Southern Wind Shipyard is the realisation of the lifelong dream of a man who has always breathed the sea air. Willy Persico, a keen yachtsman and engineer who for years took part in cruising and racing, commissioned a 72ft yacht by veteran designer Ron Holland, which was to be built in a Cape Town shipyard. While the yacht’s construction was underway, the yard’s owner was suddenly and unexpectedly forced to shut down. For Willy, the closure provided the opportunity of a lifetime. In 1991, in the heart of Africa’s thriving naval capital, Southern Wind Shipyard was born. Today, the shipyard still bears the unique hallmarks of South African naval craftsmanship with a proud Italian spirit.
During its formative years, Southern Wind Shipyard used the relatively common technique of fibreglass wet lay-up and built one boat annually. Production gradually increased towards the end of the decade after expanding into larger model designs.
By 2000, SWS were using more sophisticated technology and materials, such as the pioneering infusion lamination technique. 2005 saw the launch of the SW100 mini series, which would become the shipyard’s most famous design. The model is credited with making SWS world leaders in the production of 30m+ yachts, with an incredible 13 units built in just six years.
As production and model sizes increased, so too did the yard itself. In 2009, a new shed area dedicated to the lamination department was introduced, taking the shipyard from 10,000 sqm to 19,000 sqm. Today, with a production rate of three yachts per year, Southern Wind Shipyard’s solid reputation is built on trust, innovation and efficiency – qualities reflected in the company’s high quantity of repeat business and loyal clientele.