PHOTO: Peter Schreiber

SW-RP90 on Ambitious Maiden Voyage

While people in North America and Europe were shivering on February 17, it was a warm summer day in Cape Town. That’s the day the SW-RP90 owner took delivery from Southern Wind Shipyard, embarking on an incredible 7,000-nautical-mile maiden voyage.

Having passed Gibraltar this week, the owner commissioned the SW-RP90, a custom 90-footer (27.5-meter), for family voyages as well as racing. Willy Persico, founder and CEO of Southern Wind, terms her “a very fast yacht with the comfort and safety standards typical of a cruising yacht.” He adds that she’s “versatile enough for…excellent performance in the most renowned offshore and inshore superyacht regattas.” Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design, the “RP” in “SW-RP90,” strove to balance overall speed and performance in light air against enough displacement for cruising creature comforts. The yacht is reportedly capable of more than 25 knots of boat speed. Even with cruising sails up during sea trials, she reportedly exceeded 18 knots.

SW-RP90

PHOTO: Peter Schreiber

The studio also incorporated some interesting technical features. For example, the yacht has a retractable bow thruster, for help when docking or maneuvering in harbors. It’s completely flush with the hull for racing. In addition, the anchoring system is unusual. The anchor deploys from below decks via an arm swinging out over the bow (left). The idea was to keep the stem clean-looking. Southern Wind has experience creating these, but they’re aluminum—not suitable for a yacht needing to minimize weight. Therefore, Reichel/Pugh worked with a subcontractor to develop it in composite. As a result, the design studio says the anchor arm weights 53 percent less than a similar aluminum one.

Inside the SW-RP90, Reichel/Pugh arranged accommodations for six guests and three crew, without non-structural bulkheads. Nauta Yachts Design handled interior design, embracing the yacht’s natural shapes and structures. Beam is 22’8” (6.96 meters). LEDs respect weight restrictions (requiring lighter wiring), as do wood panels and furnishings. To respect privacy, crew have a companionway just forward of the helm to their quarters. It further connects to the galley, which in turn has easy access to alfresco relaxation and dining spots.

Dining at anchor can occur in a number of secluded spots, thanks to a lifting keel. The SW-RP90 sees draft range from 12’5” to 19 feet (3.8 to 5.8 meters, respectively). Here, too, Reichel/Pugh applied different thinking. A straight fin is typical. The top and bottom are the same width, reducing bearing loads on the keel trunk. In contrast, the RP-SW90 has a tapered fin. The studio says it boosts the lifting surface’s efficiency. Of course, the keel trunk received additional attention due to the fin shape change. One press of a button, and in less than a minute, the keel can deploy or raise fully.

The SW-RP90 is now on her final approach to her Mediterranean home.

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