Windelo shipyard – based in Canet-en-Roussillon in Southern France, is busy building and launching a range of innovative catamarans in the performance multihull market.
The first to hoist the sails is the Windelo 50 Adventure (launched in February 2021). The two other versions on Windelo 50 are Yachting and Sport. Windelo’s philosophy is to combine innovation with ecology, performance, safety, and comfort.
To do so, they teamed up with the best in the business: architects Christophe Barreau and Frédéric Neuman, well-known for designing performance cruisers. The result is a boat with impeccably designed slim well-balanced hulls that enhance performance and seaworthiness. Stable and light, they can carry a generous sail plan.
The Windelo 50 is a good-looking boat with fine entry bows and a punchy power to weight ratio. She has been inspired by decades of performance catamaran design (read our Gunboat 66 review for an example).
Performance with Comfort
Windelo is positioned firmly in the performance segment, but with an eye on providing innovative solutions to keep the comfort levels high. The team has moved the bar high in the catamaran design by placing the twin helm in the forward cockpit and in result creating an open, spacious living area just behind it. This catamaran competes with the likes of the Seawind 1370 (well probably the 1600 based on size), the Outremer 51 and the Balance 526.
The Windelo 50 comes with strong eco credentials which is all part of the company philosophy, As well as the electric power unit, solar energy and hydrogeneration off the props, the construction process has been developed to minimise the carbon footprint.
The structure is made from a new environmentally-friendly robust composite sandwich, mixing basalt fiber and PET foam from recycled plastic bottles.
The basalt fiber is spun in Russia and woven in Belgium and provides an impressive mechanical resistance with a black carbon-like finish.
This new innovative composite cuts the carbon emission footprint by almost half compared with traditional GRP composite manufacturing methods.
Hybrid engine power
The standard power unit is composed of two electric engines that are connected to a bank of lithium batteries. These can be charged using solely green energy: solar panels placed on the roof and the bridge, and hydrogeneration off the props. The whole idea of the Windelo 50 is to use your sails and green energy as much as possible, but there is also a backup generator which kicks in after a couple of hours if you are stuck in the doldrums, extending the cruising range in a flat calm to about 1 100 nautical miles.
Another nice feature is that the electric motors drive the folding propellers through prop shafts, which should increase robustness and reduce maintenance costs.
The Forward Cockpit
The big story with the Windelo 50 is the central forward helm station. This isn’t a cockpit for lounging like you would see on a Lagoon 55, this is where the sailing is done. All of the running rigging, sailing instruments and catamaran controls are handled safely amidships, behind the mast. You can access the cockpit either through the saloon or from the deck.
The forward cockpit is set up with 2 fully protected helm stations with great view of the sails and the bows. The cockpit is well protected from the elements if needed: with the sliding doors open, it will become part of the living space. There has been plenty of innovation in this area within the industry (the Balance 482 Versahelm for example), and Windelo have opened up a whole new avenue here with this set up.
Set up for Short-Handed Sailing
With her self-tacking solent, she is an easy boat to handle with a short-handed crew and moves fast and high upwind due to dagger-boards positioned at the center of the hull to maximise their hydrodynamic performance.
The saloon takes the Open space concept to a new level. The whole space can be opened up, including the side windows, so that the outside comes inside. Ventilation is maximised with a wide selection of openings on all four sides.
The innovative design continues down below with wrap around windows in the aft cabins.
The aft platform with davits pivot to increase the floor area at anchor. We love the pilot berth for night shifts or simply using it to relax or as an extra sleeping space.
Every sailing adventure is unique, and Windelo takes this well into consideration. In addition to being able to choose between three different models: Adventure, Yachting and Sport, you can personalize this catamaran with different options and layouts.
There are various options including a 4 berth, 3 berth (owner’s cabin), 3 berth owner’s with office and variations with a skipper’s berth in the forepeak. The aft cabin berths can be configured athwartships or fore and aft.
The owners of very first Windelo 50 Adventure have opted for a working office in one of their forward cabins.
All the bespoke furniture is built at Windelo’s own joinery by their carpentry team.
The Windelo 50 is an innovative launch in a booming segment: the 50-foot performance catamaran market. With her forward cockpit and central helms, open-to-the-max concept and tidy profile, she will be a popular choice for sailors looking for speed without compromising on comfort.
For more information on the Windelo 50 head to windelo-catamaran.com.
We have also spoken to the owner of Hakuna Matata, the #1 hull (Windelo 50 Adventure). You can get more information on this catamaran on our Windelo 50 Owner’s Review page.
What is the difference between 3 versions: Adventure, Yachting and Sport?
Designed for exploration and adventure, this robust package is easy to maintain. This version comes with lifting daggerboards or high-performance fixed fin keels.
A high-end finish with top quality materials for maximum comfort.
Configured for fast, easy and comfortable navigation to take you across the oceans or just enjoying shorter cruising.
Tuned for maximum performance, Windelo have saved 500 kg on the Sport version by removing, for example, the crossbeam forward, and replacing it with a longitudinal fore beam. All the materials used have been carefully chosen to limit weight.
How Much Does a Windelo 50 Cost? What is the Price Tag?
This will depend on the options and pack you go for of course, but the prices start at €735k, €789k and €829k ex taxes for the Adventure, Sport and Yachting, respectively. We would estimate that you will need to add an additional €100k for your options to give you an idea of the sail away price. She is priced competitively versus the competition.
Who Are the People Behind Windelo?
The company philosophy is to bring in the leading expertise onto the project. The founders are Olivier Kaufmann (Ex -Chairman of the Executive Board of Decathlon, Orange Marine, Cabesto) and his son Gautier Kaufmann. Christophe Barreau and Frederic Neuman head up the design team. Jean-Pierre Prade, one of the founders of Catana, is also involved. Didier Perrin (Syltec Consulting) brings his skills in composites and Jean-Paul Siaudeau (JPS Concept, Imoca and Ultimate) heads up the electrical systems and propulsion unit. The École des Mines d’Alès, an engineering school in the South of France is working with Windelo on material resistance. Quite a team!