In recent years, Seawind Catamarans of Australia has ramped up its presence in the U.S. marketplace, and its efforts have been rewarded both commercially and critically: Its 38-foot 1160 model was named Most Innovative and Best Multihull in CW’s 2007 Boat of the Year contest. Its latest offering is the Seawind 1000XL, a 35-foot-6-inch cat that packs a lot of boat into a relatively compact package.
The XL might well stand for “extra long,” for the new Seawind is actually an offshoot of a previous version, the Seawind 1000, a 33-footer that was first introduced Stateside in the mid-1990s and that resonated with cat sailors in Florida, where many of the 50 boats sold in the United States can be found. The 1000XL gained its extra 2.5 feet aft via a set of extended transom boarding steps with added buoyancy; to port, a folding swim ladder has been incorporated into the extension.
There are several other fresh features in the XL as well, including a pair of large windows forward in the main cabin that were formerly fixed but now open and close on gas struts; a boom cradle on the hardtop, so the spar can be cinched down tightly when motoring or at anchor; and a single-line reefing system that, like all other sheets and sailhandling lines, can be controlled from the helm station.
Other rather nifty items include the twin 9.9-horsepower outboard engines, which are stashed under the dual helm seats and can be raised or deployed quickly and easily; the retractable bowsprit for flying downwind sails; and the drop-down forward ladder that’s accessed through a hatch between the trampolines, a particularly handy feature when nudged right up on the beach.
The layout is focused around the central cabin, with a huge, U-shaped settee that can serve as a giant berth when the dining table is lowered and inserts are added. It’s a versatile space that merges directly with the cockpit in an open floor plan when sailing or on the hook, but it can be closed off with a curtain for privacy. In the port hull, there’s a large double berth amidships, with a second double forward. The galley, with a 12-volt refrigerator and freezer powered by twin 120-volt solar panels, is to starboard, again with double berths found in the bow and stern.
We sailed the boat last October on Chesapeake Bay, and while the breeze hovered in the 8- to 10-knot range, the boat’s performance potential was readily on display. Though we were sailing without instruments, we estimated speeds when we were heading upwind under the self-tacking jib at just around 6 knots. Cracked off on a beam reach, with the unfurled screecher as well as the jib, we easily coursed along at a good 7 or 8 knots. This is a boat that we’d love to sail in some breeze, preferably across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, where it’s hard to imagine a better vehicle for a season in the islands.
|LOA||35′ 6″ (10.82 m.)|
|LWL||34′ 2″ (10.41 m.)|
|Beam||19′ 5″ (5.92 m.)|
|Draft||3′ 3″ (.99 m.)|
|Sail Area (100%)||662 sq. ft. (61.5 sq. m.)|
|Displacement||10,000 lb. (4,536 kg.)|
|Water||106 gal. (400 l.)|
|Fuel||32 gal. (120 l.)|
|Engines||Twin 9.9-hp. Yamaha outboards|
Herb McCormick is a Cruising World editor at large.