Over the last two months as the weather in the Northern Hemisphere has warmed we have been conducting sail trials on the brand new mxNext. The boat, with its unique swept back wave-piercing bow and sculpted hiking wings is different and quite revolutionary for a small, single-handed skiff. After months of designing and even longer building it was finally time to splash the boat. Computer modeling is one thing; the real environment is quite another and so it was with some tingling anticipation that we set about putting the boat through it’s paces.
The initial trials were in relatively light winds and flat water and the boat sailed pretty much as expected. It’s light, carries a pile of sail area and is very narrow on the waterline so we expected the boat to be quick, and it was. As most of the test pilots agreed, mxNext is quite athletic to sail but once you get the hang of things it handles just like any other boat – only much faster. They, along with ourselves, wondered how well it would handle in a breeze and this past Sunday in Marblehead harbor we finally got our chance.
After three days of a late spring heat wave the land was warm and with an approaching squall line the sea breeze started to pipe up. We tapped our best pilot, Bill Lynn and he arrived enthused. The white caps at the harbor mouth were much to his liking.
For a couple of exhilarating hours Bill blasted back and forth across Marblehead harbor, the boat at times almost out of the water as it flew off the tops of waves and at other times half buried as the bow dug into the wave ahead only to have the bouyancy of the wave piercing bow kick in and raise it up again. The interesting thing was that while there was a lot of spray flying Bill remained out of the firing line. The hiking wings allowed him to sit far from the centerline and most of the water was deflected off the sculpted hull and away to leeward. Top speeds? Hard to tell be cause no one had a GPS but 15 knots would be conservative.
So what did Bill Lynn think about the mxNext? 'This was my second time sailing the mxNext. Pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of breeze, but just as cool. It’s a handful in 25-30 knots, but it delivers some pretty awesome rides and the shape of the bow seems to work as Vlad advertised. I definitely stuffed it a bunch of times, but it pops right back out and keeps going. It’s a really innovative little rocket with a bright future.'