Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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I looked at Farr 37's, Frers 36's and Express 37's when I was looking for my boat. I have sailed on all three. If your primary interest is racing, then I would lean towards the Express 37 which seem to still be reasonably competative in PHRF and even in IRC. Both the Express and the Farr 37 were well constructed and were reasonably robust designs. The Farrs were consistently in the best structural shape, and the Expresses were in the best cosmetic shape. The Frers reportedly had many of the Carroll Marine issues in spades. The one I considered most had bad deck core problems and loose bulkheads, but I also saw one that seemed quite solid.
The Express 37 (especially the tall rig versions) is probably the most forgiving of the three boats to sail. Some of the Farr 37's had bulbs added to their keels which really widened the range at which they are good all-around boats. The Frer 36's seem to have narrower grooves and much poorer ergonomics than the other two.
The Express has the most well rounded, albeit minimalist interior of the three. Some of the Farr 37's have had vee berths added making them a close second. I did not like the interior of the Frer's which felt a little crude to me.
When I was hunting for my boat, I also had the J-35, J36, and Farr 38 on my list. The Farr 38 had the slowest rating of the bunch (and probably is the slowest of the bunch in light air and downwind), but I chose the Farr 38, because I considered it to be the best single-hander of the bunch and have had no problem sailing her to her PHRF rating at a club level (2 thirds, one second and the rest all firsts).
Of the other choices I would probably lean slightly towards the Express, with the Farr 37 a close second, and the J-35 third. I ended up taking the Frers off of my list on build quality and performance grounds.