As hull No. 1, Red Sky was the Swan 100’s dawn. Back in 2003, when this cardinal-red hull was launched, it was designer German Frers’ and Finnish master builder Nautor AB’s singular goal to set the bar for creature comforts and speed in a semi-production boat of that era.
“I remember doing a delivery, on the way back from Bermuda, and we got into some heavy weather in the Gulf Stream,” says Chris Clarke, one of Red Sky’s past skippers. “I was the first mate at the time and I admit I was freaking out in the forward cabin. Finally, one of the watch captains came up to me and said, ‘You do realize this is a Swan. You would break waaay before this boat would.’”
That bit of tough love was enough to settle Clarke’s nerve and then open his imagination to the performance potential of Red Sky. “In those conditions, you felt like you were driving a big dinghy. This was an all-luxury hundred-footer, doing 14 and 1/2-knots with just a storm tri and staysail,” says Clarke. “It was amazing.”
In 2018, after 15 years of solid service in and around the East Coast, including a Transatlantic crossing, cruising in New England, the Chesapeake, and the Caribbean, Red Sky was losing a bit of her crimson luster. It was time, says Clarke, to upgrade her major systems and ready the boat for sale. Red Sky needed a new engine, generator, and deck, as well as improvements to her standing rigging, propeller, and other systems.
Clarke, who was the captain of Red Sky during the refit, says he found Lyman-Morse to be not only a full-service boat yard, but one filled with great minds capable of doing anything. And what Clarke truly appreciated about the facility was the family feel.
“I always felt at home. I could bring up any issue,” he says.
One of the trickiest problems, he recalled, was the thickness of the retrofitted decks. The new teak decking came in with a few extra millimeters of thickness over the old deck. That sliver of an inch was just enough to raise the deck above Red Sky’s existing hatches. That would not do; Red Sky, like most Nautor Swans, calls for strictly flush through-decks. So, Lyman-Morse Project Manager Howard Myers and his team found a way to remove the existing hatch lenses, space them accordingly and then re-glaze the safety glass back into place. “Because we changed the thickness of the original deck,” says Myers, “We needed to reset the height of the glass lenses so everything was planar on the new deck. Getting things back to proper elevation can be a significant challenge in a deck replacement job.”
The result? An elegant, if a bit thicker, teak deck that was as perfectly flush as any Swan boat on earth.
The overall enthusiasm for Red Sky is not lost on her current crew. “People call her the red sled,” says Ryan Hanger, the vessel’s present skipper, who’s working with the yacht’s owner and broker to keep Red Sky fully staged for the sales process. “She’s gorgeous. She has beautiful lines. She sticks out in the mooring field. Everybody wants to go for a ride on her.”
Scroll down for a photo essay of all the major work done as Red Sky found her way to a new dawn. Enjoy!