BOAT REVIEW Swift Trawler 48 Amphitrite

March 2023 Launch Reviews
Words by John Macfarlane. Photography and video by Roger Mills.
OUR RATING
4 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Swift Trawler 48
DESIGNER Andreani Design
BUILDER Beneteau Boats
PRICE AS TESTED $2,000,000
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 14.7M
LENGTH (Waterline) 12.77M
BEAM 4.5M
DRAFT 1.15M
DISPLACEMENT 12200kg
ENGINE 2 x Cummins QSB 425hp
FUEL CAPACITY 1930L
WATER CAPACITY 640L
Maximum Speed 26 knots
Cruise Speed 10-16 knots
ACCOMMODATION Eight in three cabins, plus saloon
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Excellent performance and seakeeping
  • Comfortable and practical layout
OBSERVATIONS
  • Traditional styling with secure side decks

How do you replace a much-loved Kennedy 46 you’ve owned for 22 years? As Selwyn and Judy Mexted and co-owners Barry and Cathy Stamp found out, it wasn’t easy.


We were looking for a new boat similar to the Kennedy, with a lovely large upstairs area for entertainment,” said Selwyn Mexted, “They’re very difficult to find.”
The product of Italian design flair and efficient French production facilities, the Swift Trawler 48 is aimed squarely at those wanting a traditionally styled motor yacht, solid and able enough for exposed conditions and capable of higher than displacement speeds.
However, it was the Swift Trawler 48’s flybridge that sold the two couples, and after spending half a day aboard Amphitrite, it’s hard to fault their choice. To cut straight to the chase, it’s a lovely motor launch; let’s explore why.

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At the dock
Founded by Benjamin Beneteau in 1884 to build fishing boats, the company that bears his name is now the world’s largest production pleasure boat manufacturer. With more than 10,000 boats a year coming off their 20-plus production lines, Beneteau has its construction systems down pat, and it shows throughout Amphitrite – panel fits were excellent, systems logically laid out and the engineering all readily serviceable.
The basic construction of the Swift Trawler hull is solid GRP, with a GRP balsa sandwich in the deck/cabin structure. Resin infusion is used throughout, ensuring optimum glass/resin ratios and a uniform laminate weight, strength and thickness between boats.
The interior decor features a classy vinyl headlining, with all vertical surfaces wood-veneered over plywood. This was teak veneer on Amphitrite, with white oak as the other option. The overall effect is understated elegance.
Outside, fittings, such as the alloy cleats, are solid castings, while the stainless-steel work is excellent; the substantial round tubes supporting the hardtop being especially notable.

Well-appointed living
When entering the Swift Trawler from the cockpit, the main cabin’s accessed through twin sliding glass doors. The L-shaped galley is to port, with a fridge and storage in a full-height cabinet aft, the stove outboard, and a forward-facing bench/sink. The stove is all electric with induction hobs, and this option avoids having LPG aboard, apart from a small bottle for the BBQ.


Forward to port is the U-shaped dinette with a raised floor to facilitate views outside. The table can be lowered to create another double berth if required, and there’s a track in the ceiling for a privacy curtain.
To starboard is an extended cabinet aft, with the main helm station forward of that. A sliding door adjacent to the helm gives ready access to the side decks, and the door can be latched in several positions depending on the weather. The front windows have been located well forward to maximise light and space, and the port side counter contains a flip-up TV screen.


Down a couple of steps from the saloon are twin cabins on each side, one with a double berth, the other with twins. Forward of these are twin WC/shower compartments, the port one accessible from both the passageway and its adjacent cabin, with the starboard bathroom being a dedicated ensuite for the owner’s double cabin in the bow. The hull flare above the waterline means this cabin is surprisingly spacious from bunk level upwards.
The cockpit has an opening transom door to access the hydraulically operated boarding platform, which on Amphitrite housed an OC Tender on folding chocks. Forward of the transom door is a substantial stainless ladder with lots of handholds to access the flybridge. The ladder’s base can be slid forward to increase the floor area.

Spacious flybridge
The flybridge is enormous and could accommodate eight to ten people if required. There’s a fridge, sink and provision for a BBQ to keep them all fed and watered. The ladder can be closed off with a hatch should sea conditions dictate, or if the guests become too rowdy.
Amphitrite’s flybridge had been fitted with a full cover made locally by Craft Covers. This featured Plexiglass clears, a significant upgrade visually over the usual plastic, which doesn’t age well. The hardtop was fitted with an optional fabric cover down the middle – nigh on essential given our UV conditions – and this can be folded back electrically.

