Jump to content

Bermuda 40 vs Swan 44?


Recommended Posts

Depreciation has finally become my friend and I can afford an updated example of either one with a relatively new motor, recent refit, no teak deck, and modern systems. Intended use would be winters in the Bahamas and day sailing Lake Erie in the summer. I can't do another winter in Ohio, I'm retired so moving the boat is not an issue.  I will be doing the vast majority of my own maintenance having restored a 34 footer in the past and lived on it for a year. I've always loved the looks of a B-40, but I can also appreciate the speed, blue water prowess, and handling of the Swan. And no, I don't have time to spend a month sailing each one and I am having trouble reaching clarity. I guess I could just skip a step or two and buy a trawler or a motorhome... 

Bermuda 40- Pros: shoal draft keel great for the Bahamas and the ICW. Easy to single hand yawl rig. Iconically beautiful. Reasonable accommodations for one or two, but not for grown children to visit. Great resale value. About 20K less than a comparable S-44. Solid fiberglass deck (I hate leaks.) Beautiful brightwork. Cons: Lots of beautiful brightwork. Not roomy for a 40 footer. It's age has made insurance coverage a potential problem. No second enclosed cabin. Carrying a dinghy is an issue. 

Swan 44- Pros- fast, long waterline. More of a challenge, more potential to take to the Philippines where I am considering expatriating to. Good to weather. Very good blue water capability and protected cockpit. Huge salon. Less exterior teak.  Good to great looks. Full complement of racing and cruising sails. Cons- more skill to single-hand but the owner can do this and fly a spinnaker in the dark. Twelve years newer than the B-40. More expensive refit, sails, parts, maintenance. 

If I get some good responses I will post some provocative pics of my filipina girlfriend. I know the rules and can handle the abuse. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 248
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

The McCurdy & Rhodes designed SW-42 and SW-51 sail extremely well, especially the deep keel versions, and more especially the few competition versions. My SW-42 sailed like a dream. They are very

The B40 is a very old design. They have the same waterline length that my 35 foot boat has, is slower, and less roomy below. Many of them have the archaic "use the icebox as a chart table" layout that

The J/40 is a great boat.   She will provide terrific sailing on the Great Lakes, and if your plans change, she will also be a nice cruising boat to explore the Bahamas and beyond.   We have a J/110. 

Posted Images

If shoal draft becomes a more driving priority you could expand your research into Morgan’s and Pearson’s of similar vintage. They have better accommodations than the B40 and are just as capable.

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, longy said:

There are three vintages/designers of Swan 44's - which one are you considering???

An S&S Swan 44 and an early sixties B-40. I wouldn't call the later Swans "vintage"

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Al Paca said:

The Swan. Aft cabin makes the sale. 

The back end of the B-40 is good for storage, but it does cut down on available room. 
 

I’d go with the swan 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Caliente said:

Swan 44

Which one of the 3??

70's SS or 80's Frers Mk I or 90's Frers Mk II

My preference the slippery and solid Mk II but in-line rig not so much unless modified and subject to how the Volvo ex Perkins M50 ex Montego Van motor looked after as parts expensive. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Which one of the 3??

70's SS or 80's Frers Mk I or 90's Frers Mk II

My preference the slippery and solid Mk II but in-line rig not so much unless modified and subject to how the Volvo ex Perkins M50 ex Montego Van motor looked after as parts expensive. 

 

1 hour ago, Caliente said:

An S&S Swan 44 and an early sixties B-40. I wouldn't call the later Swans "vintage"

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Navig8tor said:

Having completely restored a B 40 and sailed many miles on Swans 44-86 ft, considering your anticipated use I would choose the Swan.

Now this is what I was looking for. Especially if you can explain your decision. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Caliente said:

Now this is what I was looking for. Especially if you can explain your decision. 

Both vessels, types of that era are well built solid green fiberglass with heavy rovings but the S & S Swan in my opinion has two pluses, useable space below decks and a sea kind nature when offshore.

Also I preferred the fin keel on the Swan which combined with a Max prop made close quarters handling easy compared to that of the long keeled Hinckley. 

Hinckley B 40

http://wavetrain.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/bermuda40drawing.jpg

Or Swan 44

1974-nautor-swan-44-for-sale-3.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The S&S Swan 44 sails very well even in light air.    I sailed on one at WIRW back in the early 90s and we could have won a div stacked with about 10 Olson 30s - most of them well sailed.  The Swan could point a bit higher with a touch more speed upwind in light air and flat water, which is what we had all week.  If my memory serves correctly we rounded the top mark in the lead in most of the races or on the heels of the top O30s.  Downwind fairly similar in speed but they could accelerate better in puffs.  Which was our undoing in the final race as we ran into a couple of holes on one of the downwind legs and I think nearly every boat in the div snuck by.

Anyways, very good sailing boat IMO.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Did my first Hobart on a 1972 S&S Swan 44,  originally Superstar of Hamble.

This was in 1984,  breeze on the nose nearly all the way,  over 50 for about 2 days and topping out at somewhere over 80,  seas big enough that it was calm(ish) at the bottom of the waves, rescue guys reported up to 100 feet.

She not only got us there nearly undamaged,  but pulled 5th on line honours.

Ive had a soft spot for those boats ever since!

She was also the only boat I've ever been on where the crew tossed in for a lottery ticket every week with the intention of buying her if we won.

Me I'd go the Swan!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In the OP you said that the Bahamas were going to be your main cruising grounds.  According to SailboatData, the S&S Swan has a draft of over 7 feet vs the B40 with a draft of less than 5 feet. 

While there are some deep draft harbors in the Bahamas, there are many more that cannot be accessed by boats with deep draft keels.  When I was cruising there with my father, the rule of thumb was that 6 foot was the maximum draft, but 5 or less was much better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

FYI, there's a swan 44 at my club in Miami FSBO. No teak decks, clean boat. 

Not associated with the seller at all, just putting in out there. PM me if would like. 

