-Mistral has already delivered beyond your expectations just on Season 1 right?!

Probably not beyond my expectations as I was pretty sure the boat would be fast, however as a small boat, the IRC handicaps have to be right, and you don’t really know that for sure until you sail…so yes, I am very happy.

– You built Mistral in your own shed in Coffs Harbour, what where the main challenges you faced?

I have a very good set-up here at Offshore Sails in Coffs Harbour, the sail loft being upstairs and the boat building shed downstairs. The main challenge is to keep the dust out of the shed…otherwise no real complications. I built the boat over a male mould upside down, and to turn it over we had to pull it outside and turn it, which was a bit scary!

-How do you plan deck gear when building on your own? Rig, furlers, deck hardware etc…

The boat came with deck gear set up, however I did change a fair bit in the end, as we ended up custom making several parts. For the Code 0 we went with a Facnor FX+ furler. The rest of the set up is very minimalist, simple, light and efficient, that is the way I like it.

-How did you approach sails design? And how did you balance between the appeal of sailing faster and minimizing rating penalties?

During the design process I was on holidays in France. I had been looking for a few options and then stumbled upon the Lombard 34, which shows great results in the Fastnet, however for an IRC boat it looked pretty radical so this is what attracted me. I put a lot of effort into the sail design, size, as well as number of sails on board, but my obsession of making things light and fast was sometimes doomed by the ratings!

-Marc Lombard designs are quite unusual for the Australian market, what has feedback been so far?

Lombard Design? Europe has been working on IRC designs for many decades, and as much as I always preach to buy local I could not find exactly what I wanted here in Australia.

– Mistral is already on the market – why so soon?

Yes, Mistral is on the market! After building 11 boats, I learned that you have to sell them while they’re still hot! And new.

-Is Mistral a good boat for the double-handed racing ahead of the 75th Sydney to Hobart race at the end of the year?

Mistral will be perfect for next year’s double handed Sydney to Hobart race. She is so stiff you don’t need a football team on the tail! But for now I have entered this year’s 75th edition of the race, and I am very excited about it. Blow Mistral…!