Ex marine, airline pilot and single-handed transatlantic sailer John Charnley teamed up with designer Colin Silvester. What emerged was the Swift 18, which conformed to the French Micro Cup rules. The rules dictated design characteristics, built in buoyancy, retractable keel etc. With hull and deck made of 1/2inc balsa sandwich, 8oz woven rovings and 1 1/2 oz chopped strand mat, this made a strong boat.
The Swift 18 is light with a high aspect rig which makes her more of a racer. She was tested in a force 7 Northerly, with two reefs and she stayed light on the helm and was well balanced. The Swift has a roomy well layed out accommodation. A large double forepeak berth, and a central galley , comprising 2 ring cooker and bowl/sink. There are 2 full length settee berths aft with storage under the settee berths are 1ft 8ins wide and the forepeak berth from 5ft 6ins to nothing over a length of 6ft 6ins. there is an infill here and underneath a chemical toilet.
There is sitting head room in saloon area.She has a kick up rudder which makes it safer than a slide up type. It is controlled by a screw jack (45 turns up and 45 turns down). She also has a transom well for an inboard/outboard. This making it better protected in heavy weather. She has sturdy cleats and a large anchor well. Her self draining cockpit easily seats four people. The starting price was £1895 ex.VAT for a home completion boat. A complete sailerway boat was £3495 ex.VAT, while a deluxe version was £300 more. A custom made trailer was £356 before VAT.
Length : 18ft
Beam : 7ft 11
Weight : 1125lb
Sail Area : 199ft sq
If you want to contact Swift 18 owners please use the following link to our ‘group’ page.
I bought a Swift 18 last year which had spent 5 years stored in an orchard I changed the standing and running rigging religned the interior with 4 cms Soffits Resealed the windows and modified the rudder and stock so that the rudder blade was not in contact with the hull I also virtually completely rewired it , took out the ungimballed cooker and replaced it with a small table.
Hi, I owned a Swift 18 for 6 years and sailed her on the West Coast of Scotland, a great boat and for a small boat safe in a blow. I have a new pulpit for a Swift 18 for sale. If you are interested I can send photo.
My brother and I are the proud owners of a SWIFT18 and have had hours of enjoyable sailing. But we have, on our last attempt to sail, come across a problem that my be faced by manny more SWIFT owners.We were lowering the keel with the winding gear, when there was a sickening thud. The keel had broke free of the winding gear and dropped. After taking the boat out of the water, we discovered that the threads had stripped on the hawser. The only way we can now fix this problem is to take the keel out completely. After much deliberation, we cannot make our minds up on how to approach this mammoth task. If anyone can give any advice, it would be most helpful. I will report later on how we solve and cure this problem.
Can anyone tell me what the largest size engine a Swift 18 will take, is it an 8hp or a 10hp.
Is it long shaft or short shaft that is needed.
Would love to hear your comments.
I bought a Swift 18 8 months ago and have just had a fantastic week sailing off West Coast of Scotland entering a couple of local regattas. Question I have – what is the Portsmouth yardstick number for a Swift 18?
I have recently refurbished the keel on my swift 18. It is easy to remove as long as you can get the boat secuely blocked up with about 18″ ground clearance. To remove the keel have plenty of wooden blocks and 2 or 3 hydraulic jacks to take the weight (nearly 400lbs). I made a steel frame on wheels to lower the keel into. If you want more details send me an email
I am building a new swift 18 from an old set of production moulds,looking for most parts,sails,hatch etc.can be contacted on the swift 18 web site on yahoo or phone 01953 681 578 (sunny norfolk),with regards to other comments,I am making a new winding unit for my boat(STRONGER) as they were known to have caused problems in the past. also the guy who wants to install a bigger engine ,will have problems ,with weight,size, shaft length,and structual strenth of the boat regards mike
Regards the problem with the lifting keel you will,etc need a replacement threaded lenth of studding and new nuts, that will have to be welded onto the stainless steel frame assembly and other bits,as to removing and refitting, not to much of a pain, but you will need a bottle jack, or trolley jack to take the weight for removal. I am thinking of making a different type, using a bottle jack instead of a screw thread unit regards mike eg ..mikeprojectboat@AOL
By the way, the introduction to Swift 18 sould say that the keel is controlled by a screw jack and not the rudder.
is this the sort of boat that I could sail to Isle of Man/Ireland from here(N Wales).It looks easy to launch which would be great.
