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Mark Mills was named Yacht Designer of the Year, and the Cape 31 was named Asian Sailing Yacht of the Year 30’-45’, at the 2024 Asian Marine & Boating Awards held during the Shanghai International Boat Show. Collected on Mills’ behalf by Luke Greene of Enterprise Ireland, this second Designer of the Year Award for Mills is an honour reflecting our involvement over 20 years in Asian Racing. Even more exciting is the award for the Cape 31, with the fifth boat inbound to Hong Kong it ensures solid fleet racing in Asia in the worlds most exciting One Design Class is now a reality! Photo: Guy Nowell

 

 

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Launched in Slovenia for a U.S. client, this performance design combines the casual elegance of an east coast daysailer with the power and speed of a dedicated racer to produce the ultimate weekender.  Laid out for shorthanded daysailing the light displacement, large sailplan, and deep keel can deliver raceboat levels of performance when desired, but will always give fast smooth good manners.  Bringing the high quality prediction tools we have developed on our successful raceboats to a performance cruiser/racer gives owners a level of assurance regarding handling and performance that modern classic designs have not seen before.

 

 

Drawn with one eye on the classic daysailers of the U.S. east coast, we blended the styling with a modern hull shape derived from our latest racing designs, and emphasised the basic components of high performance, starting with the longer waterline provided by a plumb bow, improving the speed potential by around 15% for the same LOA relative to an overhanging bow.  The hull shape maintains low wetted surface at smaller angles of heel for good light-air speed, but gains stability quickly when heeled.  This combines with the deep lifting keel to ensure high stability without heavy displacement.  Bringing in engineering partner SDK to produce high quality composite engineering was key to ensuring a stiff light structure.

 

The distribution of space on board reflects the weekender brief from the client: a focus on comfortable high performance daysailing combined with the ability to spend a few nights on board, perhaps in a scenic anchorage.    This inspired the large open cockpit with a 4 winch layout allowing two to sail the boat easily, many more to cruise and socialise comfortably, or when racing with friends to compete successfully even offshore.  The svelte coachroof offers the necessary headroom over the sizable saloon and galley, without visually compromising the sleek simplicity of its daysailer heritage.

 

The carbon mast and park avenue boom ensure the lightest weight and lowest VCG, which with the long fixed bowsprit carries a balanced yet powerful sail plan.  Bob Perry reviewed the design in Sailing Magazine and was kind enough to say “I’ve been looking
at this boat for a week and there is nothing I don’t like about it.  I’ve looked hard but I don’t see anything I’d change. Mark Mills gives us a totally modern design that pays tribute to the classic yachts of the past. This is a boat I would very much like to sail.”

 

Our latest design, the retro-styled Rapide 41 is nearing a Mediterranean launch date for its US owner.  Designed to combine the high performance expected from our raceboat designs with a ‘down-east’ daysailer look and feel, the R41 is about keeping things simple and light for a relaxed sailing experience.  With enough interior for a comfortable summer weekend on the hook, but enough stability and sail area to power to Bermuda she is a modern solution for an experienced sailor looking for more than just a raceboat, but unwilling to compromise on speed.

 

Yachting World announced the news with an article by Toby Hodges.

 

 

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Our latest design, the Cayman 28 for a Cayman Islands client to enjoy high performance racing with his mates, was launched on Hungary’s Lake Balaton by Code Yachts just in time for their largest event of the year, the Blue Ribbon.  Described by the team after successfully completing the 96 mile race on only its second ever outing as a ‘Gentleman’s Skiff’, designer Mark Mills said after the race “it was debatable whether our shake-down sail should be one of the worlds largest races, but it was beautiful.  Racing down scenic Lake Balaton in company with almost 600 starters on a single start, and finishing after a night time battle reaching with 42 footers with Code Zeros… memorable!”

 

 

The all-carbon sportsboat features extendable racks that allow the crew to produce far more righting moment than a conventional hiking position, as well as a more comfortable seating position. In daysailing mode with the racks in it becomes a simple sporty daysailer, with the flat cockpit floor running forward to the stem to produce a more secure foredeck.  With load-sharing sails by Doyle, the simple no-backstay rig is adjusted with underdeck forestay and jib tack purchases, relying on the pin-adjustable shrouds to make rig setup easy and repeatable.

 

More information on the Cayman 28 website .

 

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The Cayman 28 is an all-carbon sportsboat drawn for an experienced Cayman Islands sailor to race locally with his friends.  Seeking a higher performance solution for the Sound in Grand Cayman we were asked to draw something exciting, easy for 4 to sail legs-in, and capable of daysailing with family in a lower-testosterone format.   In order to deliver a boat with that touch of Jekyll and Hyde we suggested extending the sidedecks out to allow the crew to produce more righting moment with no extra weight.  Yet with the racks retracted the Cayman 28 is still a sleek aggressively styled sportsboat, purring rather than roaring.  In some senses the child of our Cape 31 and an International 14 dinghy, the result takes many cues from the high performance dinghy world, with very light displacement coming from carbon construction, a flat floor running to the bow, no backstay, and a simple mainsheet bridle replacing a conventional traveller.

 

 

As with the Cape 31 our engineering partner was SDK in Rhode Island to ensure the necessary light weight under 1200kg, smart detailing, and robust structure.  ‘Rooster’ as she is known was launched on schedule by Code Yachts in Hungary in time for their major event of the season, the 600-entrant Blue Ribbon, and after one short test sail raced the the 96 miles around Lake Balaton.  Designed to take advantage of Doyle load-sharing sail designs the simple no-backstay rig is adjusted with underdeck forestay and jib tack purchases, relying on pin-adjustable shrouds to make rig setup easy and repeatable.  The philosophy for the boat was to keep it simple and light, with coarse and fine adjustment for the main and jib sheets removing the need for winches, while the asymmetric spinnaker sheet benefits from a low profile Harken Snubbair on the rack.

 

The sliding racks are very successful, providing a more comfortable seating position than a conventional cockpit with a very solid feel even with 5 full size crew, leading to the description ‘Gentleman’s Skiff’.  The racks have sockets for carbon stanchions to carry a webbing strap for more comfort when extended or better enclosure when sailing with them retracted.  The appendages are all carbon, with a weed knife in the keel and a lifting rudder blade allowing easy weed-clearance in the Caribbean.  Three hatches on the floor offer access under the cockpit, revealing a Lombardini 10hp inboard and storage space.

 

Designer Mark Mills felt the clients played a major role in how the boat developed: “It’s been one of our most enjoyable projects ever, with an enthusiastic client committing early and firmly to the big decisions on the project.  Aggressive styling?  Sure.  Racks?  Yup.  All carbon?  Why even ask?  The goal is to have fun, working with a single committed owner can be so much more rewarding than a focus-group driven commercially constrained process.  And finding an enthusiastic builder in Code Yachts who took responsibility for getting the boat on the water on time and looking good ensured the original promise of the project was delivered to the owner.”

 

More information on the Cayman 28 website .