Friday, September 19, 2014

Why Build a 'Paradox'?

Just imagine you are lounging in a comfortable bed while trillions of stars twinkle in the night sky above. You are, in fact, sailing Paradox as she glides over a glassy sea. She's being propelled by an almost imperceptible zephyr. You sip a coffee and replace your mug on its purpose-built gimballed tray. From within the cocoon of your immensely strong, compact ply and glass boat, you scan the horizon through 360 degrees - an easy task that can be done without moving from your bed, since you can conveniently see all around through the toughened Perspex cabin windows. There's no sign of life, apart from the triple loom of the lighthouse which you observed half-an-hour before, the one that matches the waypoint programmed into your GPS. This marvellous navigational aid is conveniently set at eye level, being attached to the window on the port side by its vacuum sucker, and, like the echo sounder, the light for the grid compass and the Ipaq PDA, it is powered from the mains battery, which, during daylight is charged by an efficient solar panel. A chart is spread on the transverse table above your lap, and routinely every hour you mark your position as determined by the GPS. The red LED lamp that's plugged into a cigar lighter, illuminates the chart. There's only another 12 miles to go, but at 2 knots you'll not arrive before daybreak. Comforted by this fact, you relax and enjoy the only audible sound, a satisfying musical gurgling from the stem as it cleaves the water, while astern there's a magical phosphorescent wake resembling millions of sparks showering from a Guy Fawkes rocket. Paradox holds her course for many minutes at a time; only now and then does your hand rest on the steering line to make the slightest tweak to realign the luminous North pointing arrow of the compass so that it is central to the grid.

As you look around your boat that you so carefully built according to the wonderfully detailed drawings of Matt Layden, you realize your deep contentment cannot be measured; no other yacht, no matter how expensive, luxurious or prestigious could bring such joy. When the going gets tough her overhead hatch can be pulled to, and being watertight, the interior is kept snug and warm, while fresh air enters the cabin through an ingenious ventilation system, i.e., a 'vent box', that also supports the mast. Should your miniature, but rugged coastal cruiser get caught in the ultimate storm, she most probably would survive because of her strength. Even if she were to turn turtle (a most unlikely event, because of her well above average ballast ratio), she would definitely right herself. Her arched deck and the buoyancy of her cabin top would make her unstable in the inverted position. What if somehow she became flooded? Her fixed buoyancy in the form of foam insulation should keep her from sinking. Perhaps the feature you love most about your treasured possession is the ease with which her sail can be hoisted, lowered or reefed from within the cabin. There's no need to venture on deck, even in the roughest conditions, which means you can avoid exposure and the dangers of being outside the boat. For these reasons you admire the ingenious, but simple system Matt devised that allows the single lug sail to be furled around the boom. This procedure is hardly more difficult than rolling a window blind around its roller, except you need to use two hands and have a little practice at synchronizing the movement of the halyard and the furling line. When there's no wind, out comes your yuloh that is stowed on the starboard side deck, and the sail, yard and boom are lowered, before being secured on the port side deck where they are retained by a metal loop.

While you remind yourself of the fine characteristics of Paradox, you note that a swell has started to make itself felt from the south west, and the masthead light is gyrating accordingly. The wind suddenly freshens and there's a pitter-pattering as waves slap the side of the hull. Your little ship begins to heel and her inclinometer shows 6 degrees. You adjust the sail and secure the sheet in the jam cleat while you make a mental calculation of your new ETA. You are thankful that Paradox is now sailing at her average cruising speed of 3 knots, which should mean you'll be able to find shelter by entering the creek at sunrise, where you'll beach her on the sand just after high water. Her flat bottom and chine runners will enable her to creep right up to the water's edge, where she'll find the best lee behind the cliff from the freshening wind as it backs to the south east. You'll drop your small Fisherman anchor astern as you approach the beach and when the stem nudges the sand shortly after high water you'll lay out your 7 kilo Danforth from the bow mooring cleats. That'll be the conclusion of another fine sail at night, and you'll wonder why so few yachtsmen take advantage of the generally more stable winds to be found during the hours of darkness.

