This 41-foot cruising catamaran is perfect for a couple or a family and is fun to sail.
It’s easy to get a big head sailing around on a boat like the Seawind 1260. If for no other reason than the fact you’re not only going faster than pretty much every other boat around. But, you’re doing so in exceptional comfort. Add to that the fact the boat also happens to be damn good looking and possesses some serious bluewater passagemaking chops, and you’ve got every excuse for feeling a bit vain!
Design & Construction
An evolution of the Seawind 1250, the Seawind 1260 combines excellent build quality and design with an eye toward taking its crews anywhere and everywhere in safety and comfort.
Built in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, after production was moved there from the company’s native Australia a few years back. The Seawind 1260 boasts infused vinylester and polyester hulls with a foam core. A hull-deck joint that is securely fiberglassed along its entire length to ensure the most rigid structure possible.
Narrow hulls and a concerted effort to keep weight out of the ends minimizes hobby-horsing, while the deck’s unusual reverse sheer makes it possible to provide plenty of headroom in the passageway areas belowdecks while minimizing freeboard in the bows. This, in turn, reduces windage (as well as weight) forward, enhancing the boat’s performance to windward, so that it feels more like a monohull than your typical multi.
Topside, no mere sliding glass door separates the saloon from the cockpit. Instead Seawind installs its proven “Tri-Fold door system,” a solid glass and metal structure that won’t leave you wondering whether it will hold firm in the event you’re pooped. It also easily hinges up and out of the way, creating a single space of the cockpit and saloon—Seawind having been one of the pioneers of the “open” concept.
The single-spreader mast and boom are aluminum, and the rigging is stainless steel wire. Overall build quality is outstanding.
The cockpit aboard the Seawind 1260 is among the best I’ve ever seen aboard a multihull. First and foremost, it includes a pair of outboard helm stations that allow you to get well outboard to see both the rig and where you’re going with ease, with excellent sight lines in all directions, thanks to the large cabintrunk windows immediately forward. There is also easy access to all control lines, with the lines controlling the main traveler mounted on a composite archway just aft. Aboard our test boat this arch also served as the mount for a set of solar panels.
The clear path between the two and the nimble yet predictable feel of the boat’s helm make doing so both effortless and fun. A hard Targa top stretching aft to the aforementioned arch provides the person at the helm with all the protection they could want. There’s also a clear view of the chartplotter in the saloon immediately forward of the window in front of the port helm, which slides out of the way providing easy access to it as well.
Handholds abound in this cockpit: to either side of the Tri-Fold door; on either side of the arch; to either side of the steps leading down the transoms; and even along the underside of the hardtop. A comfy L-shaped bench aft spans the better part of the aft end of the cockpit and faces a small table and abuts against a stowaway BBQ, sink and fridge.
Moving forward, there’s a useful handhold and step for getting on top of the cabintrunk; a nice touch since the structure’s angled sides and large windows would otherwise make for a challenge getting up to the boom to pack away the mainsail.
Though not as spacious inside as many purpose-built charter cats, the Seawind 1260 is comfortable and nicely appointed belowdecks. Key to the boat’s interior is the fact that it includes an inline galley down in the starboard hull. This, in turn, opens up the space in the saloon for a truly massive U-shaped settee, which can be converted into a massive lounging space—or “day bed” as Seawind calls it—by lowering the table to seat level.
Thanks to the large windows in each hull, the cook even has a nice view. There’s also plenty of open space between it and the saloon so you won’t get lonely while you’re down there.
Beyond that, two different version are available: an owner’s three-cabin version, in which the entire port hull is given over to a single stateroom; and a four-cabin “charter” version. (Seawind cats are a force to be reckoned with in the charter trade Down Under.) In either case, the saloon comes equipped with a pair of massive and massively built hinged windows forward to provide excellent ventilation when it’s hot out and security when things turn nasty.
Simply put, the Seawind 1260 is a great sailer. In 15 knots of wind the boat easily reach 7 knots hard on the wind at a true wind angle of 45 degrees, comparable to a well-found monohull. Minor adjustments at the helm were immediately rewarded with a fraction more boatspeed, and you could truly “feel” the boat respond in a way you simply can’t aboard all too many cruising cats. Off the wind 8-plus knots with just our working jib up. Coming about was never in doubt, and the boat’s narrow hulls easily maintained their way. Thanks to the boat’s self-tacking jib, doing so consisted of simply putting down the helm and then taking a short stroll to the other wheel.
One of the nice things about narrow hulls and a responsive helm is that you also get great performance under power. At 1,200 rpm, the boat’s twin 29hp Yanmars scoots along at 4.7 knots. Revving up to a moderate 2,000 rpm yield 7 knots of boatspeed. Like any well-found cat, working the engines against one another allowed us to pivot easily in our own water. The boat’s reduces windage will only may it that much less stressful maneuvering in tight quarters.