The Farr 400 from Premium Composites in the UAE offers buyers a cost-effective solution, with ease of shipping as well as performance being primary concerns
Put a Farr 400 in front of two sailors and you will get two varying opinions. Put the same boat in front of four sailors and you will get four varying opinions. No other design splits opinion among sailors like the Farr 400 does – and for good reason. The Farr 400 comes, unsurprisingly, from the design desk of Farr Yacht Design (FYD) in Maryland, USA. This gives the Farr 400 immediate heritage as not only has FYD designed many of the world’s fastest racing yachts, but also has a proven record in one- designs, most noticeably the Farr 40. For many, the Farr 400 is a natural evolution from the Farr 40 and it is true that many of the new owners have come from the class. But the 400 is not the new 40.The first thing most people notice about the Farr 400 is the bow. This is also where people start to disagree about the overall merit of the boat, and it is what pushes purists and innovators apart.
Farr has opted for a “dreadnought” bow on the 400, a bow which has largely gone out of fashion but can be seen on Abu Dhabi’s VOR70. Although that is possibly not the best endorsement in a design, it does need to be taken in the overall lines of the boat whose full stem compliments the powerful forebody at most points of sail. At heel the longer waterline afforded by the dreadnought bow lines up with the partial chine to improve handling and pointing while reducing drag.
As you move up the bow, towards the deckline, you will also notice that the bow is rounded and does not come to a point. Again, full CFD (computational fluid dynamics) research went into the choice of such out-of-the-box designing and all models show improved performance.
Performance is the key element any buyer will look at when buying into the 40-foot sector, and it is here where the package comes alight. The downwind sail plan gives the 400 a total area of 235 square metres, more than double the upwind area of 102 square metres. This gives the boat potential upwind speeds of over eight knots, while downwind you are only limited by your nerve!The finishing of the boat is of the highest standard and will come as no surprise to those who already know its heritage. Premier Composite Technologies, based out of an expansive workshop in Dubai, commissioned the design of the Farr 400. Premier is headed by Hannes Waimer, a name many will know from DK Yachts in Malaysia, the company that built many yachts such as the Mumm 30 and Farr 40 as well as the Mark Mills designed DK46 and Frank Pong’s one-off flyer, Maiden Hong Kong. Walk around the almost sanitary conditions of the factory and you will see projects varying from domes for mosques to elaborate design features made of composite materials.
Tucked away in one corner are the hulls of Farr 400s in varying states of completion, as well as a Landmark 43 waiting to be delivered to a client. All parts are created on 3-D precision five-axis milling machines, a technology usually only seen on grand-prix or Americas Cup yachts. The tooling is so precise that all the hulls produced so far have been so close in weight as to be negligible in difference. Once the two-part Southern Spars carbon mast and boom have been added, each boat is within three kilogrammes of each other; very important when it comes to adding the rest of the weight in the keel and racing to a true one-design.The big question for many owners in Asia is how well it will perform in the range of conditions seen from Phuket to Boracay, Singapore to Hong Kong and anywhere else where there is a start and finish line. The good news is that the Farr 400 will tick a lot of boxes for potential owners in the region.Starting with wind conditions, it will come as good news that the boat has a sweetspot that comes into play between 6 and 12 knots. As that is pretty much the average wind speed at most venues, we are off to a good start. To be competitive in inshore races, you will need a crew of 8 or 9 and not all of them need be gorillas, as there is a weight limit that has been maximized to give you strength where needed and agility where it counts. Her strongest point of sail is in reaching conditions, so if anyone really wants to win Raja Muda, this could be the boat to do it on. And don’t worry about the sandbanks along the way; the Farr 400 has a lifting keel that takes her draft from 9.5 feet to 6.5 feet.As for getting to and from venues, you have two choices, both of which were part of the design brief. Firstly, the Farr 400 comes with a Volvo-Penta sail-drive engine that can get the boat from a-to-b on its own bottom. Alternatively, the Farr 400 is built with shipping in mind, and has been specifically designed to be shipped on a 40-foot flat-rack container, allowing owners to save massive costs and open up racing possibilities in more far-flung venues. The mast is a two- piece affair and packs on the trailer that holds the hull at 80 degrees. The trailer has removable wheels that all fit into the 40-foot footprint as well as being within height and width limits for trailer towing on roads with no permit.But what is she like to sail? This question is easily answered by witnessing the grins on the faces of those that sail them. The Farr 400 has been clocked doing 27 knots of boat speed in 30 knots of wind, not bad for a boat that is just under 40 feet long and a fraction of the cost of other boats that achieve that speed. Although optimised for inshore racing, the Farr 400 can be taken offshore as it is ORCi rated and meets the requirements, though crew comfort down below is not one of them!Many sailors taking the Farr 400 offshore will be thankful for the full forward section, rounded hull edges and quick-draining cockpit. Inshore the crew will be surprised at how easily the set-up lends itself to the transition from upwind to downwind while the boat bears away and gets up on the plane as its 133-square metre asymmetric spinnaker fills. The Farr 400 has been built for speed, superior boat handling and sheer fun. The three add up to a solid A-rating and close racing that will be off the charts.
Technical Specifications – Farr 400 by Premium Composites
Beam (max): 3.42m
Draught 2.9m down/1.98m up
Displacement: 3920 kgs
Ballast: 2180 kgs
IRC TCC: 1.250
ISAF OSR: Cat 2
Construction: Carbon/Epoxy Sandwich
I: 15.60 m
Sail Area Up: 102m2
Sail Area Down: 235m2