His Turkish-built Akilaria RC2s filled the podium at the Class 40 Mondial, his office has a new SeaCart 26 trimaran about to start production at CMI in Thailand and now Marc Lombard has his latest, iterative Mini 6.50 being faired ready to receive its first lick of paint…

For young yacht designers and solo skippers the Mini 6.50 Proto class has long been the setting for trying new concepts and developing new ideas on a small-scale boat and at reasonable financial risk. Apart from canting keels and twin daggerboards, which have became standard on Minis and further up the scale on Imoca 60s, this live design laboratory has provided plenty of other radical ideas, some successful... some less so.

Some ideas are especially interesting (I’m thinking here of sliding canting keels or keels and lifting foils with variable angles of incidence, and so on) but the benefits are not always easy to analyse and the complexities involved can bring ­problems of weight and control. And there are other ideas that have simply been a disaster. This is not the way that our design office looks at our job...

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