 

Having sailed both, I would feel much more comfortable in the swan offshore than the B40. Higher freeboard, sharper lines, aft cabin is a big plus. Lots of tuning options, with the baby stay, hydraulic backstay, etc. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Grew up racing a Swan 44. It's a fast, seaworthy, robust boat. Only squirrely downwind in a blow. Many had their rudders enlarged to mitigate this problem.

B40 will be a lot slower, hobby horse more in seas and generally will be a disappointment in terms of sailing performance.

If you can deal with deeper draft in Bahamas, go with the Swan

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Caliente said:

134539FD-8C80-41A1-B7BF-CD2B8B3B1A7D.jpeg

this all ya got? You've done pretty well, response wise... 

and just a thought.. yer gonna want the aft stabbin cabin on the Swan for this bit... 

other side now....

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, quod umbra said:

If the Bermuda 40 is in your sights, you might also seek out a Block Island 40 as a possible candidate.

Agreed on the Block Island suggestion, similar looks but for the same price as a 50/60 year old Bermuda 40 you can have a BI 40 from the late 80/90s which benefits from years of refinements.

All that being said, I would echo an earlier comment about the sailing performance of these centerboard boats with long overhangs - I used to have a Bristol 40 (same design concept/era/ layout), it was tender, slow in chop and realistically not much room down below.  Great on a nice reach though. 

I would definitely lean towards the Swan, almost bought one of the 44s earlier this year.  My dad still talks about racing one back in the 70's, has always been one of his favorite boats.   I ended up with an Alden 44 which got me the two-cabin layout, but shoal draft and and a slightly more traditional look.

Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Do you want to live in a one-bedroom + den condo or a studio apartment?  

Yeah, the aft cabin in the Swan is pretty deluxe IIRC.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, qwerty57 said:

In the OP you said that the Bahamas were going to be your main cruising grounds.  According to SailboatData, the S&S Swan has a draft of over 7 feet vs the B40 with a draft of less than 5 feet. 

While there are some deep draft harbors in the Bahamas, there are many more that cannot be accessed by boats with deep draft keels.  When I was cruising there with my father, the rule of thumb was that 6 foot was the maximum draft, but 5 or less was much better.

You are correct, and I listed the shoal draft keel of the B-40 as an advantage being aware of the six foot rule. Limited harbors would not be a deal breaker. It's also not fun bumping the bottom or getting hung up on a submerged tree (been there) on the ICW or the Erie Canal 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The MK 2 seems to have the cockpit companionway whereas the MK 1 and S&S have the bridgedeck companionway. I seem to recall that there were some earlier models with aft/dual companionways. Can anyone clarify that?

The winch/wheel/ traveller set up on the S&S seems better suited to short handed...but the bridgedeck companionway not so much.

There’s an older S&S with a modified rear companionway and a good owners profile on YW. If it were me, I’d start there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, qwerty57 said:

While there are some deep draft harbors in the Bahamas, there are many more that cannot be accessed by boats with deep draft keels.  When I was cruising there with my father, the rule of thumb was that 6 foot was the maximum draft, but 5 or less was much better.

6 foot is also a global rule unless you are happy to miss places or anchor more exposed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, fufkin said:

The MK 2 seems to have the cockpit companionway whereas the MK 1 and S&S have the bridgedeck companionway. I seem to recall that there were some earlier models with aft/dual companionways. Can anyone clarify that?

Mk II with well fitting 2 piece washboard to  produce larger cockpit the better outcome IMO. Motor access well thought out having regard to having no bridgedeck. 

Dual cockpit/companionway was the Frers 46 Mk II that preceeded the 44 MII by a few years. Cracker of a boat as it was actually a 47 footer BUT it only came in 9 foot draft which murdered its cruising sales and so bugger all built. Can't understand why they didn't add a 7 foot version like the 44.

2 great boats that came from the shackles of IOR being given the boot.

Wack a removable prodder on and get rid of the pole, multiple headsails and turn a blind eye to inline rig, great value for money outcome and SH friendly.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that has only been hinted at so far - the Swan is a hell of a lot bigger boat.

7' more W/L and 9K more Disp.

I'd go for the Swan, no question.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Was motoring out of an anchorage in Mexico one morning on a S&S 44. Doing about 41/2 knots. Next thing a HUGE bang and we’re going backwards at 1/2 a knot. Damage? Meh. Small ding in the lead. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you have two conflicting scenarios.  If you really will spend most of your time in Bahamas, do NOT go with 7'.  Even 6' is a pain.  If you really intend to move to a different ocean, the blue water ability will matter greatly for the trip there, but...will it still be the most important thing once you are there?

Personally, I think I'd make the destination decision before I made the boat decision.   Only because the best boats for each are so very different.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Caliente said:

An S&S Swan 44 and an early sixties B-40. I wouldn't call the later Swans "vintage"

IF you can get yourself to Little River SC, come out and spend a day on Lioness (Hull #24 1962). Might even be able to get Hank Hinckley to come along. He has a shop in Wilmington with 2 B-40's. One is hull 23 

Link to post
Share on other sites

At least two of the B-40s now for sale have circumnavigated. At least two of the B-40s for sale now have been lived on by a couple for ten years straight.  This is surprising to me. I have even seen Baby Swan 36s that have circumnavigated, one is for sale. That is a more economical choice I could still live with.  I’m pretty sure the same is true for the Swan 44 despite the draft.  Now, if I was only going to the Bahamas or gunk-holing the Chesapeake I would choose a shoal draft boat. But I am not sure of the future, and I am used to making decisions on the best information available so maybe that would favor one or another, the consensus seems to be for the Swan. Changing boats can get expensive. 

I’m getting advice it is better to be in a shallow harbor with a big boat than big seas with a little boat, and that the Big Swan is very livable. There is a giant marina in Subic Bay $300 per month, so I could live there and explore Asia in the future for example. 

