November 08, 2020

Sail World Announcement

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 08 Nov 2020 21:00 UTC

This is the fifth instalment of the Farr X2 story. Today, we speak with the first two owners of the new boat, and catch up on the latest developments with this exciting speed demon, such as rating, pricing, and specifications. Should you want to revisit all of the previous material, then please start your journey here.

John Bacon from Australia bought the first boat. Bacon stated, “Working with the Farr X2 team has been a real pleasure. The guys asked me to kick-start the project with hull #1, and after what they showed and proved to me about the boat, I had no hesitation. I have been out of two-handed offshore sailing for a couple of years now, so I’m keen to get back into it, and also really keen to encourage some young and very talented sailors into the discipline that is two-handed sailing!”

“Can’t wait to get the Farr X2 on the water here in Sydney next year, and by the sounds of things, I won’t be sailing around alone for long!!”

Scott Shawyer from Canada took the second boat. “I grew up sailing Lasers, and currently own an A-Class catamaran and an Antrim 27, so I love the speed and acceleration of performance sailing.”

“My top criterion for a new keelboat is that it can be solo or short-handed in a variety of conditions, is fast in all wind ranges from light to 25+ knots, is good for round-the-buoy and distance racing, is safe, and is a blast to sail.”

“Bret Perry from Farr Yachts Australasia sent me the design brief and specifications. Immediately I saw that Farr X2 was going to be a boat that ticked all of my boxes.”

“I’ve also analyzed the VPP data for the Farr X2, and then compared it to the VPP data from a number of other new double-handed boats. In wind conditions ranging from 6 through 20 knots, the Farr X2 comes out to be an average of 9% faster in upwind VMG performance, 12% faster in 90 degree TWA performance, and 12% faster in downwind VMG performance. Of course the real test is on the water, but from what I see, this boat should be the clear winner.”

So what do we know?

From the get go, it was pretty clear that the passion was for performance and to never sacrifice that in order to achieve rating advantages. Perry commented, “We always kept a close eye on the opposition’s key advantages and how we could neutralise them. The answer always came back to speed. Superior performance kept staring us in the face – it was too hard to ignore.”

“The team at Farr scrutinised the rules, and also the wins at regattas. It became clear that higher performance designs were coming of age, and instead of cruiser/racers, we could now build a boat all of us would just want to go sailing on.”

Single number rating rules don’t penalise you for reaching hull speed and getting on the step early. As the fleet is generally heavier and slower, you can make serious gains on them. Yes, you carry a slightly higher hull and rig factor, but it is all about sailing to the boat’s numbers, and beyond, early on in the piece. Predominantly we sail in the 10-20 knot range, which is exactly where performance pays.”

Britton Ward added, “The proprietary Farr Yacht Design IDEOS [Integrated Design Exploration and Optimization System] has been adapted to the Farr X2, allowing us to explore a range of hull forms, sail plan and appendage sizing options in an automated fashion. The system allows us to automatically generate 1000s of potential designs, creating weight estimates, appendage and sail plan options and automatically producing CFD inputs, velocity predictions and race model results. This allows us to explore the relevant trade-offs in performance and rating in both inshore, and the major offshore races.”

Other cool bits…

Selden Spars rig design utilises a T800 intermediate modulus carbon to create the stiffness required, but keep the robustness demanded for the harshest treatment, such as that you get offshore. “Importantly, it means it is easily removed for transport or storage without having to call in a team or professional riggers to do the job,” said Ward.

“Working with XSP (the builders) and Ellis Engineered (structural engineering), we have been refining the construction specifications to achieve a strong and robust structure suited to efficient building processes, and focused on Category 1 offshore races.”

Ward added, “We are also a long way down the path of fine-tuning the preferred sail inventory. This has enabled us to hone-in on a One Design inventory from the start.” Perry said, “Our large ‘J’ measurement is going to produce some fantastic experiences!

To OD or not to OD? That is the question…

Perry posed this and responded all in one. “Yes you can. For sure we want to give our Farr X2 owners every chance to win in handicap events, but we also have a vision for a series of global invitational events conducted in a strict One Design environment. We’ll pinpoint the perfect sail inventory that we will document in our owner-run class association that we’ll be implementing over the coming months.”

“We do want to give back to our sport by supporting regions to build fleets and attract more owners and people. Currently, a lot of clubs and academies are very interested in the notion of tours and regattas, where Farr X2 sailors from around the globe just grab their own sails and head off to challenge ten other crews. This is very much becoming a reality, right now,” said Perry.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS