Prior to the Monaco Yacht Show, Malcolm Mckeon Yacht Design announced confirmation of a contract for the design of a 78m sloop, the studio’s largest design commission to date. Speaking exclusively to SuperyachtNews, Mckeon reveals that the project, having progressed through several evolutionary stages, has now been costed by a number of shipyards and the client is considering the next step. 

“This contract was signed a few years ago and since then we have put a lot of research and development into the project,” explains Mckeon. “With the final arrangement confirmed, we reached a point where we were keen to share the design with the industry, and thankfully the client has allowed us to do that.”

Project MM78 is an extreme design and has some unique features for a yacht of its size. Mckeon explains that the client wanted a large sailing yacht that didn’t actually feel like a large sailing yacht when on board. This has been achieved by the studio through an ambitious use of glass, with floor-to-ceiling hull windows in the main saloon and master suite and a glass aft bulkhead. Large hull-side platforms further enhance the connection with the water. The 360-degree view from the cockpit has negated the need for a flybridge, which would be a first for a new build of this size. 

A 150sqm owners’ apartment positioned aft with its own saloon and dining area has direct access to the large, single-level swim platform. “One of the issues with most sailing yachts is that there is no proper division between the owners and crew, whereas this design enables the owners to have that privacy,” adds Mckeon. “It’s like being in a beach house right on the water.”

The yacht is designed for performance cruising, with a lifting keel and a square top mainsail. The yacht will feature full-automated sailing systems that will avoid the need for any human contact with load-bearing sheets. 

Mckeon acknowledges that there were some challenges in meeting the design brief, one of which was incorporating the required amount of glass in the structure. However, this was easier to facilitate due to some classification societies opening up to the use of glass as a structural material. In addition, keeping a yacht of that size looking low and sleek is unprecedented.

If the build goes ahead, this project will be certain to cause a stir in the sailing yacht sector. “The new-build sailing yacht market has taken a dive over recent years and it would be a real boost in new-build confidence to show that there are clients out there that want to build something more extreme,” concludes Mckeon.

The Superyacht Forum, taking place from 13 to 16 November in Amsterdam, will include compelling design-focused discussions. To find out more and secure your place, click here.

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