A sexy body and a competitive soul. That was Marcus Blackmore’s succinct but apt description of what he wanted from his newly-delivered SW82 supersailer and, of course, exactly what she turned out to be as she splashed at the Southern Wind Shipyard in Cape Town, under the watchful gaze of a local sea lion. Founded exactly 25 years ago by Willy Persico, the South African yard’s latest launch brings to three the SW82s it has built, with Ammonite following in the successful wake of Feelin’ Good, splashed in July 2013, and Grande Orazio, on the water since January 2014.
However, Willy Persico is keen to point out that she is also the perfect melding of her two very different sisters. Just for starters, Feelin’ Good is an RS (Raised Saloon), while Grande Orazio is a Flush Deck. Both are clothed in lines by Farr Yacht Design while Nauta Design provided the overall concept for the series as well as the exterior and interior designs of the first two. Ammonite benefits from that experience. “She has inherited Grande Orazio’s focus on performance, particularly her rig configuration with a high modulus Southern Spars carbon mast and EC6+ carbon rigging in addition to other deck solutions not least the racing winch package.
She also has Feelin’ Good’s bright comfortable interiors thanks to her Raised Saloon configuration,” enthuses Persico proudly. That said, Ammonite sports one feature that is an absolute first for a craft built by the Southern Wind Shipyard: a lifting keel. “The owner asked for it specifically. He had two reasons. The first was so that he would be able to moor in shallow waters of which there are a lot in Australia where Ammonite will be based. The second was to boost her performance”.
The addition of the lifting keel demanded some structural changes too. “These are modifications that we haven’t confined just to the SW82 series,” continues Persico. “We’ve actually introduced them on a new line of very high performance designs, the Custom RP90, which is scheduled to launch after the summer”. Ammonite has the usual Southern Wind advanced composite sandwich hull and space-oriented deck but with a personal touch. “The side decks aren’t teak. That not only cuts the overall weight but also, I personally feel, makes the yacht feel very…youthful…,” says Persico.
The deck layout features a central guest cockpit with the companionway leading below. It is followed by a sunning area and then the working cockpit with the two wheels. There’s more free space aft over the tender garage, a novelty for an 82’. The interior layout is very much in classic Southern Wind style with the aft area given over to the crew quarters and galley. Further forward is a two-berth guest cabin and then the communal area of the craft with a saloon with access to the VIP stateroom and the owner’s suite. Two long side windows, a high glazed deckhouse that yields wonderful 270 degree views and a hard top with a central transparent section deliver an open-plan lounge-style living area that feels exceptionally bright and airy.
This sense is further heightened Nauta Design’s new-look interior décor for Ammonite in which bleached oak is highlighted by wengé and carbon-fibre inserts. Further contrasts are created by chocolate leather, polished steel and a sophisticated colour palette centring around greys, browns and yellows for the soft-furnishings. “We chose a style that’s a departure from the previous SW82s,” explains Mario Pedol who founded Nauta Design with Massimo Gino. “Using light materials in the interiors detracts a little from the visual depth of the spaces. Hence the idea of darkening certain areas and highlighting the edges to a greater extent – we did that in the floors by using a different wood, for example.
That approach also lends a greater sense of movement to the interiors”. Ammonite also showcases an unusual collection of artwork that is incorporated into her look. Brimming with new technical and stylistic innovations, the third SW82 is an excellent celebration of Southern Wind Shipyard’s 25th year in business and a fitting homage to its many achievements through those two and a half decades.