Somewhere between art and shipwrightery lies the latest 45-foot yacht to be delivered by MCM for a long-standing repeat client.
Mist slipped into the water at Rockport Marine, Maine late last year, after a build that reunited legendary designer Bill Tripp and renowned project manager Peter Wilson of MCM. The owner was ecstatic with the result.
Mist is a combination of sleek neo-classical good looks, an ultra-modern rig and deck plan, plus a beautiful interior by Tack Studios for weekending in extreme comfort. The boat has already shown herself capable of a swift turn of pace and sublime handling – ideal for a quick flash around the sound before heading back in time for a sundowner.
Peter Wilson, partner of MCM, was brimming with excitement after his first outing off the New England coast. “Responsive, swift, agile – she is a sweetheart to sail and very close-winded,” he says. “When we did initial sailing trials up in Maine, we had very challenging sailing conditions, but she remained well-mannered to drive and predictable. Minor adjustments to the wheel would turn the boat quickly. It was easy to react to 30-degree wind shifts. At one point, we were effortlessly sailing upwind at 8 knots in just 7.5 knots of true wind.”
Bill Tripp has drawn an easily-driven hull that is broad in the quarter, with sheer bow and transom, plus a hydraulically lifting keel. Rockport Marine did an excellent job of translating that into cold-moulded cedar and carbon composite on ash frames. High modulus carbon spars plus North 3Di sails and carbon rigging make for a powerful boat. She flies a vast 224 square metre A2 asymmetrical downwind, tacked to a carbon bowsprit artfully clad in Sitka spruce. But with a crisp, clean deck layout, she is also very practical to sail – just as her owner desired.
“He is a very experienced sailor, who has had race boats both bigger and smaller,” says Wilson. “He was heavily involved in the design phases and knows exactly what it takes to sail a boat. For us it’s so much better when the owner is intimately involved in the project because then we know that we’re delivering on his wishes.
“Consequently, Mist had to be very easily handled by him and his wife without anyone needing to do the job for them. We spent a lot of time considering the deck plan and sheet/halyard leads, so that almost everything could be done from the cockpit and mostly from the helm. You don’t have to run all over the boat to manoeuvre.”
The evident success of the project was achieved thanks to the close personal relationships between the key players – including the owner. They have all worked together in the past and knew that this project would bring out their respective strengths. Weekly meetings took place throughout the entire project, with Wilson describing the owner as “an equal contributor at each meeting.”
Besides her undoubted performance, Mist’s interior is one of the great triumphs of the build. The aim was always to minimise weight without sacrificing real comfort. So she boasts a decent galley with fridge, induction hob and microwave; deep, cosy saloon seating and two very comfortable double cabins – one right forward, the other aft.
“There was a lot of attention paid to lightness, so the design and engineering reflects that,” says Wilson. “All the interior is cored for lightness. One of the successes of this boat is the fact that the interior is extremely comfortable, and all the spaces feel very generous – even though there is a lifting keel trunk that goes right through the boat. The result is a very light, airy and spacious feeling below.”
The finish below is to the extremely high quality that Rockport is famous for, making the most of the natural curve of the hull and the laminated frames that give it strength. “It’s so beautiful, it would have been a crime to hide it,” says Wilson. Light grey bulkheads and hull fit in Nordic harmony with the bright oiled teak sole and neutral upholstery. It is very light below, thanks to the wrap-around windows of the low coachroof.
The cockpit showcases the boat’s uncanny balance between performance, craftsmanship and looks. The twin wheels are laminated from a dozen strips of Sitka spruce, built in a classic four-spoke design. And yet they are mounted on a sleek asymmetric pedestal that houses a state-of-the art B&G display. The helmsperson can sit in comfort on the cedar-laid coaming with 20/20 sightlines ahead.
Mist will soon head south to a new home in the US sailing mecca of Newport, Rhode Island. Wilson will be on board with the owner for the 250 nautical-mile passage. “I’m very excited to be participating in that,” he says. “Though she’s designed for weekending, this is a very capable sea boat that the owner could very comfortably take to the Caribbean for a season.”