Home Technical Sailing Videos Seawind 1600: A Comprehensive Review

Seawind 1600: A Comprehensive Review

written by Terysa May 22, 2019

The Seawind 1600 is a luxury performance catamaran designed by Reichal Pugh and built in Vietnam.

Seawind is an Australian company who have been making catamarans for 35 years. Most of their range focuses on smaller performance catamarans and the 1160 and 1260 (38ft and 41ft respectively) are particularly popular, especially amongst Australians. We’re yet to go onboard either of these models, but hope to at some point this year.

However, today’s video is all about their new flagship model, the Seawind 1600.

There are several good tours of this boat on YouTube, and so we are focussing our efforts on a review rather than a simple walkaround. As such, we have divided our analysis into five categories, each worth 10 points.

You, too, can score this boat based on your personal opinion- find out how to do so at the end of this post.

Safety and Design

This category looks at the safety and practical design of this Seawind 1600. We consider the following factors:

  • Liferaft position
  • Helm position
  • Visibility
  • Safety features
  • Practicality while on watch and underway

Let’s look at the helm. This catamaran has twin helms and they’re positioned in a unique way: both straddle the cockpit and the sidedeck, partially covered by the hardtop bimini, partially open to the elements to give better visibility. This is unusual: most catamarans have either a single raised helm, accessed via steps from the cockpit, or totally exposed outboard twin helms. The former set up provides excellent protection while underway, but restricted visibility. The latter provides exactly the opposite: excellent visibility, particularly useful when docking up, but poor protection. The Seawind 1600 has attempted a middle ground and it seems to work very well.

The helm seat is comfortable and has a thoughtful fold out step to rest your feet on (great for those of us with short legs!). In fair weather, this would be a very comfortable place to spend your watches. In inclement weather, a cockpit enclosure could be utilised, which would protect the helm position.

All necessary lines run back to the cockpit, and the winches are all electric and placed sensibly around the cockpit, making sail trim and adjustments exceptionally easy.

The cockpit has grab rails and clip on points along the underside of the hard bimini, particularly near the helm positions. This is a feature we were very impressed with; when you’re zipping along at over 20 knots, you definitely want to be able to clip on. (Yes, this catamaran has a top speed of 23 knots- but we’ll get to performance in a bit.)

Another impressive aspect was that the side decks were completely clear of any hazards: sheets ran back along line rails, keeping them out the way, and the daggerboards were recessed into the hull. Lockers and hatches were all flush to the deck. So, if you’re moving around the deck while underway, you don’t need to worry about tripping over something and hurting yourself (Nick broke his toe doing exactly this only three weeks ago) or, worst case scenario, going overboard. Little touches like this make everything so much safer, which is a big deal to us.

Unsurprisingly, we’re awarding the Seawind 1600 10/10 for Safety and Design. We were very impressed.

Build Quality

Let’s move on to the next category, which is build quality. We look at the following as part of our assessment:

  • Hull construction
  • Joinery
  • Fittings and latches
  • Engine bay
  • Steering mechanism
  • Overall robustness

The hull is reinforced with kevlar and carbon and as such is exceptionally strong, stiff and light. It also has retractable rudders as well as daggerboards, the latter of which are recessed into the hull.

The engine bay was large and everything was very easy to access. The steering mechanism was exceptionally robust and over-engineered. That theme continued into other aspects of the build, such as the gooseneck, the lockers, the bimini and all the fittings and fixtures that were visible. No part of this boat seemed flimsy or under engineered. The overall quality was very high.

The solar panels are recessed into the bimini, and a rain water catchment channel is built into the top of the bimini as well, which is a great feature for those of us who plan to live aboard.

The interior cabinetry is made from high quality veneer with wooden edges to prevent the veneer peeling. Materials such as the corian, the stainless steel, the upholstery, the lights, latches for the drawers and doors- it was all of high quality, and we couldn’t find anything that was sub-par. The only issue we could find was that the corners could have been a little rounder, which would reduce the risk of injury if you’re in rough weather and getting thrown around a bit.

The only thing we would have liked to see would be shaft drives as opposed to sail drives, and for that we’re docking a point.

We’re giving build quality 9/10.

Interior Design

This category takes into account everything that makes a catamaran comfortable and pleasurable to live on. We look at:

  • Aesthetics
  • Comfort
  • Guest accommodation
  • Ventilation
  • Shower access
  • Headroom
  • Berth size
  • Galley
  • General layout and liveability

This is a big category, taking into account a lot of different aspects of living onboard.

Let’s start with aesthetics. I’m not always a fan of minimalist and modern styling on boats but I must say there is something very fitting about a fast performance catamaran looking as sleek on the inside as it does on the outside. I know this look isn’t to everyone’s taste, but we both really liked it.

Style is one thing, but comfort is more important. The seating in both the cockpit and the saloon was very comfortable, with plenty of room to sprawl out when it’s just two of us, as well as accommodate guests when we have people visiting or over for sundowners. The U-shaped settee in the saloon is the ideal shape for two people to either set up work stations at the folding, adjustable table, or lay back and watch the television without getting in each other’s way.

The hulls are narrow of course, due to it’s performance-oreintated design, and the daggerboards also take up space. However, unlike the Outremer where you have to literally walk around the daggerboards while moving through the hulls, there is no such obvious impingement on the living space in the Seawind 1600.

The guest hull has an aft cabin which converts between a queen and two single beds- very sensible- and the forecabin is what I’d call a large single. The shower room is compact but functional with frosted overhead windows, a perfect solution for when people are moving about on deck but you still need privacy in the heads.

The owner’s hull has a queen sized bed (not an island berth) with a vanity area which I would probably never ever use. We’d probably turn it into a work desk. One thing I loved was the focus on ventilation: there’s four opening hatches as well as a neat recess for two fans above the bed. The owner’s shower room includes the heads, and my only minor complaint is there’s no screen on the separate shower (same in the guest shower room).

