Celebrating Nautor’s Swan with Jennifer Stewart & their 1000th yacht, the fabulous FORMOSA
December 9th, 2016
Berthon’s Jennifer Stewart from the Newport office was approached by Nautor’s Swan this summer to contribute to a publication they were putting together to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. Jennifer began her journey with Nautor as an administrative assistant in 1981 and left a fully-fledged and highly accomplished yacht broker 24 years later…and in one sense, things have come full circle, as Berthon currently have the Nautor Swan 51’ FORMOSA, the 1000th Swan to be built by Nautor listed for sale. She was completed within the first few months of Jennifer joining Nautor.
FORMOSA was a landmark in Nautor’s Swan-building history and a shining example of the success of naval architect Germán Frers’ working relationship with Nautor. The Swan 51’ was based on his highly successful racing yachts BLIZZARD and ACADIA, and was the first of the new models to be designed with the intention of broadening the Swan range, and specifically to bridge the gap between the previous 47’ and 65’ models. FORMOSA and the 51’ overall marked a new level of success using modern manufacturing methods and craftsmanship, and continues to be a universally respected and adored design brand-standard the world over.
Jennifer Stewart’s relationship with Nautor began as the Swan design was breaking new ground. After 24 happy years with the company, she remembers her time there very fondly. Anyone in the industry appreciates everyone has to start somewhere, and Jennifer doesn’t mind admitting that, when she first started, the yachting world was a little unfamiliar to her: ‘at that time I knew absolutely nothing of yachts and of Swan, and in fact, came home to tell my then fiancé about my new job, and all I could remember was that it was a boat company, some kind of bird, like Duck boats or something. He, having been working and racing on yachts for many years, just looked at me like I was nuts, and asked me if I meant Swan. So began my education.’
The joy of working at Nautor was their ability to appeal to all corners of the market – a characteristic that continues today – and Swan owners tend to stay loyal to the brand: ‘Nautor was an easy-selling brand, there were numerous models and price ranges to choose from, and at the time, the US market was made up of over 60% repeat customers. They would start off with a Swan 371 and keep moving up. I think it is probably one of the rare brands in the world where no on feels it that necessary to do a sea trial, because the client knew what they were buying and knew what it could do! Unlike other builders at the time, each boat came out of Nautor ready to go around the world and in those days, people did.’
Fundamentally, Nautor’s success with the Swan design is down to the continuing top-level workmanship they are dedicated to preserving – and a characteristic of the company Jennifer attests to: ‘…what has not changed in the quality of the workforce at Nautor, you still cannot beat their craftsmanship.’ As for their legacy, Nautor stated back in 1981, ‘for yachtsmen everywhere, the name of Nautor’s Swan is synonymous with the finest in ocean-going yachts, a unique combination of superb performance, beauty, speed and luxury – and, of course, inimitable quality’ and the same could be said of them today. As a company, they have stayed faithful to their founding principles and it really shows.
FORMOSA has been on some amazing adventures like her sisters before and after her – Swans’ lives are never dull – and after a substantial refit, she is ready for new ownership and has a new lease of life. All you need to do is decide where you’d like to show this icon off!
As for Jennifer, her time with Nautor will stay with her forever as she concludes: ‘I wouldn’t trade those years for any other job, yes, it was fun. We were fulfilling the dreams of our customers, the majority of whom also became our friends, sailing and socialising together still. The Finns may be quiet, but they are certainly not dull! Best memories? Still hanging right at my desk is my “Sales Office of the Year” award given to me in 1998, along with my coffee mug that was given to us all at one agents’ meeting years ago, I still use it every day in the office.’