Key West Wrap Up

1:31 PM 0 Comments

It's hard to believe that it has already been over a couple weeks since the last day of racing in Key West.  The time away from racing has allowed me to take a step back and truly evaluate the regatta for the Farr 400s.  It was absolutely fantastic to see 5 Farr 400s on the line with their own one-design start. The boat was launched in the spring of 2011, so to get this amount of traction so quickly is a great thing to see.  Conversation on the dock among sailors as well as owners was very productive and helps to ensure that the class will continue to move in the right direction.

The racing all week was very close, and each boat improved as the week went on.  If you made a mistake, the fleet would make sure you knew about it.  There were no free passes for bad boat handling or trimming.  I can't help but to wonder how much time we left on the course, compared to where these boats will be in one year's time.  This could realistically turn out to be more than a couple of minutes.  This Key West Race Week was a mix of many conditions. We saw 20+ with a decent sea state, mid teens with flat water and chop and had some mornings of sub 10 knot winds. It was great to really see the boats in a variety of conditions.  With any new class, there will be refining in how the boats are sailed, but I still think the 400 performed very well against (even or better) boats of similar size.

I personally had a fantastic time at Key West Race Week 2012. I was very pleased with how the 400 went upwind and the downwind ride exceeded my already lofty expectations. Everyone on the crew has a purpose, beyond hiking, and contributes to sailing the boat. From the trimming perspective, the athwartship jib tracks allow you to set the headsails up exactly how you want to. The most common questions all week about the 400 dealt with a full bow. One of the best ways to understand this feature is to sail the boat downwind. You'll be at the leeward mark before you know it. Luckily the drop line system will help with turning the corner to go back upwind. The more we used the drop line during the week, the more I grew to like and appreciate its usefulness. Overall the Farr 400 is a stable, well mannered, speedy boat with a blossoming one design class and a bright future. I'm looking forward to sailing more on the Farr 400s in the future.

- Emerson Smith,