Pictures and Comments From Our Builders (click on images to enlarge)
The Swift Solo class looks forward to working with Wanka Boats
USA 020 and USA 040
Swift Solo USA040 began as a dream when I picked up a copy of the August 2003 edition of "Wooden Boat" Magazine and said to myself, "This looks like fun, I can do this!" As I gathered the materials, purchased the plans, prepared my shop and remodeled the kitchen (to keep the Mrs. onboard) in late 2003 and early 2004, Felix Schliebitz and Tom Owen began USA020 in Newport, RI while apprenticing at the International Yacht Restoration School. Unfortunately for them, they were not able to complete the hull and deck before their graduation and return to Germany and the UK respectively. Thus began my project to complete both USA020 and USA040.
I have some wood working skills and a modest garage shop, but no boat building experience. Balancing a full time high-tech career and a happy home life with a part time boat shop has been a challenge, but to-date, all are progressing well. It has been wonderful to share the experience and knowledge with other builders/sailors as we all achieve the goal of building, rigging and sailing our Swift Solos. The Winter Regatta, this past March, was a great learning experience and I look forward to sailing my Swift at the next event. In the mean time, work continues on USA020. The hull and deck are bonded. Work continues on the foils, rudder cassette, and putting on the final finish. Attached are some photos at various stages. I look forward to seeing USA020 "flying" across Narragansett Bay soon.
USA020 and USA040
I first saw the boat on the cover of “Wooden Boat” magazine back July/August of 2003. After seeing it there I wanted to start building but with a hectic college schedule and work I could not afford to take the time. So about 5 months later I saw an Ad that VMG Skiffs in Frankfort, Michigan was building Swift Solos. I made call and set up to stop by and see their first boat (USA032- Bram now has)…it took me a little less then a minute to decide this was it. They stated building USA056 “Der Springer” for me around March of 2004. The pictures to the side are 5 months later when I took delivery and the boat was ready. I can not express how impressed I was by the quality of USA056; this is an amazingly beautiful and fast looking boat.
As for sailing the Swift Solo, the best advice I can give you is to talk to Bram and listen to Bram, he knows what he is talking about. Attend Florida or another regatta / clinic where you can get hands on experience along with advice from other Swift sailors. I have been out many times and been in over my head, but I walk away think about it and the next time out I improve. I’m most likely can be considered the least experienced member of the class and I have managed to keep my moral up. It takes time to learn to sail this boat but each step is very satisfying.
Also some good advice is having non-skid on your boat and use knee & shin pads.
If you are ever in the Michigan area let me know,
Keith enjoying the warm winter weather at Fort Desoto
This is one of the Great boats built by Pat and Anita Owen. They built three Swift Solos and all of them are perfect
Take good care of it Keith-- It's truly a thing of beauty.
USA 025 Rob Desmarais
To Future Swift Builders – I first saw the Swift Solo on the cover of Wooden Boat. Being a replaced east coaster, former owner of a classic 35’ wood boat (responsibility), I have felt out of my element in the Ozarks of Arkansas. To me seeing this boat spelled F-U-N. Although I haven’t actually sailed one, the building process has been a process of enjoyment in and of itself. There is nothing complicated about the building process once you have done it. For anyone contemplating building one, I would suggest visiting a present builder or look for a mentor that has built one in your area and see how it’s done. If you are lucky, they’ll be finished with it and you can see how they sail. The Swift Solo group is a great group of sailors/builders that will help in any way possible to see more boats on the water and more sailors having fun. If anyone in Arkansas wants to come by and lend a hand, I’ll be happy to put you to work or share a beer.
025 Anticipated Completion: October 2005
The stripped and glassed hull. It's amazing how transparent the S-glass becomes with good epoxy application. Rob, it is simply spectacular. Keep up the good work
hull with hybrid installed
This stage of construction is a great example of the process. While it is rough and crude looking now, there is no doubt that it will be as fantastic looking as the hull
Velocity Made Bad
USA 002 (Velocity Made Bad) is the boat on the cover of Wooden boat and Epoxyworks.It will always be my favorite boat because it took the great things learned on 001 to the next level.It has been sailed by a lot of people over four years and has taken the beating with only a minor scratch from a trapeze hook on the deck.I did sand and apply some new varnish to the hull after four seasons in the sun (VMB sits on the dock at Shilshole from March to November each year and the sun on the south side of the bow below the boat cover finally got to the Epifanes varnish).
This is the Swift that was used to do the majority of the R&D for the class and I have far more hours sailing it than any boat I’ve owned.In spite of the high time, it remains as stiff as in the beginning and, except for a very small advantage for the new blades on USA 013, this boat is as fast both upwind and down (I’ll be new blades soon).I only get to sail it occasionally now because I spend most of my time in “Series of Unfortunate Events”(USA 013).I feel a bit guilty for relegating it to a “demo” Swift because it has given me four years without problems or failures and is like a wise old friend--secure and trustworthy.
For those who are intimadated by the prospect of building your own. This is how crude it looks in the beginning. Would you really have a tough time doing at least this good a job? USA 002 turned out beautifully ("a little filler and a little paint, makes a boat builder what he ain't")
a look at how the filler bring out the color of the cedar
hard to describe the thrill of completing the epoxy work and putting on a coat of varnish
except nothing beats the thrill of taking it out for the first sail