Swede 55 cabins extend over 39' © Swedesail

Swede 55 cabins extend over 39′ © SWEDESAIL

Swede 55 was conceived in 1975 by naval architect Knud Hjelmberg Reimers in Stockholm/Sweden as a derivate of the traditional square metre boat.  Since the early Twentieth Century the square metre boat is admired for its beauty, speed and joy to sail. Inspired by the elegance of the precursing class, Swede 55 should suit better to the requirements of a family, providing more comfort.

Swede 55 became slightly wider, got a little more freeboard and offers full headroom below the stretched cabin. Recessed between the main and aft cabin the cockpit is safe as aboard a comfy motorsailor. It is nice to have a couple a of metres behind in high seas.

Swede 55 with lines made to sail © Swedesail

Swede 55 with lines made to sail © SWEDESAIL

Thanks to its length Swede 55 is remarkably easy running and fast. Her slim lines offer soft motion in a seaway. The distance between keel and rudder provides good directional stability. The balanced rudder gives responsive control.

The time aboard is spent mostly in the comfortable and safe cockpit: albeit sailing, relaxing, chatting or dining.

Swede 55 built by Fisksätra Varv AB

Brochure introducing Swede 55 © Swedesail

Brochure introducing Swede 55 © Swedesail

Swede 55 was built by Fisksätra Varv AB in Västervik at the east coast of Sweden. One of the pioneers of glassfibre manufacture in the country, Fisksaetra built small powerboats like the Mustang or Folkparca and motorsailors like Havsfidra, Storfidra and Parant in substantial numbers. Further, more than 300 S 30 cruising squaremetre 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 and I heard that one boat was brought in a cargo plane to make it to the Toronto Boat Show in time.

How many 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 autumn 1979. Most of the Swede 55 went to Sweden, Finland, three to Germany, one to Switzerland/Lake Constance, one to Italy, some to the Mediterranean and USA. Fisksaetra belonged to the Swedish Business Conglomerate Gylling, which withdrew from Fisksaetra in 1979.

As far as I know 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.

Construction of Swede 55

Hull: Hand laid fiberglass reinforced polyester resin with woven roving. Thickness varies from 4/5″ (20 mm) in 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 which was reinforced with a 4/10″ (10 mm) balsa core on horizontal surfaces. The deck and superstructure were further reinforced with 3/10″ (8 mm) aluminum plates in places of tracks, cleats, winches.

Swede 55 principal data

Length over all 52 ft 6 in – 16 m
Length real waterline 42′ 06″ – 12.96 m
Beam 9′ 9″ – 2.97 m
Beam waterline 8′ 9″ – 2.65 m
Freeboard bow 43″ – 110 cm
Freeboard midship section (station 15) 32″ – 82 cm
Freeboard cockpit (station 10) 30″ – 78 cm
Freeboard stern 31″ – 79 cm
Design draft 6′ 9″ – 2.05 m
Real draft ≈ 7′ 2″ – 2.17 m
Design displacement 17,085 lbs – 7.75 t
Real displacement ≈ 18,078 lbs – 8.2 t
Displacement (half load) ≈ 18,739 lbs – 8.5 t
Ballast (lead) 7,500 lbs – 3.4 t
Air draft with Windex 59′ 5″ – 18.1 m
Nominal sail area, main triangle + 85 % fore triangle  (hence the 55) 592 sq ft – 55 sqm
Main and jib 797 sq ft – 74 sqm
Main 474 sq ft – 44 sqm
Jib 323 sq ft – 30 sqm
Yankee 215 sq ft  – 20 sqm
Genoa II 431 sq ft – 40 sqm
Genoa I 517 sq ft – 48 sqm
Spinnaker 1,400 sq ft – 130 sqm
Hull speed 9 kn
Sailed top speed 22 kn
Length/Beam ratio 5.3 : 1
SA/D ratio (relating to 18,739 lbs) 18.07

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 racing boats.

original sail measurements

P (luff mainsail) 15.20 m
E (foot mainsail) 4.85 m
I (height fore triangle) 13 m
J (base fore triangle) 4.40 m
T (Headstay length) 13.70 m
SL (Spinnaker leach length) 13.95 m
SMW (Spinnaker width) 10.00 m
Spinnaker foot 8.00 m
Swede 55 rating retrieved from various sources
Yardstick German Sailing Association (Deutscher Seglerverband) DSV 89
SRS Handicap Svenska Seglerförbundet, Version SRS 2014.5.0 with/without Spinnaker 1.316/1.269
Scandicap with/without Spinnaker 10.20/10.95
Lidingö Yardstick (LYS) Sweden 1.27
Time Correction Factor TCF Channel Handicap 1988 1.29
Performance Handicap Racing Fleet PHRF (Seconds per mile) 81.0
Klassiker Rennwert (KLR) of German Classics Association, Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten 146
Gamle Swede, Swede 55 # 27 equipped with
Hood Gemini racing headstay, four new sails
1,400 sq.ft./130 sqm Spinnaker; Spinnaker- and Jockeyboom
Halyards, reefing/trimming lines labelled
Eight new two speed selftailing Andersen winches
Cassens & Plath grid compass, depth sounder/speedometre
Custom made bathing/rescue ladder, deckshower, suntent
Galley with powerful fridge, three-burner stove with oven
140 amp/h service battery, 12 and 220 volt sockets
Safe anchor gear with handy chain fore-runner
35 hp three cylinder Volvo Penta MD17C, Saildrive 110 S; threeblade feathering prop
19.5 US gal./74 l fueltank
62 US gal./235 l freshwater for shower & galley
220 volt electric currency, advanced 12 volt battery charger