If you feel the need for speed, a Rapido is the boat for you
By George Day
Rapido has built an avid following amongst performance oriented cruisers even though the yard is small, it is in Viet Nam, and the boats are all-carbon and very high-tech. It doesn’t hurt that the famous YouTube Vloggers Riley and Elayna of Sailing La Vagabond, have opted to give up cruising in their Outremer catamaran and are building a Rapido 60 for themselves and their two boys.
I was able to see the first 40 at its US debut at the Miami show last winter and got to meet the builder Paul Koch. I had been eagerly looking forward to seeing this new Rapido as I had spent a bit of time checking out their website and watching videos. A cruising boat that can go 20 knots has a lot of appeal to me. Plus, the new 40 has folding amas so it will fit into a marina slip.
I was not disappointed. The 40’s cockpit is large and comfortable. The side trampolines give you a huge amount of space for relaxing. The foredeck is large enough to actually work on, unlike smaller trimarans.
Down below, the dinette is raised so you can get a great view while having a morning coffee or evening sundowner. Four adults can fit around the table. Across and on the same level is the galley, which is fitted out for preparing proper meals, with plenty of counter space, storage areas for dry good and pots and pans, and a good-size fridge-freezer.
Down two steps going forward, the head and shower are to port, with the shower occupying its own space, which keeps the head and sink dry. The forward cabin has a queen-size V-berth with drawers under it, plus a hanging locker and more storage cabinets.
Aft of the saloon, though a low passageway or through a large hatch in the cockpit, there is another double cabin that will be fine for a couple and will be a natural play area for young crew. This is peace and quiet cabin or the playpen. The dinette can also fold down to make a double berth, and there is a single pilot berth aft to port, so, if you were so inclined, you actually sleep seven souls aboard.
The 40 is remarkably spacious and with the raised sole in the saloon, you feel fully engaged with the world around you and not the least claustrophobic. The huge windows and the amazing six-foot, seven-in headroom really aid in this pleasing effect. The 40 I was on in Miami had a light colored interior and pale cushions, both of which add to the interior lightness and sense of space.
Paul Koch is a veteran high-tech yacht builder and has built scores of trimarans for Corsair in Viet Nam, where Rapido is also based. Koch’s vision for the Rapido brand is simply “no compromises.” The hulls and decks are epoxy infused carbon fiber laminates that Koch says are the most advanced yacht structures being built anywhere in the world.
The stiffness and weight reduction of carbon laminates over fiberglass truly enhance the 40’s sail area-to-displacement ratio and thus the swiftness of the hulls. To make the most of modern C-foil technology, the 40 has C-shaped dagger boats that curve under the ama and provide quite a lot of lift as the boat moves rapidly through the water. This reduces wetted surface and increases speed. The dagger boards also provide lift when sailing hard to windward so the 40 will point as high as a modern racing monohull and will likely be faster, all without crew crowded on the windward rail.
But, Koch didn’t stop there. Every laminated part on the boat is ultralight cored carbon laminate, including drawers, doors, bulkheads and interior structural pieces. All up, the 40 weighs around 12,000 pounds or a fraction of the displacement of a 40-foot monohull or catamaran.
Removing the central center board in favor of the C-shaped daggerboards frees up a lot of space in the saloon and this, too, adds to the sense of spaciousness. The center hull has a very narrow profile at the waterline for reduced drag, but above the waterline the hull flares out dramatically to a chine and this, again, adds to interior volume without adding wetted surface or drag. Plus, the flared shape of the hull sides will deflect that fire hose of spray the boat creates when sailing at top speeds and thus will keep crew in the cockpit dry.
The carbon mast and boom offer a powerful sail plan with a slab-reefed mainsail and a self-tacking jib. The rotating wing mast is a massive 63 feet off the water and is a spreader-less design as you would find on racing trimarans.
The long bowsprit will be the tack down point for a Code Zero headsail, which may be the only downwind sail you will need for normal cruising. In fact, with the speed ranges shown on the boat’s designed polar curves, you will have the wind forward of the beam most of the time, even when beam or broad reaching. Frankly, I think you would rarely sail dead downwind as reaching will give the better speed and quickest angle to your downwind destination.
Finally, the 40 comes with two folding hull versions that give the boat a 15-foot beam when folded up and thus the ability to moor in any conventional marina slip.
The new Rapido 40 is a very special new boat that offers maximum sailing performance in a package that is easy to sail, easy to move around and easy to live aboard and cruise. Because of its sailing ability, owners will sail more and motor less, so the 40 is also a very natural sailing craft and an eco-friendly vessel with a minimum carbon footprint – aside from all the carbon the hulls and rig. I could easily cruise far and wide in a Rapido 40 and I am sure Paul Koch and his team will find a large and ready market for the boat. The base price is about $675,000 and you can expect a well fitted out boat to come in at about $750,000. Read more here.