I am a little surprised there is not more fervor for the B-40 even though it is less practical. That speaks volumes for the Swan.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, LionessRacing said:

IF you can get yourself to Little River SC, come out and spend a day on Lioness.

I checked out your FB page, nice! The B-40 is advertised as being sold with no guarantee on the keel, it hasn’t been extended for years, and I see you had work done on yours. 100 cranks to retract it. How to know if this is a problem? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Caliente said:

I’m getting advice it is better to be in a shallow harbor with a big boat than big seas with a little boat,

You clearly have never been on a Mini.....20 feet of 'heaven on a stick'. 

The Atlantic a breeze....Pacific distances maybe not so much.. .but think of all the money you will save, not to mention a new love called freeze dried.. :D 

 

biggie-small.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Caliente said:

I checked out your FB page, nice! The B-40 is advertised as being sold with no guarantee on the keel, it hasn’t been extended for years, and I see you had work done on yours. 100 cranks to retract it. How to know if this is a problem? 

If it's in the water, turn the crank counter clockwise and send a diver to photograph or have a "lunch time" survey lift with a travel lift and look at it while in the straps.  

if it's on the hard, have a travel lift raise her 4 feet and skip diver? 

while dry, you can lift floor boards, remove the bronze trunk that covers the lead screw under the crank, and see the trailing edge of the board and inspect the bronze lifting strap. If the board is straight it will go down, and if the strap is intact, it will come back up, check for the bonding ground strap to be connected, and corrosion of the various bits. 

If the strap is broken or corroded a simple replacement by any competent yard, pay attention to the alloys for the strap and pin to board. 

If the board is bent, that's a bigger job, but I've had mine straightened back in 2004 when we got hung on a ledge in a 5 kt cross tide up on the Piscataqua at Great Bay Marine.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

For similar vintage and price, have you considered an Alden 44 or a Cambria 40?  I consider both to be a premium boat that is well built and I think is comparable to the performance and space of the Swan.  Personally I like the Alden as a good cross between the B40 and the swan.  The swan and B40 are iconic boats so I get the appeal but just curious why those are the only options under consideration?


If you are just limiting to the Swan vs. B40, I would probably go Swan just for the fact that it is faster and has more room.  I like the look of the B40 better, but I think the Swan is more boat.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a fair amount of experience with both boats, but have only sailed the Swan offshore.

The B-40 is basically a CCA-rule cruiser racer design from the late 1950s, with a short waterline and limited interior volume compared to the Swan. Because of the shoal draft configuration, it has a relatively low ORR stability index--typically around 105 to 110 at most. 

Ironically, despite its storied history, that makes it ineligible to do the Newport-Bermuda Race, which sets a minimum SI of 115.

Having said that, I have seen plenty of B-40s out cruising, in various places around the world.

The interior layout of later Mk3 (I think) versions is more updated than the original boats from the 60s.

The S&S Swan 44 is a different animal. It is basically an early IOR design, and borrows a lot of S&S thinking from the late 1960s, including an underwater profile not too distant from the 12mR Intrepid and other ocean racers S&S was doing in that period.

The original rudders on these boats are small, and maneuvering on inshore races is not as positive as you might want, for example, in tight mark roundings. This is obviously less critical for offshore sailing, particularly cruising, but it also means that the autopilot will work harder in some conditions.

As is typical of these early Swans, the original interior layout and on-deck ergonomics are more geared to racing than cruising, despite the aft cabin.  You don't need two pilot berths, two settees, two aft cabin berths, and two forepeak berths for cruising.

To that end, I helped manage a program for many years than ran several older Swans (a 44 and a 51). We took a completely unmodified 44 and turned into a ferocious rule-beating handicap racer, while improving it greatly for cruising. I won't trouble you with every detail, but here are a few that might matter for your cruising plans.

We had Jim Taylor design a new, deeper spade rudder to solve the handling issues. He undoubtedly still has those design plans. We did a full-race Harken deck layout (a member of the team was a partner in Hall Spars, and a major Harken dealer). I actually adapted a lot of the features of that deck layout into the heavy, traditional 40-footer I was building in my backyard at the time, and which proved invaluable when my wife and I circumnavigated on that boat a few years later.

We replaced the teak decks, because the owner wanted them. We should have just taken them off completely, as the saved weight would have made up for the other stuff we added. I made the mistake of putting teak decks on the boat I was building at the same time, although in fairness, they still look pretty good decades later. 

(I have no proprietary interest anymore in that boat I built, but it happens to be for sale right now at a really good price. Go to jwboatco.com to see some pictures. It will be easy to figure out which one it is, since it is the only 40-foot sailboat they have listed.)

The companionway layout of the Swan is problematic, in that there is little on-deck protection moving from the cockpit to the midships companionway offshore in heavy weather. You need to look carefully at that one.

Having said that, we had friends who circumnavigated with two small children in what was basically a larger, slightly-newer aluminum version of a Swan 44, with a similar deck layout and a pair of coffee grinders in the cockpit. They were a lot tougher than we were.

Because the owner of the Swan 44 was a physician who wanted to use the boat for cruising as well as racing, we did a fair amount of interior modification. The highlights were to reconfigure the aft cabin with a small double berth, and to completely re-build the port side of the main cabin to install a u-shaped dinette and get rid of the pilot berth. Both of those changes were more cruising-friendly.

One thing we did not do, that you will need to do no matter what, is install an anchor windlass and a proper anchoring system if your cruising plans extend beyond the Bahamas.

The boats you are considering are totally different from each other. The Swan weighs 30,000 pounds, and B-40 just over 20,000 pounds. The shoal draft of the B-40 is a huge plus for cruising the Bahamas, but don't let anyone tell you that you can't cruise the Bahamas with 7' of draft. You can, but it is obviously a limiting factor.

