on 14 Apr 2023
Following the launch of the SW96 Nyumba in February, Massimo Gino of Nauta Design explores in more detail the boat’s development in line with Southern Wind Shipyard’s ‘Smart Custom’ philosophy.
According to Gino, although the recently launched Nyumba was not the first launch for the SW96 series by the South African yard, she boasts unique attributes that tell of a vision for yachting’s future.
“Although this is the fourth hull in the SW96 series, Nyumba is uniquely special,” says the co-founder of Nauta Design in Milan and longtime design partner of Southern Wind. “Not only she is Southern Wind’s first yacht with hybrid electric propulsion engineered with BAE Systems to be compliant with IMO Tier III regulations, but the sleek and simple lines of her GT deck configuration represent an important evolution of the GT deck concept we first introduced on the SW105 Taniwha.”
The expert owner wanted a fast and efficient cruising yacht to sail around the world with a short crew that could also take part in superyacht regattas. His preference was for a sleek, dynamic profile and uncluttered deck layout with the deck equipment ergonomically positioned for ease of use, as well as guest safety and comfort. This led to several aesthetic and practical innovations.
Form & Function
The low-slung, carbon composite coachroof of the SW96 is key to the yacht’s racy lines and minimalist profile. Subtly integrated into the teak decking, the coamings protecting the guest cockpit are an elegant design feature that also serve as a covered conduit for the sheets from the winches as they pass forward – a stylish detail that also keeps the guest area clear of running rigging (the sheets re-emerge from the forepart of the coachroof).
For ease of handling when short-handed, the three winches on each side are mounted on the teak coamings that also serve as convenient benches within easy reach of the helm positions (LED lighting under the coamings creates a ‘floating’ effect after dark). Importantly for safe operations under sail, the aft deck is completely flush with just one step down into the guest cockpit for added protection.
The yacht’s transom folds down to create an 8.5-sqm swimming platform and reveals the garage, which has room for a 4.5m tender. A smart design feature created by Southern Wind sees the platform composed of two folding sections: the transom and part of the deck. The lower section can be angled upwards to protect the garage from slamming on the waves in rough water or if the tender comes off the plane nearby, but the upper section can still be positioned horizontally.
“We’re very proud of the purity of the styling and form-meets-function detailing, but there is more,” says Gino. “The owner wanted shorter sunbeds to increase the size of the manoeuvring area aft. We pushed the mainsheet traveller as far aft as we could to the end of the boom, also reducing loads to the minimum; it’s now aft of the crew companionway, which is styled to look like a mini version of the coachroof, while the twin helm positions have been brought further forward for better visibility. The consoles themselves are mounted on custom-designed supports that resemble the hub of a propeller or thruster – another of the client’s bespoke requests.”
Home Away From Home
The interior layout follows the tried-and-tested SW96 arrangement with the master stateroom and two ensuite guest cabins amidships, while the crew quarters are in the stern. Deck hatches ensure the cabins and bathrooms are extremely light and airy. The main saloon amidships benefits from the sliding glass companionway hatch, large hull windows, and a wide skylight that runs the length of the coachroof.
“Nyumba is a Swahili word for “home” and the owners will be spending a lot of time aboard, so the interior had to be both comfortable and cosy,” says Gino. “The design is based on classic oiled teak veneers and specific pieces of fitted furniture, but the general styling was managed by the owners, choosing from the wide range of options in the Southern Wind palette of materials and colours.”
The yacht also offers the most assertive colour scheme for a pure cruiser-racer (racer-cruiser). “The owner’s choice of dark grey for the hull and coachroof highlights the sophisticated simplicity of the exterior design and titanium deck hardware,” concludes Gino. “There is no cove stripe or waterline stripe and even the anti-fouling paint is the same shade of grey as the hull.”
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