It is fair to say that a design’s success can be judged by a number of different factors, including its longevity and imitations—or as is the case with the Seawind 1160 catamaran, a new iteration. The Seawind 1190 Sport looks very much like its older sister; it’s just a little big longer and has fresh tricks up its sleeve.
The 1160 burst on the scene in 2004, a blockbuster success for the Australian manufacturer Seawind Catamarans that acquired Corsair Marine, the trimaran builder founded in the mid-1980s in California. Today, Seawind and Corsair boats are all built in Ho-Chi-Minh-City in Vietnam and share a worldwide dealer network.
Looking at the Seawind 1190 Sport as it swings on a mooring, the gargantuan hull windows, the forward and aft sloping sheer, and the positive rake of the bows indicate that the boat was conceived before cruising multihulls began to sport wave-piercing hulls and rigs that are positioned farther aft. But why fix something that ain’t broken? With more than 150 of these vessels in service, this is a proven design that over the years benefitted from plenty of refinements.
Light weight and horsepower
While the 1160 continues to be offered in Deluxe and Lite versions and the 1190 S retains their general looks, it has been equipped with more horsepower, justifying the designation as a performance cruiser. The tweaks are as simple as they are smart, because they subtract weight, the sworn enemy of fast, and they add horsepower, the prerequisite for converting weight loss into speed gains. With a light displacement Seawind quotes at 15,400 pounds, the 1190 Sport sets a benchmark for cruising cats in the near-40-foot size range. The Lagoon 39 displaces approximately five tons more. How did Seawind achieve the dietary loss? The two inboard diesels were switched out for two 20 HP four-stroke outboards living in wells that can be tilted up when not in use. This approach also helps center the weight and reduce drag. The builders also saved weight on the interior by using lighter materials for the liner, furniture and floors and by having the audacity to install only one head on a boat that is nearly 12 meters long and has a proud cruising pedigree.
Further improvements in performance are derived from the stern scoops that stretch the boat’s overall length by a foot and stern-hung cassette rudders, which might look a bit racy on a cruising vessel but seem justified: the 1190 Sport does not have stubby keels, which are standard on most cruising catamarans, to protect rudders when the boat is beached. Instead, Seawind’s designers chose two retractable high-aspect dagger boards, taking a cue from the French Catana brand, which has been incorporating these appendages for quite some time, because they result in better pointing ability. The flip side is vulnerability in collisions with submerged objects and loss of interior space. However, the latter challenge was dealt with beautifully, as the 1190 Sport proves that it is possible to have daggerboards run in trunks that are not ugly space hogs below deck.
An unusual interior
The boat has a traditional in-line galley, which is located in the starboard hull. By today’s standards that’s a bit retro because nowadays galleys on cruising cats tend to be integrated in the deck saloon, but the old style has advantages like keeping the center of gravity low and offering plenty of storage. And there’s room for the daggerboard case, which separates the cooktop/prep area and the double sink on the outboard side, but does not cramp the cook’s style, because there’s still a mile of counter space available. In the port hull, the case is tucked behind the nav area. Customers who are looking for a cruising cat with an eye on sailing performance (and can afford the $429,000 price tag) should be intrigued.
The boat is offered with a three-cabin layout, with two in the starboard hull and the owner’s suite to port where a queen-sized island berth is installed athwartships. The 1190 Sport comes standard with only one large head/shower compartment aft on the port side. While that might not bother private owners, it will put this model on the outside track for charter companies typically looking for boats with four cabins and en-suite heads. Note, there is an option to convert the forward storage/wet locker in the starboard hull into a small bath.
Light-colored surfaces produce a bright ambience in all the cabins, and lightweight, low-maintenance materials help with keeping things clean. We noticed the darkly tinted saloon windows, slanted outwards at the bottom, which absorb heat when shut tight, which in turn can create toasty inside temperatures on a warm summer day. However, as soon as they were flipped open and the doors to the deckhouse were open, the sea breeze flowed through the boat instantaneously. There’s something to be said about the efficacy of natural ventilation when it’s done right. No need for air conditioning, which would add cost and weight, thus compromising the boat’s performance bent. Seawind has been pretty disciplined in resisting the urge to load down the boat with kit, opting for simple and practical solutions, which is why the 1190 Sport retains an honest, unpretentious look and feel.
