Rapide 41

2023 November 1

Retro style but modern performance are the trademarks of this new cruiser

It’s exciting to see Mark Mills step away from his ultra-high-performance sportboats and show us what he can do when asked for a custom 41-foot cruising boat. The client asked for a fast cruiser that he and his wife could handle. I’ve been looking at this boat for a week and there is nothing I don’t like about it. I’ve looked hard but I don’t see anything I’d change. Mark did an internship with me years ago and has gone on to be at the top of the game with boats like the Cape 31 and MATT1220.

Mark did a series of studies to try different approaches to combine performance with the “retro” look. They all looked good but he chose the one that had the longest DWL. I like that. This is a spectacular looking boat. Look at that quite flat and very subtle sheer spring, which is echoed but not copied by the cove stripe. The cove stripe is slightly flatter than the sheer. Then there is the bootstripe. Note how it is not just a straight line parallel to the DWL. There is a tiny amount of spring to the bootstripe and it’s higher at the bow by 3.5 inches. These are just cosmetic touches but they highlight the shape of the boat without fighting the hull shape. 

The D/L is 118.81 and the L/B is 3.48. The draft is 10.38 with a lifting, T configuration fin and bulb. There is a single rudder. The sectional shape of the hull is zero deadrise amidships, U-shaped sections in the bow and about 4 degrees of deadrise at the transom. The topsides are almost slabbish. This is a gorgeous hull.

The interior layout is very simple and reminds me of my own 41-footer Amati. There is a double berth forward with hanging lockers port and starboard. Aft of this and divided by the lifting keel trunk is the galley to starboard and the head to port. The main cabin has settee berths port and starboard with quarter berths aft. Headroom is good up to the mast. I don’t see any provision for a dining table but that is easy to add.

The deck plan shows a big cockpit with full width helm seat and a really big wheel. The big wheel allows the driver to sit on the cockpit coaming and reach the wheel comfortably. I like a big wheel. Primary winches are in easy reach of the wheel. There is a cockpit table. The structural demands of the keel trunk do not allow for an additional hatch over the main cabin. I love the tight and tidy cabintrunk. Its simple shape is perfect. It’s good when a designer knows when to stop designing. Side decks are broad. There is a flop down section of the transom that makes a large boarding or swim platform. This is a very good looking boat.

Most mom and pop cruising boats don’t have SA/Ds of 29.82. But the Rapide 41 does and this means that in light air you will do just fine without any overlapping headsails. The asymmetrical chute almost doubles the sail area and is flown from a retractable sprit. If you look carefully you can see Benson bars on the boom. These port and starboard racks, called haystacks in Europe, are excellent handholds when you are working on the cabinhouse top. They also allow you to lead the lazy jacks outboard so the headboard of the main does not catch on the lazy jacks when hoisting. I have put Benson bars on a number of my designs.

The Rapide 41 renews my faith in the future of yacht design . Mark Mills gives us a totally modern design that pays tribute to the classic yachts of the past. This is a boat I would very much like to sail.

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $950,000

Mills Design, Ltd.


Vortec Marine