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Along the Croatian coast, swallows are a welcome sign of spring. And in 2019, the brand-new MS Swallow kicked off the tourist season in a big way. Designed to give guests a taste of Croatian shipbuilding heritage, this first-of-its-kind coastal cruising superyacht offers its guests an unforgettable, stylish, and luxurious experience exploring the wonders of the Dalmatian seashore.
Swallow is the brainchild of Igor and Irena Stančić, and their son Filip. The family owns Lastavica Cruising, a brand by Morska Lastavica (Sea Swallow) Ltd. tourist charter company in Betina, Croatia. The family wants to make sure Swallow embodies the spirit of Croatia's shipbuilding and maritime history. They also want to achieve the sumptuousness of a superyacht — including the latest cruiser-style technology and propulsion. To accomplish this, the family involved three major naval design experts (see sidebar at the end of the article).
"Traveling enriches people's lives. We want our guests to do so in style and comfort," explains Filip Stančić, captain of the new cruiser. "Aboard Swallow, our guests immerse themselves in the treasures of the Dalmatian coast. In a single day, they can explore ancient towns and breathtaking islands and swim in beautiful bays." Swallow easily slips in and out of covers and ports, enabling guests to hop on and off as they please.
The 49-meter-long by 8.5-meter-wide (160- by 28-foot) vessel accommodates up to 36 guests. Its classy, sleek exterior showcases a steel hull and marine resin deck floors, while the inside spaces are designed for indulgence and comfort. The reception space, 18 cabins, restaurant, bar, and lounge are all built and finished to hotel standards. Guests can enjoy a jacuzzi, sauna, massage, and laundry service. The deck crew, hostess, tour manager, housekeeper, two on-board chefs, and two waiters guarantee sincere, thoughtful, and personal hospitality.
The Stančić family worked closely with three naval designers, a local shipyard, and local subcontractors to ensure structural integrity, space optimization, and maximum comfort. Swallow's hutt was launched and tested in December 2018. The exterior details were completed and the interior and engines were installed. The vessel was officially launched in June 2019, just in time for the summer season.
Stability, no matter what
For Swallow's propulsion system, the Stančić family chose two 373-kW (500-hp) John Deere PowerTech™ 6135SFM85 EU Stage III A and EPA Tier 3 engines, each driving a Dong gearbox and Michigan Marine 4-blade propeller. The engines drive the propellers through a gearbox ratio of 5.04:1.
"Eleven years ago, we installed John Deere engines in our classic Croatian sailing ship Lastavica," Filip Stančić recalls. "These always performed well, so we decided to stay with John Deere. As the captain of Swallow, I need to be sure that I can get her and our guests out of any potentially dangerous situations, whether at sea or in the busy coastal waters. The power of the engines combined with this gearbox ratio gives me the capacity and the confidence I need!" Low noise and vibration, plus stability at sea, were also prerequisites, all while meeting emission regulations and delivering excellent fuel efficiency.
A larger ship such as Swallow catches a lot of wind, which can complicate mooring and docking. The engines and bow thruster provide Stančić with the power and agility to moor safely in confined spaces. The bow thruster is powered by a Linz 97-kWe generator set powered by a 120-kW (160-hp) John Deere PowerTech E 6068T Tier 3/Stage III A industrial engine.
John Deere engine distributor GM Turbo d.o.o. from Split, Croatia, helped select the perfect power range and supplied 3D drawings to simplify and speed up integration of the engine into the engine room. They also assisted in installation and testing. "Our collaboration goes back 11 years to the construction of Lastavica. We were one of the first to order John Deere engines from GM Turbo, and in Croatia in general," says Stančić. "Meanwhile, we've developed a special bond that goes beyond business cooperation; we've become friends."
Eleven years ago, we installed John Deere engines in our classic Croatian sailing ship Lastavica. These always performed well, so we decided to stay with John Deere...The power of the engines combined with this gearbox ratio gives me the capacity and the confidence I need!