The new cruising cat from Australia’s premier multihull builder makes a real splash at the Seawind Regatta (Published Winter 2010)
Australia’sleading production yacht company, Seawind Catamarans, has just launched the new Seawind 1250. Seawind is well represented in the North American area, with a good-sized fleet of its signature 1000s as well as a number of 1160s. This 1250 hit the water in late October and was sailed from Wollongong to Sydney and then on to Pittwater for the annual Seawind Pittwater Regatta.
At that regatta, the new boat—with proud Seawind CEO Richard Ward on board—joined other Seawinds for a weekend of fun racing and great camaraderie. The Pittwater Regatta was the first owners’ regatta promoted by Seawind Catamarans 10 years ago, and has steadily grown to involve over 200 crew and 34 boats. The company also supports a new Seawind Regatta in California. Additionally, North American Seawind owners have launched a winter rendezvous in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.
At the regatta, I met Seawind’s USA representative, Kurt Jerman, who was excited about the prospect of introducing the new 1250 to the North American market. He believed it was an excellent response to market demands and that in these tough economic times, prospective owners want confidence in the production company behind the boat they buy. Kurt chose to work with Seawind after reviewing their 26-year history of production and determining that the company had a solid business model going forward.
The brand new 1250, with little time for tuning and refinement, sailed to the front end of the fleet all weekend. The design philosophy of the 1250 was to take all the well-developed and highly desirable features of the 1160 and 1000 and integrate them into a larger boat with the ability to comfortably consider wider horizons. The 1160 and 1000 have many blue water voyages to their credit. In fact, one of the participating yachts in the Pittwater Regatta was Victory Cat, an 1160 that had just completed a three-month voyage from California to Australia across the Pacific.
But, there has been a clear demand from Seawind clients for a boat that is just a little bigger in all respects; this is particularly true in the American market. Worldwide, the demand for the 1250 is such that there were already seven orders for the design signed prior to anyone seeing a finished boat.
The all-around visibility from the cabin and cockpit that is a hallmark of Seawind cats is maintained in the 1250 along with the tri-fold door system that opens the saloon and cockpit up into a large and comfortable indoor-outdoor environment.
Layout of choice
The new design has a number of layout options: a three-cabin, galley down version; a three-cabin, galley up configuration; and a four-cabin version. Hull number one has the three-cabin, galley down layout, which has an island double berth forward in the port hull and a large head aft. On the starboard side there is a double cabin aft and a double cabin with en-suite head forward and the galley in between.
The galley down layout on this boat also offers an innovative treatment for the freezer. Traditionally, freezers are top loading, but to save on counter space Seawind has designed a unique tilt-out freezer arrangement under the counter. This makes access to the freezer contents more efficient and also means that any service requirements will be more easily facilitated in the longer term.
The saloon has the innovative table system developed for the 1160, which can be a dining table, a coffee table or convert to a double berth. Additionally there is a “day bed” to the port side of the saloon adjacent to a navigation station. There is scope to change the sizing of this day bed and the adjacent navigation area dependant on the owners needs. In hull number one, the day bed is large enough to accommodate two people overnight.
The helm positions have raised seating with space for two on each side of the cockpit. The backrests on these seats swing over to enable crew to sit facing forward on the helm or rearward facing when socializing. The cockpit roof incorporates the integrated Targa system, where the traveller is mounted and has been sculptured to provide better access to the boom. During a lunch break, the 1250 became the party boat; I counted 23 people enjoying themselves in the saloon and cockpit area, yet the boat didn’t look or feel crowded.
The sail plan includes a self-tacking jib with a traveller control system, a large powerful fully battened main and an optional bowsprit for a Screecher as well as the availability to fly an MPS from the windward bow. On hull number one, the port main winch was electrically powered, which is probably a useful option on a boat this size.
I was on the boat for a short morning race and this gave me the opportunity to consider initial impressions of the design and its execution. From a sailing perspective, it was a positive experience. The boat responded well to sail trim. It accelerated actively in gusts and remained stable and easy to control at all times.
The 1000xl and the 1160 remain in production. While the new boat appears only incrementally larger, the overall package is significantly enhanced. Indeed, during the Pittwater Regatta, the 1250 was rafted up with an 1160, and it was here that that the differences were obvious.
My first impressions of the 1250 are very favorable, with a sense of spaciousness, protection and comfort at the twin helms, exceptional visibility and ventilation, and innovative layouts. The new flagship of the Seawind line is a true performance cruiser with the legs and stability to be a fine voyaging boat for a couple or family.