If your goal is ocean crossing, you will not find a more seaworthy boat than an old Swan 44. It has an ORR stability index around 135, so if it knocks down, it is comin right back up. You can probably conservatively average about 20 miles more per day on offshore passages in the Swan. That may not sound like much, but it adds up on long passages.

We had 7' of draft on the boat I built. For world cruising, that simply was not an issue, but we never really cruised the Bahamas in that boat, only sailing through on our way back to the US from the Caribbean.

The B-40 is a classic beauty, and is right at home cruising in Maine, where we currently cruise in our downeast powerboat. In many ways it is a more cruising-friendly design than the Swan 44. If your goal is extended offshore cruising, however, I would choose the power and performance of the Swan.

Both of these are old boats now, and unless they have been significantly updated, you may spend serious money on systems and equipment to get the boat ready for extended cruising.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Limiting yourself to a choice between these two boats seems odd, especially when there are some really conflicting criteria.  If I were looking for a good offshore boat with a good pedigree and shoal draft, I would start with Ted Hood designs.  Probably the perfect boat for you would be the Seguin 40 built by Lyman Morse in the mid 80’s.  Those are fast, good looking, sea kindly and you can tie them to a palm tree on a beach if you want to.  Unfortunately COVID has has made finding boats on the used market pretty tough. 
 

As far as the binary choice of Swan 44 vs B40 I think everyone so far has offered spot on advice... ie the B40 is a beautiful classic, but really an inferior machine for sailing.  The rudder issues mentioned above for the swans are significant, especially in the 38.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

These replies are very helpful, especially the ones pertaining to personal experience sailing both. I have all the reviews and specifications memorized. Every characteristic of a boat is a compromise. I will research any and all suggestions. 
 

Some clarifications are in order... For example, I am not wealthy. I can afford to lose the entire asset, but I cannot justify expensive modifications and would like to keep the budget around $100,000. I am only looking at boats in excellent condition with recent refits and modern upgrades. The Swan has a custom rudder, both have newish engines and sails for example. 

Every boat is a compromise, and I am flexible in this regard. I like to buy quality older assets and improve them with my own sweat and blood not my pocketbook. But I don’t want to start out with major projects. 
 

If I have a boat that is safer offshore, I am more likely to go offshore or cruise long distance. If it has a swing keel I will use that advantage to gunk-hole more often.  Value and condition is important as there will be less loss when it comes time to sell. 
 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, T sailor said:

For similar vintage and price, have you considered an Alden 44 or a Cambria 40?  I consider both to be a premium boat that is well built and I think is comparable to the performance and space of the Swan.  Personally I like the Alden as a good cross between the B40 and the swan.  The swan and B40 are iconic boats so I get the appeal but just curious why those are the only options under consideration?


If you are just limiting to the Swan vs. B40, I would probably go Swan just for the fact that it is faster and has more room.  I like the look of the B40 better, but I think the Swan is more boat.  

Took care of an Alden 44.  Loved it and as T says...maybe a good compromise for you.   Do not know stability factor though.  It must be lower than the Swan (centerboard) but God willing higher the the B-40.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Caliente said:

This might be a better choice:

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1989/sabre-38-3717815/

Sabre 38 Mk II centerboard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a 43 and then a 44.  I thought the 43 looked and sailed better, but the 44 had a better interior.  The rudder on the 43 had been moved aft and enlarged and the trim-tab glassed in. Watch out for soft decks behind the mast and the usual teak deck issues. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Caliente said:

I looked at all those listings just before you posted this. You posted the same Swan 44 twice, and probably intended to post the black one that was the cheapest.

Each has plusses and minuses. Newer engines, assuming they are well-maintained, are a big plus.

The cheap Swan 44 (black one ) has the Kaufman underbody mods. Opinion is mixed on those. We purposely bought an unmodified one, because we did not like the Kaufman mods.

The B-40 that circumnavigated is OK.

Then I looked at the 1998 B 40 in VA. That is hands down, by light years, the best value of any of the boats you are considering. It is newer, has the modern interior layout. Even if you had to replace the engine that would be the best value and the best cruising boat of all of these, by far, as partial as I am to the Swan.

I am surprised it is on the market at that price. Unless there is something obvious that doesn't show, that would be my choice, with all the others a distant second.

However, note that this is not a Hinckley Bermuda 40. It is a Block Island 40. It is basically the same hull as the Bermuda 40, but it is an entirely different builder.

Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1984/alden-44-aft-cockpit-3536074/

Wow, these are nice. I have never been able to shop in this market until now (inheritance, better to be lucky than good) so I was not familiar. I never dreamed of owning a forty footer in the past. This one is still a little steep with a 20 year old diesel, but tempting. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Caliente said:

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1984/alden-44-aft-cockpit-3536074/

Wow, these are nice. I have never been able to shop in this market until now (inheritance, better to be lucky than good) so I was not familiar. I never dreamed of owning a forty footer in the past. This one is still a little steep with a 20 year old diesel, but tempting. 

The Alden 44 is a really nice boat that sails well. Shoal draft like the B-40, but a really nice interior layout. The hulls are balsa-cored, so a careful hull survey is required. 

The engine may be 20 years old, but it only has 900 hours on it. Assuming proper maintenance, it is probably fine.

Electronics are old. Sails are not full described.

Chances are you could get it for $100k or even less. You may have found your boat there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I see what I did, I meant to include this Swan 36. Looks to be in bristol condition, but very basic systems and an older but updated engine. Yes, a totally different boat again, much more spartan but the same theme. I'm feeling better with all the suggestions so far that I can narrow this search down without missing a gem or doing something really dumb. 

I noticed the cored hull on the Alden 44. Yikes, I need to check that out if it is below the waterline I don't know if I can do that. 

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1969/Nautor-Swan-36-3016028/

Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Caliente said:

Now I see what I did, I meant to include this Swan 36. Looks to be in bristol condition, but very basic systems and an older but updated engine. Yes, a totally different boat again, much more spartan but the same theme. I'm feeling better with all the suggestions so far that I can narrow this search down without missing a gem or doing something really dumb. 

