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.

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 even brought in a cargo plane to make it in time to the Toronto Boat Show.

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 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. From 1976 to 84 a total of 33 Swede 55 were built.


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.

Boat 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′ – 2.13 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 (incl. Windex) 59′ 5″ – 18.1 m
Nominal sail area, main + 85 % of fore triangle  (thus 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
SA/D ratio (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

Rating (retrieved from various sources)

Yardstick (Deutscher Seglerverband DSV) Germany 89
Scandicap with/without Spinnaker 10.20/10.95
Lidingö Yardstick (LYS) Sweden 1.27
TCF Channel Handicap 1988 1.29
PHRF 81.0
Klassiker Rennwert (KLR) German Freundeskreis Klassische Yachten 146

 Equipment Gamle Swede, Swede 55 # 27

Hood Gemini racing headstay, four new sails
1,400 sq.ft./130 sqm Spinnaker; Spinnaker- and Jockeyboom
Halyards/ropes to reef and trim being lettered
Eight partly 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
Separate 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