Paradox: a Modified ORMA 60 - Sail Magazine

Paradox: a Modified ORMA 60

Peter Aschenbrenner has been fascinated by high performance trimarans since the mid-1970s. He not only has watched the breed evolve, but has also made three attempts to build a dream boat of his own—a fast cruiser that could sail the oceans with complete autonomy.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Photo courtesy of Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Photo courtesy of Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Peter Aschenbrenner has been fascinated by high performance trimarans since the mid-1970s. He not only has watched the breed evolve, but has also made three attempts to build a dream boat of his own—a fast cruiser that could sail the oceans with complete autonomy.

His first project, with John Shuttleworth in the early ‘80s, was called off so he could get married and buy a house. The second attempt, with a Nigel Irens Class 50, was aborted when the company he worked for went bankrupt. The third try, though, was a charm, and Paradox was launched in the spring of 2010.

No holds barred

Designed by Nigel Irens and Benoit Cabaret, Paradox was built by Marsaudon Composites in Lorient, France, out of resin-infused carbon and foam laid up in female molds originally built for the legendary ORMA 60s Fujifilm and Banque Populaire. Although much less extreme than her ORMA cousins, Paradox is still a blindingly fast boat that can cruise comfortably at sustained speeds of over 20 knots, touching 30 knots when sailing flat-out.

The name Paradox refers to the inherent contradiction of building a cruising boat on an ORMA platform—not unlike building a recreational vehicle on an F1 chassis. Irens/Cabaret, who were one of two dominant naval architecture firms during the heyday of the ORMA class, applied much of the basic ORMA technology to the design of Paradox, but in a significantly detuned format.

With an all-up weight of about eight tons, Paradox is two tons heavier than a typical ORMA 60, due to several factors, including resin-infused construction versus pre-preg; more volume in the main hull for accommodations; and a host of cruising gear, such as a much bigger engine, dual battery banks, electric winches and a hydraulic mainsheet, an auto-deploying anchor with 120 feet of chain on an electric windlass, hot water heater, shower, refrigerator, a proper stove, and an electric head and holding tank.

One of the boat’s two outboard helm stations. Photo by Peter Aschenbrenner

One of the boat’s two outboard helm stations. Photo by Peter Aschenbrenner

In light of this heavier platform, Irens and Cabaret reduced Paradox’s beam from 60 feet—typical for most late-generation ORMA designs—to 48 feet, which still gives the boat an extremely healthy righting moment. Needless to say, she is exceptionally stable, but also can generate immense power when Peter chooses to “let loose the beast,” as he puts it.

Irens and Cabaret also gave Paradox a significantly smaller rig, with a mast about 18 feet shorter than that of an ORMA 60, and she flies her gennaker from the bow instead of at the end of a 6-foot bowsprit. As a result, Peter can carry full sail in true wind speeds of 20 knots or more. The boat’s 75-foot carbon wing-mast rotates up to 45 degrees to each side, providing an aerodynamically efficient leading edge for the mainsail. Running backstays are used only to stabilize the mast when reefed in heavy conditions.

Paradox has three working headsails: a Solent jib and staysail, which are permanently mounted on furlers, and a storm jib. The mainsail has three reef points, with all lines and the mainsail halyard leading aft, so that taking in or shaking out a reef is mostly done from the safety of the cockpit using the electric winches. The sailplan is designed so that successively smaller headsails are used with each mainsail reef position, thereby ensuring the center of effort stays just above the daggerboard. This way Paradox can throttle back while retaining a balanced helm even in very strong winds.

The French sailmaker Incidences built all the working canvas using Spectra reinforced D4 fabric. Paradox also carries three large specialty headsails that are tacked out to the end of the bow. These include a Cuben fiber gennaker used at a true wind angle of greater than 110 degrees, and a large asymmetric spinnaker and a Code 0 “blade” for use in light air.

Systems

Paradox has two independent electrical systems: a 24-volt system for high-power traction loads (winches, anchor windlass and mainsheet hydraulics) and a 12-volt system for navigation and house loads, including lights, a watermaker and a refrigerator. There is also an inverter to power AC loads. The 24-volt system is charged by a dedicated high-capacity alternator on the engine or via a 12-24 volt DC/DC converter from the 12-volt battery bank.

