MM38 – Beyond Sailing with Ocean Independence
An exciting collaboration between MMYD and Ocean Independence, the MM38 new build concept features a contemporary and stylish blueprint, thanks to the insight and experience of renowned yacht designer, Malcolm McKeon. This project is aimed to create a versatile and personalised package to owners, presenting a sophisticated long range, world cruiser constructed from carbon composite and alloy options and tasked to deliver performance in comfort. Accommodation will be flexible for eight to ten guests in four to five staterooms, plus additional crew quarters for up to six. Using tried and tested tech and systems by innovating shipyards, various tender housing arrangements, Eco-hotel systems and a retractable/rotational propulsion unit - to name but a few inclusions - it is abundantly clear that the MM38 is a high spec venture.
With vast experience of running successful sailing yachts, David Lunn from Ocean Independence champions the MM38 design after seeing how much compromise can take place in yacht selection. Commenting on the primary objective of this concept, "what works for one owner doesn’t work for charter guests and vice versa. It has become apparent that the ideal yacht for owners and charterers alike hadn't been built yet". It is clear the MM38 focuses on ticking as many boxes as possible whilst offering a great looking and high-performance sailing yacht, equally capable for owners' long-distance cruising as for chartering and occasional regattas.
The design predominantly targets an owner who wants to sail and be able to enjoy long distance cruising with an element of autonomy and reliability, alongside the ability to compete in global superyacht regattas if required. Simultaneously, an owner will be conscious that the yacht can offset some running costs when presented as an attractive charter option for guests. David notes that, "an owner often has so many commitments they lack the time to sail as much as they might like, and the reality is that far too many yachts are just not used to their potential".
It is fair to say that most sailing yachts of the size and calibre of MM38 have a limiting three-stateroom arrangement, which may work for some owners, but can become restrictive for charter groups who look for more accommodation and versatility within the overall layout. "This design has a huge master aft, two convertible twin to double staterooms also aft, then a fourth double forward. There is also a lower saloon TV snug area which can be converted into a fifth room for children if required" David explains. "So we go from 6 guests up to 8-10 with great comfort and space, plus no compromise". Another important consideration is resale, with three stateroom yachts becoming harder to sell when the time comes to move on.
As a charter company with a strong sailing yacht portfolio, Ocean Independence recognise that there has been, and continues to be, a distinct shortage of high-quality sailing yachts for charter delivering a flexible arrangement of more than three staterooms. David continues, "The demand is there from our charter clients and we regularly have a shortage of options to present. When a yacht is launched that fits this criteria, it will be highly sought after and book charters quickly". Another factor is that clients are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint, therefore sailing yachts, and especially those that can run on silent power without generators for long periods overnight and at anchor, are very appealing. Subsequently MM38 offers the reality of large battery banks and the possibility of a hybrid power solution.
Renowned for his ability to create precise and cutting-edge designs, Malcolm McKeon has carefully involved a range of elements in the MM38 concept that incorporate central aspects a discerning owner will appreciate. During the design process, he categorises significant areas that have influence over creative decisions, "Starting with the design brief; the priorities are to design a yacht that is elegant, has excellent sailing qualities and is comfortable and safe to sail" Malcolm explains. "Ultimately, any yacht has to fulfil its design brief, and perhaps when bringing a concept to market it’s even more of a challenge – there are no predetermined requirements set by the client or parameters to work within. We are presenting a concept that not only has to fulfil the above, but also inspire a potential owner and help them see how this ‘concept’ could in turn fit their own brief".
The MMYD team lay claim to an array of exceptional projects from which key characteristics and design elements have been brought to the MM38, "The full glass saloon canopy is a feature used very successfully on some previous designs of ours, and the open plan connection between the saloon and covered cockpit" Malcolm confirms. "These design features provide a light and airy feel to the interior and the social areas and have a hugely positive effect on both onboard dynamic and usability". Questioned if he can identify a preferred element, he responds, "I have to admit, I am also fond of the teaks' wrap over the transom – it’s a design feature that’s been implemented very successfully on all yachts designed by the studio to date and whilst it’s not a trademark of our work, it does make the vessel immediately identifiable as one from our stable".
Intended to push the boundaries of yacht design, Malcolm outlines precisely how the MM38 delivers such an exciting and versatile concept, "The MM38 has been conceived as a performance cruising yacht with a telescoping keel to enhance stability and a generous sail plan to provide excellent sailing performance" he states. "I don’t believe that these aspects have been so successfully partnered before with wide market appeal and such promising potential for charter operation. Whilst we are always striving to perfect the partnership between form and function, aesthetic and ability, we are often working within strict boundaries of expectation set by the client. Our concept for MM38 diminishes this element of restraint and allows us to excel the design concept further".
A key consideration in the MM38 design has been a spacious and flexible layout to blend seamlessly within her overall operation, with Malcolm identifying "Generous accommodation spaces both on deck and below deck, within a high-performance hull and with an impressive rig package". While continuing to look at her diverse cruising potential, he describes her wide use, "Private blue-water cruising with a small crew, competitive superyacht regatta entry, family charter, etc, the MM38 sits at a sweet spot with regard to length, interior volume and operational versatility".
Notably the space-saving, lifting keel design is a core feature "which provides a draft that ranges from 4m to 6m, without causing any interruption to the internal accommodation spaces and is an advanced aspect of this yacht’s engineering". Additionally with a focus on the intended performance and handling, Malcolm defines this clearly, "The MM38 will be a responsive yacht to sail with her high aspect ratio telescoping keel, enhanced stability and generous sail plan - featuring a square top mainsail".
It is evident that a great deal of inspiration and knowledge has been amassed from prior yacht builds and introduced in plans for the MM38, "The hull and appendage design are a development of the highly successful LIARA design, which underwent an extensive performance study at the design stage. Numerous hull shapes, appendage designs and sail configurations were tested using the latest CFD technology software". Incorporating these factors Malcolm states confidently, "Ultimately, MM38 has the potential to be one of the most successful sailing yachts afloat for her given size and configuration".
Tasked with describing in three words all that he envisages for this yacht once built, he responds, "Elegance, performance, comfort!", largely he has covered an idyllic combination that will result in a sailing yacht owners' dream.