Swede 55 Successors

The 62 ft lightweight sailing canoe Francis Lee floating on her planned waterline in Puget Sound/Seattle © Robert H. Perry
The 62 ft sailing canoe Francis Lee floating on her planned waterline in Puget Sound/Seattle – Foto Boomer Depp

„This boat finesses the elements“ Nautical Quarterly

The fun aboard and offshore experience with Swede 55 inspired some sailors, designers and boatbuilders in Europe and the United States. Here you find eight derivates triggered by the svelte Knud Reimers design. Boats thought-out, designed and built in Sweden, Tunisia, the eastern and western seaboard of the United States. Most of them I have seen, at some I have been involved with. Last update January 15, 2024

1985: Super Swede 53

Super Swede 53 designed 1983 by Peter Norlin © Swedesail archive
Super Swede 53 designed 1983 by Peter Norlin © Swedesail
Super Swede 53 driven by a powerful sail plan © Norlin/Swedesail
Super Swede 53 driven by a powerful sail plan © Norlin/Swedesail

The success of californian Swede 55 sailor Jim Walton with Temptress at the 1982 San Francisco-Hawaii Race animated this Peter Norlin design. The 53 now referred to the lenght instead of the nominal sail area. With 26,455 lbs/12 t planned displacement this thoroughbred with elegant lines departed from the light displacement concept. To get it going in light wind, Super Swede 53 obtained a tall fractional rigged spar with a powerful sailplan. The 517 sq ft/48 sqm Jib is not to big to be handled and changed.

Super Swede 53 was offered with a traditional raked transom and a modern alternative by Swede Hergla Yachts in Hergla/Tunesia. One of two sandwich boats was completed with the conventional transom. It was named Prillan by her swedish owner. I have seen the yard in Tunisia, inspected the boat later and sold it to a german client in 1998.

Length over all (modern stern)52′ 2″ – 16 m
LOA (traditional raked transom)53′ 6″ – 16.30 m
Beam12′ 2″ – 3.70 m
Draft8′ – 2.43 m
planned Displacement26,455 lbs – 12 t
Ballast14,330 lbs – 6.5 t
Ballast ratio54 %
Upwind Sail area1,292 sq ft – 120 sqm
Mainsail753 sq ft – 70 sqm
Jib517 sq ft – 48 sqm
Length/Beam ratio4.4
Sail area/Displacement ratio23.28

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

Calculation Segeltragzahl: 2√Sail area in sqm / 3√displacement in t. Commonly used in Germany. Reference: Tall ships/cruising boats ≈ 3,5 – 4, modern yachts ≈ 4,3 – 5.

1989: Swede 75

Swede 75 Kiel-Schilksee May 1992 © Swedesail
Swede 75 Kiel-Schilksee May 1992 – Foto Swedesail

Due to its enlarged upwind sailarea this attempt to relaunch Swede 55 obtained the nameplate 75. As a matter of fact it is a Swede 55 Mark II with a powerful rig. More lead located slightly deeper enables the boat to carry a 62 sqm main and a 43 sqm jib. The impressive 72′ (22 m) spar is about 13ft/4 metres longer than that one of Swede 55.

Fractional rigged the mast is secured by runners plus checkstays.  Two boats were delivered in 1989, one named Universal Heartbeat. This one used to race in Southampton waters, Scotland and the mediterranean, sailing the Three Peaks race and La Nioulargue of Saint Tropez. It later returned via Germany to Sweden. I sold the prototype from Sweden to Germany in 1995. The 75 was laminated in the original Swede 55 mould (different appendages and interiour) and is now offered as Swede 52.

