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The Debrief: A Winning Design by Mark Mills

by Ingrid Hale
The Debrief: A Winning Design - Mark Mills

Mark Mills, designer of the sporty Cape 31, has done it again!

The Mark Mills MD75 Karma, built by Maxi Dolphin has been voted the Best Sailing Yacht at The International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2020 held in Capri, Italy. A striking high performance design for an Italian client, she combines a sleek minimalist exterior with a relaxed and engaging interior by Nauta Design in Milan.

Designer Mark Mills was thrilled with the second major prize in 2020 for Mills Design: “We love working on projects like this, where a combination of sleek looks, true performance aspirations, and great collaborators ensure the result will be outstanding . It’s an honour to be recognised by the industry with such a prestigious award. ” Earlier in the year Mills Design was awarded the MDO Monte Carlo Prize for the Wally 100 Tango.

A modern sportster

Karma the first MD75 by Mills is already turning heads with her sleek exterior and cool modern interior.        Designed to be the highest performance cruiser that remains easy to sail and handle shorthanded, she is a reflection of the dedication of the client and builders Maxi Dolphin to produce a modern sportster with minimalist character inside and out.

The Debrief: A Winning Design Mark Mills

The clean deck lines of the Mark Mills’ MD75 – Karma

‘We were asked to draw Karma by an Italian client who enjoys smaller high-performance dinghies and kiteboarding, with the wish that his new big boat could possess some of this excitement and immediacy.                 His very experienced project manager had distilled much of the clients wishes as well as his own views to present a very coherent outline of what was desired at the first meeting, including a backstay-less rig, nearly flush deck with large comfortable seating in the cockpit, and the involvement of the very talented Nauta Design of Milan on the interior.

Keeping the balance right

The core of the design is keeping the weight and sail areas as aggressive as possible.  The hull and appendage design was developed with our regular R&D partners KND, to ensure the all-around performance we expect would be delivered.  It was refreshing after numerous raceboat projects to turn our VPP race model into a VPP cruise model to quantify the clients cruising emphasis on more reaching, more interior volume, and easier handling and responding with features like an aft LCG, a little more volume forwards, and twin rudders.

The clients clean modern taste promotes a relatively light interior, and we worked with Maxi Dolphin extensively to control the weight and CG as the build progressed. With a light displacement for this type of yacht the beamy hull shape offers low wetted surface when upright but rapidly increasing righting moment as it heels, encouraging strong light airs performance as well as speed in a breeze.

The Debrief A winning design Mark Mills
Light and airy saloon - Karma
Modern cabin design - Karma
The Debrief - winning design - Mark Mills
Elegant saloon and galley - Karma

The sail plan combines the speed and shapes from a raceboat with ease of use, starting with the absence of backstays. After considering both fixed and lifting keel arrangements, a lifting keel was chosen to maximise performance. Since the primary role is high speed cruising, twin rudders are the perfect solution to ensure great handling offwind, as well as allowing a large dinghy locker for the tender and kiteboards. The deck plan includes a number of nice details such as the flush dodger hoop, the under-deck halyard and line runs, and the integrated tail lockers.

Look out for Karma sailing the Med this summer.

[The Debrief: Winning Designs]

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