Swan 44’ “Pride”: A masterful refitting by Cossutti – Ganz Yacht Design
“Pride,” a Swan 44′ built in 1973 on an S&S project, has a prestigious career behind it and is ready to sail again thanks to a complex and exciting refitting coordinated by Cossutti – Ganz Yacht Design.
40 years later, a new challenge for “Pride”
The Swan 44’ “Pride” is one of those vessels that, thanks to its impressive track record, has helped write a piece of yachting history. “Pride” boasts countless successes in American waters, including a triumph in the Newport – Bermuda Race, the early Swan World Cups, and the Club 55 Cup and Nioulargue races. The latter, the precursor to the current “Les Voiles de Saint Tropez,” was born precisely from the challenge initially launched between “Pride” and the 12-meter SI “Ikra” in 1981.
Last year, the boat was re-purchased by Will and Gillian Graves, specifically intending to renew the challenge to “Ikra,” 42 years later. Adding a romantic note to the story, Gillian is the granddaughter of Dick Jayson, the original owner of “Pride” and founding member of the Nioulargue.
The new owner, impressed by similar projects we had curated in the past and in particularly the Swan 38′ “Mascalzone Latino,” contacted our Studio to commission this important refit. The goal was to make “Pride” more modern, and competitive in preparation for the upcoming challenge on the French Riviera.
What became of “Pride” in these years?
After 1995, Dick Jayson stopped racing, marking the end of his participation in the Nioulargue. “Pride” remained anchored near Saint Tropez and rarely ventured out. In 2001, he sailed again on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Nioulargue and once again participated in the Club 55 Cup together with “Ikra” for a rematch. Unfortunately, that was the year of the September 11 attack in the United States, and Dick was unable to attend the event. In his place, Bill Jayson, his son, sailed proudly on board the “Pride” along with some members of the original crew from the first race in 1981.
After that race, “Pride” never returned to Saint Tropez. As Dick’s health worsened, he stopped racing, while Bill devoted himself to the competitive races of the Farr 40 Class. It seemed that “Pride” was no longer receiving the same attention. In Saint Tropez, some boat fans even proposed setting up a consortium to recover “Pride,” but the boat continued to languish near St. Tropez, gradually losing its original splendor.
The new Italian ownership
In 2006, Italians Alfonso Visentini and Livio Nardo decided to buy a classic sailing boat. They discovered “Pride,” which had been stationary for over five years and wrote a “love letter” to Dick Jayson, expressing their desire to preserve the legacy of this magnificent boat. Their passionate courtship was successful, and once the ownership was transferred, “Pride” was transported to Venice, where Visentini’s team dedicated two years to an extensive renovation. Since then, “Pride” has spent the subsequent 14 years sailing between the waters of Italy, Sicily, and Greece.
The final return to the original family
Gillian, Dick’s granddaughter, tells the story of how “Pride” returned to their ownership: “We stumbled upon the fact that Alfonso had put “Pride” back on sale. Last summer, he kindly invited us to Caorle, Italy, to sail together on “Pride” on the occasion of our tenth wedding anniversary. We spent a few days on board, enjoying Mediterranean lunches with good food and plentiful wine, and making new friendships while anchored off the local beaches. It was an exciting experience to sail on my grandfather’s boat after so many years.
There was nothing more to stop us! The yacht inspection work and discussions continued throughout the year, and Will returned to Italy in January to finalize the purchase of “Pride” and sign the contract for the necessary renovation works”.
The refit project by Cossutti – Ganz Yacht Design
From the start, the couple loved the idea of transforming and modernizing “Pride” to let her race again at high levels. However, pre-sale checks indicated that while the hull was in good condition, the fifty-year-old mast and most of the electrical, hydraulic, and other systems were beyond any possibility of repair.
Gillian continues: “To move the project forward quickly, we knew we had to work with world-renowned experts to achieve the best in design, safety, and racing performance of the boat. Thus, we contacted the Cossutti – Ganz Yacht Design Studio, given their extensive experience in refitting classic boats, including those of notable teams like Brava and the classic S&S Swan 38′ of Vincenzo Onorato’s “Mascalzone Latino,” which won the 2022 Rolex Swan Cup.”
The refitting objectives for “Pride” focused on several key points: besides competitiveness, the boat had to be easier to handle to serve as a cruising vessel as well. This was because Gilles and Will wanted to take their three young children “sailing in the Mediterranean,” and then have them participate in the Les Voiles race in the fall.
We immediately realized we could make the boat much easier to sail with a modern approach, incorporating modern materials like carbon fiber, stainless steel, and composites, which have changed enormously since “Pride” was built in 1973. Extensive use of these materials contributes to making the boat faster, safer, and much easier to handle. Although some traditionalists oppose modifying the grand S&S designs of the ’70s, “Pride” had already undergone significant modifications: for example, it was the first of the S&S Swan 44’ units to move the rudder aft to optimize IOR racing in the late ’70s.
The progress of the refitting
The boat was docked at Marina Sant’Andrea in San Giorgio di Nogaro (Swan’s service point in the Adriatic), dismasted, and sheltered in a warehouse during the winter of 2022-2023 to start the work. Enrico Burello, interior project manager for the Cossutti – Ganz Yacht Design Studio, explains how the work is proceeding: “First, we had the hull and deck completely scanned, a crucial step to have an accurate and reliable working starting point.
We then proposed to the owner to replace the heavy original aluminum mast (rigged with large genoas at the masthead) with a new fractional carbon rig, with swept-back spreaders to eliminate runners. The boat will thus be rigged with high-aspect-ratio 110% jibs and a generous mini square-top mainsail, to have adequate power in light winds.
For downwind courses, we choose a topmast-stayed gennaker, mounted on a not excessively long bowsprit to harmonize with the hull design; we have also maintained the option of rigging a traditional spinnaker and pole in the future. During the project, the owner also opted for a discontinuous carbon rigging instead of the traditional steel rod. The mast and rigging are supplied by Pauger Carbon.
The deck layout was then completely redesigned to suit the new sophisticated rig: the long genoa tracks disappeared, the winch layout was rationalized, and the running rigging was simplified, always keeping in mind the competitive requirements.
The entire study phase relating to the development of the sail plan and the deck plan was carried out with the consultancy of the multi-titled offshore sailor Steve Benjamin, who is also in charge of the sail design and construction at the North Sails loft in Miami.
Below the waterline, the interventions have also been significant: in the late ’70s, the rudder had been moved to the extreme stern thanks to the study of Johan Valentijn (designer of “Liberty,” the boat defeated by “Australia 2” in the 1982 America’s Cup). After verifying the substantial structural compromise of the rudder and its skeg, it was decided to switch to a more modern high-aspect and efficiency rudder, positioned where the original was; in the past, we have carried out these types of conversions on IOR boats, and the results were very good. This modification required the dismantling of the fairing constructed by Valentijn in the stern area, and only thanks to 3D scans were we able to reconstruct the original S&S stern shape.
Finally, the Shipyard undertook a complete revision of the systems, a rejuvenation of the interiors, a complete repainting, and the re-doing of the deck teak. In just a few more weeks “Pride” will be back in the water, ready for a new challenge!