Seawind 1000 Catamaran

The Seawind 1000, designed by Richard Ward and Scott Judson, was first built in Australia in 1994. The debut model was the first catamaran ever to be awarded “Australian Cruising Sailboat of the Year.” Over 225 Seawind 1000 series boats have been built, and while many might scoff at a sub-35’ catamaran tackling long ocean passages and 80+ knot storms, this light, nimble catamaran just might surprise you.

History

After initially launching with an inboard Bukh diesel engine, charter companies requested a model with twin outboards for ease of maintenance and maneuverability. This outboard model was a clear success and so became the standard for the 1000 model family.

Since then, the Seawind 1000 was placed in Australian charter companies in the Whitsundays, Pittwater, Sydney Harbour, the Gold Coast, Darwin, Perth and Melbourne. The 1000 series has also been placed into charter in the U.S., Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Brazil, and Europe.

The Seawind 1000 series, which evolved from the Seawind 850, includes the 33’ Seawind 1000, 1050 Resort (launched in 1998), 35.5’ 1000 XL (launched in 2007), and 1000 XL2 (launched in 2012). As the 1000 series progressed, Seawind made the cats longer by extending the transoms for added buoyancy, stability, and speed.

In addition to some solid cruising and chartering chops, it seems she can win races as well. Recently, Larry Robertson single handed his Seawind 1000 catamaran to victory in the 2018 Shaka Challenge.

Features

Seawind 1000 Layout

While popular among charterers, the 1000 model family is the first true “cruising catamaran” for the Seawind brand, and is characterized by 2-meter fixed mini keels, twin 9.9hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboards, an open salon/cockpit area, galley down and three cabins tucked into the hulls.

Some of the most popular features of the Seawind 1000 include:

  1. Lightweight FRP construction (newer models) – originally crafted as an all foam sandwich using uni-directional and bi-axial glasses, the Seawind 1000 displaces less than 10,500 out of the factory.
  2. 360-Degree Views – featuring panoramic windows with forward opening hatches, the Seawind 1000 provides nearly unfettered views, ample ventilation, and shelter from the elements.
  3. Single-Handed Sailing – with most lines running to the helm and the inclusion of a self-tacking jib, the Seawind 1000 is easy to sail single-handed or short-handed.
  4. Hinged Mast Base – this mast design allows the mast to be lowered forward with minimal effort, making it simple to clear bridges of just about any height.
  5. Stock Arch – provides space for adequate solar, seating, BBQ, and dinghy davits.
  6. Open Living Spaces – despite its relatively small size the Seawind 1000 provides an open living area, eliminating the division between salon and cockpit, with headroom accommodating individuals up to 6’4” comfortably.

Notes From the Sea

Theory is good for the classroom, but practical experience is the only way to tell whether that shiny boat in the slip is really what will carry you safely through whatever Poseidon throws at you.

With an LOA of 33-feet and a generous sail plan, the Seawind 1000 offers a nimble, lively ride in even the worst conditions. Designer Richard Ward notes that quite a few Seawind 1000’s were delivered to New Zealand and Hawaii after surviving 70-knot storms. Captain Royce Black once delivered a Seawind 1000 safely through a Cat-5 hurricane, achieving speeds over 25 knots on bare poles.

While not the standard conditions your average cruiser will encounter, it’s heartening to know that the Seawind 1000 can handle itself and its cargo in unsettled weather.

Ok, she can sail, but is she comfortable?

We asked this question of Joe Siudzinski, a veteran sailor and prior owner of Katiecat, a 2000 Seawind 1000. He and his wife Cathy put over 25,000nm under the hulls of Katiecat, including extensive coastal cruising in Australia and New Zealand, with passages to Fiji, New Caledonia, and more. Once of their highest compliments of the 1000 is that her layout is exceptionally comfortable.

With the three main living spaces, salon, cabin, and galley all located along the pitch axis of the boat, the crew remained comfortable and rested while on passage. Additionally, the Siudzinski’s found the 1000’s cockpit to be well protected from the elements, while still providing ample visibility.

“The most attractive feature of the boat that distinguishes it from all other boats is its sheltered main saloon with 360-degree visibility when seated.”

~Joe and Cathy, SV Katiecat

Due to her short length and wide beam, the Seawind 1000 can experience some uncomfortable jerky motions in confused seas or when beating into strong seas. While bridgedeck clearance isn’t the sole indicator of slamming potential, with her 29” clearance, she experienced surprisingly low incidence of bridgedeck slams.

