Friday, 12 October 2012

Global forum

I thought this was worth posting up here. It's a forum post from the Yachts and Yachting Farr 3.7 thread. And it gives a pretty good review of the 3.7... (thanks to 'The Schmuck')
Thread LINK

Hi all,

I own and sail a Farr 3.7 in Australia. It's an ollllddddd boat (one of the few fibreglass ones that were built in Australia in the early 1980's). Mine's still got the original design centreboard and rudder. The rudder is a thing shaped a bit like a scimitar, angled back like a laser rudder and mounted directly on the transom of the boat (no gantry on mine). The centreboard is shaped like the blade of a chef's knife and comes down to a point (with a curved leading edge).

I come to 3.7 sailing from a Tasar - so the Farr is my first "helm from the trapeze" boat - and I've got to say (having had my very first helm from the trapeze experience in a Contenter on a 15 - 20 knot day) that the Farr is really a fairly forgiving little boat. It may be due to me being well at the upper end of the weight range (I'm about 80kg), but I find the boat incredibly well mannered in the obscenely gusty winds we get here in Airlie Beach.

I sail it on the ocean, in choppy waves around half a metre high. The prevailing wind here is an offshore breeze that arrives in bullets from lots of crazy directions (sudden 45 degree shifts aren't uncommon here - and once or twice I've been nailed from completely the opposite direction in little "whirlwinds"). Every now and again we get a nice strong, steady, onshore breeze and we'll have some 1 - 2 metre rolling swell (rather than our usual half metre chop). Most of the time if the wind blows from offshore here it's light though :(

I love sailing the Farr in anything over 15 knots ... better over 20! and I've had it out in 25+ many times and never felt the need to reef the main (though it's nice having that option). I find it lively downwind (with my rudder mounted directly on the transom) - but no more "twitchy" than the Tasar - which to be fair is a boat that can be described as "light and responsive". I've been sailing the Farr reasonably regularly for about 18 months now and I can happily go out on a 20 knot day and the odds are good I'll come back with the top of the mast dry. Having said that though, most of the 3.7 sailing I do is just out on my own blasting around - so I get to pick my moments carefully to gybe / tack etc - not like when racing!

I don't find that the boat goes "down the mine" much at all. It's got a very fat bow, which means as long as you're at the back of the boat when it starts to dip in it's always recoverable. Though possibly me being at the upper end of the weight range lets me get away with shockers that could bring lighter sailors undone!

I've only pitchpoled when the initial "dip in" and sudden slow-down has caused me to loose my footing on the trapeze and stumble forwards (I've gone around the forestay a few times!). Infact I had it in a good 30 knot gust one day, managed to dig the bow right in (water over the entire front deck) and still managed to point up and pull it back out again. If you watch the Y&Y test sail video (on vimeo) you'll notice (Pete Barton?) digging the bow in at one stage and recovering it pretty comfortably. It doesn't take a sailor of his skill to pull of that trick - the boat is forgiving enough to let a mediocre sailor like me do it too :)

Anyway - to wrap it all up - the little Farr is an awesome first trapeze boat, loves heavy wind and handles it all with very good manners (even with the original foil design and placement). It's an absolute hoot to sail in some rolling waves too!

And, when it all does go horribly wrong and the boat ends up up-side-down, it's very easy to bring back upright again (at least for someone my weight). The advice I've read in the Farr rigging/tuning guide about righting it is good: hang onto the centreboard as the boat comes up, go under the boat with the board and keep hanging on (under the water) until the boat settles into a head to wind direction - work out which is the more windward side and pop out that side. Being such a short hull the boat will really hook around into the wind as it comes up - often so much so that it'll tack and go over again if you're not under the boat preventing it. Some spidermonkey-like teenagers can dive over the gunwhale and over to the other side of the cockpit as it comes up and tacks, but for the rest of us the "under the boat" trick saves precious energy!

Mind you, our water here in the tropical north of Australia is a *lot* warmer than yours in the UK - not so sure I'd enjoy diving under a boat in an english lake ;)

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