I´ve recently read a facebook post by Bulgarian skipper Chavdar Alexandrov, noticeably excited and proud: He announced no less than the launch of his new sailboat. This is nothing special, especially on facebook, you may think, but in this case it was indeed. At least for me: Chavdar, lucky guy, brought a MAT 1220 to the water, which, being a MAT-fanboy myself, was quite some news for me. You may have read my previous articles about the Mark Mills-designed boats and the absolutely amazing impression I got when I visited the shipyard in Izmir, so I thought: “Let´s ask this guy how it feels!”

The finished MAT 1220 in the shipyard

Chavdar is a sailor to the bone, being second in the Kite Surf World Championships and on the water since he was five years old. Not a big deal for a kid growing up with a father being a sailing coach, being pushed into competitive sailing as a youngster. Chavdar won many first places in Optimist and rocked the waves until he was 21 as an active surfer. Grown up, making his way in business, he had to abstain from sailing for too long, he says, until he just recently decided to return to sailing: “I love formula kite surfing and also race-sailing.”, he says. “I think that this sport is so unique, so dynamic as it requires quick decisions and gives a lot of adrenaline. Well, simply: I just love it!”

Decision to go for a MAT sailing boat

Lars Reisberg | NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “I´ve noticed you on facebook posting a video of your brand new MAT 1220 – for a start, tell us how you discovered this small Turkish shipyard.”

Chavdar Alexandrov: “For now I used to sail my Landmark 43 which I keep in Dubai. I am very happy with this boat and enjoy the fun of sailing her fast. The designer of this boat is Mark Mills and since I decided to look out for a new boat I checked out his work and which new boats designed by Mark are out there available in the 40 feet-range. This is essentially how I found the MAT 1220. I made contact with the shipyard, which by the way was a very, very friendly call, to find out more details. Being fortunate to speak with Alp Somer, the boss of MAT. After our conversation I had full confidence in him and knew that they would be happy to build the perfect boat for me.

Everything fitted and ready for the water

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Did you had other brands and boats in your focus when you decided to get a sailboat? Which had those been?”

Chavdar Alexandrov: “To be honest, I also looked very closely on to the JPK 1180, which I found very intriguing as well. Right at that moment I had already ordered the MAT 1220 and … well, I decided to just get both boats. (laughs) I don´t consider the MAT 1220 inferior to it in any way and I am highly excited to compare both boats.”

A short trip to the Med coast

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Why did you decide to buy the MAT 1220 in the end? What have been the major reasons to trust in the work of Alp Somer´s crew?”

Chavdar Alexandrov: “You see, Lars, when I do business, I work with a lot of different people and I think I have the ability to evaluate correctly what a person’s qualities are and what quality of their work I can to expect. The MAT shipyard carried out their work absolutely professionally and to a high standard from the consultation on the boat to its construction. My expectations in this case were fully justified. Think about it: After just three months my boat was finished and ready to being shipped! Everything was executed perfectly down to the smallest detail. I think this speaks for itself.”

The best of all shots …

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “Having received the new boat now, what would you say is special about your boat? Does it feature any custom things made just for you? What do you like most about MAT and your 1220?”

Chavdar Alexandrov: “Well, to begin with: The whole boat is special for me. I wished to have the B&G chart plotters for monitoring placed just in front of  the helmsman, for example. Just to name one specialty. Sailing wise, the boat is very stable. She handles extremely well, even in very strong winds and generally in adverse weather conditions. Her upwind speed is excellent and I find her downwind sailing capabilities just amazing. This is a great combination. With 24 knots of wind we already brought her up to 22 knots of speed. Isn´t that amazing?! The fun part is that I have yet to discover the full potential of the boat.”

Ready to rumble!

NO FRILLS SAILING.com: “How was it like to receive the boat? Did you get it in Izmir? Tell us more about your first impressions and the first time you sailed the boat yourself?”

Chavdar Alexandrov: “Yes, I received the boat ready to be sailed in the water in June 2023 in Cesme, which is not far from the MAT shipyard. She was ready and fully “armed”. We went out with guys from the yard for a long and intensive sea trial and it was just pure bliss. I had ordered the boat completed with all sails, all ropes and the full set of her rigging. She absolutely lives up to my expectations and I was impressed with the boat. Much more impressed, by the way, with Alp Somer and his dedicated team. The high level of service they offered is one of a kind, seriously!”

All the best to Chavdar & crew!

Thanks so much, Chavdar, for this intimate insight into your first impressions with the new boat. I see you have already completed the first real races and managed to sail her hard in the competition. Wishing you, your crew and the boat all the best for the upcoming regattas! I can quite feel his excitement as I know from my own experience how it feels to freshly sail a brand new boat – so let´s cast the lines, hoist the sails, have fun, guys! (And let me know, how the new JPK feels in comparison …)


You may also like to check out these relating articles:

Turkish delight: MAT racing yachts

Mark Mills on his new MAT-rocket

Mouthwatering: A trip to the MAT shipyard in Izmir