Designed For the Times
Designed For the Times
As the one-design world turns, the latest grand-prix big-boat offering comes as its predecessors enjoy their golden years. "New Boats" from our April 2011 issue.
With the prohibitive operating costs of bigger boats, many owners and crews have turned to smaller high-performance designs of late to get their racing fix while awaiting an attractive 40-foot option. The impending arrival of the first Farr 400 later this spring could put an end to waiting game.
A design commissioned by Premier Composites Technology in Dubai, the Farr 400 is more akin to the box-rule GP42s that raced the MedCup circuit in Europe over the past two years than it is its suggested predecessor, the Farr 40. Whereas the Farr 40 is strictly a buoy racer, designed some 15 years ago, the 400 will be pulled into both buoy and distance racing duty.
“Current and past [Farr 40] owners have recognized that design trends moved on, and faster, more exciting boats have come along,” says Bill O’Malley, of Farr Yacht Sales. “They’re anxious for something new.”
For some of those owners, he adds, the Melges 32, an excellent boat in its own right, is too athletic and dinghylike, and the TP52s too grand-prix and expensive to campaign. That’s not to say
the Farr 40 is inexpensive for serious teams to campaign. A cost-reduction effort is fundamental to the 400: it’s designed to be much more portable than the 40, less reliant on yards and shore teams, and less costly to transport between events.
As a powered-up 9,105-pound carbon-composite build, the 400 will leave a Farr 40 in its wake, but it will also be more versatile, meeting ISAF Offshore Special Regulations (Category 2). The reverse sheer line provides interior volume and headroom (about 6 feet in the main section). The class concept, as it’s evolving, says O’Malley, will include coastal racing, a staple of European events of late, along with windward-leeward racing. The hull has a narrow profile, a trait that plays to FYD’s typical emphasis on upwind/downwind performance, but the af chine creates the af planing section desirable for downwind reaching.
The asymmetric deck layout has a clean look, and borrows many systems developed on Farr-designed GP42s. Integral to the layout is the string-line spinnaker take-down system, and the twisted Lewmar pedestal grinder (not shown in the renderings). The pedestal is unique on a 40-foot production raceboat, O’Malley points out, not to mention helpful for jibing the big asymmetric. It’s hugely beneficial for spinnaker hoists and the line-drive take down, as well.
The take-down setup includes a carbon roller on the aft face of the front hatch, and, when doused, the spinnaker is pulled into a sock running the length of the interior on the port side. The take-down line runs to a block on the transom, then forward, and exits out of the cockpit window adjacent to the primary winch. The grinder loads the line into the winch’s self-tailer and grinds the spinnaker in until it’s 90-percent in the sock. The bowman collects the head, tack, and clew, and closes the hatch. The spinnaker launches right out of the sock.
Masthead kites will be flown off a retractable sprit, and having the sprit on centerline required the forward hatch to be offset to port. With this arrangement, the spinnaker sock has a straight run for left-side takedowns, which is the preferred method to avoid shrimping oversized kites.