2,000 the company has built 95 different types, all originating from the drawing boards of top-notch designers like Sparkman & Stephens, Ron Holland, and German Frers. The cooperation with Frers goes back more than 30 years, and produced new trends for cruising and racing boats alike, despite the changes in Swan’s ownership and management.


The 60-foot Emma shows the uncluttered decks and modern lines typical of today's Swans.
Photo: F. Pace

A huge success was the overall-win in the 1973-74 edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race (today’s Volvo Ocean Race) with the ketch-rigged Swan 64 Sayula from Mexico. In 1983 the company launched the most successful Swan model ever -- the Swan 46, of which 109 were built. In 1998 the Italian business tycoon and Swan owner Leonardo Ferragamo took over the yard. As the boats have grown in size, the company has also built production and semi-custom boats and one-offs, but also one-designs such as the Swan 42 for the New York Yacht Club, and the Swan 45. Lined up bow-to-stern, all the Swans that have been produced over the years would form a queue that would be more than 30 kilometers (approximately 19 miles) long.

See a photo gallery of Swan’s history.

This story originally appeared in YACHT, Europe’s largest sailing magazine, and is republished here by permission.

Translated by Dieter