Swede 55 Introduction

Cabins spread over 39 feet © Swedesail

Since the early 20th century the square metre boat is admired for its beauty, speed and joy to sail. Inspired by the elegance of the Skärgårdskryssare, it was time for a good looking and well sailing one-design suiting better to the requirements of a family in the early seventies. So Swede 55 was conceived in 1975 by naval architect Knud Hjelmberg Reimers in Stockholm/Sweden as a modern version of the classy square metre boat. Here you find more about the development.

Swede 55 with lines made to sail © Swedesail
Swede 55 shaped for elegance and fun afloat © Swedesail

Seagoing centre-cockpit speed machine

Thanks to the length Swede 55 is fast. The slim line offers a swift ride and soft motion in a seaway. The big distance between keel and rudder provides good directional stability. And the boat alters course instantly as soon as the free standing and cleverly balanced rudder is turned. This finesse provides endless fun.

Compared to a true Skärgårdskryssare Swede 55 is slightly wider, has a little more freeboard and offers full headroom below the stretched cabin roof. The time aboard is spent mostly in the comfortable and safe centre-cockpit: albeit sailing, relaxing, chatting or dining. Recessed between the main and aft cabin, it is comfy and safe as aboard a motorsailor. And in high seas it is nice to have a couple a of metres behind.

Swede 55 built by Fisksätra Varv

Brochure introducing Swede 55 © Swedesail
Brochure introducing Swede 55 in 1975 © Swedesail

Fisksätra Varv AB in Västervik at the east coast of Sweden built Swede 55. As swedish pioneer of glassfibre manufacture, the yard built small powerboats like the Mustang or Folkparca and motorsailors like Havsfidra, Storfidra and Parant in substantial numbers. Further, more than 300 S30 cruising square metre boats, the smaller sister of Swede 55, were built by Fisksaetra since 1972.

Being introduced with a nice brochure and advertized for instance in the SAS flight magazine, Swede 55 was displayed at the Hamburg Boat Show. One boat even came in a cargo plane to make it to the Toronto Boat Show in time.

How many Swede 55 were built

Swede 55 Counterpoint winning the Bermuda Race in 1986 © Swedesail
Swede 55 Counterpoint winning the Bermuda Race in 1986 © Swedesail

This led to 27 Swede 55 Fisksätra manufactures from 1976 to fall 1979. Most of the Swede 55 went to Sweden, Finland, three to Germany, one to Switzerland/Lake Constance, one to Italy, some to the Adriatic Sea and USA. Fisksätra belonged to the swedish investor Gylling, which withdrew from Fisksätra in 1979.

Further, six Swede 55 were built from 1982 – 84 by a successor named Aqva Båt in Nyköping using the original mould, among them Counterpoint. This boat has been sailing since 1992 in Capetown/South Africa as Spilhaus III. So from 1976 to 84 a total of 33 Swede 55 were built. Here you find details of the entire fleet.

Construction of Swede 55

Hull: Hand laid glass fibre reinforced polyester resin with woven roving. Thickness varies from 4/5″ (20 mm) near the keel to 3/10″ (8 mm) in some parts of the stern where stress is minimal. Several longitudonal stringers.

Deck and superstructure: Including the cockpit made in one unit of GRP, reinforced with a 4/10″ (10 mm) balsa core on horizontal surfaces. The deck and superstructure are further reinforced with 3/10″ (8 mm) aluminum plates in places of tracks, cleats, winches.

Length over all52 ft 6 in – 16 m
Length actual waterline42′ 06″ – 12.96 m
Beam9′ 9″ – 2.97 m
Beam waterline8′ 9″ – 2.65 m
Freeboard bow43″ – 110 cm
Freeboard midship section (station 15)32″ – 82 cm
Freeboard cockpit (station 10)30″ – 78 cm
Freeboard stern31″ – 79 cm
Initial design draft (1974)6′ 6″ – 2 m
Corrected design draft (1975/6)6′ 9″ – 2.05 m
Actual draft (Gamle Swede)≈ 7′ 2″ – 2.17 m
Initial design displacement17,085 lbs – 7.75 t
Real displacement≈ 18,078 lbs – 8.2 t
Displacement (half load)≈ 18,739 lbs – 8.5 t
Probable displacement in cruising mode≈ 19,500 lbs – 9 t
Ballast (lead)7,500 lbs – 3.4 t
Bridge clearance/air draft with Windex59′ 5″ – 18.1 m
Nominal sail area (main ∆ + 85 % of fore ∆) hence the 55592 sq ft – 55 m2
Main and jib (real sail area)797 sq ft – 74 m2
Main474 sq ft – 44 m2
Jib323 sq ft – 30 m2
Yankee215 sq ft  – 20 m2
Genoa II431 sq ft – 40 m2
Genoa I517 sq ft – 48 m2
Spinnaker1,400 sq ft – 130 m2
Hull speed9 kn
Sailed top speed22 kn
Length/Beam ratio5.3 : 1
SA/D ratio (based on 18,739 lbs)18.07

The Sail Area/Displacement Ratio is the sail area in sq. ft. divided by displacement in cubic feet to the 2/3 power and commonly used in the US. Reference: 16 – 18 heavy offshore cruisers; 18 – 22 medium cruisers; 22 – 26 racing boats; 26 + extreme racing boats.

Sail measurements

P (luff mainsail)15.20 m
E (foot mainsail)4.85 m
I (height fore ∆)13 m
J (base fore ∆)4.40 m
T (headstay length)13.70 m
SL (Spinnaker leach length)13.95 m
SMW (Spinnaker width)10.00 m
Spinnaker foot8.00 m
Swede 55 Rating

Yardstick German Sailing Association, Deutscher Seglerverband (DSV) with/without Spinnaker89/91
SRS Handicap Svenska Seglerförbundet, Version SRS 2014.5.0 with/without Spinnaker1.316/1.269
Scandicap with/without Spinnaker10.20/10.95
Lidingö Yardstick (LYS) Sweden1.27
Time Correction Factor TCF Channel Handicap 19881.29
Performance Handicap Racing Fleet (PHRF), seconds per mile81.0
Klassiker Rennwert (KLR) of German Classics Association, Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten146
Swede 55 ratings retrieved by various sources
Cabin heights

Companionway, Galley, Navstation1.89 m6.2 ft
Main cabin1.79 – 1.82 m70 – 72 in
Bathroom1.68 – 1.72 m66 – 70 in
Forward cabin1.55 m61 in
Aft cabin1.22 m4 ft

  • U.S. Coast Guard Tonnage Measurement for Recreational Vessels: 14 gross Tons, 12,5 net tons
  • Original engine: Volvo Penta MD11C two-cylinder with 27 HP (23 kW) or MD17C three-cylinder with 35 HP (27 kW)
  • Transmission Volvo Penta Saildrive 110 S
  • Fuel 19.5 US gal. / 74 l
  • Freshwater galley 18.5 US gal. / 70 l
  • Freshwater for bathroom and deck shower 43.6 US gal. / 165 l

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Knud Reimers, Swede 55 Forerunners, Swede 55 Development, Swede 55 Design, Swede 55 Cabins, Swede 55 Registry, Swede 55 Successors, 52/58 ft newbuild