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Seawind 1260 – Good. Different. Rewarding.

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com 12 Nov 2018 10:42 UTC
The Seawind 1260 can make the most of virtually any breeze, as long as you do not pinch. © John Curnow

Quickly taking in the Seawind 1250 with the 1260 that replaces it, you may not see the differences. Yes, the hulls are the same, in all but both quarters, where the gunwale now rises more steeply. This is actually a great thing from an accessibility and safety point of view, as well as giving her profile a more appealing sheer line, as well.

Then her through-hull ports have all been changed, and made larger, which also aids the aesthetic, as well as ambience and airflow. The other major change is to the whole aft deck and cockpit, where there is now a more formalised BBQ, sink, and settee that converts to a day bed. This is what has brought the Seawind more into line with her competitors that had a more modern approach to on board, al fresco living.

The change to her ambience here is quite revelatory, given you might be thinking it does not sound like much. That’s understandable, but her sweeping spaces once the tri-fold doors are up, securely stowed against the deckhead, and with the retractable windows open from the helming stations to the main saloon, leave you with a genuine connection from swim platform to galley.

In this way, Seawind’s 1260 is now quite the unique design. One that does allow it to stand apart from so many of the European brands it competes with. Many comment on the natural airflow her layout affords her, and then there is the now somewhat legendary performance these craft are known for after many years conducting coastal passages and trans-oceanic voyages.

She shares the same hulls and rig as the 41-foot Seawind 1250. In our case, there was the small self-tacking jib, but there is provision for the overlapping genoa, and then large sails from Code Zero to screecher, or asymmetric and even running kite. It all depends on how hard you want to work, where you intend to sail, and how fast you want to go, or get there.

The standard fare will get her along fine, especially when there is anything more than a faint breeze that is very wafty, but you never want to find yourself pinching for height. Use one of the diesels and motorsail, if this is where you find yourself. In addition to all of that, there is of course the now legendary Seawind seaworthiness capabilities, robustness, and simplicity. They are practical, well laid out, family friendly, and easy to operate.

Our test vessel was the owner’s version, or three-cabin arrangement. This dedicates the port hull to the owner, with head out aft, then stowage central, with a large athwartships bed just for’ard of amidships. The starboard hull has a traditional double out aft, then the galley (as all Seawinds do), with a larger cabin for’ard running the bed fore/aft, and then the head in the bow. In this configuration you would probably want to offer those in the aft cabin access to your head, so as not to disturb those in the for’ard cabin.

All of which provides for a lovely segue into an in depth conversation with Moon Glider’s owner, Edward Swaab. The Dutch heritage may well account for his fascination with the water. Anyway, the reason is it is pertinent in so many ways, is that Edward and his family epitomise the whole ownership experience, especially for ‘newbies’, as such.

Edward has been a long term windsurfer, but with a grown up family, including grandchildren, and a successful business he is passing over to his son, now is the time to skill up, whilst having the boat earn some its keep as a charter vessel in Sydney’s vibrant market. The charter business is as per the boat’s name, Moon Glider.

Rather than do as some do, they have not opted to send the boat away for Winter, preferring to keep her close and get to know her even better. The plan is vey much to become better and more proficient sailors with their boat, so that they can indeed take on far wider and grander plans than hopping around the Harbour.

Now whilst a 41-foot catamaran is way bigger than any of the multitudinous windsurfers Edward has owned over a 35-year period, the plunge was not dealt with lightly. On the contrary, it took them something like five years to research, go to boat shows, and do yet more research, before they finally arrived at one show and said to themselves, “We either do this now, or we walk away.” Well done it they have, and Moon Glider is keeping them, and their extended family very happy, and busy too.

“It has been a long and interesting journey. I was used to all the things like aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and sails were already ingrained”, said Edward who has reached speeds of up to 35 knots on lightweight carbon boards. “So a lot of the principals apply, especially when it comes down to where you can and cannot go. Sail shapes, leeway and other elements may be different with the cat, but the essence is very much the same. You might take it for granted, but you can translate all those skills over.”

