Trailing the Swift 18

The SWIFT 18 is designed to be easy to trail, launch and recover. Launching is made easier by using a reasonably steep ramp. The standing rigging (except the forestay) can be left attached to the boat and the mast if desired with the foot of the mast resting on the pulpit and projecting forwards over your car. You should not have any mast overhang to the rear of the boat.

Stepping The Mast

Stepping the mast is easier to do with the boat on the trailer than on the water. If there is a strong wind blowing, we suggest you turn the boat stern to wind. Lay the mast on the deck with the foot on the pulpit. Fully extend the bottle screws and attach to chain plates, the Upper Side Stays going into the aft chain plate eye, and the Lower Side Stays in to the forward eye. Attach backstay and keep slack. Remove tabernacle bolt and if you have a Rotostay, remove the clevis pin from its base. Keep both the bolt and the pin near to hand. Push the main hatch forwards and have one person standing in the cockpit. The person on the foredeck secures the foot of the mast in the tabernacle, whilst the person aft holds the mast. When secure, the person aft walks the mast up, with the other person pulling forwards on the forestay. N.B. As the mast is raised care should be taken that the bottle screws do not twist. When the mast is raised and the forestay attached, tighten bottle screws equally on Port and Starboard until there is no looseness. DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN THE RIGGING.

To Lower Mast, Slacken rigging screws and then with one person supporting the mast from behind, undo the forestay and gently lower the mast down.

Headsail Roller Reefing

Study the attached sheet on the headsail roller reefing. You should ensure at the star; of each season that the bottle screw inside the drum is lightly greased and that BOTH LOCKNUTS ARE TIGHTLY SECURED PARTICULARLY THE TOP ONE INSIDE THE HEADFOIL.

Outboard Engine

See manual

Operation Of The Centreboard

The centreboard is cast iron and epoxy coated. It is an aerofoil section with a stainless pivot bolt that goes through the centreboard casing. It is operated on a stainless steel screw—jack running on delrin bearings. It operates with approximately 45 turns with a standard winch handle, and is turned clockwise to raise and anti-clockwise to lower it.

To lower the centreboard.

The easiest way to raise and lower the centreboard (as with any winch) is to stand over the handle and to turn it as quickly as possible, counting each turn. Turn the handle anti—clockwise approximately 45 turns. The handle will go slack at this point, and you should then wind it back one turn or so,so that you keep a little tension in the system. If you were to go on winding you would come up against a stop on the screw thread, so that you do not wind it right off.

To raise the centreboard.

Turn the handle clockwise approximately 45 turns. When raising the centreboard you will know when it is fully up when you hear a slight 'clunck' as it comes home into the centreboard case and you cannot turn the handle any further.

The only maintenance it will normally require is as outlined above, in pre and end of season maintenance.


The boat should normally be sailed with the rudder blade fully down. Thread the line from the eye in the leading edge of the rudder blade up through the stock, and forward through the camcleat. This downhaul line should be kept tight, and will keep the blade in the fully down position. You should push the rudder blade into the fully down position and then tension the line.
The same line is then taken from the camcleat back through the stock and passed through the eye in the trailing edge of the rudder, and secured with a figure of eight knot. To raise the rudder it is easiest to lean over the transom, grab the line, and pull the blade up.

Launch & Recovery

We have found that the easiest way to launch the SWIFT 18 is as follows (and you don't get your feet wet):
Rig the boat, remove trailer light set and tie down strap. Back the boat to the waters edge and remove the winch hook from the bow. Tie a long line round the front of the trailer and lead it to your car. Firmly apply the trailer brake, and uncouple trailer from the car. Pass the rope a full turn round the tow ball of the car. Make sure that the rope is free to run and that you are not standing on it! Normally then with one person on the foredeck of the boat, release the brake and allow the boat and trailer to run back into the water until the boat floats off. The person on the boat can then start the engine, and put on the rudder. An alternative to having someone on the boat, is to have extra lines onto the boat, and lead them to a convenient jetty nearby.
To recover the boat again tie a long line on the trailer, and let the trailer run back into the water deep enough to float the boat on.

On the boat raise the centreboard and gently motor the boat onto the trailer..(Half a knot not five knots!) When the boat is located on the trailer the skipper should go forward, lean over the bow, attach the winch hook and winch the boat firmly into the snubber. Switch off the engine and lift off the rudder. Then go onto the foredeck.
On shore the crew secures the trailer line to the towball of the car with a knot that won't slip, and then gently drive the car up the ramp towing the boat and trailer up the ramp. When the front of the boat is clear of the water, the skipper can step ashore and apply the trailer brakes. You can then reverse the car back to the trailer, and couple up.


This is much easier in practice than it sounds on paper. However, it always pays to be safety conscious and to make sure everyone knows what they are meant to be doing! Always rinse the trailer with fresh water as soon as you can — and follow the greasing programme! THIS IS ESSENTIAL.