S&S Swan 43 maintenance resurce and discussion forum

This book was started and maintained by the input of dedicated owners of vintage PJ/Swan 43s. It is intended as a dynamic workbook maintained periodically with input from those owners interested in comparing notes and exchanging information on the care, maintenance and operation of these exceptional vintage Sparkman & Stephens designed and Nautor built boats.

Many of the 43s now are at least thirty (35) years old and still going strong, a testament to the sound engineering and construction standards and practices of the designer and builder.

However as the years pass, even these boats begin to require that extra TLC or the major overhaul or refit of systems. Over the course of each master's ownership, various maintenance, modifications and improvements have been incorporated into the 43s.

It is the request of this publication that each owner share with others a written descriptions (with pictures whenever possible) of the respective work performed and incorporated on their vessel for publication in this workbook.

Please submit all written materials on floppy disk using MS WORD format, include your Email address for listing in the submitted document. Submit articles to hnakajima@bpapc.com. Once received, I will try to format the document for posting onto this website.

Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)
General specification

Palmer Johnson / Swan 43
S&S des. #1973
67 hulls built

DimesionsLoa: 42.78 ft 13.04 m
Lwl: 31.00 ft 9.45 m
Beam: 11.65 ft 3.55 m
Draft: 7.2 ft 2.2 m
Ballast: 10400 lbs 4700 kg
Displacement: 22000 lbs 10220 kg (see note 1)
Antifouled area: 409 ft2 38 m2

On board systems Fuel: 39.6 gal(US) 150 l (see note 2)
Fresh water: 47.6gal (US) 180 l (see note 3)
Service battery: 12 v, 210 ah
Starting battery 12 v, 60 ah
Some boats Engine: Perkins 4-108 with Borg-Warner Hydraulic Gear Box
Some boats Engine: Volvo Penta MD2B 18.4 kW (25 HP) with RB Mechanical Gear Box 1.87:1 reduction gear.
Propeller: LH 17inch Folding Propeller
Rudder: Standard Bearing and Stuffing Box,Wheel Steering.
Trim Tab: Standard Bearing and Stuffing Box, Wheel Steering

Sail plan (see note 5)
Tall rig I: 51.54 ft 15.71 m
J: 17.54 ft 5.35 m
P: 46.04 ft 14.03 m
E: 16.2 ft 4.94 m
Fore triangle: 452 ft2 42 m2
Main: 372.9 ft2 34.6m2
Genoa 150%: 678 ft2 63 m2
Spinnaker: 1627 ft2 151 m2
Mast above water: 55.84 ft 17.01 m
Short rig I: 50.54 ft 15.24 m
J: 17.54 ft 5.35 m
P: 45.04 ft 13.81 m
E: 15.29 ft 5.2 m
Single Spreaders: Tubular Aluminum Standing Rigging: South Coast Lenticular Rod Rigging with Threaded Ends (single uppers + or double lowers) Wire with Norseman Terminals.

Interior layout:
2 Quarter Berths - Aft 2 Pilot Berths - Salon 2 Settee Berths - Salon 2 Wooden Berths - Fo'c'sle 1 Head - Port side forward. 2 Hanging Locker - Starboard side forward. 3 Burner Stove - Galley (see note 6) 1 Double Sink - Galley Ice Box - 7.7 cu.ft.(218ltr) Galley 1 Nav Station - Port side aft

note 1: Actual final displacement may vary. (Boats with IOR Mk-IIIA rating of 29.5' displaced 17,600 lbs. (8,000kg).
note 2: In one stainless steel tank below cockpit sole. Some boats only have a 37 gallon tank.
note 3: In three stainless steel tanks below cabin sole.
note 5: Actual sail areas may vary, usually greater on boats with racing sails.
note 6: Some fitted with 3 burner Luke "Heritage" pressurized alcohol stove.

