Southern Wind’s new 100X is both a return to their roots and a step forward into the future with a strong focus on efficiency… in every sense of the word.
For the past seven years, Southern Wind Shipyard has been developing, refining and perfecting its “Smart Custom” design and build process, which combines the main advantages of semicustom and full custom yacht production. Now they’ve enlarged and complemented their offering with a project of identical quality and similar performance potential, with a different range of benefits. Enter the Southern Wind 100X.
In one sense, for the shipyard the 100X represents a return to its roots. Southern Wind forged its reputation 15 years ago with the launch of its first 100-footer, Farewell and the 30-metre segment has been the mainstay of its production ever since. With 23 yachts in that size bracket delivered since 2006, plus a further four just outside it, Southern Wind has built up a lot of knowledge and experience. Just like the iconic original SW100, of which 13 were delivered, the new SW100X will be a semi-custom model built with tighter parameters than the rest of the current Southern Wind fleet.
In another sense, however, the 100X is a step into the future. It’s set to be the most efficient and sustainable model that Southern Wind has produced, with some next-generation design features. Like the latest Smart Custom models in build, it offers the option of hybrid diesel-electric propulsion with full regeneration capability under sail.
Smart custom production will continue in parallel – the first SW108 Hybrid is currently in build, another SW96 is soon to start and there’s strong demand in the pipeline. The occasional full custom builds will also continue – the most recent of these being Morgana, the Reichel/Pugh – Nauta 100 racer/cruiser launched last year – because Southern Wind sees these as a valuable way to keep a finger on the pulse of innovation.
So what benefits does the semi-custom build option deliver? First and foremost, efficiency. With two years of conceptual design, development and engineering work already completed and a wide range of pre-set options ready to go, a great deal of efficiency has been built in.
The design loop with the client will require less time because most of the work has already been done. The build processes are optimised for efficiency, with moulds re-used multiple times and the use of carbon fibre carefully optimised rather than used by default throughout. Customers can expect delivery up to six months sooner than a comparable smart custom project – which is already a lot more efficient and less time-consuming than a full custom build. The efficiency of the build also reduces its carbon footprint and makes it inherently more sustainable.
Efficiency savings in the design loop and build process are shared with the client. In essence it’s a faster process – about 16 months instead of 20-22 with the same level of quality and at least the same amount of design innovation, at a more competitive price. The trade-off is that some aspects of the yacht’s specification are selected from a range of pre-set options instead of starting with a blank sheet of paper.
Like the original SW100, the new SW100X is conceived as a versatile all-rounder. It’s a true cruiser-racer and a capable goanywhere ocean voyager, equally at home on transatlantic passages, in bucket regattas, on charter cruises and in blue water cruising mode. Cruising in a wide range of latitudes has been factored into the design, following the typical owner’s trajectory which starts with a few seasons in the Mediterranean followed by longrange voyaging in the tropics and then perhaps adventure sailing in places like Patagonia, Norway or Polynesia.
As with any Southern Wind yacht, heavy weather seakeeping is assured but the default rig and sailplan are optimised for light winds, reflecting the typical conditions when owners and guests are on board. Reefing will be done relatively early. Farr Yacht Design’s polars suggest that the boat should be faster than the true wind speed above six knots of breeze and boatspeed in the upper 20-knot range should be achievable going downwind in a blow.
The deck, passenger cockpit and interior have been designed for up to eight guests (including the owners), with a full-beam master suite in the bow and separate quarters located aft for a crew of four. For short-range use the four-cabin general arrangement is ideal for owners hosting friends on board, or for two families sharing a charter, one forward and one aft of the saloon. For blue water cruising it provides VIP double and convertible twin/double cabins amidships for owners and guests to use on passage. The upper saloon offers good views out on both sides when seated and a panoramic 270-degree view forward, port and starboard when standing. Like most Southern Wind yachts, the snug lower saloon can be configured as a TV lounge, office or bar.
The deck design by Nauta takes its cues from the widely admired GT style decks of several recent Southern Wind yachts, with the coachroof and cockpit coamings subtly raised to increase shelter and security at sea. The most striking feature, however, is the impressively large seaside lounge that folds out of the aft deck, with various configurations of sofas and sunbeds, and a total area of 20sq m – twice this size of the beach club area on any previous Southern Wind yacht. Beneath all of this is a transverse tender garage designed to fit a Williams 435 jet RIB with an ingenious launch and retrieval solution.
The performance package includes a mainsheet traveller, running backstays and a square-top mainsail. Owners can opt for hydraulic furling or manual operation for the code sail and gennaker, and can choose between park avenue or truss styles of boom. A rigid hardtop can be selected to shelter the passenger cockpit; it’s stowed on the coachroof when not in use. The ballast options are a straight choice between a fixed fin and bulb with 4m draught or a 3.65m to 5.6m telescoping keel.
A wide choice of interior finishes and furniture configurations are available, designed and styled by Nauta. The engine room is designed to fit the BAE Systems HybriGen diesel-electric propulsion system, which was pioneered on SW96 Nyumba and is also installed on the first SW108. If hybrid propulsion is chosen, the high-voltage batteries will be installed in a dedicated, fire-insulated and ventilated compartment in the bilge forward of the saloon. The other engine options are either a conventional 305hp Cummins diesel engine or a twin diesel saildrive setup for IMO Tier 3 compliance.
So when will we see the Southern Wind 100X on the water? The moulds were being built as this issue of Seahorse went to press, lamination could start as early as August and the shipyard expects to deliver the first yacht in the series for the 2025 sailing season.