A little trimaran has edged past the monohulls of the Shetland RB&I but with some scary incidents

Here’s a sign of the times. It has taken over 1,000 miles of the Shetland Round Britain & Ireland Race for a multihull to overtake the Class 40 monohulls. That point came two days ago when Will Claxon and Matt Gill (pictured below, Will on the left) edged ahead of the fleet round the north of Scotland in their 32ft trimaran Paradox.


 Will and Matt


Will and Matt arrived in Lerwick, Shetland, this morning looking absolutely sandblasted. This is a very wet boat.

Their fortitude paid off, though. The pair were 60 miles ahead of the next chasing Class 40, Alex Bennett and Malcolm Dickinson in Fujifilm.

Paradox covered the 450 miles from Barra in 55 hours which is pretty good if you consider that it was a fairly light winds downwind leg that included a spell being becalmed.

But Will and Matt have had Paradox humming along at 22-23 knots at times on this race and have had a couple of fairly close calls. They confess that they sail with “loads of aggression” and on the windy downwind run from Plymouth to Kinsale they buried all three bows up to the forehatch. “It was a very dicey moment,” admits Matt.

On the way to Barra came a near cartwheel when the lee bow buried and the other two almost vaulted it. The laconic Matt Gill says they “managed to flick it up with the tiller.” They have, “been sailing a bit naughty really, but it’s our only hope.”

The pair bought Paradox as an insurance write-off and rebuilt her. She had been T-boned at the start of the Fastnet Race, a collision that tore right through the port float and impacted on the main hull. Will and Matt are both boatbuilders from Falmouth and have added carbon foils, a carbon mast that was a factory reject and a carbon boom.

But the rest of the boat is polyester glass and aluminium and one of her special characteristics is that she’s hugely flexible. To stop the mast panting, they’ve rigging up bungee shock absorbers on the shrouds (see below).

Paradox shroud


The little bundle on the bow (below) is/was a huge spinnaker wrap. It happened as they rounded Muckle Flugga, the northernmost point of the race, and after two hours’ wrestling Matt and Will managed to get it down the headstay. As they were heading upwind they just bound it all up with gaffer tape, swaddled it in a bin bag and left it where it was.


 Paradox bow

That’s a pity, because I’d like to have seen them arrive with it flying. It carries the business name of one of their sponsors, who paid for their drysuits. It’s emblazoned with the website address www.vasectomyreversals.co.uk and has graphics of sperm.