Construction and rigging
The company also went for proven construction techniques, which use vinylester infusion for the hulls and polyester resin for the deck, which also has molded-in non-skid surfaces. High-load areas like the forward beam are reinforced with carbon fiber, while the catwalk on the foredeck is sandwich construction with fiberglass over PVC foam core. The twin spreader aluminum mast shows a mix of materials for the standing rigging that consists of dyform and stainless steel wire and synthetic lines (e.g. for the cap shrouds).
Reducing sail area is easy as both a screecher and the jib are set up with roller-furling systems, while the main has a traditional slab reef. Excess canvas is stored in the mainsail cover with the help of a lazy jack system. The mainsheet can be trimmed from both steering stations while the self-tacking jib runs on a single curved track on the foredeck with only one sheet; the sheet travels a long ways up the mast and back down before it gets redirected back to the cockpit by one of the turning blocks at the mast base. The rest of the control lines, including up- and downhaul for the daggerboards, are led on deck with the help of turn blocks and fairleads. That is simple, cost effective and easy to service, but yet another breach of contemporary style guidelines which mandate that lines under covers or below decks to provide a clear deck and a clean look despite the added complexities.
The 1190 Sport gets a thumbs-up for the stainless-steel hand rails and the safety step, both of which are helpful for getting up on the coach roof, and also for the lifelines, which have three wires and a height of nearly 26”. The rest of the deck hardware includes Ronstan self-tailing winches with one or two speeds and a battery of rope clutches.
Despite the boat’s focus on sailing, one of the defining features that make life easy on this vessel is the so-called trifold door at the aft end of the deckhouse. This signature Seawind detail separates saloon from aft cockpit or combines both areas into one giant indoor-outdoor lounge flanked by the two steering stations. When open, the door folds twice laterally and then once vertically so it can be cranked up with the help of winch and a dedicated halyard to stow overhead under the hard top, which extends all the way to the aft beam. The hardtop is supported by a carbon-reinforced targa arch and creates plenty of shade for the passengers in the cockpit or on the seat benches aft. The hard top is home to solar panels and a curved traveler track for the mainsheet. Moving about in the cockpit, especially getting out onto the side decks, requires stepping up onto the housing of the outboard engines or the elevated access to the stairs in the stern scoop.
The two 20 HP Honda outboard engines have electric starters and tilt mechanisms, which are all managed from the port steering station where the twin throttles are installed. Winches, sheets and other controls like furling lines are within reach of the helm, which helps with short- or singlehanded operation. When seated on the cockpit coamings forward visibility is good and includes the telltales in the headsail. It’s another one of those features that sailors will like.
Rigged to perform
The black aramid laminate mainsail by Doyle was a cinch to grind up to the mark, although toward the end a little huffing ensued, and once the mooring line was dropped, the 1190 Sport got right down to business. Jibing before the puffy westerly breeze lacked theatrics, because the boat dutifully followed the steering commands by its respective drivers. Soon we unrolled the screecher, a large reaching and downwind headsail, to speed things up as a glance at the speedo confirmed—nine knots and change—a good clip considering the breeze barely reached double digits. The big headsail is sheeted separately, which translated into a little more work than the jib during jibes.
Upwind the Seawind 1190 Sport showed that beating with daggerboards beats, well, beating without them. Willingly, the cat turned through the wind (another benefit of slender boards) and maintaining tacking angles under 90 degrees, which would be hard to manage with a conventional cruising cat fitted with shallow keels.
More sail indeed was more fun, but the boat was not even beginning to push its potential in the protected waters of the Wareham River. Before we knew it, it was time to furl the sails and pick up the mooring line. The twin Honda outboards made short work of it, although one could easily imagine the whole affair being a maneuver under sail with this boat. Rowing back to shore, we did get a peek under the skirt at the fairings that protect the outboard engines when tilted up. It’s a neat detail that shows why Seawind continues to put a lot of stock into this proven design, even while injecting it with a fresh dose of performance.
Other choices: You might also consider the Nautitech Open 40 or the Leopard 40.
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For more information, visit Seawind.
|Draft (board up/down)||1'9"/ 6'9''|
|Sail area||895 sq. ft. (main/jib)|
|Fuel capacity||71 gal.|
|Water capacity||185 gal.|