One of the most successful design offices in recent years has been that of Mark Mills. Originally from California but educated in Southampton and residing in Ireland, Mills has since gone on to design a diverse array of inshore and offshore keelboats that have racked up hardware in almost every major sailing market and under every major rating rule.
Line up at many big regattas and you’re likely to be crossing tacks with a Mills design at the pointy end of the fleet. From the venerable DK 46 to the Summit 40 and King 40 and the new Turkish-built MAT boats, Mark’s designs have been cleaning up on IRC all over the world for years. From a 21’ Mini Transat to super yachts and everything in between including Mini-Maxi’s and WallyCento’s, Mills has constantly pushed the design envelope at every size and under every rule, with one general constant among them all; the boats tend to sail well, and rate well, in a wide range of conditions.
Most recently, Mills Design has been in the headlines on the success of his small and mid-size one design boats that have been achieving success and building fleets around the world, quite notably with the Cape 31 and the Melges IC 37. After seeing an 8-boat fleet of Cape 31’s pop up in England seemingly overnight, we caught up with Mark at his home in Ireland to talk story, pick his brain on yacht design and find out what’s on his drawing board right now.