The Rapide 41 is a high performance race or cruising yacht that was designed to be sailed with limited crew and executed in a traditional style

Product Overview


First look: Rapide 41 – a new Mills Café-Racer

This graceful new Rapide 41 is the first to be built in a new series of performance café-racers drawn by Mark Mills. The in-demand Irish designer was commissioned by a US owner together with specialist UK firm Vortec Marine to put the spark back into beautiful yachting and has responded with a range of classically styled cruiser-racer daysailers which now includes a 55-, 70- and 100-footer.

Vortec’s Innes McGowan explains: “Rapide is all about yachting beautifully and fast whether cruising or racing, with options for the construction and sailplan depending on how fast the owner wants to go or what the budget demands and have a bit of fun along the way!”

“The provenance of the design ensures that while the yacht looks graceful, it will perform competitively on the racetrack,” adds Mills. “However, with simple adjustments to the specification the Rapide 41 can quickly transform into a stable cruiser – giving prospective owners the choice to cruise slow or fast!”

Sean Scarborough, the yacht’s US owner and an experienced J/Boats and Melges racer, did a lot of homework looking for the right designer: “I set out to develop a truly high performance race yacht that was designed to be sailed with limited crew and executed with elegance and traditional style. Everything that was on the market was too compromised,” he thinks. Scarborough wanted to avoid the typical ‘cluttered interiors’, as 99% of the time he day sails.

Meanwhile Vortec’s McGowan says he’d been looking around for something similar to create a brand with, believing there is a gap in this area of the market. Mills showed him the design of the 41, the build of which had already started at Oceantec in Slovenia. What was a one-off became Rapide, a range of designs from a Vortec-owned brand.

Oceantec built the female tooling in a way that allows another five or six 41s to be created. It uses CoreCell foam core sandwich construction with E-glass and carbon in high load areas. A fixed T-keel will come as standard, although this first 41 has a lift keel.

Push button controls and hydraulics, an electric furler and a furling reacher should make it easy for a couple to handle. The interior is simple with a nod to Herreshoff, say McGowan, and features grooved panelling, dark wood trim and white panel surfaces.

A standard Rapide will come with a full spec that will avoid the normal long list of optional extras – and will rate well in both IRC and ORC.

The gap McGowan sees in the market is for ‘a bespoke product without the bespoke price’ that can be daysailed or raced in Spirit of Tradition regattas. The first 41 was launching as we went to press, and will be trialled in Slovenia and Croatia this summer before being shipped to New Jersey.

Rapide 41 specifications

LOA: 12.55m / 41ft 2in
LWL: 11.45m / 37ft 7in
Beam: 3.73m / 12ft 3in
Draught fixed: 2.6m / 8ft 6in
Draught lift keel: 2.1-3.2m / 6ft 11in-10ft 6in
Displacement: 6,500kg / 14,330lb
Price including sails: £965,000 ex VAT

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