Easily the most distinctive of the new sailing boats at the Southampton Boat Show, the w1Da is an innovative 31ft performance cruiser-racer that breaks new ground in a number of ways. It’s a design that promises to be quick and rewarding to sail, while offering the benefits of shallow draught and a lifting keel. At the same time it has sufficient stability to comply with EU RCD Category A (Ocean) requirements, and yet a beam of less than 2.9m and displacement of 3,000kg means that it can be put on a trailer and towed to a regatta or completely different cruising ground.

W1DA cruiser-racer makes debut at Southampton Boat Show 2015

W1DA cruiser-racer makes debut at Southampton Boat Show 2015.

Auxiliary power comes from a compact, though powerful, electric motor that’s hung on the transom. It can be lifted clear of the water to minimise drag when sailing, or inserted deeper for more efficient battery charging while under sail. With a large part of the coachroof covered in non-slip solar panels, in normal use the fourth generation lithium batteries are not expected to require charging from external power sources, yet they have an anticipated lifespan of 15 years.

The acronym stands for Wild Atlantic One Design, a nod to the location of the boat’s builders in western Ireland, and the rugged waters in which the prototype boat will be based. Designer Guy Whitehouse has created a boat with a long waterline, twin rudders and distinctive chine, while the hydraulics for the lifting keel incorporate a damping function to prevent grounding damage. The interior of the boat at the show had not yet been fitted out, but the plans show a traditional two-cabin layout that includes good sea berths, a large galley, decent heads and a proper navigation station.

Wild Atlantic one design – w1Da for short

Wild Atlantic one design – w1Da for short.

The different approach also extends into the way the boat will be sold, with outright purchase, time share or leasing all available as options. Maintenance and care packages are also available, although the boat’s concept minimises any work that needs to be done on a regular basis in this respect.

Find out more at w1Da.com.

Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.