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Nauta Design penned the Southern Wind Taniwha

In Maori mythology, the Taniwha is a supernatural creature that lives in the deep, rough pools and seas. It can take on many different forms – shark, snake, dragon or whale – and can be a ferocious man-eating predator that kidnaps womenfolk as wives or a protector of the tribes near where it lives. This dual soul is reflected in the eponymous fourth addition to Southern Wind’s 105’ miniseries. A bluewater cruiser with a go-anywhere lifting keel that’s also more than capable of battling it out with the best in regattas and races. 

Sporting waterlines by Farr Design and interiors and exteriors by Nauta Design, Taniwha also pulls off the extraordinary feat of squaring the sailing/design circle. A virtually impossible mission of striking the perfect compromise between an authentic bluewater sailer and yacht design at its finest.  

The owner initially wanted to build a very high performance 100’ custom yacht and had already been in contact with several yards that failed to completely convince him. Then he crossed paths with the Southern Wind 105’ mini series and fell hopelessly (and unsurprisingly) under its spell.

His brief was short and sweet: “I explained I wanted a yacht with large interior and exterior volumes and a large garage that I could explore the Mediterranean aboard in complete comfort. I also wanted it to be as light, high performance and sustainable as possible as well as, most importantly, beautiful with meticulous attention to detail,” the owner declared on the day of Taniwha’s launch.  He also wanted a financially secure yard that could guarantee a delivery date. “When Taniwha’s owner first contacted us we immediately realised he wanted a customised project and wondered if the 105’ mini series platform designed for semi-customs would be right for him,” says Southern Wind sales director Andrea Micheli.

“We asked him for a brief to clarify how many of his requirements we could meet and realised it was feasible. When she was launched and we compared her to the three previous vessels, Taniwha seemed like a different boat and so was renamed the 105GT. But it’s the same platform adapted to the owner’s spec”. 

This meant that Nauta had to completely redesign the deck to create a sense of speed. The gunwale is lower than on previous versions, the wheelhouse is raked and the cockpit is big and not so deep. “The new deck design is clean and innovative and was inspired by composite sandwich construction methods and racing yacht styling,” explains Nauta co-founder Massimo Gino.

The teak coaming extends all the way up from the deck level to the seating, revealing the thickness of the composite and creating a wide teak bench seems to float over the cockpit. It creates an aesthetic reference point consistent with the rest of the GT’s geometries: a composite structure with Nomex core trimmed in teak.

Another striking feature is the main companionway which is completely transparent and flanked by glazing. This creates a superb visual connection between interior and exterior. The interior itself follows the natural curves of the hull rather than hiding them and many of the furnishings are floating to allow the shape of the hull below to be seen. 

Sustainable natural yet elegant materials were used for the fit-out. The teak was desaturated and oiled to create an appealingly tactile and visual finish while the bathrooms have handcrafted stucco-look resin surfaces. In the saloon, the teak-trimmed lowered false ceiling wraps around the skylight emphasising the huge amount of light coming in from the companionway.  

«Taniwha’s interiors are the latest step in the most recent stage of the evolution of sailing superyacht design and feature many of our design innovations combined in a harmonious way with the exterior styling,” concludes Massimo Gino.

Taniwha effortlessly marries the warmth of a sailing boat with breath-taking design. We are more than confident Willy Persico would have approved.

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