World’s coolest boats: Supermarine Swordfish 36 is the Aston Martin of the sea

Supermarine Swordfish. Just the name alone secures this boat a berth in the MBY coolest boats hall of fame…

Roll it around your tongue one more time, “Supermarine Swordfish”. Delicious. But the name is merely an amuse bouche. There is so much more.

“I wanted to create an Aston Martin of the sea,” David Skellon, the man behind this incredible boat, told me.

“I wanted a boat that was powerful, fast, extremely high quality, capable of handling some proper weather and wrapped up in a drop dead gorgeous package.

A modern Swordsman and a true motor boat.” The Swordsman he’s referring to is, of course, the seminal Fairey Swordsman built by Fairey Marine in Southampton between 1964 and 1974, and so the naval architect he approached was none other than Alan Burnard, designer of those 1960s Fairey classics.

Launched in 1989, the boat was a perfect modern twist on an absolute classic. From the exaggerated flare of the bow to the sweeping sheer line, it was classic Burnard. And the beauty was more than skin deep.

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Skellon was friends with an architect called Ken Freivokh, who wanted to get into boat design. Now a famous superyacht interior designer, this was his first marine commission.

Unveiled at the Southampton Boat Show in September, the boat also appeared at the now defunct London show in January as well as Boot Düsseldorf, a few days later.

At the time, the fledgling company only had one boat, so it was motored across the North Sea overnight to meet the deadline for Düsseldorf – and never mind the Force 8 gale that was stoking up the seas!


The interior of the Mk 2 has a simpler, more minimalist look

The boat is 36ft long and was built by Northshore Yachts. Just 15 were made over the next three years in three versions. There was an aft-cockpit design called the Sportsman, an aft-cabin model called the Tourer, and an aft-garage model called the Monaco.

Sadly, the recession in the 1990s put paid to what was an expensive and decadent boat. Northshore Yachts, which acquired the project, relaunched a Mk2 version in the
late ‘90s with a more modern interior and Yanmar engines.

The yard built about half a dozen until 2002 plus a further two for a German customer in 2005.

Supermarine Swordfish 36 specifications

Year: 1989
LOA: 36ft
Beam: 12ft 2in
Power: Twin Ford Sabre diesels
Top speed: Circa 35 knots


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