Of course, to maintain comfort and safety, some key things to remember, especially on smaller cats is not to overload the boat. To avoid hobby horsing, keep bows light. The aft can be a bit heavier, particularly when you’ve got a dinghy hanging out on davits, and that’s ok. Just de sure to store heavy things amidships and again–don’t overload.

“The Seawind’s performance doesn’t appear to be as sensitive to weight as other cats I’ve sailed on and we still have a few inches left below our anti-fouling waterline mark. For the two of us, recognizing its load-carrying limitations, I feel that our modified Seawind 1000 is a wonderful coastal cruiser and acceptable ocean passagemaker.”

~Joe and Cathy, SV Katiecat

After a few years of sailing on their Seawind 1000, the Siudzinski decided to have sugarscoop extensions (now stock on the Seawind 1000XL2 model) fabricated to add an additional couple of feet to the cat’s waterline. They found that the additional length helped dampen pitching motion in rough seas.

Let’s talk about those outboards, though.

After a brief experiment with a four-cylinder Bukh inboard diesel, charter companies asked Richard Ward to design the 1000 with outboards for easier servicing. Thereafter, the 1000’s were powered by 9.9hp four-stroke, Yamaha outboards with a hi thrust 3:1 gear ratio and extralong shafts, which are mounted on lifting brackets to keep the prop clean, safe, and reduce drag.

While this may be a feature for charter catamarans, does the same hold true for cruising catamarans that want to go farther and escape inclement weather faster?

Joe chimed in on this issue as well. No one really likes carrying large amounts of gasoline around due to the obvious fire hazard. The weight issue may be moot due to the savings of not dragging around twin diesels. So what it really comes down to is how far you can go and how fast you can get there. According to Joe, he was able to hit 7.8 knots with both outboards wide open in zero wind. This is far faster than a similarly-sized monohull with a diesel engine could accomplish.

Outboards may be notoriously unreliable, but the Yamaha has a great reputation, you can find parts available worldwide, and of course, you’ve got two. Safety in redundancy, right? Finally, the Yamaha 9.9 is fairly fuel efficient, averaging 1.2 liters per hour at an average speed of 4.5 knots.

One of the really thoughtful additions that Seawind provided on this model family is the retractable ladder stored between the trampolines for easy access to land when beached or for an easy exit from the water when swimming. Few other catamarans can boast this same feature.

The Wishlist

Seawind has a reputation for being responsive to owners’ input regarding issues and features. Some, like the sugarscoop extensions have been implemented, as well as the hardtop bimini. What could cruisers find useful though?

  • Lithium Ion Batteries – and enough of them to make the boat self-sufficient in remote areas
  • More Solar Capacity – 210 watts is the bare minimum (some might say completely insufficient) for a cruiser
  • More Water-tightness – while any boat will become leaky over time, some have noted issues with the polycarbonate windows on the earlier Seawind 1000 models
  • Better ventilation in wet conditions – again, an issue you may find with most other boats, however, a few strategically-placed, well-engineered hatches can provide ventilation without soaking the crew.

Not a long list, though some may have other wishes. As always, everything in life is a trade-off.

To Buy or Not to Buy

The Seawind 1000 has proven itself to be a sturdy, nimble vessel, suitable for longer passages. Should you pack up the family and set sail on one of these? Well, maybe if you’ve got a small family. The Seawind 1000 is still a smaller vessel, perhaps more suitable for a couple with the occasional low-maintenance guest. And, if you’re hoping to avoid testing your new vessel to her limits, consider adding an SSB or satellite-based weather reporting to ensure you get accurate weather wherever you are.

References:

Katiecat – http://www.katiekat.net/Welcome.html

Seawind 1000XL2 – There is a reason –https://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Seawind-1000XL2-%e2%80%93-There-is-a-reason/-116060?source=google

Seawind 1000 – https://www.boatsales.com.au/editorial/details/seawind-1000-8839/

River B

By River B

River is a licensed USCG Captain with a lifetime of experience on the water. From the San Francisco Bay to the South Pacific, blue water to clear water, he’s sailed a wide variety of catamarans and crawled around in the bilges of more than he can count. You can follow his misadventures at www.tilted.life.

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