FlyingNikka, a custom-designed 60ft fully foiling racing yacht, took flight during her first day of test sails.

FlyingNikka, a custom-designed 60ft racing yacht designed to be the first fully foiling Mini Maxi, took flight during her first day of test sails off the coast of Valencia, Spain.

Designed by Mark Mills and a team of specialists for owner Roberto Lacorte, FlyingNikka has been built at the King Marine shipyard in Valencia and was splashed just a week ago on May 5. Since then the radical new yacht has undergone a week of towing flight tests, before today’s first sailing tests.

FlyingNikka on her first test sail. Photos: Fabio Taccola

Mark Mills commented online: “FlyingNikka Flies! Amazing to foil on her first days sailing. We left to work through the displacement sailing program this morning in light winds, but were able to keep going through all the points until finally we flew.

“Very encouraging to foil at such a low windspeed at such an early stage in her development, delivering the performance required for Mediterranean conditions. Congratulations to everyone involved, it’s taken a lot of commitment by many people from design, to build, to sailors, and firstly from the top: Roberto Lacorte.”

In a press release issued by the team, Lacorte said: “I can hardly describe the emotion I’m feeling right now. Seeing FlyingNikka fly for the first time, after these intense months dedicated first to its design and then to its construction, is something magical, extraordinary, unique. I am truly thrilled”.

The 60ft design shares a clear connection to the AC75s. Photos: Fabio Taccola

America’s Cup influences

The FlyingNikka project began in December 2020, with Irish designer Mark Mills working with specialists including KND Marine, Nat Shaver and Pure to develop FlyingNikka’s appendages and foil package. Construction has been completed on a tight schedule, of just eight months, managed by Miguel ‘Micky’ Costa.

FlyingNikka features lifting T-foils. Photos: Fabio Taccola

FlyingNikka is the first fully foiling ‘big boat’ custom yacht design, and represents an accelerated ‘trickle down’ influence from the AC75s, the revolutionary foiling monohull yachts that were used in the 2020/21 America’s Cup.

Designed for racing in shorter offshore and coastal competitions, it features cantilevered T-foils similar to those of an AC75, as well as a high aspect keel with bulb. It will sail with a crew of around six.

FlyingNikka testing out of Valencia, Spain. Photos: Fabio Taccola

Lacorte is an experienced owner, already owning the Vismara V62 SuperNikka (also Mills-designed), and is vice-president of the International Maxi Association.

Lacorte added: “Now we have a very important part of the campaign ahead of us, which is fine-tuning the boat and crew dynamics while sailing.

“Then we will enter race mode and it will be really interesting to see how far FlyingNikka can go. It is a boat that has no comparison, a futuristic racer, so we expect it to be able to write a completely new sailing story, flying on the water for long offshore sailings like no one else has ever managed to do.

We’ll be taking a closer look at this extraordinary new boat in a future issue of Yachting World.