Paradox’s solar arrays are just one of the “green” power sources on board. Photo by Peter Aschenbrenner

Paradox’s solar arrays are just one of the “green” power sources on board. Photo by Peter Aschenbrenner

To save weight, Paradox has small-capacity batteries making up its banks, but a variety of charging systems, including 900 watts of high-efficiency solar panels, a methanol fuel cell delivering 10 amps (used mainly at night), and a Watt & Sea hydro-generator delivering 40 amps of charging current when sailing above 10 knots. This diversified system allows Paradox to make extended ocean passages without ever running the engine.

On an ORMA 60, it can take two men 10 minutes or more to grind up the mainsail using a pedestal winch, but a quartet of three-speed electric winches makes sailhandling aboard Paradox a breeze. A hydraulic cylinder hung under the boom and driven by an electric pump aft handles mainsheet loads.

Paradox has four tillers: one on each side of the cockpit for use at night or in heavy weather, and one each at the port and starboard outboard helm stations. The tillers are linked, both to one another and the main rudder, via a system of carbon rods inside the crossbeam. Quadrants under the outboard tillers are connected to rudders on the amas via a push/pull cable system.

A forward-facing bucket seat and footrest at each outboard helm position not only provides exceptionally comfortable seating, but allows the helmsman unobstructed views both forward and of the entire sailplan. There are push buttons at each of the four steering stations for controlling the mainsheet, and the double-ended traveller can be adjusted either from inside the cockpit or using winches mounted next to the two outboard helm stations.

Accommodations

Peter’s philosophy regarding accommodations can be summed up as “all of the essentials, no frills.” With this in mind, Paradox’s interior features amenities such as standing headroom in the saloon, an enclosed head, a proper galley with refrigerator, a stove and dual sinks, a folding dinette table that seats six comfortably, six berths (two doubles and two singles) and a shower.

Beyond that, however, the aesthetics are pure performance, with carbon fiber in all structures—including the aforementioned table and its supports—and a complete absence of any kind of wood trim.

The result might not be everybody’s cup of tea. But the clean, stark lines are perfectly in keeping with the look topsides, and it certainly does contribute to the boat’s speed.

Paradox covers a lot of miles when cruising. Our typical daily runs are between 300 and 350 miles, so I can take a couple of weeks off work, do an Atlantic passage and still enjoy a few days of island hopping when we arrive,” Aschenbrenner says.

“I enjoy racing occasionally,” he adds, “as it provides a good excuse to push the boat to its limits, but I am also perfectly happy sailing by myself or with friends. Paradox is such a blast to sail—she is super responsive, particularly at 20 knots of boat speed or above. Just like a dinghy, you can put the boat exactly where you want to. Reaching downwind at speed in big waves is like skiing the moguls, lots of fun.”

Hard to argue with aesthetics like that!

Related

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozen of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more

180612-01 Landing lead

Painful Sailing in Volvo Leg 10

It’s looking to be a case of feast or famine for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean fleet as it continues the epic struggle that has been Leg 10, with it having been all famine thus far. Painful is the only word to describe the light-air start in Cardiff, Wales, on June 10, as the 11-boat ...read more

01-13_07_180304_JRE_03695_4605

Tips From the Boatyard

Within the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard sits a communal sail loft which provides service and repairs for all seven teams sailing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. The sail loft employs only five sailmakers who look after 56 sails in each stopover. If you’re thinking, “wow, these ...read more

sailCarwBasicsJuly18

Sail Care for Cruisers

Taking care of your canvas doesn’t just save you money, it’s central to good seamanship  Knowing how to take care of your sails and how to repair them while at sea is an important part of overall seamanship. The last thing any sailor needs is to get caught on a lee shore with ...read more

Ship-container-2048

The Danger of a Collision Offshore

This almost happened to me once. I was sailing singlehanded between Bermuda and St. Martin one fall, and one night happened to be on deck looking around at just the right time. The moon was out, the sky was clear and visibility was good. Still, when I thought I saw a large ...read more