Interested in any info etc
I would like to replace my now very old and worn out roller reefed jib.
Any recommendations as to where I should go.
What a good looking design. Are their any better options? I’m looking for a second hand dry trailable design. Any for sale? Whats your opinion of its trailing and ease of rigging for weekend cruising in the Solent by a middle age couple with just some small dinghy experience.
I have just purchased a Swift 18. Unfortunalely I magaged the winding system on the keel. Does anybody know where I can get parts or instructions on how to repair the boat?
Contacted the makers of the boat to be told they are gone out of business.
Hi, I too only had dinghy experience but I must say since I bought lara my Swift 18 I would comment thats the Swift 18 is very well constructed, lifting keel so only need approx 9-12″ water, very stable, very comfy (I am 6’1″) very well equipt, very easy to sail, easy to launch and recover, easy to foot mast with a small ready made A frame takes about 15 mins as long as not blowing a hooley. Can motor her onto the trailer for easy recovery. I only wanted a small yacht for a small swinging mooring in Norfolk, V low tides and heaps of sand banks.I did a lot of research on a small trailer sailer and the Swift came out tops every time. The swift is more expensive than other rivals in its class but it is more than worth the extra £1000 or so. I paid £5500 but she is in top notch condition.
“is this the sort of boat that I could sail to Isle of Man/Ireland from here(N Wales).It looks easy to launch which would be great. Interested in any info etc Keith.”
Hi keith, the Irish sea can be very rough and I would suggest you look for a more substantial design maybe with deep keel for stability. You can pay very little more for this type of design than a Swift 18 and I think something larger would be more suitable. I must say since I bought lara my Swift 18 I would comment thats the Swift 18 is very well constructed, lifting keel so only need approx 9-12″ water, very stable, very comfy (I am 6’1″) very well equipt, very easy to sail, easy to launch and recover, easy to foot mast with a small ready made A frame takes about 15 mins as long as not blowing a hooley. Can motor her onto the trailer for easy recovery. I only wanted a small yacht for a small swinging mooring in Norfolk, V low tides and heaps of sand banks.I did a lot of research on a small trailer sailer and the Swift came out tops every time. The swift is more expensive than other rivals in its class but it is more than worth the extra £1000 or so. I paid £5500 but she is in top notch condition.
The Swift 18 is a great little boat, safe, forgiving, very well laid out and rewarding to sail. We have had our Swift for three seasons and have had a lot of fun going to all the shallow harbours and creeks around the Solent which we never dared visit before,like Ashlett Creek and Eling off Southampton Water and all the way to the top of Wootton Creek and Keyhaven. For lots of information and enthusiasm there is an excellent site dedicated to the Swift 18 at http://www.swift18.org/
I used to own a Swift 18 in Qatar. It ticked most of the boxes for me (which I wish more boats would do), including the following:
1. Outboard mounted in well for ease of access.
2. Small cockpit enabling me to sit up behind cabin bulkhead whilst steering (despite the fact that the rudder is transom hund which usually does not permit this in a normal sized cockpit).
3. Swing keel.
4. Forward hatch that is transparent and is mounted at an angle to the deck (for ease of access).
5. Adequate space for 4 persons to sail (2 sitting on forrard deck), and inside for two persons to sleep.
From Dave Lewis
Great boat for sailing on inland waters / lake. I have mine on a jetty tie -up at Ullswater, so 5 minutes prep & I’m out sailing. Ideal for making short journeys & beaching up at suitable points around the lake for picnics, pubs. I would suggest that sleeping on these boats is quite cramped, & no better than a 2 man tent. Enthusiasts will probably shout me down, but personally thats what I think ! However as a day boat for making cups of tea & warming the odd tin of beans they are just fine. Alan