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iboats.com Review of SouthWind Boats: Manufacturer of SouthWind Deck Boats and Hybrid Boats.
Seminole Marine Group is a family owned boat building business that manufactures SouthWind Deck Boats. They are one of the fastest developing deck boat line in the country, with 26 years of experience. SouthWind is based in Cairo, Georgia(GA), and they build their deck boats to be salt water tough. SouthWind also manufactures Hybrid boats, which are considered to be the progression of evolution of pont oon boats. Both the deck boat and the hybrid pontoon boat lines offer a versatile platform for a variety of water activities.
SouthWind's new boats have the most up to date deep-V hulls, which are similar to an offshore boat, but with the ability to cut through the waves. Great care is taken in the building process to provide the necessary strength and safety needed. Composite materials are used to create a wood free construction in the boat hull, the storage compartments, and furniture so there is no wood to rot. This construction produces a longer lasting deck boat and hybrid boat and is easy to maintain and care for. SouthWind powers their deck boats and hybrid pontoon boats with 4 stroke outboard motors. The outboard motors are very reliable and safe with economical upkeep and hold up well in saltwater.
If you combine SouthWind's head turning style and their great selection of features that come standard on their deck boats, with their quality construction, they stand out as a premium boat building brand. The Sport Deck Series was designed and engineered to offer the comfort of a deck boat with the steering and maneuverability of a runabout, so fishing, skiing and cruising can all be done during the day on the same boat. The deck boat layout gives a larger space for fishing, seating and moving around while being efficient and also fast to plane. The hybrid pontoon, with the deep-v hull, is very stable and maneuvers very differently than your father's pontoon. Combining the best of both worlds, pontoon comfort and roominess with a smooth fiberglass ride from the deep-v hull, the time on the water becomes a more hybrid experience to meet today's standard of play, fun and speed.
Southwind 770 Utility Boat Review
Germany may have given us the passenger car, and America the flat-top truck, but it took an Aussie farmer to put the two together and invent the ubiquitous ‘ute’. Legend has it that the grazier wanted a vehicle that could cart hay around the paddocks, and carry his family to church on Sundays, so he cut the back out of his old Ford and welded a tray in its place. So well did it work that generations of farmhands and tradesmen have followed suit, throwing their tools and cattledog in the back on work days, then their girlfriend in the front for a Friday night on the town. There is no more useful or versatile vehicle.
It was perhaps only a matter of time before the ute concept should be applied to boating, given the need to carry lobster pots, fishing nets, marker buoys, machinery and so on, and again it was Australian inventiveness that came to the fore. Southwind, the locally-based fibreglass boatbuilding arm of Yamaha Marine, has developed a range of so-called ‘utility boats’, starting at 5.20m and extending through 5.8m and 6.7m to a new 7.7m flagship. They’re uniquely ‘ocker’ – rugged and reliable, with a greater emphasis on capacity than comfort. All are based on the ‘longboat’ style which, as has been said, has been popularised more by Asian countries, where countless thousands ply the river highways. The hulls are ‘long’ only in relation to their beam; they could, more aptly, be called narrowboats. The Southwind utes are every bit the sensitive new-age ’90s version, being sleekly moulded in fibreglass, running Yamaha outboards, and bearing snazzy stainless steel hardware.
In the 770 format it is entering the luxury domain in terms of performance, fitout and price. Like the original farm ute, it has the flexibility to handle both work and play. Indeed it happens to be price-listed with Southwind’s recreational runabouts, not its UB-brethren, which is a pointer to Southwinds marketing intentions. The 770 is also designated the ‘Offshore’, an indicator as to where it will spend much of its time. It can be fitted out for deep-sea diving, fishing, cargo haulage or general resort and marina duties – you name it – and with twin 265ltr tanks (optional) it will run a long way between drinks. The hulls, of course, can be constructed to 2C Survey standards for commercial and charter work. In the case of the 770, engineers from Yamaha Japan helped determine the support structure and lamination, using a sophisticated computer system to monitor the stresses on a prototype hull. This ensured that production boats could be built with maximum strength in key areas and weight spared where not needed. It is, at over 25ft, a genuine maxi trailable, so weight saving was critical. The hull tips the scales at the one tonne mark; a trailer, twin 130hp outboards and fuel load take the total to 2.82 tonnes.
Trailable length is an intimidating 9.12m and height 3.26m. On the water it doesn’t seem that big. It somehow lacks the sense of dominance and power inherent in many sportscruisers of the same length; rather, it feels like a large runabout. That said, it still has a tremendous capacity for payload and passengers. As a dive boat it can accommodate 6+1 commercially and 8+1 recreationally, while in a fishing role there’s room for four to operate in comfort. At the bow there is enormous depth, with the coaming running at waist height and the bow rail nudging the midriff. The sheerline yields a more conventional thigh-high support towards the transom. Along both cockpit sides are two rod/gaff storage holders (Southwind is experimenting with one long holder) and recesses for a fire extinguisher and EPIRB. The steering console is a nicely rounded unit that provides adequate protection for the driver and one passenger, both of whom would most likely be standing. There’s ample dashboard space for mounting two sets of engine gauges and twin throttles, plus a compass. Radios and electronics have to be mounted overhead, however, and thus a stainless steel T-top becomes almost obligatory (if the threat of melanoma didn’t already make it so).
