South African shipyard Southern Wind has offered a first look inside the fourth unit in its SW96 series. Named Nyumba, meaning "home" in Swahili, the 29.2-metre sailing yacht was launched at the end of 2022 and began sea trials in February 2023.
The sailing yacht is the first hybrid propulsion model built by Southern Wind and has been designed for an experienced yachtsman with ambitions to compete in superyacht regattas and sail around the world shorthanded.
The yacht features naval architecture by Farr Yacht Design, with interior and exterior design courtesy of Nauta Design. She features an advanced composite sandwich hull and deck, consisting of a Corecell middle lined on either side by a carbon/epoxy resin inner and outer skin, with titanium deck fittings for weight saving and easy maintenance.
Nyumba is defined by a racy profile with a low-slung coachroof and minimalist lines. Coamings are subtly integrated into the teak decking and provide protection around the guest cockpit as well as serving as a covered conduit for the sheets from the winches as they pass forward. LED lighting integrated under the coamings give the appearance of floating after dark.
Speaking about the exterior design, Nauta Design co-founder Massimo Gino said the studio was very proud of the "purity" of the styling and form-meets-function detailing. "But there is more,” added 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," he explained.
The yacht's interior configuration follows a tried-and-tested SW96 arrangement with a forward master cabin and two en suite cabins amidships, with crew quarters located at the stern. All of the cabins and en suites promise a light and breezy ambience thanks to hatches that let in light and air. The main saloon also benefits from natural light, with a sliding glass companionway hatch, large hull windows, and a wide skylight that runs the length of the coachroof.
Living up to her name, Nyumba will act as a home base for her owners, so she needs to be suited to long periods at sea, according to Gino. "The interior must be both comfortable and cosy," he said. “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.”
Other amenities include a 4.5-metre tender garage and an 8.5-square-metre beach club for when she's not charging around a race course. To maximise this space, Southern Wind has implemented a smart system composed of two folding sections: the transom and part of the deck. In rough weather, the lower section can be angled upwards to protect the garage from slamming on the waves. In calmer weather, it can also be positioned horizontally to aid in tender operations.
Power and propulsion were developed in collaboration with BAE Systems and feature its patented HybridGen system, which is capable of zero emissions and is engineered for compliance with even the most stringent environmental regulations. She is the first sailing yacht of her size to be fitted with this system. Meanwhile, an advanced energy storage system allows for zero-emission cruising, extended range under power and silent nights in hotel mode.
Speaking on the choice of propulsion, Marco Alberti, Southern Wind CEO, explained that it was the HybridGen propulsion system that cinched the deal for the owner. "This boat will be the very first to brandish a hybrid-gen system in a superyacht of this size range. Southern Wind and BAE Systems partnered to push the boundaries into a new phase of sustainable superyacht construction, making the owner the first move in this direction."
“Nyumba deck design is the evolution of the successful GT deck concept, already applied on the newly launched SW105 GT Taniwha," said Gino. “Clear, uncluttered deck equipment positioning allows for easy circulation on board and the mainsail track and steering positions are completely new. The GT styling makes everything look breath-taking in its simplicity and lightness."
Nyumba will be delivered in the coming weeks and joins sisterships Seatius, Ammonite and Sorceress on the water. Construction on a fifth SW96 model began in July 2022.