You may very well remember my article on the M.A.T. 10.70 (read it here if not) and my excitement of “having found” this awesome Turkish brand and boat builder offering a palette of 7 thoroughbred racing boats. I named that article “Turkish delight” and the small 10.70 is still a very attractive racing boat for sure, with a 10.70 making it to third place in IRC Class 1 of the Coupe Napoleon only recently in October.

MAT yard in Izmir/Turkey: 28 years of boat building

M.A.T. is far from being a start up or a newbie in the business. This small brand may not be on your list but the Turkish-made boats are very well known in the IRC and ORC racing scene. The guys in Izmir are making boats for 28 years now and that´s something even bigger names in the business can´t state for their brands. Just recently M.A.T. announced a new flagship – the 13.40 – and I was eager to at least feature a teaser on that new rocket here in my magazine. Looking at Mark Mills´ awesome design, this boat is for sure far from being just a sweet “Turkish delight”, it may very well be a “Turkish Devil” – a sailing Dervish. Let´s talk to Alp Somer, one of the two brothers behind that awesome brand.

Clear, sexy, racy lines: A true Mills

Lars Reisberg | NO FRILLS “Alp, first of all I hope all is well and your family, the team and friends are up and safe after the horrific earthquake …”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “Thank you, Lars. Yes, that was awful and we´ve had crazy times since. But our people are fine and luckily the yard hasn´t been affected too much. Thank you.”

NO FRILLS “Let´s talk about boats – the best medicine to dream oneself away from the struggle of everyday´s life. What a great news to read from your new flagship, congratulations! Can you tell me how & when this project started? What is the story behind the new 13.40?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “Yeah, right. The idea to make a 44ft boat originally came from a happy MAT 12.45 customer in Australia. These guys have expressed their desire for a new, larger offshore/inshore racing boat. They also wished for designer Mark Mills and wanted to have it built by MAT. You may know that the MAT 12.45 is very famous amongst racing fans in a wide variety of race types, say, from Sydney-Hobart offshore adventure to twilight races.  She boasts a very successful blend of great race results with comfortable accommodation. So thought about it and finally decided to bring the concept to a whole new level with a contemporary styling.”

Excessive CFD-rendering by Mills Design

NO FRILLS “Reading the concept of the boat, it is stated that MAT is trying to offer a true racer in 44 feet because the IRC rating for smaller boats are underperforming for a good rating, bigger boats, like the TP52 are rated low for high performance: Can you dive a bit deeper into this topic?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “Well, this is because the size of this crossover between an emphasis on rating and an emphasis on performance was not clear. Here is why we commissioned Mills Design to look into this question. Although they originally had preferred an aggressively light deep bulb-keeled boat like a smaller TP 52, it became clear in their studies that focusing on rating still gave the best outcome under IRC-rules. When you combine this trend with the additional factors that make this style of design attractive to buyers such as lower cost, less pressure on crew numbers especially offshore, and the ORC rating, it was clear that this is an attractive solution.”

NO FRILLS “Who in general is (or will be) buying the new MAT 13.40?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “The new MAT 13.40 is advertised as a racer/cruiser with an emphasis on versatility: I found it most interesting that this boat is offered with a single and double rudder configuration. See, for a sailing team or crew focused on inshore racing, windward/leeward or triangular courses the single rudder is preferred, producing more lift to assist windward performance. On the other hand, for teams racing offshore where reaching, especially in a breeze, will be more common, the added grip of the twin rudders allows the boat to be driven harder. So I would say we have not just a very powerful boat here but also a boat which can be ordered specifically for the preferred type of racing. That makes her attractive to even more sailing clubs and racing teams worldwide.”

The standard configuration interior layout: Unusual but fitting

NO FRILLS “Can you tell the story behind your collaboration with Mark Mills? Why him?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “We started working with Mark back in the year 2005. The idea was to build a 40 feett IRC racing yacht for our market – meaning the racing scene right here in Turkey. He was clearly an expert for the IRC rules at the date. My partner and I, we are both architects, and Mark’s design taste with strong, clean lines suited ours very well. The decision was made very quickly after few meetings: Mark is not only a successful designer but also a very serious professional, a partner agreeable to work with. Over the years we have built three models together and now the 13.40 project will be our fourth, which is very exciting for us all.”

NO FRILLS “Looking at the layout I noticed – for a cruiser – a rather unusual setup inside: Large saloon with facing settees, no dinner table (?) and bathroom/galley well forward: Clearly a decision in favor of racing crews. What are the cruising amenities this boat can offer?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “MAT 13.40 is a true dual purpose boat. We are sure that the comfort level of the boat will not be disappointing. Her interior layout with a standing height of close to 2 meters, enclosed head, numerous hatches and portholes to bring natural daylight and fresh air and the minimalist harmony of composite and wooden surfaces. There is no doubt that the differently arranged interior layout will bring a new breath and the spaciousness that will be felt as soon as you go down will be impressive. MAT 13.40 can be converted from a fully equipped family boat with 3 double cabins to a racing boat with bunk beds on which the crowded racing team can sleep. As with all other models from MAT, we care about a dry boat rather than controls hidden under the deck. These features make MAT boats attractive for both offshore races and family trips.”

A fast, versatile hull by Mills for sure: MAT 13.40

NO FRILLS “Pogo Structures just came up with a new 44 feet boat, clearly focused on fast cruising without sticking to any box rule. Where would you say are the main strong areas of the new MAT 13.40 sailing-wise? Where do you expect to see this boat winning/racing on the front end of the pack?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “The goal for the boat is to offer fast exciting sailing with a very competitive handicap. Its strengths are deliberately very evenly spread across the range of wind speeds and angles to make it attractive to the widest market,  its capable upwind but with a powerful hull shape it’s also very much at home offwind.”

The new, flat, fast sexy MAT 13.40

NO FRILLS “Last not least, Alp, how are sales going on, especially in view of the current Covid-19 crises and additionally the – let´s call it – politically motivated reluctance towards Turkish products?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “In the early days of Covid 19 restrictions, we had orders to deliver to Europe, and despite the difficulties, we fulfilled our commitments.  As time progressed, although we felt the negative effects of the epidemic like most companies, we considered ourselves lucky due to the strong structure of our company. Instead of retreating to our shell, we decided to develop our new model and put it into production during the Covid 19 crisis. On the other hand, I don’t think sane people will be adversely affected by the temporary friction of politicians and they will be unwilling to our products. We, the Aegean people, who live together with the lovely people of the neighboring Greek Islands, do not pay attention to such rumors.”

NO FRILLS “That is one very important answer here, Alp. I love to hear that! When can we expect to the first boat in the water and vice versa, when will the first owner-boats hit the water? If taking place, will MAT be presenting boat/boats during BOOT Duesseldorf in late January this year?”

Alp Somer | M.A.T. Yachts: “Difficult to plan these days. But together with the design, R&D, tooling, it takes around eleven months for a model to hit the water. So you´d expect to see the first boat in late Summer next year in the water. Regarding boat shows, well, MAT is not participating boat shows at all as we do not think that race boat customers are looking for boats at shows at these occasions. People interested in acquiring a MAT can visit the boats at the races or here in Izmir at our place. We´d love to welcome sailors here.”


You´d love to read these articles too, maybe:

MAT 10.40 is a real Turkish delight

Mark Mills on designing powerful boats

Italia Yachts 9.98 – a yard tour with Matteo Polli