Round the island on Mari Cha III


madforsailing editor James Boyd was on board Bob Miller's 147ft record breaker
With so many incredible boats attending the America's Cup Jubilee regatta there has been much fantasising going on in Cowes over which would be the most desirable boat to sail on. There are obviously the J-class yachts, with their supreme looks and majesty. There are the many 12 metre yachts as good or in some cases in better condition than the day they were launched. There are mighty classics such as the three masted powerhouse Shenandoah or Tom Perkins' immaculate Mariette. My preference though is for the super-maxis, in particular the evil looking all-black Stealth, the water-borne race horse of Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli and more impressive still Mari-Cha III, the 147ft all-carbon fibre super-ketch of Mr Bob Miller. And so it was that the slipper fitted and I was able to sail the America's Cup Jubilee regatta's round the island on this extraordinary part-racing part-luxury cruising yacht. To give you a little background about this boat: she is a design by Philippe Briand who has been involved with the last five French campaigns for the America's Cup and was built by Cooksons in New Zealand over the course of two years culminating in her launch at the end of 1997. She is the largest all carbon fibre racing yacht afloat. Her concept is as a boat which can be used for fast (very fast) cruising, but has a removable interior and so can be used for races or record breaking. She has taken part in a variety of events including Antigua Race Week, set a course record for Sydney to Hobart (although not the official race record) and the Millennium Cup during the last America's Cup. But most memorable was her west to east transatlantic record breaking run in October 1998 when she set a new monohull record

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