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Five X2 makes for the perfect 10

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 8 Nov 2020 13:00 PST
Designed with passion to let you explore yours for speed. Farr X2. © Farr Yacht Design

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."

What about the numbers?

Start with 1.075 under IRC. The Farr X2 is USD 205k, ex works (XSP) in Batam, Indonesia. Including in this price is a two reef main, an all purpose reefable jib, and an all purpose A2 kite, meaning as soon as it arrives, installed the keel and stepped the mast you can go straight out for a yacht.

For me, I was always impressed with a vinylester foam core boat of just 2500kg mass, the carbon rig stepped well aft for a true triple head configuration, 1000kg of ballast, a 2.1m draft on a 9.2m boat with a serious prodder running out of her distinct reverse bow, and a 103m2 bag from the top of the stick with which to go, Yeehaa!

Full specs are www.farryachtsales.com/sales/boat/farr-x2 and there is also a cool rotating 3D render to check out too.

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.

Before all of that...

There is the investigation, the layouts, and the building. A 1:1 deck mock up proved invaluable for firstly checking, then selecting deck layout systems and deck geometry details to be sure that the Farr X2 is the most efficient and ergonomic of her kind. Harken Australia provided their technical input to achieve a deck layout with a focus on simplicity and function.

"We have made sure we are NOT under-winched, under-purchased, and everything is where it is supposed to be while sailing short-handed. We were able to pinpoint the location of the controls pod, and the height and width of the foot chocks. Seeing it, and being on it for real meant we have carefully positioned the control pod, which directly relates to the position of the water ballast control, which also directly relates to the life raft well position, which in turn directly relates to the electrical system below," said Perry.

"We have focused on green water protection, and in keeping a dry boat in even the worst of conditions, by focusing on external deck systems and minimal penetrations." You can see all of the above in operation in this video.

Where to from here?

Well they always wanted to make the Farr X2 something special, and extremely exciting to sail. It will sail to its rating, allowing you to make your decisions based on boat speed, and compete in a wide range of handicap systems (IRC, ORC and even PHRF). As we have seen, they are also working towards OD regattas, and you do get the feeling that the team who created the Farr X2 will pass on knowledge from their network of professional sailors. This could well be in the form of some of those academies we looked at earlier.

However, one item that could be quite the thing, given who they are, is by the time they get to National or World Championships there'll be onboard footage, and even virtual participation. Game on, me thinks. For more information visit www.farrx2.com or to book a build slot contact the team.

Surprise

It is probably the only word one can use in relation to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's decision to inform all the two-handers that they were no longer eligible for the Tattersall's Cup after entries had closed. A token new trophy was not really going to cut any mustard, now was it... It is the subject of a whole editorial in and of itself, so let's leave it there, for now, other than to say Rule 52 is pretty clear, as too is the one that relates to LOA at the CY.

Instead, let's have a look at something positive. All around the globe, short-handed is gradually catching up with the French. A wee thing call COVID has accelerated this, as well, and designs and gear to handle boats is making it all easier as well. Lee Condell from Performance Boating Sales is an avid enthusiast of the category, and commented, "On November 21, the Royal Prince Alfred YC on Sydney's Northern Beaches is hosting a two-handed sailing expo to help to break down the barriers to racing any yacht short-handed. There are some good examples of inexpensive yachts available in Australia that fit the bill, such as Young 11s, MASRMs, Northshore 369s and the earlier Sydney 36s to name a few, but any cruiser/racer or racing yacht can be converted to be easily sailed short-handed with some straight-forward modifications, with the most obvious being to have an autopilot, lazy-jacks on the main, smaller headsails (preferable with hanks or a furler) and so on."

"When people like Ken Read, the President of Norths Sails, who has raced everything from VO70s, to America's Cup, Supermaxis and much more, then spends a season racing a Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 and describes it as the most fun he's had racing for many years, then it says a lot!"

"Apart from anything else, the challenge of racing short-handed is fun, and adds a whole new dimension to sailing, which for most of those who try it, find it extremely rewarding," Condell finished by saying.

Right oh - there is plenty of information on the group's websites for you to review when you can. Please avail yourself of it.

Now if your class or association is generating material, we can help you spread your word just by. Got this newsletter from a friend? Would you like your own copy next week? Just follow the instructions on our newsletter page. Whilst there, you can also register for other editions, like Powerboat-World.

Finally, thank you for keeping a weather eye on Sail-World. Your increased patronage and sensational, heartfelt comments have made our crew work even harder to bring you the best from all over the globe...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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