Local Knowledge

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This is what it looks like beginning to sled down a North Atlantic big wave. A Swan 38 does boogie down a big wave. The Swan 38 rises, being pushed by the wave, it bangs along the surface of the wave at high speed. People have told me that this is cool. OK.

Some said it’s like sliding down the snow on a sled. The cool thing here is the rudder. I slowed down to be on the giant face of the wave. Yahoo! Sledding. The big waves fall behind, erupting in the wave behind.

The Swan 38, a beautiful S&S design, was built in the 70s. What a sexy battle wagon she is. The hull is massively thick, a lot of resin…. What amazed me was how the leeward shrouds barely slacked off when it was blowing stink. As we arrived in Horta, everyone whistled when they spotted her. It was like Brigitte Bardot caught their eye. I do love her lines.

I built and raced a Tornado and loved to go wave hunting under the Golden Gate Bridge. I‘m sure I got most of the cat out of the water launching off wave crests. And while surfing we tried to keep the lee bow up, mostly successfully.

It takes quite a bit more wave to surf a Swan 38. She was after all designed as a displacement vessel. A thirty foot wave against foul current does the trick. It‘s a thrill to feel the acceleration down a steep face. I always kept her pointing down to avoid a roll over. That would have spoiled our transAtlantic, losing the stick….

Shoot, you have to slow down to stay on a big wave. Otherwise it is fun. I‘d give it a 4.2 stars on TripAdvisor. The other 0.8 stars are vomiting. anarchist Roberto.