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S&S Swan Maintenance - stability of swan38/ tall rig
28 September 2009 - 20:52
Join Date: 01 April 2007
Posts: 106

stability of swan38/ tall rig

Dear members,

I have a tall rig swan 38.

Because I found that I had to reef to early I asked Lars what options I had to increase the stability to the same level as the standard rigged 38.

Lars told me that to achieve that I had to add 350 kgs to the bottom of the keel. So I added a torpedo shaped bulb consisting of two parts and bolted to each side of the keel.

That worked out just fine. Until my recent plans to make a larger trip. That would leave me with several problems, concerning f.i. extra diesel, extra water, extra batteries, extra food, books and so on. So now I am looking at other options for my stability "problem", because  I am looking at ways to save weight.

The most simple option would be a smaller genoa, so that the sail area would be equal to the one ton rig, without reefing the mainsail and taking the torpedo off. In retrospect I cannot remember why I didn't come up with that option in the first place.....

However I am very interested in the experience of other tall rig owners concerning the sails. Which sails do you set ? Do you simply reef the main early ? Or do you set smaller genoas ? How many percent genoas ?

Best regards,

Jan Kooistra  


28 September 2009 - 23:31
Join Date: 29 January 2007
Posts: 1018

Dear Jan

I have a 38 tall rig version too and I have two genoas, a 130% and a 110% (I have a 150% too but not sailing it if not racing). The 130% is the right compromise (My sailing area is the Med), but if you are going to sail in stronger wind, the 110% is top choice! You can sail it without reefing up to 25 kn, apparent wind (and forget the stability problem!).

Fair wind!

Matteo (38/067 Only You)

29 September 2009 - 10:28
Join Date: 30 January 2007
Posts: 461

This is partly off topic but your exchange made me think of a similar problem.
The keel design of the 411 was changed after hull 019 due to "too much sailing softness upwind": ballast increased by 300kg and draft by 14cm.
Some of the first hulls were modified afterwards but mine (004) was not so that this work is in my list of expensive pending things to do.
I would appreciate knowing if there is anybody in this forum who has still a non-modified keel in his/her 411 and what is his/her experience.

Daniel, 411-004

02 October 2009 - 12:22
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547


There is also a do-it-yourself way of increasing ballast without increasing the draught. Get 3 mm (approx) lead sheet, and attach suitable pieces to the sides of the keel with glue and screws.

Best regards


02 October 2009 - 15:22
Join Date: 31 January 2007
Posts: 46

Dear Professor,

I have had the same experience as Jan explains, but I have not added any weight to the keel yet. 350 kilos sounds like a lot, and I would much appreciate if the Professor could indicate how much would have to be added in the "do it yourself" manner, in order to make noticeable difference.

Kind regards,

Terje Aakvaag

02 October 2009 - 20:39
Join Date: 02 January 2008
Posts: 1547


Putting 250 kg on the sides would get you about halfway to the short rig stability, depending on at what height the addition comes.

The stability increases when adding equipment on board, Jan will experience that. Also new sails which can be sheeted flatter will cause less heel


07 October 2009 - 11:07
Join Date: 01 April 2007
Posts: 106

I talked to another 38/taal rig owner this weekend and he explained that he would sail a 110% genoa in winds up to 18 knots true.

That is about the same as matteo said.

My conclusion would be then, to have a 130 or 125 % genoa that can be reefed to 110-100%. And with winds above 18 knots true to reef the mainsail.

Thanks for your input.

Jan Kooistra


06 November 2009 - 17:30
Join Date: 17 February 2007
Posts: 11

We have a 38 with a tall rig and 130% genny on a Harken roller and a removable inner forestay for the storm jib.

On our most recent long voyage - Honolulu to Sitka, Alaska - we would put the 1st reef in between 15-20  kts depending on point of sail and sea state and then start rolling in the genny.  Since there was only my wife and I, we chose comfort over speed.  We would always put an extra reef in during the dark hours just to try and keep us off the forward deck during that time.  

Other than being a little squirrely off wind we are very statisfied with her performance.  Total distance for that trip was 2600 nautical miles which took us 19.5 days dock to dock 

25 September 2017 - 20:13
Join Date: 01 April 2007
Posts: 106

Dear All,

This post is originally by me........

In 1996 or 1997 I added 350 kgs to the keel to obtain the same stability as the shorter rigged swan 38.

The stabiltiy was fine after that, but she became quite heavy. And because in the future I would like to add all sort of long-voyage items I was afraid she would became too heavy.

So after 20 years I removed the extra 350 kgs.

Instead off the 130% genoa, I ordered a high aspect genoa of almost 40m2. My consideration for that, was to decrease the sail area to about the same as the short rigged 38 (with a 130-135%). And thus obtain about the same stability.

Plus I ordered a sort of code zero of about the size of a genoa 1 (55m2) on a furler.

So in light weather I can easily set the code zero and else I have same sail area as the short rigged 38 (with the new HA). And the HA can be reefed if necessary.

I am very pleased with this so far. And I am absolutely thrilled with the "new" behaviour in bigger waves. What a wonderful boat !

Just to let you know.....

kind regards,


YULUNGA 38/110

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