Cape 31 One Design


The Cape 31 was defined from the outset as a simple clean high performance One Design without constraint, conceived and brought to fruition by Cape Town resident and prominent sailor Lord Irvine Laidlaw of ‘Highland Fling’ fame.  Designed for one of the world’s great sailing locations, we optimised the Cape 31 for a combination of both upwind and offwind performance in a breeze while retaining lighter airs capabilities. Freed from the commercial pressures that usually require a project of this nature to be widely advertised and often compromised before the first boat is ready to launch, we were able to focus on the brief and deliver a fast modern speedster.



The design has proved to be very successful, with over 50 boats sold worldwide making this the most exciting One Design fleet of the last decade.  The largest fleet is on the south coast of the UK, with new fleets growing in the USA, Europe, Australia, and Hong Kong.



Building on our experience developing fast light hullforms with the assistance of our R&D partners KND/Sailing Performance, we produced a low freeboard aggressively chined hullshape that maximises form stability in a breeze but enjoys low wetted surface when upright. The chine running forward to the bow helps produce a bow-up moment at speed in the often windy swell of Cape Town.  Designer Mark Mills described the process of producing this design, “The challenge with this hullshape for an all-around design is to balance the beam, fullness in the bow, and the chine height aft to produce the most powerful possible design offwind, without removing its upwind capabilities.  The latest CFD provided by KND helps us visualise how the boat will behave and push those variables further than we could before.”


Engineering from Steve Koopman at composite engineering specialists SDK resulted in an aggressive but production friendly structure that accommodates a socketed deep carbon keel fin and a powerful sail plan, developed with North Sails South Africa and set on a Southern Spars Cape Town carbon rig.  With the focus purely on performance we drew a clean ramp deck for easy operation developed from our innovative Maxi 72 World Champion design Alegre.


Designed to be the tightest possible fit for a High Cube container to allow easy shipping worldwide, orders for this CPS-built Cape 31 approached double digits even before the project went public, and is now spreading around the world.  This confirms Lord Laidlaw’s vision for a fleet of yachts to support youth sailing in Cape Town, boat building in South Africa, and to form the basis of a successful One Design class.

More information is available at the sales agents 31 North


Project Data
Share This:

Related ProjectsYou might also be interested in these

Cayman 28

The Cayman 28 is an all-carbon sportsboat drawn for an experienced Cayman Islands sailor to race

Flying Nikka

The challenge set for us by repeat client Roberto Lacorte for Flying Nikka was not just to have a


The MAT 1220 is our latest design for a new generation of IRC racers from MAT, emphasising

R70 Retrostyled Performance Cruiser

In March of 2017 we were asked to join an experienced Italian owner for lunch in Milan with his

80′ Racer Cruiser

Our experience racing and winning in big boat fleets in the Med in recent years with boats like

Vismara 68

The Vismara 68 Mills ‘Pelotari Project’ is a truly dual purpose Racer/Cruiser, combining

IRC Racer-Cruiser 100

Developed as a ‘pocket’ high performance superyacht, these sketches for an experienced

IRC 77′

This quick outline develops our very successful 62′ SuperNikka for an owner thinking of a

IRC Offshore 56

Developed in response to a request from a very experienced racing team, this proposal for a

IRC 45

This proposal offers in a single hull shape a higher performance configuration for a top end race

IC37 by Melges

The first IC37 has hit the water to rave reviews.  Hull 001 was out sailing within 24 hours of her

55′ Racer Cruiser Proposal

The brief for this 55’ offshore capable Racer/Cruiser encouraged a simple interior to be fitted in