Seawind 1600 Review and Owner Interview – Harbors Unknown

We talk to Kristin and Fabio who recently purchased a brand new Seawind 1600 named “S/V Wanderlust.” Follow them on their YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram channels all under the handle “Harbors Unknown.”

In this interview they tell us about the new order process, why they chose the Seawind 1600, what they would change about the boat, and where they have been. A big thank you to them for sitting down with us!

Executive Summary

  • Live aboard their Seawind 1600 in Fort Lauderdale where catamarans are much more suitable than monohulls because of shallow waters.
  • Used to have Beneteau 473 and Dragonfly 35
  • Chose 1600 because they wanted daggerboards, protected helm, and great visibility from helm.
  • Considered also Catana 53, Outremer 45, Balance 526. Catanas have exposed helms. Outremer 45 is much smaller than you would expect from watching La Vagabonde. And the Balance is too spartan down below for their tastes. Also Balance only has one helm position.
  • Seawind 1600 has dual helms with electronic throttles. You can drive from either helm
  • Brand new boat delivered from Vietnam to Miami July 2020. Commissioning with Covid-19 has been difficult.
  • Highlights are helm positioning, visibility from helms, and performance under sail.
  • Draft is 5 foot with daggerboards up, and an amazing 2 foot 1 inch draft with rudders articulated up!
  • In heavy weather they have not experienced slapping of bridgedeck. Great comfortable performance.
  • Headroom of at least 6 foot 4 inches.
  • Checkout their channels including tours of their boat Wanderlust for more information on the 1600

All right. Hi I’m River. I’m here with and we are with Fabio and Kristen. Thank you for being here with us um tell us a little bit about yourself and about your boat?

We live in Fort Lauderdale Florida, and I’m originally from Rhode Island. Fabio is from Italy originally, but he lived in Rhode Island for 10 years. When we were there we had a a Beneteau 473 and that we had for like five years.

We brought it down to Florida when we moved down here but uh we found that South Florida coastline is not really the place for that kind of boat. If you’re still working like if you have plenty of time it’s fine.

Then we got a Dragonfly 35 a few years later because we wanted something faster so we went the opposite end of the spectrum and it was a really fun boat. Loved it. Great boat 35 foot retractable dagger boards and retractable like a center board right yeah a centerboard.

It was really really fast we could go pretty much everywhere because a very shallow draft the only thing is inside it’s super small so for a week okay we’ll be pushing this kind of like a camping tent you know limited uh comfort but it was fun. It was fun. We had a great time. Really really enjoyable sailing.

So then uh we decided that we wanted to start thinking about moving and living on a boat and we started looking at catamarans and that’s when we landed on the 1600s.

What what made you choose the 1600?

Fabio did a lot of research but what really kind of narrowed down the field for us is that we knew we wanted daggerboards because we wanted to be able to sail as upwind as far as possible. We wanted helms that were covered kind of out of the weather. And we wanted to be able to see from the cockpit and like but see outside not like look through windows so that narrowed the field pretty much.

We looked at the Catana 50. The stations are really exposed so that yeah the new one is the 53. It’s a beautiful bow but yeah it still have the helm all the way out so it wasn’t it wasn’t for us.

And then the Outremer beautiful nice but also the helm stations are a bit exposed and plus it was we were surprised that it was um it wasn’t as big as we thought it would be. We watched La Vagabonde and so and we thought that it was going to be a lot bigger. Yeah like a larger living saloon than it is and then even downstairs like Fabio had to turn kind of even at an angle to like walk through the hallways so um it was that Outremer 45.

Then we looked at the Balance which is a really nice boat. The 526 yeah yeah. That’s a really nice that’s a very nice boat also a lot of money

But yeah when it comes down to value it’s like you know you’ve got the Seawind which is like a much more digestible price point and um we also liked i like the look of the interiors better than the Balance. The Balance has a lot of carbon inside. The furniture is structural a lot which is good in a sense lighter weight and probably more rigidity but but it’s a bit spartan and and this had a better look for somebody who lives on board.

Yeah plus um there was one other thing with the Balance because there’s the one helm station so one helm station this is nice the Seawind 1600 is nice because you have the two home stations so it makes it easy to dock on either side.

