I am not much of a fan of the Angus Primrose era Moody''s but the newer boats seem to be pretty good boats. They seem to be nicely finished. I have not especially liked their interior layouts and I am not a fan of aft cabins on boats as small as Moody tries to put them. Most of the ones that I have seen in the States have interiors that are biased towards coastal cruising.
I own a Farr 11.6 (Farr 38).The Farr 11.6 (Farr 38) were built as cruiser/racers and in their day they were extremely fast compared to other 38 footers that could be cruised. Compared to cruiser/racers of that era, they were very light. With a design weight of only 10,600 lbs., they were somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4''s of the weight of a normal 38 foot coastal cruiser of that era. In some ways these were boats with a split personality. Sisterships of my boat are distance cruising all over the world. My boat, for example, was single-handed in from South Africa on her own bottom. Yet, when these were new boats, Farr 11.6’s were also winning races in a wide range of venues.
My boat was designed at an interesting point in Bruce Farr''s and yacht design history. Farr, like many top designers, had been designing race boats to compete under the IOR racing rule and had done so quite successfully. But in late 1970’s and early 1980''s designers and racers were becoming disillusioned with boats optimized for the IOR rule. These early 80’s IOR boats were comparably slow, tender and difficult to sail especially in heavy conditions or with short crews. Designers began designing large one-design, offshore capable, keel-boats that were designed to be well rounded designs and which were not specifically optimized to any racing rule. For example this is the era that saw the introduction of boats like J-36/35, Express 37 and Santana 36. Into that climate, Bruce Farr designed the Farr 11.6. The boat was a big hit in New Zealand and South Africa with well over a 125 of these boats built in a very short period worldwide.
In a lot of ways she was also a typical family cruiser built for use in New Zealand. From what I understand, the New Zealanders have a culture that is more accepting of the idea of cruising carefully engineered, very light weight boats. During this era Bruce Farr designed a whole range of very fast cruising boats that were similar in concept to the 11.6 but ranging from 21 feet up to 60 footers. Even in the early 1980''s, these fast cruisers offered a lot of carrying capacity for their dry weight, had surprisingly comfortable motions and were quite stable as compared to the light boats that we knew at that time in the northern hemisphere.
The engineering on my boat is amazing. The 11.6 has a comparatively thin skin for that day, (heavy by modern standards) supported on closely spaced framing. The boat has a series of closely spaced, hand glassed longitudinal stringers that run the length of the boat and terminate at a squash block at the bow knuckle. Depending on where you are in the boat, there are transverse framing or a structural bulkhead every 20” to 30”, The framing around the keel area consists of massive glassed in transverse frames. These are incredible stiff and sturdy boats that really seem to stand up to a lot of abuse.
Today she is pretty slow when compared to modern race boats. But she was in many ways the last of the last generation of boats that could be raced or cruised in a wide range of conditions. She is remarkably easy to handle single-handed and in a heavy breeze. She points well for a cruising boat and is very fast in a wide range of conditions. Although light in weight, her hull form and weight distribution makes the Farr 11.6 surprising comfortable in rough going. I have been very pleased with her sailing ability right across the board. She is moderately well balanced with a very light helm, but unlike some of the newer boats, she does not track all that well. As a result I tend to use the autopilot
when covering distance. With her light helm these boats do very well with streering vanes. (My boat had one which was removed when she came to the States. )
For me, one of the big draws to this boat is her fractional rig
which I look at as being the ideal offshore and shorthanded rig
for a boat of this size.
The previous owner had almost exclusively raced her and so she has a lot of good racing gear but when I bought her cruising systems were in serious need of updating and I have been slowly converting her back into more of a cruiser and less of a racer. The interior layout is clearly designed around offshore passage making rather than coastal cruising and her stock tankage is a bit on the small size.
I do not think that these are an ideal boat for everyone. I think that these are great high performance singlehanders or for couples who will accept a pretty spartan boat for a bit of extra performance. I am not sure that I would classify her as a high quality yacht but she works for me.