Seawind 1000XL2 – There is a reason
by John Curnow on 25 Oct 2013
Might is right. When a large Yankee Foxtrot is bearing down on you, you just get out of the way. It’s common sense, even if you do have the right of way, so to speak. Equally, with 227 units now sold, the Seawind 1000 has well and truly made its mark on the cruising catamaran scene. It is affordable, cleverly designed, sails well and gets a lot of people started on their maritime adventures.
Great visibility for the helmer, with twin wheels a big plus. - Seawind 1000XL2 John Curnow ©
The latest iteration of Seawind’s 35.5’ perennial classic, the XL2, takes all of its existing common sense attributes and applies new elements to help it continue its appeal and market penetration. These new elements might not sound like much when reviewed either jointly or even severally, but it is the synergy in the sum of them that has made such an impact on the vessel as a whole.
Brent Vaughan of Multihull Central commented, ‘There are ten significant new features in the XL2 that go a long way to making this craft even more approachable and user friendly, especially for those entering the sailing game for the first time. Currently in Australia we have about half a dozen of these new models that are now manufactured in Viet Nam.’
‘Chief amongst the changes would have to be the reduction in displacement by about 500kg. For a five and a half tonne vessel, that it is a fair old percentage and the difference has gone straight into performance. This has mainly been achieved by the use of resin infusion, where the vacuum bagging process ensures the accurate delivery of precisely the correct amount of polymer.’
Things like that may not be immediately visible as you inspect the craft and may be directly attributable to Seawind now owning and building the Corsair trimarans, but the fit and finish is truly commendable and most likely a touch better than the earlier craft. So many of the Australian built cats are still plying the waves now and command attention at resale time too. Perhaps it is because of a certain amount of over-engineering that is part of the Seawind DNA, but when none of them have ever dropped a rig, you simply have to pay attention to those sorts of specs.
As founder and creator, Richard Ward’s intention to have Seawind cats actually go sailing is also clear. From the twin helms and all lines running back to jammers just near them both, along with the single-point reefing system and self-tacking jib, this is an easy craft to get associated with. Just on that last point, if you intend to cover some distance then the optional screacher (furling gennaker) would seem a virtual must-have, for the craft could easily handle more grunt once the sheets get eased. Similarly, if you intend to head downhill a lot, then tick the box for the asymmetric spinnaker. If you already know how to use one you will just smile each time it comes out of the locker and if you do not yet posses these skills then take the time to master them, for the XL2, like all cruising cats, does flounder somewhat when you head deeper than say 140°. After all, doing a miserly three and a half knots is very un-cat like.
When manufactured in Australia, a Seawind 1000 would account for some three thousand man-hours. By taking manufacturing overseas, they can deploy more resource – perhaps two or three times as much - and this is why you now have a very elegant and large wooden dining table that can seat 12, and of course lowers to form one of the largest bunks in the game. You also see more complete fairing around her slightly extended transoms, for instance. This makes ingress and egress that much easier.
Literally at that point you’ll notice just how good all the brightwork is, as you survey the grab rails and targa bar that houses the solar panel, extremely important BBQ and two comfortable pushpit seats. The weld lines are marvellous, which probably points out that this scribe cannot weld two steel bars together, even with great application and diligence. Just for’ard of them are the new helmer’s seats above the engine hatches. Just below them are the hi-torque 9.9Hp outboards that now have electric tilt, which is a real Godsend.
Above you is the new pilothouse top, which extends all the way to the end of the boom and even has a cradle for said item nicely proportioned and placed at seventy percent of the way out. As it fits snugly under the boom, you do not stub your toes on it when you go to do the boom bag at the end your wonderful day, or even worse, before you get out of your pen.
This new top means there are full curtains at the back of the now extended top. When sealed you have a greater living space and when open, the vastness of room from main saloon to pushpit, via the helmer, belies a vessel of this size. Latter person has commendable vision through massive ports and out atop the gunwale too. When it is a little more inclement, the overhead and side curtaining will take care of the slightly exposed bits. Equally, the helmer is part of the on board action too and will not miss out on any of the conversation and the gap between pilothouse and targa can be easily covered to ensure the Aussie sun does not get a hold of you and your guests too badly.
The port hull houses a very well proportioned head with shower, aft. Amidships is the owner’s double berth and then a full further double in the for’ard V. The starboard hull has doubles aft and for’ard, both of which take those over six feet in the old language. Amidships houses the ample galley with separate chest fridge and freezer, range and oven, along with good bench tops for preparation. Good meals can easily come from this particular galley. New to the XL2 is the hatch from galley to main saloon that also has a very handy serving shelf incorporated into the design. Platters can placed there, having been carefully arranged below and not have to face the indignity of being strewn all over the companionway ladder.
At AU$320,000 and onwards, the Seawind 1000 XL2 makes a compelling case for going cruising and when you do set sail, you’ll notice that it can clip along nicely, thank you very much. You will be able to get mid-sixes at just on or under 40° Apparent, if you are prepared to helm for it and high-ish eights when you roll out to say 60° plus in a gentle 12-knot breeze. Remember too, this is a 35.5’ craft.
On our test day there was a tremendous amount of traffic around and the confused seaway provided a tremendous opportunity to see how the hulls would perform. She does cut through well and disperses the water back over the side, without excessive amounts crashing in to the large main saloon ports. All cats like this will want to hobbyhorse a bit, but with power in her sails, the narrow entry but fully flared bows sliced through 1.5m wake lines easily and efficiently. True, the XL2 does need the breeze to hold in above say eight knots, but at that point she will do her best to take every additional squirt and put it into boat speed.
You can sail the XL2 yourself without having the leave the helm, or if you want, others can certainly get in on the fun, and won’t have to work on top of each other, either, as you might in a small monohull. The reduction on the mainsheet is sufficient, but does need some extra Larry (load) on it when going for the maximum at close-hauled. So don’t give it to a child, for instance. The same could be said for the traveller too.
The starboard station has all the nav and electronic accoutrement and as pleasant as it was sitting out on the port side coaming looking at the telltales and hawk, you do think the optional repeaters would be handy. Apparently a lot of souls use their iPads in this way, which kind of makes sense to me, as well. Talking electrics, it is important to note that all lighting on board is now LED, which means less heat and even more importantly, less power drain!
Not being too portly and only being fin keeled, as opposed to daggerboarded, means the Seawind 1000 XL2 will also tack and gybe with barely just steerage flowing over her large-ish rudders, which do make her very responsive, if a tad heavier than some other craft, especially similarly sized monohulls. Whilst reviewing the vessel from afar, this scribe even felt that her gybes were done under power in the soft breeze. Interesting, this turned out to be anything but true and shows how nimble she can be.
So if you need yet another reason or two to go and investigate the Seawind 1000XL2, then think about these. Multihull Central also assists with the practicalities of boat ownership with things like the Seawind Sailing School, where you can learn all your skills via hands-on tuition. They also have Australia’s only custom-built multihull marina, if you need to moor your vessel in Sydney.
‘We have agents in every State. Just call 1300 852 620 and you will automatically diverted to your nearest sales office. The sales team are all very experienced in the industry, with most having been part of the Seawind team, before that organisation moved offshore’, said Brent Vaughan.
‘Our team can show you the ownership options ready and waiting for you to investigate – outright purchase, charter fleet and syndication. We have a syndicate for a new Seawind already two-thirds subscribed, so make your enquiry now’, Vaughan added.
As part of your adventure, you may even envisage what the vessel after this one might be, such as the Seawind 1160 Trans-Tasman or 1250 Platinum. So see www.multihullcentral.com or call 1300 852 620 to find out exactly why there is a reason.
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