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Wicklow Superyacht Designer Mark Mills Wins Another International Award

10th September 2020
The philosophical concept of "less is more" acquires an added layer of meaning when Mark Mills applies it to the design of the new award-winning MD75 Karma. Like the stately homes of the 19th Century, the theory is that almost all the mechanical and physical work needed to keep this extraordinary concept at optimum performance is taking place out of sight The philosophical concept of "less is more" acquires an added layer of meaning when Mark Mills applies it to the design of the new award-winning MD75 Karma. Like the stately homes of the 19th Century, the theory is that almost all the mechanical and physical work needed to keep this extraordinary concept at optimum performance is taking place out of sight

County Wicklow-based international superyacht designer Mark Mills has scooped another major trophy at the stratospheric end of the global sailboat design spectrum. Back in April, he was an Afloat.ie "Sailor of the Month" awardee when his very advanced prototype Wally 100 Tango took the MDO Monte Carlo Prize. And now he is supreme in another category, as announced at the even more exotic Mediterranean location of Capri.

Mark Mills: Internationally awarded in Monaco in April, and Capri in September…..yet his heart is in the midst of County WicklowMark Mills: Internationally awarded in Monaco in April, and Capri in September…..yet his heart is in the midst of County Wicklow

His MD75 Karma, built by Maxi Dolphin, has been voted the Best Sailing Yacht at The International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2020. 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, the complete package making us realise that the notion of "less is more" acquires a different sense of meaning with a 75-foot performance cruiser.

Last Friday 4th September, international media group design et al hosted the final process of The 10th Anniversary International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2020 in Capri, and the winners of the 2020 Awards were announced after an exhaustive selection process only made possible by some very advanced technology. The unique voting system enabled 12,441 global industry professionals to individually acknowledge, consider and finally vote for the shortlisted nominees.

Utterly minimalist – Karma's appearance is decidedly different from that of the Irish traditional trading ketch Ilen which is also currently featuring on Afloat.ieUtterly minimalist – Karma's appearance is decidedly different from that of the Irish traditional trading ketch Ilen which is also currently featuring on Afloat.ie

Although design et al is an internationally-recognised powerhouse in top-level creativity, its ultimate headquarters is in Chester in northwest England, just across the channel from Mark Mills' design studio in the heart of County Wicklow. Nevertheless, the very international voting system means that we can be reasonably sure it wasn't an Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association stitch-up when Karma was announced as the winner in the Best Sailing Yacht category.

Certainly, Mark Mills is thrilled with this second major first 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."

Karma's saloon is intended for relaxation after day sailing, and is definitely not designed for rugged overnight passages Karma's saloon is intended for relaxation after day sailing, and is definitely not designed for rugged overnight passages

Inevitably it is Mark Mills' work at the glossy peaks of the international marine industry that attracts the most attention and the prestigious prizes, but he continues to be an avid enthusiast for the challenge of designing front-line offshore racers. Thus as the more everyday sailing world struggles back to post-pandemic normality, we can expect the Mills-designed Melges IC37 – with which Anthony O'Leary and his Royal Cork crew took the Bronze at last September's New York YC Invitational at Newport, RI – to make the impact she merits on the European scene.

Prototype Mark Mills-designed Melges IC37 testing North Sails off the New York YC's Harbour Court at Newport, Rhode Island. After the semi-hiatus of the non-season of 2020, it is expected that that the IC37 will be making an impact in Europe in 2021 Prototype Mark Mills-designed Melges IC37 testing North Sails off the New York YC's Harbour Court at Newport, Rhode Island. After the semi-hiatus of the non-season of 2020, it is expected that that the IC37 will be making an impact in Europe in 2021

Published in News Update
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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