Remember those early sailing superyachts… high-chested, heavy, aluminium and sometimes even welded steel hulls? Yet not many years later the fact that Southern Wind’s latest 108-footer is an all-carbon, all-high tech oceanic beauty, one that also screams high performance is almost to state the obvious…
At the Southern Wind Shipyard in Cape Town the first of a new generation of yachts is now taking shape. It’s a case of evolution not revolution, in keeping with the brand’s carefully calibrated and distinctive core DNA. But while the visible differences between the Southern Wind 108 and its predecessors might seem subtle at first, this is a significant milestone for the shipyard. It’s their first model conceived and engineered from the outset as a diesel-electric hybrid.
‘A core feature of Southern Wind’s new generation of smart custom yachts is the versatility to have several configurations of propulsion systems, keels and sailplans,’ Farr Yacht Design’s Jim Schmicker explains. ‘The biggest challenge for us as the naval architects was to design a hull that would perform well at any selected displacement in the anticipated range.’
Depending on the rig, keel and drivetrain options selected by an owner, the design weight can vary by almost six and a half tonnes – and that’s before you start to consider differences in the weight of the hull itself, the interior fit-out and the payload of systems, equipment, tankage and so on, all of which can also be quite considerable.
‘The platform is the starting point for discussions with the owner’s team,’ says Andrea Micheli, chief commercial officer at Southern Wind. ‘Tried and tested solutions are always on the plate but when an owner wants something truly unique we have the capability to customise extensively.’
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