The galley communicates with the cockpit through three large opening windows, which aids airflow throughout the entire area, as well as making the space more open. The galley itself is ideal: U-shaped so there’s some protection in a seaway, plenty of bench space and cold storage, and big, deep double sinks with grouted corion.

Last, but certainly not least, the nav station is truly excellent, with all necessary monitors and controls, unobstructed visibility of both sails as well as almost 360° views. The swivel chair is very comfortable, and I can easily see how one would set up watch inside, particularly at night or in inclement weather.

A performance catamaran is never going to have the interior volume of a catamaran designed for liveability; the narrow hulls make sure of that. But there is definitely enough space in this boat, particularly in the galley, saloon and cockpit, and the space is well utilised, with everything laid out exactly the way we would like it.

We loved the interior design and liveability of this catamaran, so we’re giving it an 8/10.

Performance

The Seawind 1600 is definitely built for performance. Let’s take a look at some important numbers:

  • Length: 51’6″ / 15.74 metres
  • Beam: 25’10” / 7.9 metres
  • Draft (varying draft due to daggerboards and retractable rudders): from 8’6″ / 2.6m to 2’1″ / 0.54m
  • Displacement: 13T

The polar diagram is truly impressive, with a total theoretical speed of 23.1kn off the wind at 110°. She also has good pointing ability due to those daggerboards and could sail at about 35° apparent. The daggerboards also help to prevent making too much leeway, and when fully retracted they allow the catamaran to slip over the waves, making it safer and less likely to capsize in big seas.

We’re giving her a 9/10 for performance.

Value for Money

The Seawind is competitively priced, at USD $859,000, and comes with quite a bit of kit- however, no boat is truly ‘turn key’ and once we added some nice-to-have as well as need-to-have extras, the price was coming up to $960,000. This is inline with other catamarans of similar size and type (ie, the Outremer 51). She is built in Vietnam which allows lower labour rates while not compromising on quality. We felt that, given what’s included in the base price, she represents slightly better than average value for money.

Therefore, we’re giving the Seawind 1600 6/10 for this category.

Our total score is 42/50.

We loved this catamaran and, as you can see in the video, got really quite excited by this one. We’ve never sailed a performance catamaran before, and we’re a little concerned that it might be a bit bouncy because it’s so lightweight. However, we’re very much hoping for an opportunity to test sail a 1600 because, frankly, who wouldn’t get enthusiastic at the idea of 23 knots of speed! From a liveability standpoint, she would be perfect for us- we could easily see her being our home, both from a functional as well as aesthetic point of view. We loved this catamaran- and now we want to hear from you!

Submit Your Scores!

Now, YOU can submit your scores, which you can do via this link!

Simply tick the box of the catamaran you wish to score (only videos we’ve already released will be available), then use the sliders to score each category, then click the VOTE button. Easy! (But if you need further instructions, you can find them here).

Make sure you leave a comment with your score and thoughts so we can keep the conversation going!

Cheers,

Nick & Terysa

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4 comments

Toine de Jong May 22, 2019 at 7:56 pm

Hi both! I love your reviews, very well done. I’ve left some comments at my own rating for the cats, where I think you should also score on maintainability of the ship when you are sailing the globe and ability to sail it single handed.

What I forgot to mention was the… Sleep ability. A nice berth is nice… But don’t forget the noise. And if you are taking a Kevlar with Carbon ship… You are in for a nasty surprise. They are just…. Loud!!! 😉 so that’s maybe an extra consideration.

Enjoy the search!

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Jessica Williams May 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm

This was really interesting to me because I’ve not been on this particular brand of cat before! It doesn’t strike my fancy the way it does yours, but I it was really neat to see how this cat had been built more with performance in mind. I think we are gravitating more towards the roomier production boats…but they have their negatives, too. Thanks so much for all the hard work you are doing on these reviews!

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Raindrops May 23, 2019 at 4:38 am

Just found your channel and love your approach to methodically reviewing and rating catamarans. We are also looking for the perfect catamaran to sail around the world in a few years. We loved your video review of the new Lagoon 42 which we found first, then watched this your 2nd review on the Seawind 50. While both provide valuable insight, these are really two completely different boats (even just based on size and price point alone). Would love to see a comparison of the Lagoon 42 to the newest model FP of a similar size or others in the same general category. As you are just getting started down this path and requested feedback, perhaps consider grouping the reviews into similar categories – doesn’t seem fair or as helpful to compare apples to oranges using the same overall rating scale. Really love your approach & subscribed to your you tube channel. We look forward to your future videos and reviews! Thank you.

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Bo Lorentzen May 31, 2019 at 2:15 am

LOVE the comprehensive review style.
OK so to some degree we are in the same boat, except im about to pick up a boat and know I will end up also on higher latitudes.
BUT VERY fascinated that you are unloading a rather sea-kindly boat, and if Im reading between the lines, you are “going cat” on us.
I have been researching, and my biggest take-away is, that the news is NOT full of stories about flipped cats on the worlds oceans. so bottom line is, if sailed responsibly, catamarans seems to be equally safe, with some speed advantages, and some storm potential disadvantages, but clearly after 5 years.. you feel more advantages than dis?
PLEASE… do a video, couple beers and get serious, lets talk mono vs multi.. and why a southernly 48 or 58r (or whatever its called) have been ruled out. Im naturally asking because in stumbling close to look at slightly used 48 & 58’s soooooo you having sailed the ultimate monohull, yet are not just upsizing.. please do get really philosophically on this one.. this is deep stuff.
*and yes I know my email is not sailing related ha ha. but we all gotta have a practice to generate revenue, so we can play ya know.

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