The bow area has three tiers, with the anchor roller, bollard and windlass (optional) at coaming height, the anchor hatch on the middle level, and a general stowage bin forming the lower step. From there the cockpit floor runs flat right aft to a pair of storage seats, between which is a flap that facilitates self-draining through to the outboard well. The twin motors look quite low to the water, but it’s an illusion wrought by having a large cut-out stern. On the test boat were twin long-shaft Yamaha 100hp four-strokes, weighing 164kg apiece, and these proved an excellent match in every aspect. At a 750rpm idle, when the motors are barely audible, they spur the 770 to four knots. A 10-knot minimum plane speed comes at 2700rpm, and from there it’s a rapid progression to the 31-knot top speed at 5600rpm. The high destroyer-like bow cuts a swathe through oncoming seas, chucking spray well to the side. Only a moderate amount blew back aboard over the weather gunwale as we headed out through Sydney Heads.
The 770 rides softly on its moderately veed hull sections – 200 amidships and 18.50 at the transom – and turns with great adroitness. If you’re expecting a traditional ’25-footer’ ride it takes a little time to adjust to what seems a slight initial tenderness. Stability is more than adequate, however, and would only improve with added load. One thing that really surprised me was the electric steering from Morse, which Southwind was trialling as an alternative to hydraulics. It was finger-tip light yet could be left ‘hands-free’ without wandering off line. Its only shortcoming was a slight timing lag; move the wheel too quickly when berthing and the steering takes a few seconds to respond. No doubt you’d get accustomed to this. Actually, the longer I was aboard the big Southwind, the more it appealed and the more possibilities that sprung to mind. But there is one last thing that you should know about utes … own one, and all your mates will want to borrow it.
Story by Mark Rothfield.
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Southwind SC640 Review
Issue: March 2003
What do you do if you work for one of the countries biggest boat builders and need a purpose-build vessel for the factory fishing team ? That’s an easy one. Look at the range, scrap the lot, choose a top bluewater hull and roll your own.
The guys at Southwind freely admit the latest SC640 model, was never intended to be a production boat ? it just evolved. Southwind staffers put the model together after compiling a personal fishing boat wish list. And it turned out that their ideas of what constitutes a top fishing platform were shared by a lot of other offshore anglers.
The original Southwind SF640, which the new boat is built around, won a Modern Boating Boat of The Year Award on its initial release. But while the SF640 was an excellent fishing boat, because it’s a cuddy cabin, there was always a slight trade off in fishing space. The SC model addresses this with a centre cabin that allows 360 degrees fishing access.
This new model enlists, what Southwind have termed, the maxi console, or even a small wheelhouse, approach. But while the cabin is large enough to house a sleeping area, the test boat was fitted with two narrow bench seats. These were wide enough to accommodate three to four adults, but were way to narrow to be useful if you were trying to grab 40 winks. But the narrow bunks did allow a Porta Potti to be fitted, which added a more family fishing boat flavour to this vessel.
Headroom within the cabin was ample when seated, thanks to the deep well in the cabin, but that same deep well also made entering the cabin a little awkward, because you had to step down in the crouched position to get inside.
Cabin access to the foredeck area can be had through a seat forward of the console with a cushion and base that double as a hatch. There’s also deeply padded bolsters on the forward and side coaming, which help make fighting a big fish all the way around the boat easier for an angler. Plenty of room has been left around the sides of the centre cabin, which makes moving around the boat a lot easier.
A sturdy bowrail extends all the way back to the helm station, while both the bowsprit and fairlead are well designed and sturdy. At first glance the anchor locker looks a little pokey, but it’s cavernous and holds plenty of anchor rope and chain.
Moving back into the main cockpit, the dash allows the flush mounting of a sounder/GPS Chartplotter unit and radio and features Yamaha’s excellent three-gauge engine management system. This includes monitoring fuel flow so long range trips can now be accurately planned. The helm is positioned for driving from the standing position and, as such, there are no seats for the driver and navigator, she’s a pure fishing platform. A high, wrap-around windscreen and a bimini top, which features a six-rod rocket launcher-styled rod rack, shelter this area.
Under the cockpit floor is a 235lt fuel tank, while extending two thirds of the way across the transom is a fold down lounge. This can be lifted out and left at home if not required. In the top of the transom are two bait wells and there’s a small slide out transom door on the starboard side to aid boarding. But it’s at the back of this boat that her coup de grace sits a superb Yamaha 200hp four-stroke outboard.