Length over all52′ 6″ – 16 m
Beam9′ 9″ – 2.97 m
Draft7′ 4″- 2.22 m
approx. Displacement18,078 lbs – 8,2 t
Ballast9,039 lbs – 4.1 t
Ballast ratio50 %
Upwind Sail area1,130 sq ft – 105 sqm
Main1.378 sq ft – 62 sqm
Jib839 sq ft – 43 sqm
Length/Beam ratio5.3
SA/D ratio26.3

1990: Vortex wooden Swede 55 replica

Swede 55 replica Vortex in Brookin/Maine © Erdmann Braschos
Swede 55 replica Vortex in Brookin/Maine – Foto Swedesail
Vortex deckhouse with varnished mahogany walls © Erdmann Braschos/Swedesail
Vortex deckhouse with varnished mahogany walls – Foto Swedesail

As far as I know Swede 55 is the only series manufactured glass fibre boat relaunched as wooden replica. Inspired by Swede 55 US 11 Corsair Steve White of Brooklin Boat Yard in Maine contacted Knud Reimers already in 1984 to build her in cold moulded wood. The weight saved in the construction of hull and deck permitted 650 lbs (295 kg) more lead. Vortex was launched with 8,200 lbs (3.719 kg) lead and a 4″ (10 cm) deeper keel. There are further alterations like the raised footrail, the linear instead of stepped deckhouse and different layout and details below deck. White sailed and sails her extensively. Vortex went to the Caribbean and back and is regularly seen at local races like the Eggemoggin reach regatta. 41 ft (12,50 m) waterline, displacement 18,000 lbs (8,165 kg). More about Vortex in Sources.

1994: Joel White Design # 50

Joel White Design # 50 © Brooklin Boat Yard
Joel White Design # 50 © Brooklin Boat Yard

This 62’ sloop was designed in 1994 by the late Joel White, founder of Brooklin Boat Yard and father of Steve White who built the Swede 55 replica Vortex. Design #50 is based on a balance of simplicity and performance, resulting in a slender hull, with striking lines. Long overhangs, a gentle entry, and the stepped low profile doghouse give her a classic look that still has a sleek, fast feel.

The client who asked for this design drew inspiration from Swede 55, adding length to increase the interior space while keeping similar proportions. Her slender shape is drawn from the 30 square-meter sloop owned by the client at the time as well as her high aspect rig, both further accentuating her classic looks.

The interior is suited for two cruising couples; two double berths, a large settee and an open cockpit with a raised helm fill the slim hull, without sacrificing the necessities and ample storage space. The settee converts to an additional double berth and a pilot berth opposite it allows for more crew onboard. Simplicity is the key both for ease of living onboard and sailing. Despite having been designed for a smaller crew, her jib is self-tacking, spinnaker poleless and her main was designed for in-boom furling allowing her to easily outrun any other boat her size. Boat not jet built.

Length over all62′ 2″ – 18.95 m
Length waterline45′ 11″ – 14 m
Beam11′ 8″ – 3.55 m
Draft8′ – 2.43 m
Displacement (planned)*26,400 lbs – 12 t
Sailarea1,200 sq ft – 111 sqm
Length/Beam ratio5.3
Sail area/Displacement ratio*21.65

2005: 76 ft Goshawk

Goshawk - Foto Lyman Morse
Goshawk – Foto Lyman Morse

Goshawk was launched by Brooklin Boat Yard in collaboration with Rockport Marine as an embodiment of a traditionally-based, forward-thinking design perspective by a Stephens/Waring design. Built in wood, foam, and carbon for lightweight and cost-effective construction. Under sail she is powerful and exquisitely balanced. Her light displacement and easily-driven hull means that her sail plan can be relatively small for easy handling – similar to Swede 55. Note the high SA/D ratio or Segeltragzahl similar to contemporary race boats.

Length over all76 ft  3 in – 23.24 m
Design waterline53′ 6″ – 16.30 m
Beam14′ 6″ – 4.42 m
Draft10′ 9″ – 3.27 m
Displacement43,000 lbs – 19.5 t
Ballast17,000 lbs – 7.7 t
Sailarea upwind2,000 sq ft – 186 sqm
Length/Beam ratio5.3
SA/D ratio25.6

2008: Swede 68 – Håkan Södergren Design # 268

This 68 footer was developed by Håkan Södergren as taller sister of Swede 55 due to the sailors saying the same boat again just bigger. Swede 68 is 13 feet (4 m) longer, nearly three feet (80 cm) wider and has a raised freeboard. This would offer a lot more room below deck.

