The Venator Story

The Venator Story

Sailing since 1974

History

Since the very beginning, the Swan story has been one of class, elegance and innovation. Founded in 1966 by Finnish boat builder, Pekka Koskenkyla, Swan is considered by many as ‘the best in class’; a name synonymous with both understated beauty and unrivalled performance. The story begins with Pekka’s vision for a high quality, high performance sailing yacht that would fulfil his passion for both cruising and racing; a masterful thing of beauty that surpassed all those that came before it. Driven by his love for sailing, Pekka convinced the highly acclaimed Sparkman & Stephens of New York to design his first sailing yacht. The point of difference? It would be the first yacht crafted from fibreglass; a brave, yet controversial decision by the young builder.

Pekka built his very first yacht, Swan 36, a fibreglass vessel which behaved like a traditional wooden yacht but offered unparalleled speed, stability, steering and a finer living space. The Swan 36 would mark the beginning of one of the most prestigious boat yards in the world. The Swan name was firmly established as the foremost manufacturer of racing yachts after the Swan 43 sailed to success in the Admiral’s Cup in 1969. As business grew, Pekka dreamed of building a superyacht that offered the joy of luxury cruising and acclaimed racing ability. The elegant Swan 65 was born and soon became world famous after winning the first ever Whitbread Round the World Race in 1974.

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Lovingly Restored

Today

Venator was originally built for a German client in 1974, finished to an extremely high level and crafted with a custom interior. She soon set sail across the Atlantic where she spent the first part of her life before being purchased by a Dutch buyer in 2004. Alas by now she was in need of a little TLC. This marked a new chapter for the yacht, which would see her completely rebuilt from scratch in the Netherlands.

A decade on and Venator was purchased by Emma & John Sims Hilditch, who had long been in awe of her rich heritage, racing prowess and undeniable beauty. Emma, a highly acclaimed interior designer, and John overhauled the boat entirely with the dream of creating the most beautiful Swan 65 that had ever set sail.

A passion for sailing
A passion for sailing
A passion for sailing

John & Emma

You could say that John was born to be at sea. From his first step into a wooden dinghy at the age of 6, to his many years of racing throughout childhood and adolescence, sailing has been a family passion passed down through the generations. After introducing his love of the sport to his wife Emma, John achieved his lifelong dream of owning the most beautiful boat in the world, the Swan 65. The renovation project has been one of genuine passion and admiration, and the pair take great joy in sharing their boat and its story with fellow enthusiasts.