We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. Elaine Bunting nominates the Maxi Ketch Mari-Cha III

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, writes Yachting World’s ex-editor, Elaine Bunting.

Created to break records, this Philippe Briand design was built in 1997 for American Bob Miller.

Mari-Cha III 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.

Make sure you check out our full list of Coolest Yachts.

Maxi Ketch Mari-Cha III stats rating:

Top speed: 32.45 knots
LOA: 44.7m
Launched: 1997
Berths: 13 (8 guests)
Price: US$3.4m
Adrenalin factor: 70%

Elaine Bunting

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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