seawind1000_1The morning after the recent Newport International Boat show in Newport, R.I., broke clear and bright with the usual fall northerly breeze piping down Narragansett Bay. For the sail trial of the new Seawind 1000 XL we met at the docks of Newport Yachting Center and had our first boat handling challenge right away. With the wind blowing 18 to 20 knots directly on the beam and blowing onto the floating docks, the light 35-foot cat, which has a lot of windage, was well and truly pinned to the dock.

The 1000 XL has an innovative propulsion system with twin Yamaha 9.9 High Thrust outboards mounted in ingenious motor wells next to each hull. These can be locked down when motoring or kicked up and locked out of the water when sailing. With three-bladed props, these small workhorses generate plenty of thrust in forward and reverse.

We tried without success to get the cat to pivot on the starboard bow by driving forward on an aft spring. So, we reversed the plan and threw the motors into reverse with maximum thrust and maximum starboard rudder. Voilà. The 1000 XL began backing neatly away from the dock and within a minute was free and clear with her stern into the wind and her bows clear of the dock. Very neat and easy, but not what we expected.

Under power, the 1000 XL is surprisingly quick considering the small engines driving the hulls. No doubt that speaks to the lightness of the hulls, the easily driven hull shapes and the correct placement of the engines relative to the hulls.     The big mainsail is a high roach, fully battened laminated sail from UK-Halsey that is both powerful and heavy. The builder has specified a two-part halyard to make raising the sail easier, so as we motored into Narragansett Bay, we hoisted the sail by hand. An electric winch would be nice for this halyard and is available from the builder as an option.

Once we were under way, we turned off the two outboards with the remote kill switches and then tilted them out of the water. The tilting process required the down-lock to be unlatched with a convenient lanyard and the shafts are raised with a second lanyard. It takes longer to type this than to do it. The motors are protected by small nacelles below the bridge deck that prevent spray from soaking the engine housing. The 9.9 High Thrust engines weigh about 100 pounds and can be hoisted out of their wells either with the main boom or with tackle rigged to the overhead cockpit arch. This is an imaginative and useful propulsion system.

Once we were sailing, we rolled out the jib and trimmed for upwind work. The big main in the 18 knots of true breeze probably should have been reefed but we were sailing fine and the boat was scooting really nicely. Upwind with that breeze we were doing 8 knots at about 50 degrees off the wind. The boat was very stable and charged through the short bay chop without fuss or bother.

More, from Bluewater Sailing