Windward Passage: World’s coolest yachts

Published on May 10th, 2023

Yachting World has been asking top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times, and Wally Yachts founder Luca Bassani nominated the 73-foot Windward Passage. Here’s the report:

“A very modern boat for her times: very large stern (almost like today’s naval architecture) and semi-round bilge hull made her very fast in reaching – and with a flush deck!” says Luca Bassani. “For a long time she was the fastest boat in real time in the SORC regattas – ie the world’s fastest boat – and she can be considered the first modern maxi yacht.”

Windward Passage was designed by the late Alan Gurney as an ocean racing record breaker for lumber tycoon Robert Johnson and built in laminated wood in 1968. The semi-planing hull was radical for the time, particularly beamy with a shallow canoe body, a fin keel and an elegant run aft to a broad transom – a shape described on launching as a ‘73ft dinghy’.

Windward Passage won and set a record for the Transpac Race in 1971. Originally designed as a ketch she was later refitted to a sloop rig designed by Doug Peterson.

“A true yet forgotten myth,” concludes Bassani.

Windward Passage stats rating
Top speed: 25 knots
LOA: 73ft/22m
Launched: 1968
Berths: 12
Price: €500,000
Adrenalin factor: 50%

For Yachting World’s list of cool boats, click here.

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