Walking down the marina towards the Southwind SC640, apart from the boat’s stylish lines, it was the motor that grabbed the team’s collective attention. Our Queensland correspondent Steptoe is the only person in the Modern Boating test team that has had the chance to trial this new motor, so this test was going to be special. The only problem was there were 20 other boating journos there on the day and they all wanted to spend time in this latest offering.
The first thing the team noticed was the engine noise, or lack of it. At idle the only sign that this engine was actually running was the tell tail waterspout coming from under the cowling. It was virtually silent.
Pulling away from the jetty we accelerated smoothly up to 50kph at three quarter throttle while pulling 4000rpm. At this comfortable cruise speed the engine purred along and even soft conversation was possible.
From anywhere in the rev range, pushing the throttle forward had the team hanging on as the acceleration pushed us backwards. Yes, this 200hp is a big motor, but it’s a four-stroke and four-strokes aren’t supposed to have this kind of grunt ? wrong. She had plenty of power, but a quick check of the fuel flow meter proved that the only thing she didn’t have similar to a two-stroke was a thirst for fuel. At 4000rpm the new engine drank 28lt per hour and only 21lt per hour at 3500rpm while doing 40kph. They’re excellent figures.
This new 200hp Yamaha four-stroke can be summed up in three simple words, smooth, quiet and powerful.
This test was conducted on Lake Macquarie, near Swansea, on quite a blustery day. The lake was extremely choppy, but even flat-out the Southwind hull ate the conditions. Sure, there was a certain amount of banging running into the wind, but any hull would bang a bit when driven at wide open throttle in those conditions.
With the wind at our backs the deep-vee hull sliced through the chop cleanly and delivered a soft, stable and surprisingly dry ride, something that’s virtually unheard of in a centre cabin/console boat.
At rest the hull proved to be a stable platform to fish from. Weight shifts caused by people moving around the boat had little effect of the boat’s stability. With three people all on one side, as would normally be the case when gaffing a big fish, angler, wireman and gaff man, hull list was minimal. So we can add security to our list of pluses for this boat.
All in all, if you’re in the market for a purposed-built, bluewater fishing platform the Southwind SC640 Centre Cabin might be just what you’re looking for. She’s a no nonsense fishing machine that retains Southwind’s renowned build quality, has a stack of usable cockpit space, lets an angler fish 360 degrees around the entire boat, boast a dunny, has a cabin to shelter in, but best of all has a quiet, yet powerful, fuel miserly 200hp Yamaha pinned to her tail end.
This is an excellent power to hull weight combination that rockets the boat onto the plane, has more grunt than many similar two-stroke engines that delivers quiet, smoke-free and super smooth operation.
To park one of these boats on your front lawn will set you back around the $60,000 mark.
The Southwind SC640 was powered by a super quiet and powerful 200hp EFI F200A four-stroke outboard. During the test this engine performed flawlessly, delivering quiet, smoke-free, super smooth operation.
A quick check of the Yamaha engine management fuel flow meter proved that the only thing this motor doesn’t have in similar to a two-stroke was a thirst for fuel. At 4000rpm the new engine drank 28lt per hour and only 21lt per hour at 3500rpm while doing 40kph.
Story by Ian MacRae
SouthWind boats for sale
SouthWind boats on Boat Trader
SouthWind is a boat builder in the marine industry that offers boats for sale in differing sizes on Boat Trader, with the smallest current boat listed at 20 feet in length, to the longest vessel measuring in at 27 feet, and an average length of 22.01 feet. Boat Trader currently has 19 SouthWind boats for sale, including 0 new vessels and 19 used boats listed by both private sellers and professional boat and yacht dealers mainly in United States. The oldest model listed is a contemporary boat built in 2011 and the newest model year was built in 2018.
How much do SouthWind boats cost?
SouthWind boats for sale on Boat Trader are available for a variety of prices, valued from $19,000 on the bargain side of the spectrum all the way up to $89,492 for the more lavish boat models. Higher performance models now listed have motors up to 250 horsepower, while lighter-weight more functional models may have as little as 115 horsepower engines (although the average engine size is 150 HP).
What kind of boats does SouthWind build?
Of the boats listed, SouthWind offers familiar boat hull types and designs including modified vee and other. These vessels are usually considered suitable for popular boating boating pursuits including day cruising, watersports and freshwater fishing. The boats available here currently from this builder come with outboard and outboard-4S propulsion systems, available in gas and other fuel systems.
Why are SouthWind boats popular?
SouthWind is popular for their Deck, Bowrider, Pontoon and other among other classes and models. Overall these available boats have a moderate draft and average beam, qualities that make them an excellent choice for day cruising, watersports and freshwater fishing.
What is the best SouthWind model?
Some of the most widely-known SouthWind models as of today include: 2400 SD, 212 SD, 2200 SD, 229 L and 201 FS.
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