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.
The companionway is also offset to port, and as a result, all the pit controls are to starboard. This was also done to accommodate the lifing keel in its upright position, and to allow the pitman to quickly get lines to the primary winch.
While it may seem limiting to commit the pit to one side, O’Malley says they’re happy with the set up and feels it’s better for the dual-purpose nature of the boat. “You can easily set any halyard to a winch,” he says. “Many times boats are set up only for windward/leeward racing and end up being terrible setups for distance races.”
Lower-cost portability is an essential trait of the design, and the 38'9" LOA comes in under the magic 40-foot length for easy travel. The Southern Spars carbon mast (fitted with Element
C6 composite rigging) is a two-part arrangement. The split rig simplifies transport dramatically, and when disassembled, the spars and boom ride on the fat-rack shipping cradle. At just over 9,000 pounds and sitting shy of the 10-foot high mark, trailering the boat is well within the means of most tow vehicles. O’Malley, who’s well versed on the finances of moving grand-prix boats, says, for example, the cost of transporting a Farr 40 from Newport, R.I. to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is roughly
$6,500 for trucking alone, one way. Add in yard fees at either end, rig stepping, keel-joint fairing, shore crew salaries, and days lost to sailing, and it all adds up. With the 400, he says,
most of that goes away, by as much as two-thirds.
The custom cradle has three “modes”: high-mode with the keel on, low-mode with the keel up, and a third mode with the keel removed and the hull tilted at 80-degrees. The lifting keel arrangement is intentionally simple: a post built into the interior of the boat swings over the keel head. A block-and-tackle is led out the companionway, and led to the primary grinder.
They went with a retractable centerline sprit, rather than the fixed bowsprit common to custom raceboats of late for a reason. “A fixed sprit makes it a 46-foot boat and adds another complication in removing it every time for transport,” says O’Malley. “The centerline sprit takes that issue away.”
The boat comes standard with a tiller, but for teams with offshore aspirations, the twin-wheel set up would be the way to go. The high-aspect keel is a solid cast-iron fin with composite fairing, which, says O’Malley, should help control the one-design aspect, and allow for easier repairs. The bulb is removable, and the keel fin can be extracted through the companionway, or through the bottom of the boat by removing the keel head.
The class rules will be modeled after those of the Farr 40 class (owner/driver), and the boat will be raced by eight. Better systems add up to requiring one less body, says O’Malley, which ultimately saves the owner crew costs as well. Because it’s a relatively narrow, slab-sided boat, crew weight isn’t as beneficial as it would be with a fared-beam profile, but that doesn’t mean crews can be lounging on the rail.
What’s the cost of admission? The starting price is $395,000, but by the time it gets to the racecourse with electronics, sails, and shipping essentials, O’Malley puts the figure at $525,000 to $550,000. It’s an introductory price, he adds, but they’ve been aiming all along to keep costs in check by creating fewer structural parts, and by developing partnerships with suppliers (i.e., Lewmar, Spinlock, Southern Spars, Volvo Penta, etc.,) to keep it all high-tech without pricing it beyond reason.
Class management will not come through the Farr office, but will be an owner-driven structure. O’Malley says interest in the boat has been “overwhelming,” and Premier is keen to first focus on Europe and the United States, from where most of the initial interest has come. As of late February, six boats were sold, and build slots were accounted for through 2011, with a projected one-boat-per-month cycle.
Farr 400 Specs
Beam (max) 11’3"
Draft 9’6" (6'6" w/keel up)
Displacement 9,105 lbs.
Ballast 5,432 lbs.
SA (u/d) 1,098/2,530 sq.ft.
IRC TCC 1.230