At the 2021 Southampton Boat Show, Motor Boat & Yachting editor Hugo Andreae took the chance to tour the Swallow Whisper 300, which was making its global debut.
There’s always at least one surprise new launch at the Southampton Boat Show and this year it came from Welsh sailing boat manufacturer Swallow Yachts.
The Swallow Whisper 300 is its first motor cruiser and in keeping with the yard’s reputation for attractive, sustainably built trailer sailers, it’s a commendably pretty design that combines traditional boat-building skills with some genuinely innovative ideas.
The first thing to know is that it’s built almost entirely from wood, in this case, box section marine ply that’s bonded together then sheathed in epoxy resin to create a light but stiff structure that’s said to be just as durable and easy to maintain as a glass fibre one.
The other big surprise is that it’s powered by a pair of relatively modest 70hp outboard engines hidden inside an engine box that doubles as a raised aft bench.
This solution has a number of advantages; it’s a much lighter, cheaper, quieter source of power than a big diesel engine and the engines can be tilted clear of the water at the end of each day to prevent fouling and corrosion.
And because they are boxed in, rather than hung off an open transom, you still get a full-width bathing platform, an extra layer of sound insulation and the more elegant looks of an inboard design.
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The result is an attractive 30ft easily driven cruiser that weighs a mere 2.3 tonnes and can be pushed along at speeds of up to 26 knots.
However, the real win is its combined fuel consumption figure of just 30lph at 20 knots, giving a range of 150nm from twin 120-litre tanks.
The part-covered cockpit allows for a sheltered helm position with a galley opposite and seats that tilt forward and drop flat to create more space at the midships dinette.
Other neat innovations include curtain-style canopies that tuck neatly into bins when open but can rapidly be drawn around the cockpit when needed and beautifully designed wooden wine glass holders that swing out from under the seats.
A clever folding companionway door slides out of the way behind the galley giving access to the lower deck with its double berth forward, deep hanging locker and nicely proportioned heads compartment.
The final surprise is the price – £150,000 seems reasonable given its custom-built status and high quality detailing. The Swallow Whisper 300 is well worth a closer look.
Swallow Whisper 300 specification
LOA: 30ft 6in (9.32m)
Beam: 9ft 4in (2.85m)
Draught: 1ft 6in (0.45m) engines up / 2ft 4in (0.70m) engines down
Displacement: 2.4 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 240 litres
Water capacity: 70 litres
Designer: Matt Newland
RCD category: C for 8 people (provisional)
Engines: Twin 70hp petrol outboard
Top speed: 26 knots
Cruising speed: 20 knots
Fuel consumption: 30 litres/hr (approx)
Cruising range: 160 miles
Starting price: £150,000 (inc VAT)