The Swan 38 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Swan 38 is a Finnish sailboat that was designed by Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens as a cruiser-racer and first built in 1974. It is a graceful offshore design that has logged many circumnavigations and millions of sea miles.

A Swan 38 sailboat on a Tamar River Sailing Club mooring in Devon, England.

Published Specification for the Swan 38

Underwater Profile: Fin keel with skeg-hung rudder

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 38'3" (11.7m)

Waterline Length: 28'9" (8.8m)

Beam: 11'7" (3.5m)

Draft: 6'4" (1.9m)

Rig Type: Masthead sloop

Displacement: 18,300lb (6,301kg)

Ballast: 7,100lb (3,221kg)

Designer: Sparkman & Stephens

Builder: Nautor Swan (Finland)

Year First Built: 1974

Year Last Built: 1979

Number Built: 116

Published Design Ratios for the Swan 38

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 15.9

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 38.8

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 345

4. Comfort Ratio: 34.4

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.8

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Swan 38

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 15.9 suggests that the Swan 38 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 38.8 means that a sailboat like the Swan 38 (which doesn't have a stiffness-enhancing bulb keel), is likely to benefit from being reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 345, tells us the Swan 38 is clearly a heavy displacement cruising boat. You can load her down with all your cruising gear and equipment and it will hardly affect her waterline. Not an ideal choice for coastal sailing, but she'll come into her own on an offshore passage in testing conditions.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 34.4 suggests that crew comfort of a Swan 38 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.8 indicates that a Swan 38 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 

Cruisers' Questions about this Sailboat...

What is the history of Swan sailboats?

Swan sailboats are a prestigious brand of luxury sailing yachts that have a long and rich history in Finland and around the world. Here is a brief overview of their history:

  • The story of Swan sailboats began in 1966, when Pekka Koskenkylä, a local boatbuilder, commissioned a 36-foot cruiser-racer from the renowned American design firm Sparkman & Stephens. The first yacht, Tarantella, was one of the earliest glassfibre yachts and won many races, including the Cowes Week in 1968;
  • In 1969, a fire destroyed the Nautor's Swan boat yard and Koskenkylä had to sell stakes of the company to Wilhelm Schauman Oy, a Finnish forest industry corporation, to finance the rebuilding and restart production;
  • In the 1970s, Swan sailboats achieved international fame and success, especially with the Swan 65, a ketch-rigged model that won the first ever Whitbread Round the World Race in 1974 with Sayula II, skippered by Mexican Ramón Carlin. This adventure was documented in the film The Weekend Sailor in 2016;
  • In the late 1970s, Nautor's Swan hired a new designer, Ron Holland, who created six models that were more modern and competitive on the race course. These included the Swan 39, Swan 42, Swan 47, Swan 51, Swan 57 and Swan 371;
  • In the 1980s, Nautor's Swan entered a new era with the appointment of another Argentinian designer, Germán Frers, who has been responsible for over 900 yachts so far. His designs have followed the trends of luxury, performance, innovation and reliability, and have ranged from 36 to 131 feet in length;
  • In 1998, Nautor's Swan was acquired by a group of investors led by Italian businessman Leonardo Ferragamo, who has continued to push forward innovations and changes intended to place Swan yachts at the forefront of the sailing world;
  • In 2016, to mark its 50th anniversary and its return to selling racer-cruiser sailboats, Nautor's Swan launched a new model, the ClubSwan 50, designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian, who won a design competition among several naval architects.

What is the price of a Swan 38 sailboat?

The price of a Swan 38 sailboat depends on the year, condition, and location of the boat. According to YachtWorld , the current listings for Swan 38s range from £59,950 (US$78,481) for a 1975 model in the United Kingdom to £99,500 (US$130,255) for a 1978 model in Spain. The average asking price is £87,731 (US$114,959).

What is the sail area of the Swan 38?

The Swan 38 has a masthead sloop rig with an aluminum mast and boom. The standard sail area is 72.5m2 (780ft2), consisting of a mainsail of 29.5m2 (318ft2) and a genoa of 43m2 (463ft2). A special reduced sail area version was also produced to comply with the One Ton class rules, with a mainsail of 25m2 (269ft2) and a genoa of 35 m2 (377ft2).

What is the fuel capacity of the Swan 38?

The Swan 38 has a fuel tank that can hold up to 120 L (32 US gal) of diesel.

What is the water capacity of the Swan 38?

The Swan 38 has two water tanks that can hold up to 300 L (79 US gal) of fresh water.

The above answers were drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.

Other sailboats in the Nautor Swan range include:

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