When the water ebbs, leaving the boat high and dry on the gently sloping sand, there's a welcome lack of movement; the sound of wavelets against the hull can be heard no more, but there's just the faintest rustling of trees above the cliff, and through the open hatchway you hear the soothing, rhythmical sigh of breakers as they discharge their energy on the distant dunes. You bring out the eggs and bacon from their plastic boxes in the food storage locker below the cabin floor and you light the stove. Three thick rashers of bacon are first placed in the frying pan, and when they are partially cooked, two large eggs are broken into the pan to accompany them. As the smoke flavoured bacon sizzles, the fried eggs assume their familiar, irregular form - a mixture of white and yellow. You heartily gobble down your choice cereal, lubricated with fresh milk. Your kettle is partially filled in readiness for a cup of tea and for washing up after breakfast. To your mind there's nothing more pleasurable you could possibly be doing. After a morning nap, you will spend the rest of the day exploring the area, even if it means wearing waterproofs, which you never wear when at sea, because your are protected from the elements by your cleverly designed boat. Matt even thought about how to make it an easy task to get in or out of the boat when she's beached by providing a permanent step attached to the rudder stock. This step would be useful for boarding the boat after enjoying a swim at some idyllic anchorage. The kick-up rudder can be fully raised in the vertical position and it is unusually large, because to a degree it acts as a keel by preventing leeway in conjunction with the boat's unique, but efficient chine runners.

As you ponder these attributes you also wonder what adventures tomorrow will bring, and you further conjecture what you may be doing next weekend. Perhaps you'll take the boat on her trailer to one of the East Coast Rivers and you may invite your grandson to share the experience? After all, although your boat is small, there's enough room for both of you, even over night. You know you can afford the costs of taking the boat by road, because you are not lumbered with paying for a mooring or hard-standing during the winter, neither do you have to fork out for having the mast lifted by a crane when laying the boat up; indeed you can easily do any maintenance with little expenditure, since your micro boat is so undemanding.

You clap your hands with glee, because you know you are the most fortunate of sailors. Your characterful little ship has so many excellent features, and you don't pay any visitor's fees at most marinas, if you can bear to visit them! You simply tie up to the dinghy pontoon. You can't believe your good fortune and credit yourself with great wisdom. You're the happiest of mariners.

Bill. 24.10.06

Note: This listing has expired.

‘Minnow’, my UK Paradox is for Sale at

The Ebay item number is: 161437876632.

I can be contacted by phone at 07588288060 or by email at barnacleid at yahoo dot co dot uk.

Here are a few related Links:

 Open to Offers for ‘Minnow’, My Paradox Sailboat

Open to Offers for ‘Minnow’, My Paradox Sailboat – Part 2

Open to Offers for ‘Minnow’, My Paradox Sailboat – Part 3

‘Minnow’ Advertised for Sale on Ebay

‘Minnow’ Advertised for Sale on Ebay - Inventory


Brian said...

Brilliant. Keep this up Bill and you will be cancelling the sale. Faith sailed by again the other day heading for the Solent. Such a distinctive sail shape cannot miss it when a Paradox sails by. All the best, Brian.

William Serjeant said...


At this point in time I am still convinced that I should no longer do the sort of coastsl cruising I have in the past - in fact, I have no desire to do so. That does not mean my disposition will not change, which if it should occur and I have sold 'Minnow', I may come to regret it. As far as I am concerned, it is in the hands of God. He is sovereign over all things. By this you can see that I am NOT a fatalist. He leaves us to make our own decisions, as He also uses our prayers to fulfill His will. Pilate made his own decision* to have Jesus crucified, but it was within the sovereign will of God. God permitted him to send Jesus to the cross.

One thing I know is that whoever gets 'Minnow' will have good value for money. To build a new Paradox would be considerably more - that's without a trailer and the goodies.

Regarding 'Faith', Jim who owns her has had a brilliant season by cruising her many times. He is really enjoying her, which pleases me very much.

* John 19:16