Rudder and trim tab
During the winter of 2003 I had the steering pedestal of my Swan 43 dis-assembled and internal components overhauled at Jamestown Boat Yard in Jamestown, Rhode Island in the U.S.
My Swan has the original rudder and trim-tab and the steering pedestal is original to the boat. Like many of you who have the active trim-tabs know the original cross-section drawing from Nautor (with notes in Finnish) is very diagrammatic and difficult to comprehend.
I had made numerous false starts over the years in my attempts to perform the overhaul work myself but become intimidated at the possibility that the steering shaft and it’s components could not be re-assembled to specs.
Based on the work performed by Jamestown Boat Yard I can say that the shaft assembly is actually quite simple and the work can be performed by the boat owner with average mechanical skills.I have attached photos from the overhaul work for information.
The shaft and associated gears appear to be reasonably robust and should not require any replacement, just a thorough cleaning.The only portion of the assembly that required replacement was the aft nylon bushing which supports the aft end of the shaft.This bushing on my boat developed uneven wear and had become slightly out-of-round creating rotational friction to the steering (see figure 4).
One tip when doing this work is to make sure to maintain tension to the steering cables and chain so they do not fall out of the sheaves inside the boat.You will see that the trim-tab cables have an especially circuitous routing inside the boat and bilge areas and I did not want to have to re-feed the cables through these sheeves (see figure 8).

Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)
Rudder repair
After being unsuccessful in eliminating the play in my rudder by inserting a set screw from the side to secure the stainless steel strap bushing to the rudder stock I decided to remove the rudder assembly from my Swan 43.
After discussions with Lars Strom, Technical Director at Swan the permanent fix was to weld the strap bushings to the rudder stock.
I performed the rudder repair work myself except for the welding component and can say that the repair is very straight forward and can be done in about 5-7 days time.
To properly weld the strap bushings to the rudder stock the entire rudder assembly should be removed from the boat.
Removal of the rudder assembly goes quite quickly.First remove the rudder quadrant and loosen the rudder stuffing box.Next grind away the fiberglass fairing at the bottom tip of the skeg to expose the cast bronze shoe which supports the bottom of the rudder stock.
Remove the 4-5 bolts securing the bronze shoe to the fiberglass skeg.You may need to heat up this bronze shoe with a hand held torch to release any epoxy used to secure the bronze shoe to the skeg.Be very gentle here not to heat distort or hammer distort this shoe since this is a custom Swan casting and not overly robust.
Once the bronze shoe has been freed the entire rudder assembly should slip out.Have a helper here since my rudder assembly weighed about 90 pounds.
Once the rudder assembly is off the boat remove the stainless steel shrouds covering the stainless steel rudder stock along the leading edge of the rudder blade.Next grind away the fiberglass fairing to expose the stainless steel straps holding the fiberglass rudder blade.Removing the stainless steel bolts from the strapping should separate the fiberglass rudder blade from the strapping.
Clean the stainless steel rudder stock, strapping, etc with a wire brush wheel on a grinder.You will probably see numerous areas of crevice corrosion and pitting.The factory rudder stock is 40mm and I concluded that this is a very conservative design and unless I saw an obvious area of distress the shaft, although not pretty, was structurally OK for another 37 years.Also one should keep in mind that unlike contemporary spade rudder designs the older Swans have skeg hung rudders where the bottom of the rudder stock is supported by a bottom shoe and at the top so dynamic loads are supported at two locations.
I had my local rigging shop perform a TIG weld to continuously weld the top and bottom faces of both the upper and lower strap bushings.The welds were then ground smooth. Before you have the bushings welded double check their alignment and location with the rudder blade.I had to re-weld one of my bushings due to a slight mis-alignment.I was concerned about warpage of the rudder stock from the welding but did not detect any warping of the rudder stock.
Passivating would not hurt but I did not have enough time so I did not do this.
Re-assembly is reverse of dis-assembly.Make sure to replace all stainless steel bolts with new. Per Swan factory technical director’s direction all bolts should be torqued into place using a wrench on a double nut arrangement.Using a screw driver is totally inadequate.
I also replaced the bushing/bearing in the cast bronze shoe with a composite unit from this web-site http://www.garlockbearings.com.These bushings are pressed in to the casting. Again per Swan factory technical director’s comments do not use Teflon since this will expand when in contact with water and may cause binding and also not to use any graphite type material against stainless steel as this may promote crevice corrosion.
The time consuming component was the re-fairing of the rudder blade at the straps, shrouding of the rudder stock and the cast bronze shoe.Application of multiple coats, drying, sanding can take 3-4 days easily to achieve satisfactory results.
Wood Cleat (replacement)
My original teak cleats on the top of the cabin abeam of the secondary winches finally succumbed to years of sun and water and ultimately split into two pieces. Not being able to find a suitable replacement cleat in wood or metal with the same foot print and placement I decided to make a set myself. Using the original wood cleats as a template I cut a set of new cleats using oak instead of the original teak. This allowed me to re-use the existing original bolt holes in the cabin top. Take care not to discard the existing bolts which secured the wood cleats as they are metric (8mm) and screw into an embedded and tapped plate sandwiched in the cabin top fiberglass. You should not have to remove the headliner down below to secure the new cleats. See photo below.

Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)
Running rigging

Rigid Boom Vang
I have found a very good source for a non-hydraulic mechanical rigid boom vang for the Swan 43. Garhauer Marine out of Upland, California will provide an all stainless steel boom vang with custom fabricated boom and mast fittings (made for your boat) for approximately $350 U.S. (2000 price). The unit is beautifully fabricated with plenty of spring action and comes with a 10 year unconditional guarantee! This is a fraction of the price of a Hall or Forespar unit, which are not even stainless steel, mast/boom fittings are extra and without such a guarantee. The Garhauer boom vang model # RV20-1 comes with all control lines; stainless steel blocks and mast/boom fittings. When specifying the boom vang, contact Susan Felgenhauer at Garhauer Marine () for specific dimensions and data required for your application. This will typically be information such as the required full size template of the mast and boom cross sectional profile; critical dimensions of the boom and mast pivot points above the deck and boom length. My boom vang arrived approximately 2 weeks after I sent the data. Garhauer also makes all stainless steel blocks and other fittings at very reasonable prices as well and they too come with a 10 year unconditional guarantee!
Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)

Solent or Baby Stay
My wife and I use Freya (043-08 or09?) primarily for cruising. A roller furling jib is not well shaped when rolled up more than a few turns. I wanted to be able to set a smaller jib closer and lower to the center of effort but like you, did not want to have to install running back stays. My solution was a masthead (really 15/16ths) staysail stay attached with a removable "T" fitting and to use my second jib halyard brought down (about half a meter) to below the "T" fitting with a fairlead. On deck, I installed a double ring Wichard padeye backed up with a large backing plate with a bale attached to a short 1x19 stay and turnbuckle. The lower end is secured to the lowest point possible of the anchor locker bulkhead with large bolts and a backing plate. The deck fitting is located to be directly in line between the "T" fitting near the mast head and the attachment to the anchor locker bulkhead (about 20 inches forward of the forepeak hatch). The staysail stay is vectran line with an eye splice and thimble at the lower end. Instead of the Wichard type removable stay adjustors, I chose to use a traditional lashing that is ultimately tensioned with the backstay. When not is use, it is tied to a deck padeye just forward of the mast. I had to put over sized hanks of my staysail in order to hoist it up the vectran stay. The system is not perfect but works for my use.
Charlie Hancock (43/008~009 Freya)

All Rope Halyards
I replaced all of the halyards (wire to rope type) with all rope halyards in 1999. This reduced the weight of the halyards significantly, especially aloft. They are much easier on the hands, as well as the sheaves in the mast and to the halyard winch drums. This is a relatively easy modification. The only precaution that must be taken is to check all of the halyard sheaves and sheave boxes at the top of the mast to make sure they are appropriate for rope halyards. Many sheaves are designed for wire halyard only or combination wire/rope halyard. The wire halyard only sheaves will probably not have the correct sheave dimensions for a rope halyard. Also the sheaves tend to get damaged or nicked by the wire halyard and these may damage or cut your new rope halyards. Also do not forget to inspect the sheave boxes, since these maybe too small or narrow to accommodate the new rope halyard sheaves you were thinking of installing. One of my sheave box had to be enlarged to accommodate a new rope halyard.
Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)

