PRE-LOVED BOATS: SWAN 44 MKII

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Seasoned sailor Ray Foreman and wife Eve are parting with their beautiful Swan 44 Fontana 2 after 13 years together. He tells how they got into yachting, their exploits afloat and the fun times — as well as the desire for the dream to continue for others aboard their stylish Finish-built cruiser.

PRE-LOVED BOATS: SWAN 44 MKII
PRE-LOVED BOATS: SWAN 44 MKII

Our sea adventures started in 1985, when a failed business proposition that constituted a move to Mackay did not eventuate. I instead purchased a hull and deck for a Nicholson 32 and proceeded to fit it out in our backyard.

On completion we sailed the Queensland coast out of Mackay, and in 1989 finished third in the cruising division of the Brisbane Noumea yacht race. We were so pleased with this challenging adventure and enjoyment of faraway destinations we sold Sea Fever and purchased a new 39ft Beneteau, sailing it back from Adelaide to Mackay.

In the ensuing four years, we participated successfully in four Brisbane or Gold Coast to Noumea races and a Coral Sea Classic from Townsville to Port Moresby now sailing in the racing division. We were fortunate to have some of Mackay’s top sailors as crew and won some of these races. This fuelled our desire to further our offshore adventures. We particularly enjoyed cruising the areas after the race as well as the comradeship of other yachties.

In 1994, a one-off nonstop 4000nm race from Brisbane to Japan was organised to commemorate the opening of the Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay. Entrant numbers were limited, with five staggered starting dates from Brisbane, Los Angeles, Vladivostok, Shanghai and Seoul. There were no handicaps but three divisions of 40 to 45ft, 45 to 50ft and 50 to 60ft, our Beneteau was not eligible being one foot short of the minimum length and lacking the mandatory collision bulkheads.



FIRST SWAN

So we purchased a new Swan 40ft yacht from the Seattle boat show named Fontana and had it shipped to Brisbane. To be accepted in the race, we had to complete a 500nm non-stop sail with our crew. We were so thrilled to gain third place in our division behind two Japanese entrants. The race took us 30 days, through the dreaded doldrums with heat and slatting sails and crossing the equator under sail for the first time. Eve and I have now crossed the equator five times under sail. Our crew flew out after the race, and we had the joy of sailing Fontana home together stopping at Chichi Shima, Gaum, Truk, Gizo and making landfall at Townsville. What an experience.

Over the next three years, we sailed the Melbourne Osaka two-handed race, to Indonesia participating in the Darwin Ambon and Bali Jakarta races, as well as cruising their islands. We came second in the Paradise to Paradise race (Airlie Beach to Vanuatu) and contested the Brisbane Gizo and Brisbane Honiara races. We cruised to NZ, returning from Nelson to Coffs Harbour.



RACED OUT

Eve and I now found we were tiring of the competitiveness of the racing scene. We wished to confine our offshore activities to cruising and not being restricted to race-dictated starting dates.

We purchased a new 44ft Swan. We took delivery of it from Nautor’s Swan at Pietarsaari in Finland and so began our love affair with Fontana 2, a beautiful cruising yacht. Delivery time was February 1999 and the seas around Finland were frozen solid with winter ice. Rather than wait for the thaw Fontana 2 was trucked and then deck cargoed to Southampton, England. We flew from Mackay and commenced the big job of fitting her out for the adventure of sailing back to Australia. This work was a pure joy as we were learning to know our home on the water for the next nine months.

Nautor’s Swan has sold more 44 Swans than any other size built. We were so proud of Fontana 2, she was the centre of attraction wherever we went. We departed Falmouth early in May, leaving freezing England on icy decks to sail 1000nm non-stop via the English Channel and busy shipping lanes to sunny Vilamoura in the south of Portugal. It was a joy to be warm again, and what a start to our wonderful adventure — 1000nm in just five days. We found Fontana 2 fast, safe and a delight to sail shorthanded.

From Vilamoura we sailed to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, where we bought lots of provisions for the 3000nm Atlantic crossing to the Carribean. What a buzz crossing the Atlantic. We cruised several Carribean islands before heading for Colon and the transit of the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean was an incredible experience. We mixed it in the locks with big ocean ships, but thanks to our linesmen had not a single scratch.

Crossing the Pacific Ocean via Galapagos, Marquesas, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Western and American Samoa, we arrived in Suva. After cruising Fijian waters, we joined the Musket Cove regatta bound for Vila in Vanuatu and from there sailed non-stop to Mackay through Hydrographers Passage to a warm welcome by many friends, Customs, TV and the Press. Fontana 2 was now home in its own berth in the newly constructed Mackay Marina, 16,000nm and five months after leaving England.

During the next 12 years, Eve and I sailed Fontana 2 in a circumnavigation of Australia, an epic adventure in itself. We have sailed back to Fiji and cruised extensively in the chain of Tonga, Noumea and Vanuatu, and numerous trips between Hobart and Darwin, as well as sailing Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

We now confine our sailing to Qld and six years ago I started to feel the effects of AMD (advanced macular degeneration). My eyesight has gradually diminished to the degree that I can no longer see to read or write or drive a car and I am legally blind. We still sail our yacht, with Eve taking over the role of skipper.

Fontana 2 is and has been a marvellous yacht, easy and safe to sail, and still draws many onlookers. We have meticulously maintained her with no expense spared and recently installed a new 54hp Yanmar diesel engine, gearbox and saildrive.

Since commencing sailing Eve and I have each sailed 145,000nm — the equivalent of four times around the world. We have been fortunate not to have been molested by pirates, never hit a whale or container, never lost a mast and never put a scratch on any boat.



SWAN SONG

All good things must come to an end, though, and reluctantly we have made the decision to sell Fontana 2. She is in excellent condition, rigged for shorthanded and offshore cruising and is truly a beautiful yacht.

She has contributed greatly to our marvellous sea adventures and Fontana 2 is ready to start your dreams. We sincerely hope she finds a new owner who wishes to head out to sea and continue the adventures we have so enjoyed.



[DEALER’S VIEWS]

A true one-owner vessel, the owners personally took delivery of this vessel and have maintained her to the highest of high standards. Brand-new Yanmar diesel, gearbox and saildrive fitted October 2012. Impeccable fitout and an amazing list of equipment to make covering the miles effortless: including eight Harken winches (four electric), self-furling main, twin Harken furling headsails, autohelm, Raytheon radar, three GPS, Selmar watermaker, solar panels and wind generator. An inspection is essential to truly appreciate the quality of this vessel. Fontana 2 is ready to set sail for any coastal or worldwide destination of your dreams.



Specifications: Swan 44 MkII

Fontana 2



FOR SALE $399,000

YEAR BUILT 1999

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Keelboat

LENGTH 13.4m

ENGINE 54hp Yanmar

CONTACT Peter Hansen Yacht Brokers, Mackay Marina Sales Office, Mulherin Drive, Mackay Harbour, phone (07) 4955 6855 or visit www.peterhansen.com.au


Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #435, January 2013.

 


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