Jack Haines puts the all-new Windy 37 Shamal through its paces in stunning conditions in the Solent.
You may not have heard of Espen Øino but it’s likely you will be aware of his work. Some of the superyacht world’s heaviest hitters are products of his studio: Octopus, Kismet, Flying Fox, and the daddy of them all: Dilbar.
The latest creation out of his sketchbook will supersede Dilbar as the world’s largest yacht when it’s launched in 2021. REV is a 600ft (182.9m) explorer yacht/research vessel with accommodation for 36 guests, an onboard laboratory, 40-person auditorium, moon pool, and a plastics incinerator, which will burn waste plastic and store the thermal energy to use onboard.
Well, that’s where this story begins because the Norwegian has been designing special projects (namely superyacht tenders) with Windy for some time but this is his first mainstream full production boat for the yard.
It’s an important one, too, the spiritual successor to the wonderful 35 Khamsin and a boat that stands pretty much alone in its dedication to seakeeping and performance over interior volume.
It’s a risky strategy in a market that demands more and more living space and creature comforts but Windy is a yard that has always measured itself by the ability of its boats to tackle tough conditions when others may be turning on their heels and heading for the sanctuary of port.
How many totally open sportscruisers do you see these days? There’s not even the option of a T-top. A rare beast indeed – and not a cheap one – but is Windy’s formula still a winning one?
It’s a striking thing, the Shamal, inspired by Windy’s sportsboats of the 1960s and 1970s, but lent a modern and muscular stance by Øino and his team.
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It’s a boat with a narrow 10ft 9in (3.33m) beam – the Bavaria S36, for example, is 11ft 8in (3.56m) wide – but a high shoulder line that tapers neatly towards the waterline from stem to stern.
The forward and side screens look shallow but the cockpit sinks low so, despite the open nature of the design, you feel nicely cocooned once on board and tucked down beneath the windscreen.
Cockpit space has been maximised by the decision to exclude side decks, meaning the only way on to the foredeck is through a door in the windscreen via some steps that run up the dashboard.
To read our full test drive review of the Windy 37 Shamal, pick up the November 2020 issue of MBY, out October 1.