Luke Shingledecker test sails the new Farr 400 One Design

6:53 PM 2 Comments

Last week, I headed to Dubai with Bill O’Malley (of Farr Yacht Sales) to visit Premier Composites Technologies and sail the very first Farr 400. FYD was responsible for both the design and engineering on this project, working closely with Premier to sort out all the details. This was our first chance to find out whether we had met our goal – to produce an exciting new one design in the 40 foot range that is fast, fun to sail, and with broad appeal to sailors well into the future. I had been anticipating this trip for a while - we have been working on this project since last summer. The program for the week was quite full, including launching, measurement, and some local racing in Dubai. We also spent time working on the details of the Farr 400 class rules.

The Farr 400 incorporates lots of unique elements, especially for an offshore-capable one-design. As expected, a couple of these features make a strong impression. The bow is full and powerful – a shape designed to emulate a longer boat and promote fast, bow-up downwind sailing. The deck configuration is a clean flush-deck style, but the boat has plenty of volume down below to allow easy movement through the interior. The boat presents a bold, modern appearance.

The asymmetric halyard layout allows all pit functions to be lead aft to the pedestal-driven primary winches. This is a central part of sailing the boat, as it allows for easier spinnaker hoists and gybes. The layout also includes a sliding foredeck hatch with a pedestal-driven spinnaker takedown system. I believe these features, which have been borrowed from TP52’s and other grand prix classes, will prove to be highly desirable as sailors become familiar with them. Some observers might initially have the impression that they add to the boat’s complexity, but once understood, it should become clear they allow the boat to execute quicker boat handling maneuvers without requiring exceptional strength or rare crew skill. I definitely think this style of layout is more fun to sail, and points to the future for racing boats in this size range.

After the first several days of sailing, I can report that the boat performs very well. Sailing upwind, the boat responds easily in light winds but feels very powerful in stronger breeze, producing impressive speed and great pointing height. Downwind, the boat gets up and takes off, even in surprisingly light conditions. The boat is very responsive to sail trim and crew position.

Premier Composites has done a great job building a beautiful boat and they have included lots of functional and attractive details. Southern Spars has engineered a stiff, user-friendly rig with carbon standing rigging and spreaders.

I am very pleased with the boat and everyone at the sea trials felt it has all the necessary elements to be a great ride and successful project. When we left Dubai, there were 10 confirmed orders with at least one outstanding contract and a growing list of serious inquiries. Interest in the class has been strong and continues to grow, and Premier is working to ramp up production to 2 boats per month. I think this design meets its mission and goals, and I believe that anyone who is interested in performance one-designs should take a close look.


Anonymous said...

Exciting! Watching closely - from Chicago.

Jeff G.

Anonymous said...

She Looks stunning !