R70 Retrostyled Performance Cruiser

In March of 2017 we were asked to join an experienced Italian owner for lunch in Milan with his friends and advisors to explore the possibilities for a new 70′ performance yacht.  During a long and very enjoyable meal he described his passion and experience and we ended up discussing the positives of the clean simple styling of the sixties and seventies.  This is not the ‘Classic’ styling of earlier design periods, but the result of decades of racing yacht development at the time by offices like S&S focused on producing a seakindly offshore yacht.


It aroused a very personal curiosity as to where this idea might lead, so even after the client decided to refit an existing yacht instead of a new build, we continued to sketch and dream.   Three years later we received fresh interest in this type of design and started to develop it properly.


The twin foundations of the R70 are the restrained, even austere, styling matched with a modern hullshape adjusted to suit the overall aesthetic.  I am not a fan of the trend towards pastiche styling, with exaggerated overhangs that wave around but cannot contribute to performance.  Instead this hull shape takes as much from our latest high performance designs like the 74’ racer its compared with above as possible, relying on a plumb bow, light displacement, and powerful shoulders to maximise heeled righting moment, but modulated to produce the firm sheerline, gracefully tapering sheer in plan, and counter transom that are hallmarks of the era.


Within the timeless exterior all the requirements of a modern owner are met, with a raised saloon above the battery bank for quiet running, tender stowage opening up to become a terrace, and integral side boarding ladders.  This is a yacht able to match the performance of many raceboats with the good manners and seakindliness to travel the globe.  When I daydream of world cruising, this is the yacht in my vision, swinging to anchor off the rocky side of a pine-scented inlet… but under the skin it’s pure performance.



80′ Racer Cruiser

Our experience racing and winning in big boat fleets in the Med in recent years with boats like Tango, SuperNikka, and Alegre has highlighted the need for a fleet of modern light racing designs which can equally easily fit into the relaxed lifestyle of venues like Porto Cervo and St. Tropez.


After the expansion of the Mini-Maxi fleet around 2008 which culminated in the Maxi 72 Class, new big boat race projects intended for the Mediterranean have shifted towards this more dual-purpose model in which an aggressive racing design with light displacement and a powerful sail plan is combined with a more stylish deck and interior layout suitable for casual daysailing or weekending.  This model has proven successful in the past, and in our view is ready for regeneration: a new racing-bred design for competition in a class of boats of similar size and type.


The factors for a successful regeneration include:

  • Simple sexy high performance yachts
  • Appealing to an existing owner base looking for a more modern design
  • As well as new owners attracted by a modern 80′ Racer/Cruiser class
  • Produced by a simple box: length between 23.5m-24.0m, IRC DLR 55-60 (approx 24T-27T) with only beam, draft, and sail area limits
  • Cost controls critical to encourage fleet size and level playing field
  • Performance inside the box equalised by IRC
  • Construction limitations such as standard modulus carbon/foam core

Our proposal design for this class combines a muscular shape featuring all of the performance attributes of our racing designs, cloaked in svelte minimalist styling.   The deck is a stylish interpretation of a dedicated racing layout tweaked to allow relaxed shorthanded sailing, and can shift between these modes with no more effort than bringing out a set of cushions.  The interior reflects the minimum  layout envisaged, which many owners would appreciate as reflecting their personal balance of racing vs. cruising.  With 1.9m headroom a lot of space is available to add the complete owners cabin, full galley, and other amenities which for other owners will be desirable, but not required by the class.  IRC can account for the performance differences between these layouts as the extra accommodation will either increase displacement or decrease bulb weight with a proportional effect on the rating.


Our experience with our successful performance One Design Classes like the IC37 and Cape 31 shows that a tight, simple, and cost-effective box is critical to build the fleet size needed for success.  To achieve this a few straightforward steps to control the costs of construction are needed, such as limiting the build to foam core and standard modulus carbon.   Controls like this allow builders to produce high quality boats while holding construction costs down.  Although any design that fits the criteria would be eligible for the class, a popular design from production tooling producing multiple builds would further reduces the costs of entry and allows class numbers to build more rapidly.







IRC Racer-Cruiser 100

Developed as a ‘pocket’ high performance superyacht, these sketches for an experienced client were intended to illustrate the possibilities of a simple route to superyacht events with the least compromise to his race boat expectations. The wide chined hull form with a large rifg reflects the preponderance of coastal courses in Mediterranean events for these yachts.  Two interior layouts offer galley forwards or galley aft solutions to a four cabin accommodation. Both layouts offer a open, airy interior suited for string drop takedowns.


Compared to our more stylised wallycento Tango with more interior, this line of development is more like upscaling a Maxi72.  The basics of light powerful hull shapes carrying light but complete accomodations are clearly the foundation of all new performance superyacht designs.

IRC 77′

This quick outline develops our very successful 62′ SuperNikka for an owner thinking of a larger high performance Racer-Cruiser.  It continues the strong distictive styling and combines it with an enlrged interior, while retaining the light displacement, high form stability, and powerful sail plan of the original.  Its a useful step that provides a client with a clearer picture of one possible design path of that size and type.

IRC Offshore 56

Developed in response to a request from a very experienced racing team, this proposal for a 56′ offshore orientated design reflected their focus on major offshore events. The focus was for a design able to beat the more inshore orientated TP 52s that are so competitive under IRC. Combining developments that would allow them to limit the crew size, this design focuses on light displacement and high form stability to ensure high performance across the wind range. One of the options shown was for a easily removable full width dodger protecting the front of the cockpit for more extreme conditions.