I’m curious about that. I live on a Seawind 1160 and we do not have throttle controls at both helms. Do you have throttle controls?

Yeah we have electronic control so you can just switch from one one side to the other when you dock it really makes it much easier for a short shorthanded uh crew like me and Kristen so it’s really it’s a breeze you just push the button and move to the other side and you got control there.

Nice. When when was your boat launched?

So delivered here July 27th to Miami yeah it took about from Vietnam to here to how long it took 42 days on the cargo ship to get to Miami and so it arrived in Miami on july 27th and then um it took like four days i guess Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday to commission it and then on the Wednesday we did the sea trial it which was basically bringing it up to Fort Lauderdale.

So you know the Covid situation has really made it difficult for a lot of this commissioning because foreign foreign vessel they having a hard time to bring their own their own people here well yeah because Vietnam they have very few covered cases so if they leave the country they can’t get back in, so we have to they have to do everything with it with people here on site.

So is it a brand new boat? Congratulations!

I think this is the second one commissioned in the US. Yeah of a total of four and there is the fifth one that is i think is arriving now just about now it has in Seattle if it hasn’t arrived already. Yeah they shipped it. They put it on the cargo ship and uh i don’t know if it’s arrived in Seattle.

Okay so what’s the best thing about the 1600 for you guys?

The best thing for me is the helm stations and the ability to see from the cockpit like and it’s just great you know you have awesome visibility and it’s one of the few catamarans that offers that.

Yeah i think obviously the performance is. It’s in the ease of handling the boat shorthand you know all the lines come to the cockpit all the halyards reefing line it’s so it can all be done safely uh while you talk to the person at the helm station right and uh and the boat it’s really quick you know responsive and it’s for about this size is fairly light.

It’s very responsive. You know we were down in uh down in the Florida Keys and we did a friendly race with other Seawinds and uh you can’t really turn this thing on a dime. It’s just like you turn it’s really awesome it’s really very responsive so great time fantastic.

Is there anything you’d change about her?

Nothing major uh probably do some some details inside the the bow and the furniture add some drawers where where is it you know where you have to lift the um the pillows of a settee try to fit a drawer underneath minor minor things.

Yeah there are some dead space that we have found that we maybe use for uh to put some some cabinets but uh otherwise it’s really like you know pretty much what we want it checks all the boxes.

What type of sailing or cruising ground do you think is is great for the Seawind 1600?

That’s a great question so this this boat sails upwind for you know for you cannot of course you can compare to a racing monohull probably but but it sells fairly well up wind so it’s good to go from Fort Lauderdale to beam anywhere prevailing winds are from the east and um and and shallow draft so you can’t really go you know very close to in places where other people cannot drop an anchor. You can easily drop an anchor and just negotiate some some channels that that you know here in Florida as you know there’s a lot of shifty sandbars and stuff like that if you keep an eye on your on your depth uh you can go pretty much anywhere where it almost a dinghy you can go in

I think i mean it’s great for Biscayne Bay and the Keys. We just went down to Key West and you know there’s shallow drafts all over there and then and the Bahamas for sure.

So we haven’t done any in any major ocean sailing so we can’t really comment on that yet but eventually we will and we’ll be happy to give an update.

With the daggerboards up what does she draw?

If you have all the daggerboards up it’s five foot then if you take also the uh rudders up it’s two foot one inch.

The rudders come up very easy system uh they have that on on some of the other Seawinds as well i think and it’s really uh yeah yeah it’s really a breeze you know even uh even if you come up into uh into a place that you see the the water depth is kind of going down it’s fairly easy to step down and just pull them up even the last minute.

That’s fantastic. Did you uh did you run into any inclement weather uh during your short time of ownership?

We’ve had some some wind into the 30 knots gusts of 30 knots with six foot waves and i gotta tell you it’s uh you know we were going probably downwind a little bit. We were sailing like downwind and yeah we had gusts to 28 knots and the seas were probably like six foot seas and it was completely comfortable. I mean it was comfortable very steady you didn’t even know it’s downwind you don’t even realize yeah you can have a cocktail. You can really chill yeah,

We’ve we came up uh on an on a northwest wind from the Keys and at night it was really really rough right and coming and we actually caught a front right when we left Key West there was a big front that came over us oh yeah and we you know and it was fine the only thing that made me nervous was the lightning that was in the distance but it stayed away.