Swede 68 Rendering © Södergren Design
Swede 68 Rendering © Södergren Group/Oaxs Design

Södergren looks back on almost 300 designs today, including the Swedish IAAC America’s Cupper Tre Kronor and few 80 to 90 foot cruising yachts. As one of the leading scandinavian naval architects he is known for his Helmsman Range, Sirena 38 and Cayenne. As accomplished engineer with four decades background Södergren started working on Swede 68 in 2007. Similar to his Helmsman yachts he gave Swede 68 a fairly full bodied run, an aesthetic aberration from Swede 55. The design obtained a stern similar to an Etchells instead of a Soling.

Swede 68 interiour layout © Södergren Group
Swede 68 interiour layout © Södergren Group

Further the concept obtained a modern U- instead of V-shaped hull. Swede 68 should easily travel with 13 knots. The price tag on this eye-catching racer was 2.2 Million € plus VAT in 2014. The design is ready to be built at Rosättra Varv AB in Norrtälje east of Uppsala. This yard is known for its Linjett range of medium-sized quality sailboats. If Swede 68 would be launched with the planned displacement, the high SA/D ratio or Segeltragzahl similar to contemporary race boats appears promising.

Length over all62 ft – 20.60 m
Design waterline53′ 6″ – 16.20 m
Beam12′ 6″ – 3.81 m
Draft9′ – 2.75 m
planned Displacement*38,800 lbs – 17.6 t
Ballast15,563 lbs – 7.1 t
Ballast ratio*40 %
Sailarea upwind2,217 sq ft – 206 sqm
Main1.378 sq ft – 128 sqm
Jib839 sq ft – 78 sqm
Length/Beam ratio5.4
SA/D  ratio30.95

2014: Francis Lee – 62 ft Bob Perry Double Ender

Model of the 62 ft Sliver project © Bob Perry
Model of the 62 ft Sliver project © Robert H. Perry
Shallow canoe body and deep fin keel with ballast at the tip © Boomer Depp
Shallow canoe body and deep fin keel with ballast at the tip – Foto Boomer Depp

The double ender is a peculiarity of anglosaxon yacht design and rarely seen on race boats like square metre boats and metre class yachts. Nevertheless Uffa Fox and Francis Lewis Herreshoff designed few sqm boats as double enders in the thirties. The 8 mR yacht Angelita which won the gold medal in the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1932 was a double ender as well. Although the tradition lasts back to viking ships and the Colin Archer type pilot and rescue boats of the 19th century it may be considered as a quirk today. The benefit of the pointed stern is that it separates water coming from the back in severe conditions. The drawback of the pointed stern is its limited volume where it would be favourable. Further the prismatic coefficient is reduced, decreasing the ability of a hull to achieve its maximum speed.

Most of the space below deck remained empty © Robert H. Perry
Most of the space below deck remained empty © Robert H. Perry

As advocate of this hull shape for aethetic reasons accomplished naval architect Robert H. Perry designed this daysailer for Puget Sound/Seattle as double ender. Upright stems fore and aft instead of long overhangs give Francis Lee a waterline stretched to 55 feet. The maximum possible volume incorporated in the run improves the prismatic coefficient. Kim Bottles of Blakely Harbour/WA previously owned a Swede 55. He continued his devotion for elegant and pure sail boats with a classy 30 sqm skerrycruiser and recently comissioned this simple and basically equipped boat as Perry Sliver Class Daysailer. Lenght-beam ratio is 6.3 : 1. The 62 ft lenght was chosen with regard to the desired 10 knot hull speed and the maximum size which Bottles and Perry consider to be managable by a single handed sailor.

Grey halyard bins next to the companionway ladder © Boomer Depp
Grey halyard bins next to the companionway ladder – Foto Boomer Depp

It is notable this project remained a daysailer during design and construction. No nice to haves were added. This owner even had to be persuaded to incorporate few basic amenties. As many naval architects and boatbuilders know, the initial concept of a pure, simple and straighforward boat is often diluted if not quietly ruined by ponderous alterations chosen at the coffee-table in the “yes-but” manner.