I noticed the cored hull on the Alden 44. Yikes, I need to check that out if it is below the waterline I don't know if I can do that. 

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1969/Nautor-Swan-36-3016028/

Caliente, I recommend a surveyor. They will deal with checking the core. And promise me you'll pay for the boat hanging in the slings for a bit for your surveyor. You can usually save a buck or 2 if you do it during the yards lunch hour.

Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Caliente said:

Now I see what I did, I meant to include this Swan 36. Looks to be in bristol condition, but very basic systems and an older but updated engine. Yes, a totally different boat again, much more spartan but the same theme. I'm feeling better with all the suggestions so far that I can narrow this search down without missing a gem or doing something really dumb. 

I noticed the cored hull on the Alden 44. Yikes, I need to check that out if it is below the waterline I don't know if I can do that. 

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1969/Nautor-Swan-36-3016028/

The old Swan 36 is a tiny boat inside. It sails upwind extremely well, but is not good either reaching or running, with a very heavy helm reaching, particularly with the tiller. About half have wheels, half have tillers.

The rudder has a habit of de-laminating on either side of the steel armatures.

These, and the 43, were the first fiberglass boats built by Nautor. A few of these very  early Nautors suffered from extreme hull delamination, but those may well be long gone by now.

While I have a soft spot for this design--I had my first offshore victory in a Swan 36 racing Marion to Bermuda in 1981--it is not a boat I would choose for extended cruising.

Two things a lot of new long-distance cruisers fail to appreciate is the importance of range under power, and water capacity. The 40-footer I built for extended cruising had 120 gallons of fuel capacity, giving about a 900 mile range under power. It had 180 gallons of fresh water capacity, plus a watermaker.

Note that the listing for the Swan 36 does not mention the amount of fuel and water tankage.

Smaller boats, and even larger boats not designed for extended cruising, often fall short in both those categories. Factor this into your thinking. The smaller the boat, the smaller the likely amount of tankage, and the less capacity to carry suitable ground tackle.

Extended cruising is as much an exercise in logistics as anything else. If all you are doing is cruising for a few weeks or a few months, you can get away with less.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, a survey is required anyway for insurance now. The companies have turned their backs on older boats. That being said, repairing fiberglass is a second career for me and I do not trust surveyors having seen so many disasters. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, accnick said:

The old Swan 36 is a tiny boat inside. It sails upwind extremely well, but is not good either reaching or running, with a very heavy helm reaching, particularly with the tiller. About half have wheels, half have tillers.

The rudder has a habit of de-laminating on either side of the steel armatures.

These, and the 43, were the first fiberglass boats built by Nautor. A few of these very  early Nautors suffered from extreme hull delamination, but those may well be long gone by now.

While I have a soft spot for this design--I had my first offshore victory in a Swan 36 racing Marion to Bermuda in 1981--it is not a boat I would choose for extended cruising.

Two things a lot of new long-distance cruisers fail to appreciate is the importance of range under power, and water capacity. The 40-footer I built for extended cruising had 120 gallons of fuel capacity, giving about a 900 mile range under power. It had 180 gallons of fresh water capacity, plus a watermaker.

Note that the listing for the Swan 36 does not mention the amount of fuel and water tankage.

Smaller boats, and even larger boats not designed for extended cruising, often fall short in both those categories. Factor this into your thinking. The smaller the boat, the smaller the likely amount of tankage, and the less capacity to carry suitable ground tackle.

Extended cruising is as much an exercise in logistics as anything else. If all you are doing is cruising for a few weeks or a few months, you can get away with less.

Much appreciated. I always look at the tankage, whether the tanks have been replaced, their location etc. For example the Hinckley fuel tank is monel and never wears out, is located under the engine, and has been cleaned and revented when the engine was pulled. 
 

I wonder why the 36 is always on the list of best Swans. It is now off my list due to the sailing characteristics you describe. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

For your described purpose, the Swan all the way. The B-40 is aesthetically the more pleasing of the two, but the Swan Is faster, has more livable room below, handles better in tight harbors, and likely has better storage.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, T sailor said:

For similar vintage and price, have you considered an Alden 44 or a Cambria 40?  I consider both to be a premium boat that is well built and I think is comparable to the performance and space of the Swan.  Personally I like the Alden as a good cross between the B40 and the swan.  The swan and B40 are iconic boats so I get the appeal but just curious why those are the only options under consideration?


If you are just limiting to the Swan vs. B40, I would probably go Swan just for the fact that it is faster and has more room.  I like the look of the B40 better, but I think the Swan is more boat.  

my first several Bermuda races were on a Cambria 40.. which as I recall had some kind of retractable centerboard in addition to 6' keel.. 

excellent boat. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In lieu of a Swan, you may want to consider a Baltic.  Another well regarded Finnish built boat, often considered a rival to Swan although perhaps too IOR looking for your aesthetic. https://www.yachtworld.com/boats-for-sale/make-baltic/sort-price:asc/

The older C&C models don't seem to get quite the love of the nextgen Peterson designs, so tend to sell for a discount.  Personally I like the DP versions.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I am not as in love with the Hinckley, before I discard it I should mention it has a one year old survey for $105k and they are willing to take $75k. Still, the BI 40 seems a better deal even though I never heard of it before. It’s like a new boat in comparison. The Alden 44 is now the front runner, if I can get the price down. I am learning a lot from this discussion. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just called on the Alden 44. Even though the ad is not marked "pending" it is undergoing sea trial/survey and has a waiting list. Beautiful boat. Now I am spoiled! The rest are WAY out of my reach. 

I need a glass of wine. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Al Paca said:

Was motoring out of an anchorage in Mexico one morning on a S&S 44. Doing about 41/2 knots. Next thing a HUGE bang and we’re going backwards at 1/2 a knot. Damage? Meh. Small ding in the lead. 

