It didn't take long to find out the true DNA of the new management team at Najad and Maxi Yachts. When Louay Habib wrote about them a few months ago ("Najad, Maxi: New Hands on the Helm") he pointed out the America's Cup and other sailboat-racing experience of CEO Mikael Gustavsson and members of the advisory board, and we wondered if Najad models would become higher performance.
That may still happen but Gustavsson and his crew are cutting right to the chase, breathing high-speed life into the Maxi brand, a decades-old racing brand originally established by champion sailor and designer Pelle Pettersson. We just received these sketches of the new Maxi 11, a 37-foot sportsboat with double rudders, T-bulb keel and bowsprit for assymmetrical spinnakers.
To give you a sense of the attitude in play, here's the opening line from www.maxi11.com — "You are a demanding bugger, at least when it comes to sailing. You enjoy the speed, and to fly on the downwind at double digit pace. Most of all, you get pleasure from passing the other yachts, being first to reach your destination. But once you're there, waiting for the others, you want to lead a life in comfort."
That explains the sketches, pretty well: The cockpit is open for the business of the racecourse, but there are seats, too, and a couple of these sketches show a slick little dodger and comfy-looking cushions that could tolerate a long Swedish evening when the sun barely sets. Plus, standing headroom is in the design, and I'm told the interior will provide its crew with much more comfort than they might normally expect on this type of boat.
Well, these are concept sketches only at this point, but the plan is to move quickly toward a real boat. According to Magnus Ridderstad, marketing and sales director for Maxi, on the 24th of January, as the Dusseldorf Boat Show is getting underway, there will be an official press launch. After that the website's "Design" section will be open, and you'll be invited to vote on different details, such as wheel or tiller, fixed or retracting sprit. Magnus says that the boat will be set up for easy use in doublehanded racing, so apparently a good deal of thought has gone into the details already. When will we see this boat in the water? Serious design work will be wrapped up in early spring and, with luck, Magnus will have a prototype to sail by August. Target price is 200,000 Euros. Stay tuned!