Harnessing the inherent speed in a high tech carbon lightweight trimaran design while still having a great and surprisingly spacious cruising boat is the secret of *Rapido Trimarans’ success, reports KEVIN GREEN for Multihulls World Australia in its September / October 2021 issue. (Photo of Rapido 60, Romanza, Deb Williams, SSANZ.)
Click to download the original article in pdf format, Harnessing the Wind, Kevin Green, Australian Multihulls World magazine, September / October 2021
Below is an edited extract of the 6 page feature which has been reproduced on the Rapido Trimarans' website, in full, with the permission of the author.
*NOTE, Triac Composites is the exclusive builder of the entire range of Rapido Trimarans.
Years ago at the start of his new project of building larger cruising trimarans, I met and talked with Rapido co-owner, Paul Koch. It was an interesting conversation, without hyperbole and very factual. It was a very no-nonsense Australian style approach, in fact.
“The whole Rapido trimaran concept came about because we felt the world needed a larger, more roomy, cruising trimaran with good living space that delivered great performance,” he said.
Since then, Koch and his business partner, Richard Eyre have launched the Rapido 60, 50 and very soon the keenly awaited Rapido 40.
During the years I watched the steady development of what is one of the few cruiser-racer trimaran designs and even recall racing against Rapido 60 Hull #01 at the King’s Cup in Thailand, in 2016.
For keen sailors who want performance, the R60 overtook the TP52 fleet on a hard beat clocking 16 knots speed. The four crew were relaxing on the nets while the 16-person crew on the TP52 were on the rail! In another race, an IRC 1 monohull tried to luff the R60 up and failed. So the pointing abilities of the R60 is right up there with racing monohulls.
There are some good reasons to consider a trimaran, especially for those looking to combine the best sailing features of a monohull with the stability of a catamaran. While maintaining complete control, trimarans can also offer exhilarating performance.
Trimarans are the fastest, safest, offshore boats as can be seen with the massive French 105ft Ultimes that has kept the Jules Verne (round-the-world) Trophy in its possession due to record breaking speeds. My assignments have taken me on some of these beauties, including one of the newest, the Ultime Sodebo, several ORMA 60s and a crazily powerful MOD70 that I enjoyed for a race at Hamilton Island Race Week.
Video above: Rapido 60, Romanza at Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia, 2018.
For mere mortals like me, it’s more the humbler boats that I have really enjoyed sailing, such as the versatile Dragonflys, spacious Neels, nimble Corsairs and classic Farriers. Now Rapido ups the competition considerably with these high tech carbon beauties.
Despite their vast differences, what they all share is a performance efficiency which rewards the discerning and, I hasten to add, the experienced sailor. For example, I’ve buried the ama of small Corsair, which was fairly alarming, but can’t imagine the mayhem if I did this on a 60 foot Rapido offshore at high speed (polars show it doing at least half the true wind speed in lower ranges and a figure of 25kts at 20kts of true wind)!
However, thanks to the meticulous design of Morrelli & Melvin, the boat is actually very forgiving according to owners. The massive buoyancy of the amas and righting moment of the Rapido models has been built into the design and is an example of Morrelli and Melvin’s application of the latest technology which sets Rapido apart as a very safe, stable, boat.
Video above: Rapido Trimarans' co founder, Paul Koch talks safety.
Safety, in fact, is a driving factor in Rapido and the carbon foam sandwich construction combined with many watertight bulkheads in the amas and main hull (even the engine compartment is enclosed with watertight bulkheads fore and aft) is such that the boats are virtually impossible to sink.
The Rapido offers performance with incredible stability and is a safe way to cross oceans and for fast passage making. The inherent stability of a trimaran with its nearly square design and weight centred in the middle creates a monohull-style sailing experience with multihull stability.