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Wicklow Yacht Designer Mark Mills Plans First Mini-Maxi Sized Foiler

22nd December 2020
The new foiling Mini Maxi design is underway The new foiling Mini Maxi design is underway

County Wicklow designer Mark Mills Design is starting one of the most exciting new design projects outside of the America's Cup.

The vision of his repeat client and Italian Owner of the Year Roberto Lacorte is to be the first to have a Mini-Maxi sized foiler capable of coastal racing and to bring true big boat foiling performance to a wider audience.

This will take the lessons and some of the technology from the America's Cup AC75 foiling monohull and put them together in a more user-friendly and cost-effective package which can sail in a wider range of conditions. 

Given the very challenging design brief, Mills says he has  assembled a team of specialists to ensure he can deliver Roberto's vision.

Roberto Lacorte, seen here with designer Mark Mills (top left) and his sailing team led by Alessio Razeto of North SailsRoberto Lacorte, seen here with designer Mark Mills (top left) and his sailing team led by Alessio Razeto of North Sails

Among the 10-man group are members with experience from 3 of the 4 AC teams currently competing in Auckland. R&D Partners KND are providing the analytical tools and expertise to evaluate the novel design topography, with aero input from North Sails design specialists, while Pure Engineering provides their technical knowledge to produce the lightest and most reliable platform.

The initial six months of preliminary design work has been focused on validating the concept, using the TNZ-developed Gomboc dynamic simulator and the North Sails VPP to evaluate various configurations and foil geometries both when flying and in displacement mode. Led by founder Gio Belgrano, Pure has developed an entirely new wing articulation solution to reduce foil cost and improve reliability appropriate to a project operating outside the rarefied conditions of the America's Cup.

 The vision is to be able to foil the mini maxi in winds below 10 knots The vision is to be able to foil the mini maxi in winds below 10 knots

The vision for the design is a robust simple platform able to foil in winds below 10 knots true, and capable of passing the various requirements for entry into mainstream race events, such as WS Offshore Special Regs categorisation including stability. The need for limited Archimedean sailing in sub-optimal wind speeds and increased contact with the sea surface in a wave pattern leads to a hull shape differentiated from its AC75 siblings by greater concern for the wetted surface.

Published in News Update
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