Dutchman Main Sail Flaking System
Probably one of the single best improvements made to the boat was the installation of a Dutchman main sail flaking system in 1999. The main can now be hoisted and doused by one person and is ideal for single handed sailing. The near self-flaking design of the system allows the main sail to be doused on top of the boom without it falling all over the deck. The whole dousing operation and flaking of the sail on the boom can be achieved single handedly in under 2 minutes. The Dutchman system works like a venetian blind window curtain system in that the main sail runs up and down on 3 thin vertical lines led off of a topping lift. One of the best features of this system is it’s minimal impact to the main (in terms of windage aloft affecting air flow and number of holes in the sail). It eliminates all of the control lines typically associated with a "Lazy Jack" system. The system is best fabricated along with main sail customization by your sailmaker. Installation on to one’s boat is straight forward and can be done by the boat owner. One improvement to the standard Dutchman system that I would recommend is the use of small diameter high tech lines for the vertical guide lines in lieu of the Dutchman’s oversized mono filament type line. By using the high tech line it can be simply spliced into the topping lift for a neat and simple solution. The Dutchman’s standard detail for this is a clunky metal splice fitting which holds the vertical mono filament guide lines to the topping lift. Approximate cost of sail modification is $1,000 U.S. (1999 price).

Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)

Standing rigging

9.Standing Rigging - Spreader Crack
During a routine rigging inspection my local rigger found a small radial crack at the spreader tip.The spreader is the original tubular aluminum design with a forked tip welded to the end of the tubular spreader section.
The small hairline crack was found at the weld where the spreader tip is attached to the tubular spreader. The rigger was able to repair this crack by carefully removing a portion of the faulty weld and re-welding this area again.
This crack was so small it would be easily missed unless one were looking for this particular item.I would recommend that every boat owner do a careful inspection of every component of their standing rigging at least once every year and have a professional rigger do one every second year.The rigger who noticed this crack on my spreader is the same rigger who had completed a major overhaul of my mast four years ago and was knowledgeable enough to know what to look for specifically in older rigging.
A crack of this nature in the spreader tip can result in catastrophic failure of the rig and I urge all of you to be vigilant.
Hiroshi Nakajima"Hiro Maru"43/46

9.Hardware - Gear Winch Refurbishment
When I purchased my boat one of the things I noticed was how original it was in many ways.This included the winches which were vintage Barlows.
In order to improve the short handed sailing capabilities of the boat I was interested in replacing the primary winches with a self-tailing type.
I searched for quite awhile for a suitable replacement but was not satisfied with what was available.New winches invariably had different base diameters than the Barlows and would require modifying the existing stainless steel pedestals.Also I felt that the newer winches just did not fit my boat’s vintage design.
I finally did however come across The Australian Yacht Winch PTY, Ltdwww.arco-winches.comwho took my existing non-self-tailing Barlow 28 winches and converted them to self-tailing unit.They also increased the gearing to a 32 and re-chromed the winches at the same time.
They have been on my boat now for 4 years and have been just great.They fit the vintage of the boat and best of all required no modifications to the winch pedestal or cleat locations etc.
m I have included a picture of the converted winch.This was a very worthwhile winter project.


Auto-Pilot System
After having surveyed a number of auto-pilot installations and system designs I elected to purchase a quadrant mounted auto-pilot system. The steering system back-up feature of a quadrant mounted auto-pilot design provides a level of comfort for the owner in the event of steering cable failure. This type of system does however require careful planning and installation. On my boat I decided to install a Whitlock Direct Drive electric motor controlled by a Robertson AP21 brain. This is a system design that Robertson and Whitlock will warrant as a package. My concern was and still is to keep all of my boat systems extremely simple and rugged. In order to have a dependable auto-pilot system in the harshest of marine environments I wanted a robust system with minimal components. The Whitlock Direct Drive electric motor connects via a stainless steel tie-rod directly to my steering quadrant. This system design eliminates the need for any hydraulic systems to move the rudder. Many auto-pilot systems rely on a hydraulic ram to move the steering quadrant. The hydraulic fluid which moves this ram is moved via a hydraulic pump powered by an electric motor. In my opinion there were too many components to maintain and potentially fail. Hydraulics are good but the internal seals eventually require maintenance, hydraulic fluid hoses may leak, hydraulic fluid needs periodic replacement, the hydraulic pump and electric motor also require maintenance. In my opinion too many components. The Whitlock Direct Drive electric motor, using reduction gears is very strong and comes in a neat package. This motor is controlled by a Robertson AP21 brain. The AP21 controller comes on a long cable so that I can move about on deck while still controlling the auto-pilot.

Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)


High Lift Water Jacketed Muffler (Replacement)
My Perkins 4-108 diesel engine was equipped with a custom stainless steel water jacketed muffler. Since the engine was rebuilt by the previous owner approximately in the late 1980s this muffler was probably installed at that time. The muffler is connected to the jacketed exhaust manifold on the port side of the engine. (Depending on the Perkins engine installed it is possible that the exhaust manifold can be either port or starboard.) Working ones way aft from the aft end of the exhaust manifold the connection is a hard (non-flexible) connection via a short horizontal (6") section of stainless steel pipe and then turns upward via a water jacketed st. stl. exhaust canister that places the top of the canister up under the bridge deck keeping the system above the relative waterline. The exhaust gases and cooling water would travel up the exhaust pipe and enter into the canister from the top. The gases and cooling water would then fall to the bottom of the canister and discharge into a flexible rubber exhaust hose out to the underside of the transom counter. This canister appears to be of sufficient volume to minimize any backflow into the engine from following seas. After my purchase of the boat in 1998, the bottom of the canister began exhibiting pin hole sized water leaks, which I was able to temporarily seal by removing the muffler and having the leaks welded by the local rigging shop. Then in late summer of 2000 more leaks developed in which so much water leaked that it filled the bilges with water to the floor boards. After removing the stainless steel muffler once again for the third time in two years the diagnosis was that although the muffler was in good condition the areas around the original welds, particularly where water would sit in between engine usage, had begun to corrode so badly from the inside that repair welds were no longer an option. The outside of the muffler looked very good. Since the muffler and the available space for the muffler was very particular to the boat rather than re-engineer a new system (with unknown results) I opted to have a duplicate unit fabricated by a marine muffler fabricator located in Long Island, NY. I delivered my old st. stl. muffler to him and he custom fabricated a new unit using a cuprous-nickel alloy. I went to re-install the new unit on my boat and to my great relief the new unit fit perfectly without any modifications to any component. The new muffler unit also incorporated some new features such as screw-in pencil zincs to reduce any galvanic action. The replacement muffler unit cost approximately $700 (2001 price) and took approximately 2 weeks to fabricate. I performed the installation and it required approximately 1.5 hours using simple tools. The name of the muffler fabricator is: Marine Manifold Corp. 134 Verdi Street East Farmingdale, NY 11735 631-694-0714 Mr. Paul LoBrutto Old stainless steel muffler on left, new replacement cuprous nickel muffler on right.

Hiroshi Nakajima (43/046 Hiro Maru)


Simple winter cover (with mast out)
The following reusable system has worked well in most windy and snowy conditions and can be stored relatively easily. The cost is mostly the reusable covering material. White canvas is my favorite at about 30 cents a square foot for a rectangular cover with grommets, about $250. This system also clears the deck of spars and the lifelines can be kept in place. The key weight bearing parts that are made up in advance are: A seven foot wooden 4X4 false "mast" to stick down to the mast step. A short three foot 3x3 "post" to stick in the bow deck plate A "X" frame set on top of the mainsail traveler track. The height can be customized. One spinnaker pole clips from the "mast" to the bow "post". The second spinnaker pole (or boom) clips from the "mast" to the top of the x frame. The spars clip to round eyebolts screwed into fore or aft sides of the wooden "mast"," post" and X frame. Then, ¾ inch PVC pipe then bent over the spars and attached to the top of each lifeline stanchion. I also run a PVC pipe tied to the end of the boom to the pushpin to help shed snow. Use split water pipe isolation and duct tape as chafing gear. I have drilled holes in the end of the PVC pipes to accept large wire ties around the lifelines for added security. Go forth armed with extra rug material and duct tape as needed.

Roger Merrill (43/051 Deneb)