Final Four Make Lasting Impression
NEWPORT, R.I. (July 5, 2015) – With 2,800 miles to sail and just two boats on the starting line, a conservative start would seem like the smart play. But for the 63-foot trimaran Paradox, owned by Peter Aschenbrenner and skippered by Jeff Mearing, the start of the multihull class in the Transatlantic Race 2015 offered up a wondrous opportunity to throw a little mud in the eye of Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3, the 70-foot MOD 70 trimaran that is the odds-on favorite to take overall line honors in the race. It was too good to pass up, no matter what the overall risk-reward analysis might say.
The starboard end of the starting line was heavily favored due to the straight shot it provided out the channel, so both boats set up off the Jamestown shore for a long timed run on starboard tack. Paradox led into the starting area off the Castle Hill Lighthouse and, with both boats a few seconds late, seemed to be content to cross the line with a slight lead. At the last second, however, Aschenbrenner hardened up and cut off the path of the hard-charging Phaedo3, forcing the larger boat to spin head to wind on the wrong side of the starting line and turn an achingly slow 360, before setting off in pursuit of its rival.
For a race of this extreme distance, such an advantage at the outset means little. To wit, by 3:30 p.m., 90 minutes into the race, Phaedo3 had rolled over the top of Paradox and was scorching south of Martha’s Vineyard on an east-southeast heading at 30 knots. Paradox wasn’t exactly plodding along, hitting over 22 knots according to the tracker, but was quickly losing touch with the competition. Hopefully the early win helped ease the pain of watching Phaedo3 disappear over the horizon.
A boat that did a fine job of hanging on to Rambler 88, finishing just four hours after her on the water, was another of the final four starters, Peter Aschenbrenner’s 66ft Irens-Cabaret designed trimaran, Paradox. She is unusual in being ostensibly a fully-fledged racer, like Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo³, but down below hides a proper owner’s cabin, a refrigerator, running hot water and even the ultimate luxury of a flushing toilet. And yet this ultimate racer cruiser is capable of daily runs which only a couple of decades ago would have made her the world’s fastest offshore race boat.
Sailing on board was the world’s fastest sailor, Australian SailRocket 2 skipper Paul Larsen, who described the ride: “It was just a classic transatlantic multihull blast – everything was just saturated and everyone was still in the same underpants they started off in, eyes were raw, beds were getting wetter and wetter until you’re just sleeping in your foul weather gear. It was fantastic!”
The fastest part of their voyage was reaching under masthead genniker along the southern side of Point Alpha, the ice exclusion zone, with the boat sitting on 30 knots. “The top mast was bending and everything was loaded up,” Larsen recalled. “We raced it really hard and she just took it. We certainly weren’t treating it like a cruising boat”
Aside from this, one of the highlights of the trip was the start in Newport, when Paradox luffed her three-hulled rival Phaedo³ into irons, which Larsen admitted gave them a warm feeling for the remainder of the voyage.
Rather than sail all the way to the Solent, the exhausted and sodden crew chose to put into Dartmouth last night to regroup and get warm and dry.
Transatlatic race was great conditions for Paradox. We pushed her hard and she took every bit. The boat was super fast with the foil, bow sprit and bigger Genaker. The downwind VMG angles where great in these 20-25kt winds. We were downwind most of the race sailing at between 20 and 30kts in the surf, reaching at 30kts along the exclusion zone was probably the most fun part of the race.