Easy access
For me, the stand-out exterior feature was the walkaround side-decks. Given that this boat is likely to be used in exposed, rugged conditions, the thigh-high bulwarks aft of the helm offer unparalleled security. It sure beats gingerly tiptoeing around a minimal side deck, holding onto a handrail. And while the walk-around has a minor penalty in terms of interior space, to me, the trade-off was worth it. Another neat feature was the opening door in the starboard bulwark opposite the helm, making accessing the dock a doddle.

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In the all-important anchoring department, Amphitrite has a 35kg Ultra anchor in cast stainless, with 80m of chain. This amount of chain fits easily into one of the twin anchor lockers. The Lewmar anchor windlass can be remotely operated from either helm station.

Power options
The twin Cummins QSB straight-six, 6.7L diesels are mounted beneath the galley floor and accessed through a large single hatch. The standard engines are 380hp apiece; however, Amphitrite’s been fitted with the optional 425hp models, essentially the same block tweaked for the extra power. The common rail, turbo-charged and after-cooled Cummins drive four-bladed propellers via ZF gearboxes and substantial stainless shafts with a dripless shaft seal. The central walkway between the engines allowed generous room to access the service points and fuel filters. Twin aluminium fuel tanks are located at the front of the engine room and have a total capacity of 1,930 litres.


The Kubota-powered Whisper Gen-set is mounted under the cockpit floor and proved extremely quiet. Engines can be started from both helm stations, although the keys are downstairs and can only be switched from there. The batteries are controlled from an adjacent panel. With the Beneteau app installed, many onboard functions can be monitored and managed from a smartphone.

On the water
Test conditions began with a 15-knot SW, increasing to 20 knots, gusting 25 by the time we headed home three hours later. Sea conditions comprised the typical Hauraki Gulf chop.
Amphitrite’s been fitted with conventional controls – twin combined throttle/gear levers, with twin toggles for the bow and stern thrusters. The bow thruster is standard, whilst the stern one is optional. A joystick option is available, which might suit some, but I’d probably opt for the proven reliability of conventional controls.


Despite only being his second time driving the boat, the experienced Mexted slickly manoeuvred Amphitrite in and out of his 15m Gulf Harbour marina berth without using the thrusters. He only used these to edge that last 0.5m sideways into the fuel dock in the brisk 15 to 20-knot breeze on the way home. The vessel’s 12,200kg displacement gives a decent grip on the water.
Once out in open water, it is soon apparent that the Swift Trawler’s hull and power plant have been optimised for the 10 to 16-knot range. While we briefly took her up to 3100rpm (26 knots), 2400rpm was the realistic cruising maximum, equating to almost 16 knots. One can cover considerable ground at that speed.

Downwind, the Swift Trawler rides on rails, its hull form showing no sign of anything untoward and responding excellently to the helm. Bashing into the SW on the way home from Army Bay, conditions in the Tiri Passage had become decidedly lumpy. Punching into the bigger waves around the degaussing buoys at 2400rpm, Amphitrite was beginning to thump but throttling back to 2000rpm/12 knots noticeably softened the ride. Despite a seemingly full profile forward, the hull shape is fine below the chines and cuts nicely through the chop.
The Swift Trawler has twin stainless steel rudders, a central linkage operated by hydraulic steering, and an integral Raymarine autopilot. The steering felt well weighted, with a nice balance between effort and feel. A hard-over, 180-degree turn at 14 knots with no help from the engines resulted in a guesstimated turning circle around 40 metres – excellent for this type of boat. Electric trim tabs are fitted but seem intended more for fine tuning – to push the bow down in a head sea or balance the trim in a cross breeze, rather than making dramatic adjustments.


I tried steering from both helm positions, and whatever downstairs lacks in visibility is more than made up for in comfort. Once we turned the corner at Tiri and had the seas on the port bow, cracking the side door open a notch provided excellent airflow.

Conclusions
The Swift Trawler perfectly suits those wanting a traditionally styled launch, capable of cruising speeds between 10 and 16 knots, and able to handle exposed conditions. It would be an ideal launch for yachties moving to the dark side, or for those who prefer a more sedate and comfortable journey than that provided by a full-on planing hull.


Mature boaties will love the walk-around side decks, the ease of the sliding door at the helm, and the opening bulwark. The hydraulic boarding platform will delight those stowing tenders, using paddle boards, diving, or even paddling around with the grandchildren.
Amphitrite – Greek for Goddess of the Sea – makes a highly appealing package.

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