Am I the only one who wonders what you hit? Rocks?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, 12 metre said:

In lieu of a Swan, you may want to consider a Baltic.  Another well regarded Finnish built boat, often considered a rival to Swan although perhaps too IOR looking for your aesthetic. https://www.yachtworld.com/boats-for-sale/make-baltic/sort-price:asc/

The older C&C models don't seem to get quite the love of the nextgen Peterson designs, so tend to sell for a discount.  Personally I like the DP versions.

The Baltics are also balsa-cored. Some of the DP models are really nice, particularly the 51. A friend of mine "stole" a 51 in nice condition for $150k a couple of years ago.

It was a boat we owed time to in our Swan 51, and we had to work hard to beat it in offshore races.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Pehrst said:

I don't beleive there was a 51' DP. There were 38, 42, 48 & 55. The 51 was an earlier C & C design

You are correct, my mistake. It was the 5th C&C design built by Baltic, maybe the last. Certainly the best in my book, with a really good cruising layout below.

Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1998/block-island-40-3734223/

Did I mention I hate leaks? And cored decks? And most of all cored hulls below the waterline? Well at least this BI doesn't have cored decks below the waterline. Since the 73 Swan 44 broker hasn't even returned my message and the Alden is sold, I scrutinized the ad for the Block Island again and talked to the broker and asked him about the photos, at least he had been on the boat. "Oh, just a few stains on the wood where the portlight was left open near the lamp." "A little moisture on the rear coachroof where the gauges are mounted." 

It would be a good exercise for newbies to boat buying to examine the photos very carefully. At first glance, this boat looks like a great buy due to its age, and the pictures make it look fresh, clean, and well maintained. But if you zoom in and look hard it all unravels. The wood around the companionway is water-stained port and starboard- that laminate core is probably mush. There is a piece of teak covering the back of the gauges just to port of the companionway where the wood was probably really messed up. The nearby portlight is leaking from not being sealed correctly or left open, but the one by the lamp is also leaking. Maybe the laborer doing this job at the factory was smoking weed and just didn't care. When I bought my wreck of a Cal I had similar water stains which turned out to be rotten core and I had to completely rebuild the companionway and rear coach roof. This is a big, messy job! By the time I got done with that Cal I had learned a host of new $65 per hour skills. 

The barometer on the forward port bulkhead is completely oxidized and next to it the wood trim is covered with dirt and mud dauber wasp nest remnants. Storage lockers are dirty and varnish around the galley is neglected. There are water stains on the port side from the hanging lockers to the storage behind the settee. Makes me wonder what is going on behind that wood and under the headliner. This boat seems to have been closed up and neglected for a longish period of time. Maybe the owner died or some other unfortunate family event. Stuff happens. Dozens of times I have seen issues like this where a surveyor minimized the problem just as the broker is doing, after all they probably know each other and depend on each other for a living at times, just like realtors and home inspectors. 

Also, the sails are original. "Serviceable." That's another 6K. Finally, the diesel is 23 years old and if it has been maintained as poorly as the rest of the boat I wouldn't want to take it far from a mechanic. 9K for a Beta engine, then installation, maybe a new aluminum fuel tank, figure 15K. 

Maybe some consider this "elective surgery." But by the time all of these issues are addressed this will not be an inexpensive purchase and a well-maintained 44 could be had for the same money. Buyer beware! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Caliente said:

 

Maybe some consider this "elective surgery." But by the time all of these issues are addressed this will not be an inexpensive purchase and a well-maintained 44 could be had for the same money. Buyer beware! 

You have no idea how well any boat is maintained until you look at it. Buyer beware, indeed.

I hate to tell you, but virtually all sailboat decks are cored, with either plywood, vertical-grain balsa with ply inserts for hardware, or foam with high-density inserts. If they were not cored, they would as flexible as a trampoline, and you would struggle to mount hardware such as cleats and jib tracks. Core gives stiffness to flat panels like decks and the sides and tops of deckhouses. They are rarely solid glass.

All of the boats you are looking at are old, because frankly, your budget is such that you can't afford most boats that are a lot newer. There is no free lunch.

The deck leaks on the BI 40 look significant, but only a first-hand inspection will tell you how significant. They are a negotiating point, at the very least.

The 7.2 liter  420 hp Cat in my downeast powerboat is now 25 years old. It has gone through two turbos and a primary heat exchanger, various bits and pieces such as water pumps, and the injectors are about to be removed, re-sealed, and re-calibrated. But it runs as new, and will probably outlive me.

Many 25-year-old engines are still in Maine lobsterboats, even though a lobsterman can depreciate or expense his of her boat's engine, justifying the cost of replacement of an older engine.

Sailboat diesels often get the short end of the stick, and it is sometimes cheaper to replace a small diesel than rebuild it. Having said that, the ad for my old sailboat (now for sale, but not by me), says the 25+ year old Perkins 4-108 now has 7500 hours on it. If I still had that boat, I might consider replacing that engine with a more modern one. Or I might pull it and rebuild it. Looking at the current photos of that engine, I can tell the rear seal is leaking, but those often leaked from day one on the 4-108.

Age in a diesel engine is an irrelevant measure of condition. Always ask to see an engine log when buying any boat. Not that many sailboats keep engine logs.

When we circumnavigated in our last sailboat, I reckon we motored at least 15% of the way around the world, especially through parts of Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, and almost 1000 miles along the coast of Australia in an unusual year with virtually no coastal winds when there should have been plenty.

If the rest of a boat is poorly maintained, you can reasonably assume the engine has been treated in a similar fashion. But you won't know until you inspect it. If you have to replace the engine in the typical 40' sailboat, that's at least $20,000 unless you are talented with a wrench and have access to a hoist and plenty of time to invest in the project.(Don't forget the gearbox, which is just as old, and the rest of the drive train and exhaust system.)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bermuda 40 prior to 1972 are all solid glass. IIRC older Oysters are also. The reason decks and coach roofs are usually a cored laminate is because the laminate is seven to 30 times as stiff as fiberglass alone for the same weight as you rightly point out. My main complaint about cored decks is that the hardware except on very high end marquees is often bedded poorly and leaks develop before the owner realizes they need maintenance. Butyl tape is best for this but rarely used, it remains pliable for decades. 