“It might be a different creature all together, and there is certainly more to learn, as well as many more mechanisms, but as far as the sailing aspect is concerned, I was very much like the fish in the eater as soon as I hopped on board. So I do feel very comfortable with the sailing side of things, and now continue working on trimming, rigging, manoeuvring, docking, and engaging all of the family members in the fun of sailing.”

“My brother seems to be very taken with it all, and he has never been a sailor. So to see him cope with gusts and stormy weather is wonderful, especially as he had the helm, whilst I attended to the sails.”

Having been in, on top of, or under the water all his life, the natural progression to a cruising cat was obvious for Edward. It also meant he could offer his passion to his entire clan. “So if I wanted to keep water as part of my environment, then Moon Glider really is the answer. You know I always dreamed of having a boat, and probably thought it was out of my reach some 10 or 15 years ago, but as time slipped by it all became an option, so we moved it into our reality.”

“My wife Michelle is not a sailor, but does love the water, the beach, and the coast, even if it is not from a competitive sports point of view, so it is good to have her blessing with it all. The whole family can be on board at the one time, and I do think this helps a lot. So it may well have been at my behest and in following my lead, but she is keen to be a part of it all, as she skills up and we can go cruising together.”

“Very early in the piece it was going to be all about cats. The first couple of years I was looking at all the wrong things, like top speed and so forth. I did go to shows, and see/read a lot of material from independent persons, and this did swing me around. Being a fanatical researcher, all of this was good for me, as I was then confident with the theoretical knowledge I had gained. Talking with all the various parties that we had, also instilled a lot of belief in the ideas we had in our heads.”

“So we knew what we were after, and the design compromises that all meant. The next was to fine-tune our list down to a few craft, and then the last two, as we determined the better boat for us. By way of example, I had originally thought I would want open helms, but in the end, especially as we go towards coastal and ocean cruising, I wanted to have more protection, and this was one of the big deciding factors in selecting the Seawind 1260.”

Edward has his eyes set on the South Pacific first, with destinations further afield after that. You can safely bet that there will be a windsurfer strapped to the rail, certainly for those first locales. And yes, you guessed it, those next destinations are exactly what Edward is researching about now.

“As we were not totally, we decided to make some offset against the costs by having Moon Glider in limited charter. I am still working, and the business does require a lot of my attention, especially as we make all the plans come to pass for succession to my son, who has been involved for the last 13 years. We envisage it will take around two years to extract me from a more permanent role, but this is why we want to have the boat close and get better at using her, too.”

“The plan was also not to have too steep a learning curve for Michelle. Lord Howe Island and Vanuatu will be our first ports of call sometime before those two years are up. The enjoyment of the journey has to be there, otherwise what is it all for. I can see us being part of a rally going somewhere, and there is just so much experience and knowledge inside the group of participants that you would be mad not to have that around you. There is talk of one up past New Guinea to the Louisiade Islands in the Solomon Sea n 2020, and that would seem to tie in well with all of our plans.”

“Navigationally it is a tough assignment, but having all of the other skippers around you will go a long way to being in charge of your own vessel, and ensuring the safety of her and all on board. I have to say that I have enjoyed having Brett from Multihull Central as my coach and mentor with this project.”

When I farewelled Edward I said ‘enjoy’, to which he replied, “I am already having a ball! What’s not to like? Even in the flukey winds we encountered we hit 8 knots as soon as the breeze got to 12. I love this boat.” You get the sense that it will not be long before there are more than just two sails in the wardrobe, but for now, Edward is content learning away. The Seawind 1260 is one competent and seaworthy craft, as indeed is the entire range. You can explore, or research just like Edward, by going to multihullcentral.com, seawindcats.com, or by calling 1300 852 620.

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