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Advantages of Matt Layden mini cruisers

Page history last edited by Dave Raftery 13 years, 9 months ago

This page documents the advantages of Matt's Paradox and Enigma 460 sailboats. Although they are different boats, they are roughly the same size and share similar advantages.  The Paradox is more heavily constructed and has a heavy displacement; it is 13' 10" LOA and has a 4' beam.  The Enigma 460 is a lighter, stitch and glue construction; it is 15' 1" LOA and has a 3' 9" beam.


Both boats are self-righting, flat bottomed and beachable mini-cruisers. They are referred to as small, long distance coastal cruisers and are propelled by a single sail, or with an oar. They have room for 2 people for daysailing, but sleeping accomodations are snug for 2 people.


Pictures of both Paradox and Enigma are used on this page to illustrate the following common aspects of the 2 boats.



Shallow draft

These boats are flat bottomed and do not use a keel or centerboard. They draw at most only 9 inches of water, so they can sail in very shallow water. The bottom of the hulls are covered with 2 layers of fiberglass and epoxy, so they can withstand being pulled up on the beach. The rudder swings up for navigating in shallow waters.


Enigma 460 on the beach



Paradox on beach


Chine runners

The chine runner concept was invented by Matt Layden. It consists of a wooden foil shape which extends horizontally outward from the chine of the hull. The combination of the air foil shape, the heel of the hull and a large rudder, provide lateral resistance without the need for a centerboard. Both boats sail well close hauled.


Chine Runners on hull




Enclosed cabin / cockpit  

These boats do not have an exterior cockpit. The cabin itself is the cockpit. The cabin in the Enigma 460 is approximately 3' 9" wide and 7' 7" long, providing adequate living space for 1 person. All control lines lead inside the cabin, including control of the rudder. Sitting on the bottom of the boat with the hatch closed, the sailor has 360 degrees of vision through the cabin windows. Sitting on the movable helm seat in the cabin, the sailor's head is above the cabin hatch (see pictures below).  This design protects the sailor when sailing in rainy or cold weather.


Sitting positions in Enigma 460



Sitting on bottom of Paradox (left hand is on steering line) 

Sitting on helm seat, sailor's head is above hatch opening


Picture of removable helm seat and home made chart table


Sitting on helm seat plotting course


Ability to stand in cabin

The sailor can also stand while sailing, with his arms and torso extending through the cabin hatch. Some sailors actually read a book while standing in the cabin hatchway. The ability to stand is also required for sculling.


Standing with aft hatch slid forward (normal hatch position in good weather)


Standing with both hatches removed (windows not installed yet in this picture)


Removable hatches 

On Enigma 460, both hatches are removable, giving approximately a 2 foot wide and 4 foot long opening in which to stand. The hatches can be stored inside against the bulkhead in good weather.


Hatches closed


Hatches removed



Interior space

Both boats have approximately the same interior living space. This picture shows the interior space on a Paradox before the deck was installed.


The Enigma 460 has sufficient headroom for a 6 foot tall person to sit inside the cabin, with several inches of clearance overhead.


All control lines run inside to cabin. The sail can be raised, reefed and lowered from within the cabin. A line for steering runs along both sides of the cabin and is attached to the rudder behind the aft bulkhead. The boats can be steered from anywhere within the cabin. The sailor never haves to leave the cabin in bad weather and can control everything from inside with the hatch closed.

Watertight compartments (Enigma only)


Enigma has 3 separate watertight compartments: the main cabin and forward / aft storage compartments.


Forward bulkhead with watertight opening on Engima


Aft bulkhead on Enigma (note rear of cabin top extends the full width of the boat)


Sail rig


Both boats use a 100 sq ft lug rig sail with a low aspect ratio. The mast is unstayed and can be removed to pass under bridges.


Roller furling main sail on boom

These boats furl the sail around the boom. The boom actually rotates on it's axis. There is a drum at the forward end of the boom, around which the sail furling line winds. When the sail is raised with the halyard, the furling line is payed out, allowing the boom to rotate and release the sail. The process is reversed to reef the sail.  All control lines lead inside the cabin.


Forward end of boom showing roller furling mechanism



Sail partially reefed



Human propulsion - sweep oar

Both boats can be propelled manually with a sweep oar. When not in use, the sweep oar is stored on deck.


Sweep oar in position


Sweep oar in use on Paradox


Both boats can be outfitted with a small outboard engine or electric motor as shown in above pictures.

Both boats can be constructed by home builders. Plans for Paradox are available from Matt Layden. Plans for Enigma 460 will be available from Matt after the prototype has completed sea trials.  Some pictures show Enigma in various stages of construction, i.e. before cabin windows were installed. More information on Enigma can be found here.


Matt designed and built Paradox in 1993. It is heavily constructed with multiple bulkheads and longitudinal stringers under the floor boards. It incorporates approximately 400 pounds of lead ballast under the floor. Built in water tanks and dry storage space under the floor, add additional weight for proper sailing trim. Matt sailed Paradox extensively, including a trip to the Bahamas. In 2005, Matt designed and built the Enigma 360. (The 360 equates to approximately 3.6 meters in length). Enigma is a lighter boat, built with stitch and glue construction and covered with fiberglass. It does not have longitudinal stringers like Paradox. In Enigma, the floor is the bottom hull of the boat. The forward portion of Enigma's hull has a V shape to it, unlike Paradox's flat bottom. The Enigma 360 has a canvas dodger over the cabin, unlike Paradox's plywood cabin top. Matt sailed his Enigma in the Florida Ultimate Challenge and came in 3rd place overall. In 2007 Matt designed the Enigma 460, which is 3 feet longer than the original and has a plywood cabin top, similar to Paradox. George Van Sickle is building the prototype of the Enigma 460; more information is available on his blog. George is currently conducting sea trials with his Enigma 460, as of summer of 2010.



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