Even the staff at the Beneteau Noirmoutier workshops are amazed at the immediate success of the fourth and smallest model in the Swift Trawler range of motor yachts. Yachting Life put the new 30, boasting a unique Caledonian Edition spec, through her paces in the Largs Channel.

IT IS rare that, in any model range of keelboats or motor cruisers, the smallest version is arguably the most perfectly spec’d and proportioned. Yet in my book this is certainly the case with Beneteau’s Swift 30 Trawler, writes Alistair Vallance.

DDZ Marine, based at ‘Marina of the Year’ Largs Yacht Haven are northern dealers for Beneteau motor yachts and they are justifiably enthusiastic over the 30’s sales potential following an appearance at Scotland’s Boat Show in Kip Marina last October.

For that Scottish debut occasion, the new Swift 30 was specially up-spec’d under a ‘Caledonian Edition’ banner where, added to an already well appointed motor cruiser was a Raymarine electronics pack comprising a VHF 260 with AIS, a P70 autopilot with a repeater on the flybridge and an MFD e95 also fitted on the flybridge to match the same installation in the wheelhouse below.

In addition, the Eberspacher diesel forced air heating had been upgraded, 24in TV installed, as well as a double station stern thruster, together with total cockpit covering, similarly for the flybridge and all tidied off with Coppercoat antifouling. Quite a promo package.

So, on being briefed beforehand, we anticipated a comfortable, well spec’d motor cruiser awaiting a full Yachting Life appraisal and there she was, sitting pretty at her DDZ boat sales pontoon.

What’s that old one liner? ‘You only get one chance to create a first impression.’ Well, the Swift took that chance in spades. This baby of Beneteau’s Trawler fleet really looked the business.

Once aboard it was obvious that this 10 metre motor yacht had all the attributes of a much bigger craft, but not cramped in the slightest, in fact fully appointed in style.

Once installed aboard we couldn’t wait to get going and the weather gods were with us: brilliant December sunshine, benign sea, gentle breeze – perfect The Clyde at its best!

For our sailing shots, the YL photographer was to be spared the usual routine of being dumped on a RIB out there on the ‘high seas’. No, Largs offered a much better alternative. The snapper would be dropped off, complete with lifejacket, on the pontoons of the sportsScotland Centre at Cumbrae on the other side of the Largs Channel. It turned out to be a smart move.

It was cast off time and with the mighty Volvo Penta D6 370hp diesel just audible as it idled, lines were brought aboard and a quick tweak of the bow thruster saw us on our way to exit the marina.

We climbed atop and we were immediately amazed at the massive deck space on the flybridge as we walked ‘all the way’ to the controls console. The all round view is great, the seats however were a bit on the low side but comfortable enough for short cruising.

As we entered Largs Channel heading north west, the D6 burst into life on command from the throttle and the Swift 30 demonstrated what she could do.

She seemed exceptionally stable due it later transpired on our inspection, to both the engine and the 300 litre water tank being sited midships. Clever design touch!

Both the main wheelhouse and the flybridge controls were positive and the Swift reacted well to our hard aport and our hard to starboard manoeuvres and cutting across our own wake presenting no problems while varying her speed allowed us to play with the trim tabs, again positive.

Our snapper duly stepped onto the Cumbrae pontoon from the aft bathing platform as we inched astern confidentially.


We gave him a full throttle, 20 knots sail past and inadvertently almost had the pontoon awash. By his gestulations, he was obviously strenuously suggesting that we go further out next time since he did ‘carry a telephoto lens you know!’

Photographer back on board and his feet still dry, remarkably, we headed back to Largs Yacht Haven for our interior inspection.

Highlight of starboard berthing at the marina is the combination of the side door at the wheelhouse and the sliding side door on the hull both of which make step ashore and tying up a virtually ‘one person’ operation.

Once secured, we went on tour starting with the owner’s forward stateroom. Plenty of space abounded, aided psychologically by large lumps of natural light and we really liked the hanging lockers on either side of the doorway.

Beneteau offer two options for the heads: Cram the WC, sink and shower into a starboard side unit and turn the port cabin opposite into a double bunk layout. (However, as we were later to see at the London Boat Show, the alternative of a spacious portside shower room and a tastefully furnished heads to starboard got our vote).

Cooking and washing up arrangements fitted well into what is literally a ‘galley’ kitchen, but the real story centred on the saloon seating arrangements as, what looked like a straightforward three seat couch to starboard could be turned into a wrap round four seater, or a double bed thanks to the ingenious design of a slide in and out table and two pull out seat/drawers at either end.

The aft cockpit is spacious enough, to start with but when the transom doors are fully opened there is room for four chairs at least.

And on the subject of numbers, the Swift 30 Trawler is adequately capable of being sailed by an owning couple (who would opt for the shower room), a family with a couple of youngsters (back to the bunks idea). Or at a push, the owners and a couple of friends, who could sleep in the main saloon.

Traversing from the aft cockpit along the spacious starboard side deck, the sun lounger foredeck was easily accessible and plainly big enough to support a double, full length cushion.

Needless to say that, similar to all motor yachts of its LOA bracket, the portside deck comes into the realms of being ‘almost decorative’.

There’s very little to fault in Beneteau’s Swift 30 Trawler. It offers good value for money, particularly with the Caledonian Edition package added by DDZ and as can be seen overleaf, a number of niceties added to the London Boat Show exhibit makes the Swift 30 even more enticing.