Andy Soriano and his Alegre team were crowned World Champions at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Worlds yesterday in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. In perhaps the best Mini-Maxi fleet yet assembled including previous champions Ran in their latest boat and past winners Bella Mente, Alegre remained on top of the 7 boat class from the first race to the last. “It’s a great achievement for the team to be World Champion,” said Soriano. “I’m relieved, it’s something we strove for, we’ve been (in this position) twice already and we finally were able to get over the last hurdle. We sailed our own race; loose, relaxed, confident like we have all week. This year the level of the competition has been raised, more than any of us could have imagined.”
Alegre, the second Mini-Maxi from Mills Design for this owner, was aimed at winning this event and showed her boatspeed and crew handling advantages by comfortably winning both coastal races. Having been forced into the runners-up spot on the last day twice in previous years, and with only three points between first and second going into the final day, the pressure was on the team in the worlds highest quality Owner-Driver event. Supported by tactician John Kostecki and a tight-knit crew they played the odds on the final day to ensure the series was wrapped up with a race to spare. “I am very happy for Andy and the whole Alegre team” said designer Mark Mills “It’s just reward for the dedicated and focused campaign that they have run. I can’t thank Andy enough for the opportunity to be playing and winning at this level. the success of the design would not have been possible without the involvement in the design team of R&D specialists KND and engineer Steve Koopman of SDK, and the passion of builders Longitud Cero ”
Our latest IRC 41 design is currently under construction at McConaghy’s, the result of a long and detailed R&D program aimed at optimising the performance for Asian conditions both inshore and offshore. The first boat is for repeat clients in Hong Kong, and reflects their experience racing locally in their previous custom Mills 41, as well as their views about the best way to approach the fleet with a new design.
The design process involved a comprehensive CFD driven VPP study with our research partners KND / Sailing Performance, looking at multiple hull shape options, foil configurations, and sail plan sizes. This work built on our previous studies for new designs based on increasing form stability when heeled, resulting in significant gain upwind in a breeze. The focus for this design was to ensure these gains could be combined with strength in light/medium airs, as well as breezier conditions offshore in events like the Vietnam Race. Since these ambitions are not always mutually compatible, it became clear that including as much modabilitiy as possible into the basic boat would offer a range of benefits: firstly it provides the client a far wider range of competitive configurations by adjusting the key components of Draft, Displacement, Trim, and Sail Area. Secondly in the light of the IRC rule’s transition in recent years towards accommodating lighter faster designs including wide modable ranges in as many parameters as possible opens up the ability to respond to future rule adjustments flexibly, extending the competitive life of the boat. Thirdly it allowed the basic hull shape to deliver a wider range of possibilities for other clients looking to optimise future builds of the design more significantly for different conditions.
Our latest project is the sleek and aggressive 62′ SuperNikka for Italian owner Roberto Lacorte. Built in semi custom series by Vismara Marine as the VISMARA 62 Mills she is a unique combination of light powerful carbon racer and fully featured family cruiser, based on a chined light offshore-oriented raceboat hull with tall rig and deep lifting keel, perfect for targeting Mediterranean racing with his existing team. A keen racer and creator of the 151 Miglia offshore race Mr. Lacorte also enjoys cruising every summer with his family, and needs his yacht to be as functional as it is fast to provide the best of both worlds. To help deliver this in 2013 he asked Mills Design to join the team producing his latest yacht, including builder and experienced designer Alessandro Vismara of Vismara Marine and North Sails Italy who have been part of his previous successful programs.
We were excited to join this group tasked with producing the exterior geometry: hull and deck surfaces, appendages, and rig, allowing us to focus on performance with our R&D partners KND in Valencia, while the Vismara team produced the interior and engineering, integrating her aggressive racing character with amenities such as the lifting keel, a dinghy garage in the transom, and underdeck dodger stowage. Due to launch in Spring 2015, hull lamination is complete and deck and bulkhead construction is well advanced.
The MAT1180 is an exciting next-generation IRC raceboat design which is the product of a long and careful design, engineering, and development process initiated by long term clients Alp and Cem Somer of MAT. Mills Design and MAT have worked together very successfully in the past on the MAT1245 and MAT1010 IRC designs, and we are looking forward to continuing this relationship with the new MAT1180. MAT’s interest in taking their successful production operation to the next level began with a preliminary design exercise in 2013 to investigate fully the changes in IRC affecting lighter designs in the 39’ size range. It became clear that there was space in IRC for an aggressively light and fast design if well-engineered and well-built to produce the right weight and distribution of mass. more