More than 60 percent of the entire boat length are empty. Ahead of the companionway Francis Lee offers about 23 feet/7 metres for cooking, a salon with two sofas, a toilet and two bunks forward. Below the superstructure there is 6’3″/1,91 m headroom.

White, clean and simple. Main cabin of Francis Lee © Boomer Depp
White, clean and simple. Main cabin of Francis Lee – Foto Boomer Depp
The sail locker and storage for ropes are accessible from the deck © Boomer Depp
The sail locker and storage for ropes are accessible from the deck – Foto Boomer Depp

A strip planked western red cedar construction sheathed in- and outside with E-Glass fibres, laminated with Epoxy resin. Deck, cabin, cockpit and internal structure are foam core composite.

Smartly rigged with a stock Farr 40 spar, Francis Lee carries its lead at the end of a long epoxy sheated mild steel fin 10 feet, 3 metres below the water – providing a long lever for the ballast. Note the shallow lines of the U-shaped canoe body. It is impressive to see the finished boat floating on its design waterline and not below, which is sadly common on most boats. This 62 foot sailing canoe is a boat full of character. An interesting evolution of the light displacement theme. A lot longer than Swede 55 it displaces about the same as the 55, which initiated Francis Lee. Even more remarkable than the advanced SA/D ratio is the fact this ratio is achieved with manageable sail area.

Length over all62 ft – 18.90 m
Design waterline55′ – 16.70 m
Beam9′ 10″ – 3 m
Freeboard midship45″ – 1.14 m
Draft10′ – 3.05 m
Displacement19,000 lbs – 8.6 t
Keel fin1,700 lbs – 771 kg
Ballast (Lead)7,496 lbs – 3,4 t
Ballast ratio48,5 %
Sailarea upwind1,185 sq ft – 103 sqm
Engine/transmission39 HP/29 kW Yanmar with Saildrive
Length/Beam ratio6.3
SA/D ratio26.6
Hull speed10 kn
19,000 lbs easily driven by just 1,185 sq ft sail area: Francis Lee in Seattle waters © Boomer Depp
19,000 lbs easily driven by just 1,185 sq ft sail area: Francis Lee in Seattle waters – Foto Boomer Depp

2019: Swede 57 – Håkan Södergren design # 277 (Project)

Swede 57 Entwurf von Håkan Södergren © Södergren Design
Swede 57 Design by Håkan Södergren © Södergren Design

Following the concept of Swede 68 Södergren developed a 57 footer with a lot of sailarea in relation to the planned displacement. The boat shall fill the gap between the elegant Swede 41 (S30-successor) and Swede 68. The ballast being located deep in the water plus the wider beam shall enable to boat to carry the sailarea. The boat shall be built by Rosättra yard, which delivered a nicely crafted Swede 41 in 2018.

Length over all17,25 m – 56.60 ft
Design waterline13,20 m – 43.30 ft
Beam3,85 m – 12.63 ft
Draft (two versions)2,20 or 3 m – 9.85/7.25 ft
Displacement (planned)*10 t – 22,046 lbs
Ballast4,2 t – 6,614 lbs
Sail area150 qm – 1,615 sqft
Length/Beam ratio4.5
Ballast ratio*42 %
SA/D ratio*32.9
Main90 sqm – 969 sqft
Jib60 sqm – 646 sqft
Comments on larger Swede 55 successors

  • Length and draft limit berthing and cruising
  • Sails are to large and heavy to be handled by two persons. Furling systems (in boom and around headstays) are expensive, heavy, requiring extra maintenance
  • You don’t go sailing with a 20 metre yacht in the afternoon, which is the common use of a sailboat
  • increased beam and added accessories do not fit to the concept of easy sailing. You lose agility and the thrill of the dinghy like sailing.

To be continued possibly with suggested 52/58 ft. new builds. Subscribe Newsletter and you won’t miss future articles.

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