Cat power

Southern Wind Shipyard unveils the Swcat90, a carbon sailing catamaran that will complement their line of performance composite sailing yachts.

22 January 2020


The SWCAT90 is a 27-metre sailing catamaran, constructed in carbon composite, that combines all the greatest attributes of the SWS monohull yachts into a versatile catamaran design, offering an even higher level of comfort and greater autonomy.

The SWCAT90 concept has been developed in collaboration with the long-term partner Nauta Design, who were responsible for the interior and exterior design and styling. Berret-Racoupeau, the catamaran specialist design firm based in La Rochelle conceived the naval architecture.

Southern Wind’s Commercial Director Andrea Micheli explains the motivation to develop the SWCAT90: ‘We began by examining what a yachtsman is expecting on their yacht and identified four main requirements. Escape, or the desire to get away from everyday life. Performance, the thrill of true sailing and a connection with the sea.  Comfort, the ability to explore the seas with friends and family in privacy on a luxurious and reliable vessel.”


“Importantly, these objectives must be achieved with an environmentally conscious approach, with reduced dependency on fossil fuels and more focus on well-being. Our solution is to expand our range of offerings by multiplying what we do at best, matching a wider range of needs by introducing the SWCAT90 = SWS2.”

The benefits of catamarans are becoming more widely recognised and the multi-hull market is the fastest growing segment in the new yacht construction industry. There are several mass-production multihull builders but for owners looking for high quality and reliability, the only avenue was to commission a new design and build a one-off custom yacht. The SWCAT90 has been developed as a versatile platform that can be tailored to an owner’s wishes and allows for a high level of customisation.

The space and volume available on a catamaran of this scale is comparable to a 39-metre monohull. Massimo Gino from Nauta Design adds “with 171-square-metres of interior floorspace, the SWCAT90 will feature vast saloon area of 45-square-metres with 360 degrees panoramic views. The deck space, including the flybridge and two cockpits is an impressive 207-square-metres, an increase of 50 percent from similarly sized monohull.

“With the SWCAT90 we transferred the full experience and expanded the contents in terms of layout, comfort and quality of the successful SWS yachts. In developing the interior and exterior layout we gave the same attention to the privacy and comfort of both guests and crew. The interior layout sees four guest cabins plus two or three crew cabins, with the crew quarters separated from the luxury guest areas to allow for maximum privacy.”

Berret-Racoupeau bring their knowledge and expertise to this partnership. Performance was high on the list of priorities, not only boat speed but a yacht that appeals to the sensations and is a pleasure to sail. Olivier Racoupeau describes the characteristics that will achieve this objective:

“The design is based on our latest shapes in terms of efficiency by combining a maximum waterline length, moderate waterline beam and reduced wetted surface to strike the right balance between performance and interior volume.

Two sail plan options have been developed to appeal to the varying expectations of potential owners.

“While the cruising-oriented owner may prefer a fixed mast, the performance enthusiast may choose the larger sail plan with rotating mast. For the appendages, we have developed high-efficiency curved daggerboards with T-rudders, offering an increase in boat speed while improving comfort by reducing pitching in rough conditions.”

The SWCAT90 will be built at the Southern Wind Shipyard in Cape Town. The hulls, bridge deck and superstructure will be constructed in carbon fibre sandwich utilising the infusion technique and Marco Alberti, the SWS General Manager explains this unique approach: “The construction process of this catamaran will apply the same techniques as our monohulled yachts by using several moulds, allowing versatility of design modifications and to achieve high quality in an efficient manner.”

Yann Dabbadie, the shipyard’s chief naval architect has led the team that developed the specification and equipment selection in line with the highest superyacht standards and with an eye on the environment. In his words, “The SWCAT90 has been designed to accept either a classic shaft line or to have an electric serial hybrid propulsion system.

A serial hybrid diesel electric would allow this catamaran to motor in silent mode. The range will depend on the speed and of the size of the battery pack chosen following the client’s preferences. It also allows the two main engines to be independent from the shaft line resulting in a greater efficiency as generators. This will bring a savings of both weight and space and the centring of the machinery will realise better seakeeping and reduce pitching motion.”


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