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Shadow, the motorised Swan

We had the chance to test-sail in the waters off Valencia the Swan Shadow, a model that the Finnish shipyard Nautor, renowned for its legendary line of sailing yachts, has launched for its first foray into the motorboat segment.

Test: Carlos Pich        Images: C.P. and Swan/Studio Borlenghi

The Shadow  is conceived as a very Mediterranean boat for day outings, with the possibility of an overnight stay on board, thanks to its cabin capable of accommodating two people in a double bed, with the interior complemented by a small toilet cabin.

Nautor maintains its high level of quality in the build of this model, using materials and finishes its boats are famous for. It also seeks out appealing features to satisfy customers who do not want to forego excellent performance. The design of its two-stage hull and its noteworthy length (13.23 m) / beam (4.30 m) ratio make it a good performer in rough seas.

It has a large walk-around cockpit, which connects to the bow surrounding the helm station and the cockpit overhang on both sides, as well as with the stern platform. The width of the side passages, the high freeboard and lack of steps or unevenness make it possible to move around the entire deck easily and safely.

Life on board can be adapted to the needs of each owner thanks to the options to configure it  with different modular furniture, while maintaining the same helm station. With its large panel for installing navigation equipment, its engine controls are very close to the steering wheel, providing good ergonomics while motoring in a standing position. The wide seat allows two passengers to sit next to the skipper.

We tested the Limousine version, which includes all possible modules behind the steering position to compose the cockpit. This modularity begins with a bar unit attached to the back of the seat. Thanks to its great width, under the lid we find a sink, a ceramic hob and a smooth space for a worktop, while the bottom contains a fridge and different cupboards for storage.

The next block has a dinette with two transverse seats and a central table with two folding wings. The backrest of both seats can pivot, allowing the front seat to face the direction of travel or be integrated into the dinette, while the rear seat tilts to extend the sun deck it forms with its rearward extension. The main living area on board is completed at the Limousine’s bow with a U-shaped seat surrounding the height-adjustable central table and a further sun deck.

One of its features is the rigid roof, with two sliding fabric areas for when the sun is not so strong. The roof is supported by four solid, streamlined carbon fibre columns that are not bothersome in the dinette nor obtrusive to steering. At the stern, the platform surrounds the three outboard engines, allowing the height to be electrically adjusted.

We were able to sail the Shadow following three days of the world championship of the Swan one-design classes, with three unitary 350 HP Mercury Verado outboards, the maximum suggested by the shipyard. During the almost fifteen hours we sailed, we were able to see how well it performed under a swell and winds of up to 14 knots. With the engines idling at around 4,000 rpm, the cruising speed was close to 30 knots, while at full throttle the maximum figure was close to 50 knots, with eight people on board.

We were very pleased with the good protection of the hard top, the lack of deck spray even at high speed, and the comfort of the Mercury electronic controls, which included a joystick capable of maintaining a fixed position, as a virtual anchor, and making for easy manoeuvrability at low speed, independently operating the direction of travel and rotation of the engines. We find the 130 litres of fresh water a bit meagre, in contrast to the 1,000 litres of fuel. The Shadow’s draft is 0.86 metres and weighs just over 4.5 tonnes without engines.