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  #1  
Old 10-21-2010
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Farr 395, J/120, J/109--any wisdom?

Currently I am looking for a boat for around-the-buoy racing on the Chesapeake. I expect to also cruise around the Bay and maybe beyond the bay later. How far I will ultimately go I don't know. So now, I am considering Farr 395 (have seen some built in 2000-2002, hull # in the mid 20s), J/120 (1998-2001 vintage), or J/109 (2003 or slightly newer) -- relatively fast racer/cruisers. Performance-wise, Farr 395 appeals to me but I have some concerns about the known hull problems. (The potential candidates evidently all had the class-recommended modifications done.) The available J/109s tend to be newer than J/120 (can't afford a newer J/120). The early J/120s also had some hull (keel attachment) problems, but the problem evidently was addressed after the first 25 hulls. I have not found any serious problems common to J/109s mentioned. It is a bit smaller but appears to be still plenty fast (been on one but have not sailed one). It seems like a very nice size. (My wife will prefer this.) The gear presumably would be less expensive to maintain, and the sails are definitely not as heavy to lug around. (My wife will definitely prefer this.) However, with a racing crew on long races, it may be a bit more cramped. I've read a bit about C&C 110s (sprit version) but haven't pursued it as much, but perhaps I should. I've been on a C&C 115, and the interior looked beautiful. I assume that these boats are all offshore rated, but I have heard (sometimes from boat brokers selling Js) that J boats are more rugged. In theory, they are comparable in terms of their abilities to take the pounding. That's in theory, and I don't have enough experience to judge how much pounding they can really take, assuming, of course, that the hull and rigging are in good shape at the outset. BTW, I am not contemplating circumnavigating the globe, but anything can happen. Any wisdom? Thanks for any information, thoughts, or leads for other ideas. Jim

Last edited by jch33n; 10-22-2010 at 12:53 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 10-22-2010
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We JUST finished a race with several of the boats listed above.

I will not say that this is indicitive of the boat necessarily, because I am not sure the crews were evenly matched (did I say that nicely)?? SO, here is what I saw:

The fastest boat was the Tartan 4100. There are known hull problems with these boats too. In fact, the boat I saw had also had a hull repair done. But, they are beautiful performance boats and do pretty good in a race with enough crew.

The Farr 39 did ok. It still looked the faster boat and in different curcumstances, I think it would have outrun the Tartan. But the crew was pretty long in tooth on the Farr and the Tartan had like 15 people there to trim and throw over the side for rail meat!!! Come to think of it, not sure we counted that they finished with 15 people... hmmmmm (snicker).

A very good racing boat that is very fast and relatively inexpensive is the Henderson 30. Whew. I was surprised at how well she runs. Not great accomodations for cruising... to be forewarned. But for the money and the speed (PHRF around 40 I think), she is going to be a tough girl to beat. THere is one for sale in CA right now that I have to say, caught my eye. Even came with a trailoer if you want to start loading her up and getting mroe competitive.

I will certainly fall in the minority here but this has been the discussion amongst the mods (in private) for a while now. In a perfect world, I would have two boats - one for cruising and one for racing. I liked the Melges for racing, but short of the 32, it would not be something I would take for any of the longer offshore races. John Pollard owned a Melges and he said it was a pretty wet ride and that would get pretty old after the first day for me.

But for distance racing (offshore) if you really want to have fun, I think a trailer is about mandatory unless you have a crew to sail her all over for you. Seriously - consider that. Because if you have a trailer, you can enter into the Ft Lauderdale - Key West, Tampa Key west, Tampa - Havanna, Naples - Jamaica, (some great races out of Texas to Mexico and Key West or havanna... but I have not done them). Maybe even get into some of the Bermuda races??? But that would be local to you.

Problem I have found is that what I (me, not some people) think makes a good cruising boat, often does not line up well with a great buoy boat or distance racer. And if you get competitive and have to fight a PHRF against dry docked boats that are covered in carbon fiber, you will lose before you cross the start line (as we found out many times).

SO there are my thoughts. I have raced several times on a j92 but not the others mentioned, though I have been on them and ewwed and awwed, but other can speak more intelligently about them. But I would not take either one of those J's cruising (my opinion... sorry). But I don't even care for the J42 for cruising so my opinion on them may need to be discarded. If you are stuck with the boats you metioned, I would choos the Farr. I have become a fan of their boats (thanks to Jeff who is our expert in these areas and owns a Farr, so see if he can help when he gets back).

If you want opinins on a boat that is a good performance cruiser/racer, let me know and I will throw out some thoughts. Just be forewardned that I don't think many of them are really that competitive on a racing circut without a generous PHRF. Its flat out hard to beat a Melges or Henderson or Farr no matter what the correction.

