Cape Town builders Southern Wind turbo-charge their SW94 Kiboko with an all-carbon lightweight shell and go-faster appendages. David Glenn talks to them about early trials

“A capable helmsman will have a smile from ear to ear,” said Andrea Micheli, Commercial Manager at Pegaso Srl & Southern Wind‘s marketing representative, as he described early sail trials of the company’s new Reichel Pugh-designed 94-footer/29m Kiboko.

Studying the pictures of the yacht sailing with just a staysail and a reefed main, you could see she was revelling in the conditions off Cape Town, where the breeze topped 30 knots, enabling the 52-ton fast cruiser to touch speeds in the high teens. This fully fitted-out superyacht clearly has 20-knot plus potential in surfing conditions.

More experienced

With racy appendages and a very short chord keel weighing 18 tons and drawing a substantial 14ft 9in/4.5m, this powerful yacht is designed for “yachtsmen with more experience,” said Micheli. He explained that to get the best out of the yacht she needed really close attention in terms of sail trim and steering.

“Just a few centimetres means she could be over-trimmed – she is very sensitive!” he explained.

Reichel Pugh’s VPP calculations show that in six knots of true breeze Kiboko should be capable of 8.34 knots hard on the wind and in 14 knots of breeze with the wind angle at 140° she will be sailing at 14.34 knots.

Kiboko

With her all-carbon hull, EC6+ carbon rigging, carbon wheel and removable bowsprit, Koboko 2 is a lightweight flyer.

Considering Southern Wind have based their success on the performance bluewater cruiser, designed to cross oceans quickly and comfortably, the new yacht would seem marginally out of kilter with the company’s philosophy. However, like other builders – notably Nautor’s Swan and Oyster – the power of the brand regatta has certainly done no harm to Southern Wind’s sales, and the challenging conditions off Porto Cervo during their last two summer regattas have provided excellent sport. The natural consequence of these events is a more competitive spirit and a demand for faster boats.

The owner of Kiboko is a repeat client, his first yacht from Southern Wind being the only Reichel Pugh-designed SW72 produced. The new SW94 is similar in concept to the Pugh- designed SW78, of which five have been built, including the competitively successful All Smoke and Whisper, ex-Farniente.

More aggressive

From the moment we set eyes on Kiboko in her new Cape Town build hall 18 months ago, we could see Southern Wind wanted to sharpen performance. The yacht’s all-carbon, epoxy resin-infused shell means that the all-up light displacement measures 52 tons, which is exactly 10 tons lighter than the SW100, of which 12 examples have been launched.

Southern Wind have a state of the art manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Cape Town with a mobile oven and three- part mould for the 94’s hull, which enables more effective resin infusion and easier access to the surface of the mould. Hull and deck are designed with five different thicknesses of core foam and precision placement of stiffening material. The outer skin includes Kevlar for impact resistance in vulnerable areas. 

The SW94 is relatively narrower in the beam, at 21ft 10in/6.66m, than her predecessors and her appendages are more performance-orientated – “more aggressive,” as Andrea Micheli put it – than any previous Southern Wind design. The rudder stock and quadrant are both built in pre-preg carbon.

“With a very short keel chord length, the SW94 becomes more challenging to sail at slow speeds,” added Micheli.

The pictures show Kiboko sailing with a carbon Vectran Quantum main, but the racing suit will be North 3DL. Southern Spars have recently acquired Nordic Spars, previous spar builder of choice, so the decision to use Southern’s carbon spars and EC6+ carbon rigging was a straightforward one.

The other obvious go-faster feature is a removable bowsprit for setting code and A sails, and to keep the lightweight theme going the headstay furler is a carbon profile.

The likelihood is that once the yacht has completed the 7,000-mile delivery to the Mediterranean on her own bottom, she will take part in the Palma Vela in Mallorca in May, possibly the Maxi Yacht Rolex regatta held in Sardinia in early September and Les Voiles de St Tropez in October.

Nauta Yachts’ input

Like most Southern Wind yachts, Kiboko benefits from Nauta Yacht Design’s overall concept and interior and exterior styling. In the accommodation the owner’s suite is forward with a twin guest cabin just aft and to starboard. There’s further guest accommodation abaft the main saloon before reaching the four-berth crew area, galley, navigation and monitoring station.

With sleeping accommodation for just four in the forward part of the yacht, there’s an unusually large amount of space afforded to the main saloon, plus what Southern Wind refer to as a TV lounge/studio located to port and on the same level as the saloon. The result is a huge open living area, a Nauta Yachts hallmark that works well aboard Southern Wind boats.

The owner of this yacht was keen to have excellent engine and machinery space access and this has been achieved by dedicating a bigger area than normal and providing side access through bulkheads.

An issue with an all-carbon hull and deck shell is acoustic insulation and Southern Wind have worked hard to ensure noise is not a nuisance. What Andrea Micheli referred to as ‘soft bonding’ of the interior furniture to the hull stringers and other landings keeps noise low and other sound-deadening material has been installed around the machinery space.

With her flat run aft and wide after sections, there is more wave ‘slap’ under the transom, according to Micheli, although with the guest accommodation forward this is something the permanent crew will need to live with rather than the owner!

Southern Wind, whose large factory expansion coincided with worldwide recession (see Supersail World, April 2009), have a number of yachts in build, including a second SW94, two 100s/30.5m and a 102/31m which currently has no client.