This is another reason I am looking at the Swan 44, many of the teak covered decks have been replaced with fiberglass and the leaking issues were resolved during the process. And why I am shy of the utterly lovely Alden 44 which has a cored hull. One nice thing about the northeast boats, many are out of the water 8 months of the year and stored indoors. 

Ask any delivery skipper if he wants to do a long passage with a 20 year old diesel. Although 5,000 hours is not unusual on a diesel that is run frequently and well-cared for. Look at the ads and see the percentage of forty year old boats with twenty year old diesels, it is really high. For airplane engines, there is not just a rebuild time based on hours but also on years in service. 

At least that Bermuda 40 from 1961 doesn't have leaks, old sails, and an old engine. Maybe I will have to self-insure a third of it- at least it will hold its value well.  

I'm wondering why no one has mentioned something like the Hanse 371. Of course, it isn't traditional at all but it is fast and easily single-handed with its self-handling jib, and a twenty year old one goes for 80K. It's not a great blue water cruiser due to storage but for going to the Bahamas it is fine according to reviews. I'm having to widen my horizons to find something that is a good value in this size and budget. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

https://www.cruisingworld.com/repowering-your-engine/

Good article on repowering. The engines over 50 HP are usually "common-rail" and have oodles of electronics. The older engines were simpler and probably better to have when situated somewhere other than say Annapolis when a repair is needed. I have a 1968 Ford diesel tractor. It runs great, I could tear it down myself, and parts are cheap. I already mentioned several times "everything about a boat is a compromise." 

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Butyl tape is best for this but rarely used...."

Seriously?

I must say that has NEVER been an indication of a quality built yacht.

8 hours ago, accnick said:

You are correct, my mistake. It was the 5th C&C design built by Baltic, maybe the last. Certainly the best in my book, with a really good cruising layout below.

The 51 was Bruckmann built with Goman acting as the project manager IIRC. Nothing wrong with that combination IMHO.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Butyl is superior to silicone in my own experience and many others. This is not just my opinion, but people may disagree on this. There are other factors, such as camphering deck penetrations, drill and fill etc. It is not unusual to find rotten cores around deck penetrations on five year old boats nowadays. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pro tip: most photos on Yachtworld are uploaded in way higher res than their little slideshow shows. If you get the image url (right click and copy image location should do it), then remove the size from the end, you'll get the full resolution original. Really helps bring out the nasty details!

 

And a counterpoint on the coring debate: a core provides insulation, which makes a huge difference in condensation down below. My last two boats have been foam cored hull and deck and you can open them up on the coldest, wettest winter day and they're just dry. Zero humidity issues.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Butyl is superior to silicone in my own experience and many others. This is not just my opinion, but people may disagree on this. There are other factors, such as camphering deck penetrations, drill and fill etc. It is not unusual to find rotten cores around deck penetrations on five year old boats nowadays. 

It was already mentioned that coring provides insulation which helps noise and temperature control.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Caliente said:

Butyl is superior to silicone in my own experience and many others. This is not just my opinion, but people may disagree on this. There are other factors, such as camphering deck penetrations, drill and fill etc. It is not unusual to find rotten cores around deck penetrations on five year old boats nowadays. 

I almost never use silicone on a boat, particularly on any surface that may ever in your wildest dreams might need painting. It is virtually impossible to completely remove from most surfaces.

C&C used butyl tape in the hull to deck joint, as I recall, and may have used it in portlight installations.

I haven't been pulling deck hardware off five-year-old boats to find out if there is rot. Unless there is a leak or the obvious potential for a leak, I leave well enough alone. Most quality builders use some variation on drill and fill, although if is a production boat or quality custom boat, you are more likely to find solid inserts in some form in the way of qlldeck hardware.

If the deck is laid up in a female mold in traditional fiberglass building, the core is installed with the deck mold still upside down, with solid deck inserts installed as part of the core installation process. Any builder who does much less than this is not a builder I want to deal with. With a lot of boats, there is then a laid-up glass liner attached to the underside of the deck with structural putty, or a bagged fiberglass skin that is then finished off with a removable headliner of some type.

A large percentage of the deck core issues result from aftermarket hardware installations, or screw-fastened teak decks, which have thousands of potential leak sources.

I hate screwed teak decks on older boats. Once they have been sanded enough that the bungs start to pop, you almost always have core issues.

When I built my last boat, I glued the teak decks on using adhesive from Teakdecking Systems. Only the covering boards and king planks had any fastenings, and they were as few and far between as I could get away with. It was a piece-built deck, and took a long time to lay, to say the least, since it was just me doing it.

Teak decks on 40-year-old boats--and that's what we are talking about on most of the vintage Swans you are looking at--are almost always problematic in one way or another.

I've been involved in re-decking several older Swans. All required a fair amount of deck repair before laying the new decks. In all cases, we used new decks by Teakdecking Systems.

Even removing the old decks and re-glassing instead of replacing with new teak is a tedious and time-consuming process.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind there is a very big difference in handling a Swan 44 vs. a Bermuda 40.  Sail size on the 44 means a lot more effort to trim, and a lot more bux to replace sails.

My peeve with the Swan 44 is the disconnection between on deck and down below.  There's virtually no way to communicate with someone at the wheel if you are down below.  That's not my preference for the type of casual local and coastal sailing I do.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Accnick has made some good points that I will second.  Dismissing a diesel out of hand solely based on age will severely limit your options, especially as Acc notes that a well maintained diesel can practically last forever.  Be sure to note engine hours and service history.  Check to see that the installation is clean and anal.   
 

