Thanks so much to James and Peta for helping us out on this Seawind 1250 Owner’s Review. If you are thinking about buying any Seawind, but in particular the 1250 or 1260 this is a must read, there are some great insights here into the pros and cons of these catamarans and what to look out for in terms of options. You can follow James and Peta on their website: SVSelkie.com or follow them on Instagram at @svselkie. All photos are reproduced with thanks from their website or Instagram feed. There are plenty more of those on their site.
Why Selkie? In Scottish mythology, Selkies, or “Seal Folks”, are mythological beings capable of morphing from seal to human form. I did not know that! Cool name, I love to learn at least one new thing every day.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your boat, Selkie1
We’re a youngish couple with a love for sailing, the ocean and everything it has to offer. We have owned other boats including a Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41 catamaran, but hadn’t planned on cruising full time until retirement. A health scare moved our plans forward which is when we bought our Seawind 1250 catamaran, Selkie. Selkie is a 41 foot catamaran designed and built by the Australian manufacturer Seawind.
Why did you choose the Seawind 1250?
We have owned other boats including a Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41 and have been on numerous other catamarans, so we knew what we did and didn’t like. The big three production cat manufacturers (Fountaine Pajot, Lagoon and Leopard) while very comfortable and voluminous, do not sail as well as we like. The Seawind compromises on some volume and living space, but she sails beautifully in all conditions and still provides ample space and comfort for a couple or small family.
When was she launched?
What’s the best thing about her?
Sailing performance and comfort.
What would you change if anything?
The cockpit needs a proper lounge area. This has been addressed in the newer 1260 model.
What are the “Must Have” Options to look for when looking at a Seawind 1250 in your opinion? eg electric winch genoa sheet, engine upgrade, folding props, watermaker, bowsprit, gennaker, inverter, solar, etc…
The 1250s usually come well equipped with all of the above. Must have options for us include a good water maker and plenty of solar. Our boat came with both, including a 12V Spectra water maker which is fantastic, however we have since upgraded to 600 amp hour lithium batteries and increased our solar from the standard 630W to 1.1kW. A screecher is also essential for light wind conditions. We upgraded to 80m of 10mm short link chain and a 25 kg Rocna anchor.
What are the “Nice to Have Options”?
Duel throttle control for both helms. Duel chart plotters, one for each helm. Air conditioning.
Which options are not worth bothering with?
The Fischer Panda generator. Ours came with one and it caused endless trouble, with us removing it and swapping it for lithium batteries. This saved about 450 kg of weight including removal of the old AGM batteries.
How are the electrics, plumbing etc
Excellent. Electricians have commented on how neat and well laid out the boat electrics are (both 12V and 240V). The plumbing has not caused any issues.
Is she easy to maintain? Servicing engines, standing rigging etc
The boat is easy to maintain, similar to any other modern production catamaran. The engines are accessed internally and provide plenty of working room which is excellent.
Is she easy to sail short-handed? To shorten sail? Easy to reach the boom?
The boat is designed for short handed sailing, with all lines leading to the cockpit and a self tacking jib. There is no need to go forward when under sail as the main sail can be reefed from the cockpit. The boom is readily accessible via a step up onto the roof. There are plenty of grab rails for safety.
What’s she like in heavy weather / a blow / big seas
The 1250 does well in heavy weather. We have had her in sustained mid 40 knot winds and big swell, which she handled with no problem. The boat comes standard with three reefing points in the main which makes for very safe sailing in almost all conditions.
How is the helm position. Seawinds are famous for their protected helms, how is the visibility?
When we first looked at Seawinds as an option, we were unsure about the visibility through the saloon. When we did a test sail however, the visibility turned out to be excellent. As stated, the helm is extremely protected from the elements and is very secure/safe. My wife was nearly washed off from the helm of our FP Lipari in very heavy seas but was fortunately tethered on. This would not have occurred in the Seawind.
How does she sail in light winds?
We only ever motor for anchoring or when weaving through coral reef. In light winds we use the screecher.
How does she sail close hauled?
We have sailed with numerous other production catamarans and have consistently pointed higher. With the self tacking jib, we can hold 30 degrees (AWA) in light to moderate seas. 35-40 degrees if seas are rough.
How about on a reach, heading down wind?
Downwind sailing on the Seawind is dreamy, like with most other catamarans. We don’t have a spinnaker, but we do use the screecher to go dead downwind without any problems.
Typically, what’s your average speed on passage?
Tough question to answer, but I’d say our average is 8 kts, although it could be anything between 7 and 10 kts depending on conditions and sail configuration. Our highest sustained speed is 13 kts.
What’s she like under power? Speed, manouevrability?
With one engine running at 2400 RPM, we sit at about 5.6 kts in light to moderate conditions. We haven’t tried top speed (both engines at full RPM) but I’d guess it’s around 7 kts. Manoeuvrability is excellent as the boat has large rudders for a production catamaran. We have steerage at very slow speeds. We can turn on the spot using the engines, like any production catamaran.
Is she easy to dock, what’s the visibility like?
Docking is easy thanks to the excellent visibility and manoeuvrability.
What is she like at anchor?
We upgraded our chain (80m of 10mm) and anchor (25kg Rocna). With this combination we sleep well and in comfort.
Is she comfortable down below? Cabins/saloon/galley/heads.
The boat is very comfortable. The cabins are roomy and airy, with large queen size island beds (double in the aft cabin). The main bathroom is better than the bathroom in our house, with an amazing shower. Both heads come with large holding tanks, which is great for when staying in a marine reserve or the marina.
Where’s your favourite spot on the boat? Up top? Aft
In the saloon or the cockpit depending on the conditions.
How is the finish of the interior? Does she creak under sail?
The finish is simple but elegant. The quality of materials and fittings is generally better than on other production boats that I have been on. Like any fibreglass boat, some creaking occurs when in moderate to rough conditions.
Is she good for hosting guests?
Excellent. The galley is down below which is advantageous in that it allows for a larger galley (two large work surfaces) and for the mess to be out of sight when entertaining. The entertaining area is massive for a boat of this size. We have hosted 12 people without any difficulty.
What kind of modifications have you done and why?
We recently did a big upgrade to our power system, adding more solar for a combined 1.1kW and upgrading from AGM batteries to 600 amp hour lithium iron phosphate. The whole setup is made by Victron. Lithium batteries on a boat are amazing and I would never go back to lead acid/AGM technology. We get to full power by mid morning, with excess solar being used to power our hot water system. We can also run the air conditioning directly off the batteries. We carry a portable generator as a backup, but have never come close to needing it, even after 8 consecutive days of heavy rain/no sun.
Any plans for further customisation?
Possible upgrade to a newer chart plotter.
If you were to swap her for another boat, what would that be? Or maybe you wouldn’t swap her?
I have provided this answer to many people: If I had to swap her for another boat, I would get the Seawind 1260 which is virtually identical to the 1250. If I won the lottery, I would buy the recently announced Seawind 1370.
How is the after sales service from Seawind? Or is all done through the dealer network?
I have contacted Seawind with various technical questions. They have always responded promptly with appropriate answers.
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying a Seawind 1250 or 1260?
All boats are a compromise. The Seawind compromises on some volume and space for the sake of being a better sailing vessel. It is still very comfortable, especially for a couple or small family. We like this mix of comfort and sailing performance. However, if you prefer the cavernous saloons and cockpits of the bigger volume cats, or don’t mind a slightly slower pace, then perhaps other options should be considered.