The R31 was originally proposed as a step up from the R8 One Design but with the important addition of full standing headroom.

Like the R8, it shares a very clean, light displacement hull form with a high righting moment deep bulb keel. The moderate rig has twin swept full width spreaders and non-overlapping headsails. An asymmetric reaching or cruising spinnaker is carried on the short retracting bowsprit whilst the running spinnaker is set on a normal pole.

The feature that has caused most interest in the R31 so far is the cockpit. It combines coamings, comfortable back rests and full length seats with a large open area aft. The cockpit continues forward into the coachroof, giving a safe and comfortable area to operate the halyard/spinnaker sheet winches. This cockpit seat configuration also increases the useful space available over the berths aft.

The interior arrangement has been kept purposefully simple and open. A number of options are available. As the first boat of this series is to be based in the tropics, the area aft, which normally accommodates double berths port and starboard, has been kept open. For all the advantages of a lifting keel arrangement, there is the usual predicament of the keel case slap in the middle of the saloon. This has been simply overcome by locating the horseshoe shaped saloon area forward. The galley and chart table are located amidships, where not only is the motion underway less pronounced, but the crew can also use the keel case for support whilst working in these areas.

The R31 is being built with either a lifting or fixed keel. As the original concept was for a yacht that could be easily transported over to Hamilton Island and the east coast regattas, either option allows easy trailing possibilities.