As a few people already noticed, we sold our dear Hanse 388 a while ago, and at the moment we are looking for the next boat. There are still a few blog posts left to write about our recent summer adventures, but in between preparing those, I visited the Cannes Yachting Festival to check out one possible next boat — the Windelo 50 catamaran.
The Next Boat
What the next boat will be is far from decided.
From the Hanse family, we’ve been interested in the new Hanse 460, as well as in the older Hanse 575s (my original Hanse dreamboat!).
As time has progressed, however, we seem to have gravitated more and more towards the next boat being a multihull instead of a monohull.
We’ve been very satisfied customers of the Hanse Group (thank you for that!), so naturally, we started out by looking carefully at the Privilege catamarans. The new models 510 and 580 are extremely luxurious and beautifully constructed yachts, but for us— perhaps a bit too luxurious.
When having to balance between weight/luxury and performance, we’ll likely pick performance first. Or should I say I would. Charlotte thought the Privileges looked amazing, but I managed to sell to her my opinion that performance matters a great deal too.
The list of performance catamarans at Cannes wasn’t very long: the ingenious and youthful Independent Catamaran IC36, the carbon rocketship O Yachts Class 6, the masterly Outremers 4E through 5X, and, last but not least, the Windelo 50.
“Vindaloo?” Charlotte asked when I first mentioned it. Like the really spicy Indian food.
“No, Windelo!” I laughed while correcting her. Since that, though, we’ve both been occasionally but very affectionately using also Charlotte’s version of the name.
So why did I mention the Windelo 50 to Charlotte?
It was a couple of months ago when I was googling “ecological catamaran”, and one of the first hits was this new catamaran company, Windelo, that I had never heard of before.
I opened the link to their website, and as I was scanning through their design philosophy and objectives, I found myself nodding and going “mmm” more than a few times. Renewable materials used in the construction of the yacht, electrical propulsion, adequate performance for hydroelectric power generation. The list was long and ecologically attractive.
Then, I looked at the pictures of the actual boat, and went from “mmm” to “wow!”. It wasn’t modern in the sense that it looked like other modern boats look. It was modern in the sense that it looked really different from its contemporary competitors.
With straight, striking lines, it looked innovative, bold, and functional. Honest, even, in guiding the prospective client to find the good of life not in the extravagant and overly indulging, but rather in the real, raw and beautiful natural world that we live in. The same world that we are currently overconsuming and degrading, rather than cherishing and protecting it.
Meet Elke & Dan
“Hello, are you Mikael?” asked the woman sitting behind Windelo greeting stand. She was smiling broadly. “I knew you were coming and I wanted to see who you are!” she said, and smiled even more broadly than before.
I felt welcome, to say the least.
Then Dan arrived, to show me the boat, smiling happily, he as well. “So nice to meet you, Mikael!”
I have to say, however, that after a slightly uninteresting morning walk through the other parts of the show, my expectations weren’t that high. I had even started to slightly doubt whether I really wanted to buy another sailboat. It’s a love affair after all, I thought to myself. One needs to fall in love with it, the boat, and if that feeling isn’t there? What’s the point?
So my expectations weren’t that high.
But I wanted to try my best, so I took a moment to clear my mind. I closed my eyes, and then opened them again, to get a fresh view of the catamaran moored just in front of me. It was, after all, the first time I had a chance to see a real Windelo 50.
I immediately noticed something interesting. “Hey, that aft platform thing is really ingenious!” I said to Dan.
And then, suddenly, I was smiling broadly as well.
Meet Windelo 50
The ingenious feature of the aft platform is that when you’re not sailing, you can lower it to open up the whole living room and kitchen area. Also, with the platform down, you should be able to easily step right down into the dinghy. And before you head out sailing, you just winch it up again.
Now the aft platform was cool, but what was really cool was the forward cockpit.
In the forward cockpit (I’ll call it the command station from now on) you have all the lines you need to handle the sails, along with electrical winches to help you do so.
For reefing, though, you need to take a couple of steps outside and up to the mast to secure the reef tack. The front opening can be closed with a combination of plexiglass and fabric, or with plexiglass only for added (ocean-going) safety.
On the starboard side, you find the command station headquarters, featuring a big digital display (with, among other things, Windelo’s own controller app!), a VHF, and all the controls for operating the electric propulsion.
Stepping outside, the design and the visual impact was striking.
Back inside, to the cabins.
For us, the primary challenge is to find a solution for having two children share the same cabin without bumping into each other too much, either physically or mentally.
Voilà! Another brilliant solution! Bunk beds that only partly overlap, and where you sleep “feet to feet”.
The owners’ (that would be Charlotte and I!) cabin had a good feng shui as well. A King size double bed and a big beautiful window for us to look out on the seagulls looking back in.
Heading back up to the kitchen and living room area (sorry for the non-marine vocabulary).
You can see the layout flowing from the aft deck, through the living room and kitchen space, and to the front cockpit, all on the same level.
The kitchen is nicely open, but also safely confined, with a wonderful amount of cooking space. On the port side, again, plenty of space for Charlotte and the children to rest and recuperate while I’m cooking the food (as I usually like to do!) and afterward doing the dishes (as I usually like to do as well).
While visiting the Windelo 50, I learned about how the boat is sailed, about the hybrid diesel-electrical propulsion, about the solar and hydro generation, and much more.
I also learned about different customization and layout possibilities, and what changes might be possible to accommodate our wishes. (I’m a supporter of “not much”, keeping everything quite standard!)
So thank you for that! And thank you again, Elke, for receiving me so nicely, and thank you Dan, for giving me a great tour. And also for introducing me to Gautier Kauffmann, one of the founders of Windelo.
Gautier gave me a separate tour, himself, and offered me interesting additional insights into the whys and hows behind the design, development, and business decisions that went into founding the Windelo company, as well as making their first catamaran.
I do think you are all on to something great, so keep up the good work.
For my part, at least, I’m now a fan.