Designed by a team co-ordinated by Irish designer Mark Mills of Studio Mills Design, FlyingNikka, 19-meters long and equipped with state-of-the-art foils that will enable full-foil sailing in excess of 40 knots, was built in Valencia at the King Marine boatyard on the basis of the latest composite technologies.
A boat with a difference, state-of-the-art, for the future, the ‘first of a new generation of offshore single hulls’, as Roberto Lacorte put it so perfectly. A true breakthrough, took to the water in Valencia on May 12, 2022, evolved to suit the long AC 75 sailings that characterised the most recent edition of the America’s Cup, in pursuit of victory (and records) in the main coastal and offshore regattas. A flying boat that is ready to take everyone by surprise, that may race with nothing less than an ORC certification, thanks to collaboration with the Offshore Racing Congress in defining a VPP relating to full foil boats.
“With the exception of the America’s Cup, FlyingNikka is the most exciting design project of the moment. We took a lot of ideas from the AC75 and we put them into a package that is easier to use, more economical, able to sail in a wider range of conditions”, explains Mark Mills. “The design of such a boat is very demanding which is why we selected a team of specialists: a group of 10 men having experienced participation in the last America’s Cup with 3 out of 4 teams. Our R&D partners, KND they provided us with the analytical tools to assess the new design topography, with the contribution aerodynamics specialists from North Sails, whilst Pure Engineering it as provided technical know-how for producing the lightest and most reliable platform possible. The first six months of preliminary project work concentrated on the validity of the fundamental idea, using Gomboc, a dynamic simulator devised by Team New Zealand and the North Sails VPP to assess a variety of foil configurations and geometrics, whilst engaged and disengaged. Under the guidance of founder Giovanni Belgrano, Pure developed a brand-new wing articulation mechanism to reduce the cost of the foil and improve the reliability of a project destined to operate outside the weather conditions that are more specific to the America’s Cup. Our vision”, continues Mills enthusiastically, “is to design a simple but sturdy platform that can provide all the requirements for participation in traditional offshore regattas, starting with certification relating to the Offshore Special Regulation. The shape of the FlyingNikka will be different from the AC75 because contact with the water surface will be higher. Foil management and all the hydraulic systems on board will demand the attention of only 5 people, allowing the helmsman to focus his attention on navigation without having to carry out direct checks of foil height. The team can count on the expertise of Project Manager Micky Costa, whose role in making a reliable, simple and efficient boat succeed is crucial, as he is central to designers, builders and crew”.