County Down Restoration of the yacht Swan 36, Lofna


In 2018, Co Down sailor Del Fairley put together a list of boats to buy from which he would pick his favorite design, and at the top of the list was a Swan 36. His wife Gill didn’t know! But when Del discovered a miserable-looking Swan 36 on the rough at the East Down Yacht Club on the east coast of Strangford Lough, he jumped at the chance and took a peek.

He was not deterred by the deplorable condition of the boat, which bore the name “Icon” on the transom. Del said: “Sitting on an old trailer in the yard, there was indeed a Swan 36. It was in appalling condition, with torn covers revealing a white boat stained with green from years of dirt. Thoroughly revealed the white paint on the hull had blistered, and a large sign had been stuck to the boat stating, “THIS BOAT IS NOT INSURED” – a warning to be kept away in case the rusty trailer slipped. The nameplate on the transom said “Icon”, although I was told it had been renamed, Seamróg which means clover in Irish. Not the lucky variety “.

Lofna’s aft deck (anobe and under her cockpit

In his opinion, the S&S Swan 36 offers an almost perfect combination of the beautiful lines of the great Olin Stephens – sailing performance and quality fiberglass built by the now legendary Nautors shipyard while maintaining the appearance of classic yachts from the sea. ‘an earlier era. The more miniature S&S Swan is practical for both sailing and yard rigs, but apart from practicality, it also ticks the all-important box marked “emotion”.

    In Lofna's forward cabin In the forward cabin of Lofna

A borrowed ladder gave access to the cockpit, which contained a dirty brown pond as leaves and moss blocked the drains. Over the years, soil began to form on the deck and cockpit seats. Even the grass had started to grow. Once the water was drained from the cockpit and as Del walked around the teak deck, he found it in surprisingly good condition. Despite the dirt, the quality of the fittings – which included six stainless steel Andersen Self Tailing winches was good. But unfortunately she had been in the shipyard for six years.

The interior of Lofna as found(Above and below) The interior of Lofna as found

Downstairs, the conditions were much worse. The dirty water inside had been drained to the level of an open through-hull. Del continued, “I later learned that the mechanic had pulled out a transducer to reduce the weight of the water inside in case the trailer collapsed. Below that level the boat was still full. of a poisonous soup of rainwater, used engine oil, battery acid and dissolved flares.The Volvo Penta engine had been completely submerged, and six liters of dirty oil had floated, forming a line oily black internal flotation almost halfway up the saloon door. Even the air inside the boat was acrid and hard to breathe, but still the potential of this boat was obvious (to me anyway ) “.

He continued: “I was ready to take a boat in ‘draft’ condition, and this one would need a complete overhaul, but the first and most crucial challenge was, of course, Gill herself! , she was able to see the condition passed as well, and negotiations with the owner were quickly concluded.They bought the Swan in September 2018 – she had been launched in July 1968 as Lofna – a name they quickly decided on. to come back.

Lofna was the 21st boat built by the Nautor shipyard in Pietarsaari, Finland, which was launched in 1966 by Finnish entrepreneur Pekka Koskenkylä. In 1996 Lofna was French property and located in Mallorca when it was sold to a new English owner who renamed it Icon of Hamble. After 15 years in the same owner and a major refit in England, she was sold to an Irish owner in April 2011 who named the boat Seamróig, although she still wore the Icon badge.

The Lofna was therefore relaunched in October 2018, and Del and Gill believed she would surely float, given how well the hull had held water and she was towed to the pontoon at the Down Sailing Club in Ballydorn near Whiterock on Strangford Lough. Winter 2018/2019 was spent keeping the rain out while the interior was cleaned and stripped, and the following spring they used a borrowed trailer to take it to the nearby Cadoo shipyard.

By fall 2019 a new trailer had been built and they began moving Lofna 50 miles by road from Strangford Lough to the workshop run by Bryan Willis Marine in Larne. After an anxious October trip, Lofna arrived in Larne to continue the work in the luxury of a heated indoor workshop. The plan is to relaunch Lofna in spring 2022.

Del had thought: “With the investment of time, effort and money so far, we could, of course, have bought a French production boat and simply set off to sail, but for us that would leave the ’emotion box’. ” empty. We “We still don’t know if we’ve found our next yacht or if she has found us. Anyway, we can’t wait to set sail on Lofna and can’t wait to meet other S&S Swan owners. on the water in the years to come “.

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