There’s no slapping you know when you get waves you know everybody worries about slapping. There’s no slapping. Of course if you get a uh waves on a three-quarter they’ll miss the first hull and they get between the two hulls and they’ll hit the hull uh from the inside and you feel here there, but that’s regardless of any cat that that’s a thing with catamarans you know just can’t avoid that um unless you have a very very narrow one

So we as far as performance go we’ve been very very satisfied right and of course this is you know not that we have a lot of uh uh experience to say to compare to because we’ve only sailed the Fountaine Pajots and other known performance cats so but but the this is really like very very comfortable.

We love it yeah.

So with the other performance cats that you looked at how does the interior compare? Is she more comfortable less comfortable?

The interior is super comfortable yeah i mean it’s great and you have plenty of space and like in the saloon it’s very comfortable you can drop the table down and put cushions there if you wanted to have people sleep there the galley is great it’s really nice it’s a u-shaped galley and it’s got the perfect triangle fabulous to cook and he really likes the galley it’s you’ve got everything within arm’s reach and the stove top is gas and it works really well.

I mean the other one we looked at the Balance 526. The master the cabins are forward and they’re oriented horizontally so i think i think that you have to either drop the um the deck clearance a little bit or increase your deck above above the bow so i don’t know how what that does to performance but obviously those cabins when you look inside of the balance of palatial compared to what we have here and and their head the master head is um is in the stern or the master side and it much bigger offers more space. So if you look at the 526 for just a couple of uh maybe a foot more not even it looks uh it looks bigger inside

I don’t know without the performance what the performance is on those boats. I’ve never really sailed one, but i’m sure they’re they’re fantastic so yeah so that’s that’s the only one other one that we looked at that we were like kind of on the fence a little bit but um yeah no but the cabins here are really very nice on the owner’s side cabinetry is very very well detailed and it’s very nice and comfortable so but even in terms of like the bedroom you know like our cabin and the bathroom like it’s plenty of it’s plenty. It’s plenty big enough for the two of us.

Again you know if you compare to uh to a Fountain Pajot 50 Saba. It’s like uh enormous.. We don’t have kids.

We were talking to another couple that was looking at the Seawind 1600, but then they were also looking at some more of the production boats because they were like well because the forward cabin on the port side. They were talking maybe they’ll turn it into some more functional storage for tools or something like that instead of having it as a cabin. They were like well if we do that then we’ve only got you know one cabin for us and like one of the kids would have a cabin but there wouldn’t be a cabin for like another kid

So for us it’s not an issue but even then they were like well the kids are going to be here five percent of the time so one can sleep in the salon.

I know that there’s uh one of the new ones where they’re working bunk beds in the uh in the forward v berth and so to leave once so you can put them up and then have uh like you know workbench or some tool storage or something else.

We have the classic from the factory version.

Anything else that you would uh say to somebody who is potentially gonna buy a 1600?

I think we did we actually didn’t step on board one before we bought it. Yes we bought the boat we’ve never seen it we just looked at the video.

Yeah we looked at videos and read a lot and that it was they were going like hotcakes so we couldn’t really you know if we wanted it we had to just go ahead and order it so we did um obviously if you can come on board a bow you know and see it for yourself that’s ideal um we have a year yeah and sail it obviously.

There was a guy who was six foot four inch tall and hit that was one of his concerns because on some of the boats like they sloped down towards the front and so he would actually be like skimming his head on the ceiling where this one was fine he was it was able to walk he was able to walk around

Then we’ve got a YouTube channel it’s Harbors Unknown and we’ve got quite a few a number of we have 10 videos now i guess so we did a couple of tours.

Obviously the best thing is to see it in person if at all possible but it would be possible now because there’ll be three boats in the US

Yeah and so uh you know there’s one actually right now on the West Coast of Florida.

What is your boat name?


And people can find you can you repeat your uh your channel

It’s Harbors Unknown and we’re on Youtube and Instagram and Facebook all the same handle.

Fantastic well thank you guys so much hopefully uh we’ll meet up in uh in the Bahamas. We’re gonna head down there in a couple months but hopefully we’ll run into you guys.

That’d be great that would be.

Great thank you for joining us again

Thanks for having us have a wonderful day.

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

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