Brian
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Old 10-22-2010
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The J/109s had a keel issuse in the early hulls that and who payed Jboats or TPI or the owner
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Old 10-22-2010
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Thanks, Brian and Tommays,

I agree that I am trying to find one boat to do more than it is optimum for: I suspect that most of these boats are probably best for club races and short cruises (in and around Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva Peninsula for me). For now, I am considering a good racer (around-the-buoy and up and down the Bay) and seeing how far I can take it in terms of my racing and cruising skills with one of these racer/cruisers. At this point in my search, my main concern is the boat's ability to weather tough situations if I should encounter one and whether there are known problems common to a particular boat. In particular, I'd like to know what it takes to overcome the Farr 395 hull problem and if the typical fixes are adequate. Any information and thoughts on that would be appreciated.

I will certainly look into Henderson 30 (I don't think I have seen one here) and into J/109's hull problems. (I hadn't heard that before -- I would have thought JBoats would have fixed that type of problems after the J/120s).

Yes, it would be hard to judge the relative speed if the crew work is uneven. It's hard to sail a boat to its numbers, but if everyone did, Farr 395 might be a bit faster on flat waters than J/120 and vice versa in heavier seas, from the weight differentials and somewhat different hull shapes, etc.
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Another thing. There are a number of dry sailed boats in this area (some with paid crew members). That would be way out of my league! I suppose cleaning the bottom frequently is no picnic in terms of cost, either. I am starting with baby steps, through.
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Old 10-22-2010
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THe J's IMHO would be the better offshore boat. There are a few local ones that have done the Vic-Maui. THere is a local ie salish sea/puget/sound 109 on its way around the globe. I believe there is a blog clickable on the local -boat dealers web site.

We also have a F395 local. Very pretty boat. and fast! It would be on a short list for me if I was looking for a 40' boat. THere are also some Farr 39's local, different creature than the 395. More like a M32 on steroids. The 395 is more like a J120 but with a few less interior niceties.

Frankly, a Farr 39 or 395 should be able to spank a T4100! I would say the T had a better crew in some way shape or form. The F395 recently spanked a few F39's in a local race at my YC.

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Old 10-22-2010
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If anyone is really bored, here are a bunch of pics of our last race. You will see that Farr, Henderson, Tartan, and lots others in there.

2010 Summerset Regatta | news-press.com | Southwest Florida Sports | The News-Press

Brian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jch33n View Post
Thanks, Brian and Tommays,

I agree that I am trying to find one boat to do more than it is optimum for: I suspect that most of these boats are probably best for club races and short cruises (in and around Chesapeake Bay and Delmarva Peninsula for me). For now, I am considering a good racer (around-the-buoy and up and down the Bay) and seeing how far I can take it in terms of my racing and cruising skills with one of these racer/cruisers. At this point in my search, my main concern is the boat's ability to weather tough situations if I should encounter one and whether there are known problems common to a particular boat. In particular, I'd like to know what it takes to overcome the Farr 395 hull problem and if the typical fixes are adequate. Any information and thoughts on that would be appreciated.

I will certainly look into Henderson 30 (I don't think I have seen one here) and into J/109's hull problems. (I hadn't heard that before -- I would have thought JBoats would have fixed that type of problems after the J/120s).

Yes, it would be hard to judge the relative speed if the crew work is uneven. It's hard to sail a boat to its numbers, but if everyone did, Farr 395 might be a bit faster on flat waters than J/120 and vice versa in heavier seas, from the weight differentials and somewhat different hull shapes, etc.
Given that, I would put the Henderson 30 on my very, very short list. Minimal investment and fast. You would be a competitor. You will notice it is a 30 foot boat, but she races with much larger boats. She is not as popular as some of the others, but that might pay to your advantage. Issues will be on the distance races where waterline kicks in. But on a buoy race, that shorter and more nimble boat may take the marks.

Just some thoughts.

Brian
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Old 10-22-2010
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Brian,

You have some points re the Henderson. There are a few here in PugetSOund too. WHile quicker than my 30' Jeanneau, at a race last weekend and March, I was able to keep up and sometimes out do some upwards of 38-44' boats on short legs, but when the legs got into the 2-3+ mile range, WL took over. I had no problems last spring as did a Cat30 with the 2 40+foot Catalina's on shorter leg courses, usually not only beating them handily on handicap, usually boat for boat. BUT, both the C30 and I had our race crews, not sure the bigger cats had a race crew per say.

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Old 10-23-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommays View Post
The J/109s had a keel issuse in the early hulls that and who payed Jboats or TPI or the owner
I did some looking around and found that there are some builder supplied repair kits to be installed, evidently at the builder's expense. It is sort of a recall.

Last edited by jch33n; 10-23-2010 at 01:19 PM. Reason: update and correction
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