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We ask top sailors and ma­rine in­dus­try gurus to choose the coolest and most in­no­va­tive yachts of our times


Fast, shapely, el­e­gant and still for­mi­da­ble on the race course, Mari-cha III was and still is one of the world’s most im­pres­sive yachts. Cre­ated to break records, this Philippe Briand design was built in 1997 for Amer­i­can Bob Miller and seized the out­right mono­hull transat­lantic record in 1998, the big ketch cross­ing the fin­ish line at The Lizard on 24 Oc­to­ber 1998 in 8d 23h.

She claimed a fist­ful of record pas­sages in­clud­ing, in 1999, the fastest ever from Syd­ney to Ho­bart, sail­ing the 630-mile course in 1d 18h at a then phe­nom­e­nal av­er­age of 14.75 knots, but of­ten hit­ting 30 knots.

Re­fit­ted with a 3m taller mast, she now races in some of the big su­pery­acht re­gat­tas. The devel­op­ment of bat­ten cars, hal­yard locks, out­haul claws and square top mains have in­creased the amount of can­vas she can carry. Elaine Bunt­ing is ed­i­tor of Yachting World and group ed­i­tor of TI Me­dia’s three other yachting ti­tles. “I was part of a small group gath­ered in Fal­mouth to wel­come Mari-cha III’S crew back in the Nineties; it was a lovely, low-key af­fair. But the mighty yacht her­self de­manded at­ten­tion like a Hol­ly­wood movie star – and still does.”

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