The other good point Acc makes is about Swan decks being problematic.  I will expand on this to say that the problem with the used Swan marketplace is the disproportionately large number of boats that have been ridden hard and put away wet, yet their asking price reflects the brand name, rather than the actual value of the boat in the marketplace.  Hinckleys also suffer from this phenomenon, but to a lesser extent.   To that end, you’re doing the right thing by expanding your search to quality boats with lesser brand premium attached.  I think the reason nobody mentioned the Hanse is that it’s well outside your original criteria which seemed to favor more classic designs.  My experience looking at boats, owning boats and being in the industry is that you will find truly special boats, often at reasonable prices, if you search for designers and well known custom builders.   Going this route you will find some really interesting boats.  
 

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1995/custom-carija-boat-works-aluminum-3640129/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1973/sparkman-stephens-45-aluminum-sloop-3576454/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1989/mason-aft-cockpit-cutter-2944691/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1999/wylie-performance-cruiser-3664895/

 

there’s a quick sampling   Unfortunately the yacht market has been well picked over due to Covid, so there is a real scarcity of quality used boats available compared to a year and a half ago  

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, eliboat said:

Accnick has made some good points that I will second.  Dismissing a diesel out of hand solely based on age will severely limit your options, especially as Acc notes that a well maintained diesel can practically last forever.  Be sure to note engine hours and service history.  Check to see that the installation is clean and anal.   
 

The other good point Acc makes is about Swan decks being problematic.  I will expand on this to say that the problem with the used Swan marketplace is the disproportionately large number of boats that have been ridden hard and put away wet, yet their asking price reflects the brand name, rather than the actual value of the boat in the marketplace.  Hinckleys also suffer from this phenomenon, but to a lesser extent.   To that end, you’re doing the right thing by expanding your search to quality boats with lesser brand premium attached.  I think the reason nobody mentioned the Hanse is that it’s well outside your original criteria which seemed to favor more classic designs.  My experience looking at boats, owning boats and being in the industry is that you will find truly special boats, often at reasonable prices, if you search for designers and well known custom builders.   Going this route you will find some really interesting boats.  
 

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1995/custom-carija-boat-works-aluminum-3640129/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1973/sparkman-stephens-45-aluminum-sloop-3576454/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1989/mason-aft-cockpit-cutter-2944691/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1999/wylie-performance-cruiser-3664895/

 

there’s a quick sampling   Unfortunately the yacht market has been well picked over due to Covid, so there is a real scarcity of quality used boats available compared to a year and a half ago  

 

All of your points are valid, particularly looking a bit off the beaten path. Here is a listing on a boat with an interesting history. She was built specifically as a classic design for long-distance  offshore cruising, and was widely chronicled during the build as well as the subsequent 35,000 mile double-handed circumnavigation for which she was built, after which she was sold as the owner/builder went on to other projects. There was a big article on her in Cruising World back in 1997

Second owner pampered her: kept indoors in southern Maine, used only in summers, meticulously maintained. Sold due to declining health. Now on the third owners, who took her to the Caribbean and back, but then changed cruising plans--that happens a lot-- and decided to do other things.

I have no proprietary interest in the boat now, other than the fact that I built her and sailed tens of thousands of miles in her, and would love to see her go to a good home. She is fast and seaworthy.

https://midcoastyacht.com/boats/40-custom-l-e-nicholson-saltram-saga/

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think these last two writers are directly over the target. In particular the Valkyrs is exactly the boat I would like to own. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, accnick said:

I almost never use silicone on a boat, particularly on any surface that may ever in your wildest dreams might need painting. It is virtually impossible to completely remove from most surfaces.

C&C used butyl tape in the hull to deck joint, as I recall, and may have used it in portlight installations.

I haven't been pulling deck hardware off five-year-old boats to find out if there is rot. Unless there is a leak or the obvious potential for a leak, I leave well enough alone. Most quality builders use some variation on drill and fill, although if is a production boat or quality custom boat, you are more likely to find solid inserts in some form in the way of qlldeck hardware.

If the deck is laid up in a female mold in traditional fiberglass building, the core is installed with the deck mold still upside down, with solid deck inserts installed as part of the core installation process. Any builder who does much less than this is not a builder I want to deal with. With a lot of boats, there is then a laid-up glass liner attached to the underside of the deck with structural putty, or a bagged fiberglass skin that is then finished off with a removable headliner of some type.

A large percentage of the deck core issues result from aftermarket hardware installations, or screw-fastened teak decks, which have thousands of potential leak sources.

I hate screwed teak decks on older boats. Once they have been sanded enough that the bungs start to pop, you almost always have core issues.

When I built my last boat, I glued the teak decks on using adhesive from Teakdecking Systems. Only the covering boards and king planks had any fastenings, and they were as few and far between as I could get away with. It was a piece-built deck, and took a long time to lay, to say the least, since it was just me doing it.

Teak decks on 40-year-old boats--and that's what we are talking about on most of the vintage Swans you are looking at--are almost always problematic in one way or another.

I've been involved in re-decking several older Swans. All required a fair amount of deck repair before laying the new decks. In all cases, we used new decks by Teakdecking Systems.

Even removing the old decks and re-glassing instead of replacing with new teak is a tedious and time-consuming process.

Yep C&C built boats with deck to hull joint having ribbons of butyl tape.....and they all leaked. Express Yachting, who were the guys who leftC&C, Killing, Goman, etc. also used butyl for a time but switched to Sika-Flex.

Changing the schedule to solid where deck hardware will be placed is a very good practice. Areas that are cored and additional hardware tend to rot. Countersinking holes for hardware, impregnating core with resin goes a long way to preventing leaks and damage.
All J-Boats I have ever worker on, and numerous others, do not change scheduling to solid at hardware mounting locations.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OP may also have a look at LeCompte North East 38. Some of the later builds were very nice boats. If you do look at these, beware of mast step issues. Some of the earlier versions ended up with concrete poured in their bilges under the mast......

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites