The Allied Seawind II: Staying Power


When Allied Yachts went out of business for the fifth-and last-time at the end of 1981, they did so in a rather messy fashion. At tleast two potential owners were left holding the bag, having made down payments of a bout $20,000 each for boats that were never built. The manager of Allied seemed to disappear, along with the dreams of the would-be owners of the unbuilt Seawind IIs.

One of Allied's dealers took over the management of Allied Yachts in the spring of 1980, when the firm was on the verge of financial disaster for the fourth time in less than 20 years. Over the years, Allied had suffered from medicre management, severe under-exposure, and the vagaries of the boat buying public-a not unusual story in the boatbuilding industry.

Allied had the reputation for fashioning solidly built (if uninspiringly finished) boats, unabashedly orientated towards cruising-with the exception of a single foray into the world of racing yachts with a Britton Chance 30-footer.

Allied had already secured its place in the boatbuilding pantheon with the original Seawind ketch, which became the first fiberglass boat to circumnavigate, and the Luders 33, recognized as a classic design of the era preceding the introduction of the fin keel racer-cruiser. Unfortunately, while its products were heading for glory on the high seas, the company was repeatedly headed for the boneyard.

In 1975, Allied began building the foot-longer, foot-wider, Gilmer-designed Seawind II as a replacement for the original thirty foot, six inch Seawind. The extra foot of length and beam, 1-1/2 feet of waterline length, and 2,700 pounds of displacement add up to make the Seawind II a significantly larger boat than her predecessor.

Like its cousin the Southern Cross 31, the Seawind II is a cruising sailor's dream machine, but these dreams come with a hefty price tag. Base price for a new Seawind II with its extensive standard inventory was $75,000. Fro this you got a well-equipped, well-built, proven world cruiser with such standard features as hot and cold pressure water, shower (in both cockpit and head), shore power, and wheel steering. In the last years of production, Allied attempted to overcome its dowdy image. Older Allied boats were heavy on woodgrain Formica, bland expanses of fiberglass, and mediocre woodwork. Allied actively sought to overcome this hard-to-shake reputation by using large expanses of interior wood (which hid most of the interior glass), good hardware, and the perceptions of new management with a great deal of cruising experience.


The hull of the Seawind II is a solid layup. The deck and cabin trunk are balsa cored. The top of the coachroof, in the way of the deck-stepped mast, is cored with solid, filled epoxy for greater compression strength.

The hull to deck joint is complex, expensive, time-consuming to make, and extremely strong. In this day of simple, through-bolted inside flanges, it is an anachronism. Both hull and deck have outward flanges at the sheer line. These flanges were coated with 3M 5200 sealant, and a teak batten placed between them, laid on flat. Hull, deck, and batten were then through-bolted vertically with stainless steel bolts. after the sealant cured (which took several days) the joint was ground flush on the inside and heavily glassed over

On the outside, a heavy aluminum extrusion was filled with bedding, slipped over flange, and fastened horizontally with screws into the teak batten. (Now you know what the teak batten was for.)

This is an incredibly labor-intensive joint, substantially improved over the old Seawind joint which was the sam ebasic design but had a reputation for developing small leaks. the aluminum extrusion makes an excellent rubbing strake, but damage to it would require getting a replacement piece from the builder, rather than a patch job with resin, putty, and a little teak. Needless to say, with the builders long gone, this could present a problem. This joint may look a bit massive for a boat of this size, but it is an excellent idea for a serious cruising boat.

The ballast is lead, molded to shape and glassed into the keel. while this technique eliminates keel bolts, it also makes the fiberglass hull more vulnerable to grounding damage.

The Seawind II's mast is stepped on deck, and uses a massive oak compression frame under the cabin trunk for support. This fram eforms the head door framing, and is solidly, though a little crudely, attached to the top of the ballast.

Seacocks are used on all through-hull fittings. these are through-bolted to the hull and have double-clamped hoses that are cheap insurance for any boat.

All deck hardware is through-bolted and reinforced with fiberglass backing plates. We prefer aluminum backing plates for their greater strength and rigidity for a given thickness and area.

There is very little exterior wood on the Seawind II. The molded toerail is capped with teak. There are teak handrails on the cabin top, and teak trim around the edge of the cabin. That's all. Even the dorade boxes are molded in. This results in low maintenance, a highly desirable characteristic on a serious cruising boat, but one that leads to an appearance of austerity that can border on on plainness. The austere appearance of the Seawind II is greatly relieved by contrasting cockpit, deck, and deckhouse molded in non-skid surfaces. The Seawind II will never look as flashy as a Taiwan-built teak plantation, but neither will her owners have to make the decision between endless wood maintenance or the drabness of unfinished "natural" teak (mildewed gray).


Handling Under Sail

The standard rig of the Seawind II is a masthead ketch. The ketch rig is not particularly desirable for a boat of this size. The mizzen adds considerable weight and windage and almost no drive upwind, since the mizzen sail acts almost completely in the backwind of the mainsail. The real purpose of a mizzen upwind is to balance the boat, and for this purpose the smaller, more out-of-the-way mizzen of the yawl is equally useful.

Off the wind, the area of the mizzen, plus the added bonus of a mizzen staysail, do provide considerable drive. The mizzenmast clutters up the cockpit, although it does provide a good handhold. Its position, five feet forward of the helmsman, is guaranteed to make him cross-eyed if he is in the habit of sitting directly behind the wheel.

The sail area of the Seawind II is small enough that the oft-cited advantage of the ketch rig (smaller individual sails) is rather unimportant. A mizzen is useful for heaving to, for anchoring and weighing anchor, and to enable the boat to weather-cock in a rolly anchorage. It is, however, a most inefficient rig upwind.

An optional cutter rig was available. It uses the same mainmast as the ketch rig, but shifts it aft about a foot. The mainsail is longer on the foot and the base of the foretriangle is a little longer than that of the ketch rig. The total sail area of the cutter rig works out to slightly less than that of the ketch rig, but the reduced windage and slightly increased stability probably makes up for the loss of sail area. For tradewind passages, the double headstays on either rig allow for the use of twin downwind jibs. With a working sail area of just over 500 square feet for a displacemen tof 14,900 pounds, the Seawind II is not under-rigged as are many cruising boats.

The Seawind II's rudder is a rather large, old-fashioned design of the barn door variety. It would be interesting and not at all difficult to change it to a more modern Constellation-style rudder, which would slightly reduce wtted surface and perhaps give a little better performance with no loss of control.

With the cutter rig that we prefer, twin running headsails, and sails built for speed as well as durability, the Seawind II should have good performance for a pure cruising boat. Without a large genoa she will not be her best in light air, although owners report that she is surprisingly spirited under these conditions. Unfortunately, she will not be able to use a genoa to its full potential upwind, due to the wide shroud base and wide spreaders.

Handling Under Power

The Seawind II is powered by a lightweight, four-cylinder Westerbeke 27-horsepower diesel. This is plenty of power for the Seawind II's displacement. A welded aluminum fuel tank is located in the bildge.

The standard propeller is a fixed, three-bladed bronze prop in an aperture. Rather than being burdened by the considerable drag of such a propeller, we would install a two-bladed model that could be lined up behind the deadwood to reduce drag under sail. Alternatively, a two or three-bladed feathering propeller could be installed. On a boat with the considerable wetted surface of the Seawind II, reducing drag becomes critical to performance in light air. No matter what the builders of ocean-going dreadnoughts may tell you, much of the sailing in the world-even on the ocean-is in light air.

Do not expect the Seawind II to maneuver like a modern fin keeler under power. Despite her cutaway forefoot, there is enough lateral plane here to require a little planning ahead in a tight situation under power. But then, you should always plan ahead, no matter how well your boat handles.


Deck Layout

An unusual feature of the Seawind II is the lifeline stanchions and pulpits. They stand 30 inches off the deck, rather than the more common 24 inches. Coupled with a fairly high toerail, these give the foredeck hand a real feeling of security. Unfortunately, they also require that a long tack pennant be installed if you want to get the foor of the jib above the lifelines. The cutter rig is an advantage here, for a high-cut yankee jibtopsail will easily clear the lifelines.

The bowsprit is a massive teak platform with attached rail. There are double bow rollers at the end of the bowsprit, but these are so far outboard that the anchor rode chafes against the forward pulpit stanchion when the rollers are used. This defect also prvents secure storage of an anchor in the roller, as the stock would bear against the pulpit. The pulpit is a comfortable and secure place to handle sails or ground tackle.

The Seawind II is one of the few boats we've seen with properly sized bow cleats. There are two 12-inch foredeck cleats, with hawsepipes to the divided anchor rode locker ouside each cleat. an anchor windlass is optional, and will fit nicely between the cleats.

Because of the width of the cabin trunk, it is easier to get to the foredeck by walking over the cabin top than by squeezing inside the shrouds. Good nonskid on the cabin top makes this fairly easy.

Unfortunately, it's not particularly easy to hoist the sails on the cutter rig, because the two dorade boxes fall exactly abreast of the mast, making it necessary to straddle them awkwardly. This is less of a problem with the ketch rig, whose mast is stepped farther forward.

A variety of mainsheet leads have been used on the Seawind II. One version uses a traveler mounted over the companionway seahood. In this version, the blocks are located far apart on the boom, giving poor mechanical advantage. The best of the Seawind II's mainsheet arrangements consists of a traveler mounted on the bridgedeck, which reduces seating but gives much better sail control. This should be used on either the ketch or the cutter, as the old end-of-boom arrangement was only necessary with a roller furling mainsail, which should appropriatly be considered a thing of the past.

The standard steerer on the boat is an Edson rack and pinion model that is mounted directly on the head of the rudder stock. This is the only steering placement possible with the ketch rig.

There are more possibilities with the cutter rig. The most appealing would be to mount an Edson pedestal steerer at the forward end of the cockpit. Then the helmsman could reach the mainsheet on the bridgedeck, the headsail sheets, and even the halyards if they were led aft. If a cockpit dodger were also installed, the helmsman would be protected from all that nasty spray when going upwind.

The cockpit is large and reasonably comfortable. It was probably made so large to accommodate the mizzen mast, which also serves as a handy foot brace. Without the mizzen, the cockpit looks rather large and empty. It is too wide, in fact, to adequately brace your feet on the opposite seat when the boat is heeled over.

There is a deep gutter at the back of the cockpit seats on either side. This is a good feature, for it means that water will not collect in a puddle against the leeward coaming on a long, wet beat to weather.

Be sure to check the fit of the emergency tiller. The rudder stock of the new boat we examined had been improperly machined, and the emergency tiller was over sloppy in its fit.

A large underseat locker on either side of the cockpit will hold lots of gear, and is equipped with drop-in dividers to keep items from the depths of the bildge. Another unique feature of the cockpit is a freshwater shower, whose spray head and hose are recessed into the side of the footwell. This means that it isn't necessary to track saltwater belowdecks after a swim.

The companionway is narrow, with almost parallel sides. While this may make it a little less convenient to get below, it is far more seaman like than most companionways. Coupled with a molded seahood, and a good bridgedeck, it provides well designed access for people, but not water.


On the latter day Seawind IIs we were pleased to find the best finished interiors of any Allied boats we'd seen. The layout is conventional, and as befits a serious cruising boat, there is tremendous storage throughout. There were also anumber of storage options, such as bureau, extra drawers, and extra cabinets that allowed the new owner to tailor the boat to his or her individual needs.

The forward cabin contains a V-berth, a hanging locker, and a wash basin. There are drawers and bins under the berths, and a large stainless steel holding tank. We would replace the holding tank with a fresh water tank to greatly increase water capacity.

A door from the forward cabin gives access to the head without entering the main cabin. the primary door between the main cabin and the foreard cabin does double duty a sa door which shuts the ehad off from the main cabin.

The head is small, containing only the toilet and the shower. The head doors are extremely narrow, since their heavy framing also carries the compression load of the rig.

Because the settees in the main cabin are asymmetrical, it is not possible to accommodate more than four people at the fold-down dining table. Since, quite rationally, there are only four berths in the boat, this should rarely be aproblem. The space behind the settees is given over to storage, rather than attempting to cram more berths into the boat.

A number of galley stove options might be found on Seawind IIs on the used boat market, including surface-mounted kerosene and alcohol stoves, and gimballed LPG, kerosene, or alcohol stoves with oven. Alcohol should not be considered as a cooking fuel for a serious cruising boat, and kerosene, while hot, soon turns the galley overhead to a dingy greyish-brown. We would prefer the LPG gas option.

The icebox is insulated with four inches of urethane foam, and has a tight fitting, well-gasketed top. It is second only to the icebox of the CSY 37 for efficiency. The large, deep sink is equipped with both pressure fresh water taps and a manual pump-absolutely essential as a backup, or to save electrical power at sea.

Although there is no navigation station-which would be a little too much to expect on a boat of this size-there is a large dresser surface on the starboard side aft of the settee. Like most boats, there really isn't enough room at the table for navigation electronics, a sextant, and a navigator's pile of books.

Engine access is poor. The engine is tucked away under the cockpit and it is necessary to remove both the companionway ladder and the bulkhead panel behind, in order to check the oil. Needless to say, this is not conducive to good engine maintenance. There is an oil pan under the engine, so spilled oil will not drain into the bilge sump. Neither the shower nor the icebox drain into the bilge either, a welcome feature.

With its wide cabin trunk, good headroom, and no attempt to sleep an army in tiny, uncomfortable berths, the Seawind II provides excellent accommadation for a couple, either living aboard or for extended cruising. That is what the Seawind II is all about.


The Seawind II is truly a boat that can call herself a world cruiser without apology or explanation. Her construction is strong without being inordinately heavy. She makes no attempt to be all things to all people. It would be a shame to see her tied up to the dock in a marina. She desrves better.

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