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Mark Mills is January Sailor of the Month

31st January 2009

Mark Mills of County Wicklow, international boat designer, is Afloat's "Sailor of the Month” for January, with his star on the ascendant after sweeping victories in the Key West Regatta in Florida. Boat designers need to be many things. Obviously they need to be exceptionally good sailors. But they also need an eye for shape, a genius with computers, and they need engineering and sailmaking techniques too. Plus they need highly tuned interpersonal skills. After all, they’ve to deal with owners, builders, and manufacturers. And that’s while they’re putting together the package which brings on board top sailors keen to be part of a dynamic and successful team.

In all, it makes for a rare combination. But during 2008, Mills was hitting the target, with his Mills 39 for Dave Dwyer of Cork continuing as one of the superboats of Irish sailing. And the Mills skills extended to every corner of the globe, with his DK 46 design Quantum Racing and her sisterships frequently in the frame in southeast Asia and Australia.

Then in the Autumn, his impressive IRC 68 Alegre took line honours in the Middle Sea Race. And before 2008 was out, the new Mills-designed King 40 was named “Boat of the Year” in America. Built in series production in Argentina, the King 40 is a very attractive package, as she offers genuine competitive ability with a level of comfort unimaginable in cut-throat racing machines.

Thus the stage was set for Key West Regatta, which concluded on January 25th. The King 40 lived up to the billing, and then some. Dan Woolery from San Francisco with the fresh new Soozal did the business, and the Mills design team had the additional satisfaction of seeing another of their designs, Tony Buckingham’s Mills 40 Ngoni, take second. In fact, all six Mills-designed boats racing at Key West gave a good showing. We get 2009 off to a good start with Mark Mills our first “Sailor of the Month”.

Have you a nomination for Afloat's sailor of the month award?
We'd like your nomination for next month's award. Let the judges have your choice and reasons in the comments box below. Team

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