Originally Posted by davidpm
Thanks Jeff, as always I enjoy your comments.
I personally have raced on a Farr 395.
I was on the delivery return from Bermuda to CT after the Newport race.
I never had such a painful experience.
It sounded like someone was smashing the boat with a sledgehammer. You could hear the fiberglass breaking.
Most of the time in the bunk we were in zero G, airborne.
It was a really rough ride and that was with a crew of 7.
My take was that the hull is shaped like a big surfboard, flat on the bottom.
Taking the waves that were coming our way we were slamming something terrible.
It does has a nice grid system for strength however. The asim pole was gulping down a significant amount of water as it was not meant to be used underwater.
Do you have any rules of thumb you go by to evaluate a boat for a particular purpose based on specs or is it mostly personal experience on the boat?
Usually when I comment on a boat, I have either sailed on one or helped someone sort one out (purchase, or repairs) enough to formulate an opinion. But there are times when I have raced against that model enough to have some sense of how they sail and I ususally try to say that when this is the case. There are also times when I will comment based on a boat's specs or reputation, but again I will usually say something like, "looking at the numbers" or "These boats have a reputation" rather than provide a first hand comment.
I am disappointed to hear your comments about the Farr 395 since they have almost always looked like a nice boat. My comment above was mainly directed toward their relative performance. I have almost no time on a Farr 395 (hitched a ride back from St. Michaels on one in moderate conditions that died and we ended up motoring). My sense of the Farr 395 was conjectural based on the similar hull form but older- less aggressive Beneteau 40.7, which I probably have a couple hundred hours on in a very wide range of conditions and feel that I really know very well and like how she sails.
My only comment on your experience is that, with some (many, if not most) of the boats of that era, in a breeze they can close reach at very high speeds. In a chop this means hitting waves at very high speeds. With a full crew weight aboard, and on her lines, these boats (meaning boats ith similar hullforms) knife into the waves with a comparatively gentle ride, even at these speeds, but in the right wave frequency, and/or off trim, boats of this typeform can get off stride, and out of sync with the wave train, in which case they can hit very hard. (I never heard anything that sounded or felt like fiberglass cracking.) For a delivery or cruising, this means slowing the boat down a little, changing trim, and/or changing course slightly to alter the frequency and severity of the impacts.
Again, the Zero G thing sounds like the boat in question was being pushed very hard, or you were in the forepeake. On similar designs, amidships, and in the quarter berths, I found these boats surprisingly comfortable even at speed in a short chop.
That said, I really don't have enough experience with the 395 to know whether there is something uniquely uncomfortable about them nor was I there to see the conditions you experienced and so all of my comments in this particular post are speculative based on sailing similar boats.
The retractable assym poles (and canting keels for that matter) is one of those items for which I am conflicted. There is no doubt that we will be seeing assymetrical racing chutes for a long time to come. But I really question how they will play out for cruising and whether we will have to live with retractable poles. More recent Wind tunnel testing suggests that these long retacting poles really do not add that much speed to the boat relative to their rating hit. As a result we are seeing a lot more of the shorter 'prod' type sprits on race boats and these ideally solve the gulping water problem.
But more generally, I really am not a huge fan of assym chutes for cruising and I feel that poles that retract into the hulls are not the best choice if you plan to spend a lot of time thrashing into a chop or going offshore.