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Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

I have some questions for anyone who has experience sailing the Dickerson Farr 37. I have read through all of the previous posts on the matter but had some specific questions.

1. It has been said that the boat can be "alot to handle downwind". Is this to the point where it is a round up machine or can you take her with diligent helm?

2. Does she have any characteristics that would specifically make her a poor boat for short handed racing (The running back stays don't intimidate me and I plan on a bow sprit for assyms)

3. what do I not know that I need to from your experience?

My previous Boats have been C&C 33mk2, C&C 41custom and C&C 35mk3. All routinely single handed.

Regards,

Gary


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The Farr 37 is a great racer, more civilized than our Farr 40 that could teach me the following...
1. Yes, the narrow keel and the rather flat bottom means a lot of work on the helm going downwind. In general, forget the directional stability of your C&C - the Farr is a wild cat.

2. Not sure what you mean by short handed, but we can’t go racing at any wind with less than 5-6 people and when it blows over 10-12Kts we need 10-12. Also the entire deck lines setup is made for a larger crew.

3. A great racer by all means - probably the best around together with the equivalent Js. No fun for any non racing sailing, rather simple clean rigging and sheets, easy maintenance, very fast to react.

But again, short handed racer it is not.

Best of luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gedaggett View Post
I have some questions for anyone who has experience sailing the Dickerson Farr 37. I have read through all of the previous posts on the matter but had some specific questions.

1. It has been said that the boat can be "alot to handle downwind". Is this to the point where it is a round up machine or can you take her with diligent helm?

2. Does she have any characteristics that would specifically make her a poor boat for short handed racing (The running back stays don't intimidate me and I plan on a bow sprit for assyms)

3. what do I not know that I need to from your experience?

My previous Boats have been C&C 33mk2, C&C 41custom and C&C 35mk3. All routinely single handed.

Regards,

Gary
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Re: Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

All of your previous boats are IOR designs so you are probably familiar with the challenges of carrying a masthead chute on a boat that is prone to excitation rolling and roll steer. My short tenure on a Farr 37 suggested that it is no worse than the boats (i.e. the C&C 41) that you already know, except that it has a little more SA/D, a little more stability, and reaches and runs with a bit more control and speed.

If you were to race a Farr 37 short-handed you would want to develop a sail inventory for short-handed sailing and look at how to rearrange the cockpit to make it easier to sail short-handed. It can be done but like most IOR era boats, there may be better choices out there. I have a Farr 11.6 (Farr 38) which was designed slightly before the Farr 37. The 11.6 was not designed to the IOR rule. It makes a great short-handed boat and would be a better short-hander than the 37 if you can find one at a similar price. When I bought my boat I was told it was generally raced with 7-8 people and needed at least 4 to sail with spinnaker. I race her single-handed. Here are some of the items which might be worth considering.
1) Get a reliable below deck autopilot. These boats do not track at deep reach angles and you can't jibe or douse the chute without a good autopilot.
2) Add twings rather that using lazy sheets and guys.
3) Set the boat up for end for end jibing. If the pole and mast have a bell fitting, that will need to be swapped for a conventional pole end and ring. You cannot dip pole jibe short-handed without going through wild modifications. I considered experimenting with being able to dip pole jibe and decided it was too complex. (I can talk you through the system for that if you are interested.) Avoid spinnaker socks or furlers since they can really get you messed up. Never raise or lower the chute without the jib mostly deployed.
4) Add roller furling. I would not plan to sail with the sail partially furled but its important to be able to deploy and furl the jib once the spinnaker is up.
5)Develop a minimally overlapping AP headsail that can be powered up and flattened with backstay adjustments. It will probably be roughly a 125% on that boat and will need be a heavier than usual reinforced high modulus sail with battens and lots of roach. The idea is to keep the sail light but with low stretch. Ideally you end up with the equivalent of an SA/D of around 24 upwind. The sail should be cut for lots of headstay sag in light air and to be bladed out by reducing headstay sag in a breeze. While these boats were designed for 155% genoas, they were also designed for 1,500 lbs of crew weight on the rail and another couple hundred lbs of crew gear down below. The smaller sail plan should work across a broad wind range (2-3 knots to close to 20 knots but with a reefed mainsail once you can't blade the sails enough to keep heel angle below 20 degrees).
6) The winch islands are great when there is a crew, but it puts the jib winches a little too far forward to adjust from the tiller extension so you may need to be able to quickly engage the autopilot and then return to the helm.
7) Do not buy one with wheel steering. The wheel puts you too far aft to reach any of the control lines (except maybe the traveler and backstay adjuster).

I would suggest that you try to get aboard and sail one. I like the Farr 37 a lot, but if you can find one at a good price in decent shape, boats like a J-36, Express 37, or Farr 11.6, are better choices as shorthanded racers.

Jeff


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Great info guys! That is exactly the info I was looking for. the boat under consideration has dealt with some of those single handed concerns but there is no substitute for weight I the rail and I get that. It is part of my hesitation.


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Re: Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

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Originally Posted by gedaggett View Post
Great info guys! That is exactly the info I was looking for. the boat under consideration has dealt with some of those single handed concerns but there is no substitute for weight I the rail and I get that. It is part of my hesitation.
So here's the thing, almost any racer-cruiser from the IOR era was designed to sail with a lot of weight on the rail. A 37-38 footer might have had 9-10 people onboard in heavy air with everyone perched on the rail upwind and reaching.

But that also meant carrying a couple thousand pounds of people and gear. So while it meant that you could carry more sail area into higher wind speeds, it also meant that you also needed to carry more sail area to offset the greater weight.

IOR era boats would carry very large sail inventories. They might have a light#1, Heavy#1, #2, #3,#4, and storm jib, and sail changes were very common.

With modern high modulus sail cloth, the wind range of any of these sails is greatly increased.

Because a high tech sail is much lighter than a Dacron sail with similar stretch characteristics, the high tech sail will maintain it's flying shape into much lighter winds. Because a high tech sail actually stretches less than a Dacron sail, the same sail can be carried into a much higher wind as well.

What I did to develop my short-handed sail inventory was to develop a skewed SA/D for my boat. For displacement, I started with the published dry weight and I added 500 lbs for normal sailing gear, water in the tanks and consumables, and 1500 lbs for crew and their gear. I then calculated the sail area with the 155% Genoa, and calculated the SA/D in that configuration.

I then took off the 1500 lbs of crew weight an calculated the sail area needed to achieve the same SA/D without the weight. By subtracting the mainsail, I came up with the smaller size Genoa that I wanted for the single handed Genoa.

The reality is that there will be some performance loss due to the lack of added stability from crew on the rail, but it is no where near as bad as you might think.

This is partially true because modern sails can be bladed out much more effectively than Dacron or the old Kevlar sails. It's partially true because less weight means less drag and less drag means that you don't need as much sail area.

In real racing conditions, single-handing I often correct out over fully crewed boats in a broad range of conditions but particularly in lighter winds and heavy air.

While high tech sails cost more initially, they have a much larger wind range replacing 2 or 3 sails. But also a good quality and properly spec's high tech sail will last longer than a lower tech sail in terms of holding it's shape which is why many one design classes which previously prohibited high tech sails to keep costs down, now permit high tech sails.

By way of example, my prior AP high tech jib lasted 10 years and was only destroyed when I got caught in 40 knots of wind and could not furl it.

Jeff


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Thanks Jeff
great perspective here. I dim wittedly never even though about full water and fuel for ballast to offset missing crew weight. Good info on the SA/D consideration and sail inventory story with 3Di type materials. Sounds like by going from the 155 down to a new calculated optimal sail size and properly set up boat that single handed perfromance could.be achieved and would have quite the advantage in light air which is more than half of what we see in the great lakes anyhow. Most of out beercan races over the last 5 years have been in winds of 4-10 knots and the Mackinaw race has ussually had at least a day of a high preassure system and searching for breeze.

I would imagine having this same SA/D thought process in mind for the Spinnalers would also help to tame the boat down a bit. Sounds like some good conversations with the sailmaker would be in order.


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Re: Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

I want to start by saying that before I ever bought my boat, I planned to own her for a very long time. I also figured that I would be sailing single-hand a lot and hoped to race single or short handed. With that in mind, I was purposely looked for a performance boat with a sail plan and hull form that would be forgiving and could be easily adapted to changing conditions.

While I definitely considered a number of IOR boats, the issue with them tends to be that most were short on stability, had sail plans with small high aspect mainsails and were heavily dependent on large overlapping headsails. There were certainly better and worse designs to sail short-handed. For example, boats like the Farr 37, or the Soverel 33 were better than many IOR oriented designs.

In the case of the Farr 37, after the Fastnet Disaster, the IOR Rule was amended so that stability was not so heavily penalized. Many of the Farr 37's were altered and had a lead bulb added which definitely improved stability. Ideally you are looking at one of those.

But I also bought my boat planning to optimize the deck plan and develop a sail inventory that targeted towards more efficient short-handed sailing. In terms of the sail inventory I wanted to avoid having to do sail changes or sailing with partially furled sails, which meant developing sails that were designed for a very wide wind range.

I am suggesting that you might want to talk with a sailmaker before you buy the boat but it can't just be any sailmaker. I is really important to find a sailmaker who understands what I was trying to accomplish and was willing to help me develop a proper inventory with the properly sized and shaped sails.

That is not always easy.. I had a terrible experience with North Sails for example. But before I explain what happened I want to explain my thoughts on what makes a good short-handed headsail. In order to produce a headsail with a maximum wind range it will by necessity be smaller than an AP Genoa on a fully crewed boat. To maximize the performance of this smaller sail, it needs to have the maximum luff length that won't 2-block. It needs to be as light a weight as possible for light air. It needs to be cut slightly full like the leading edge of the full sized Genoa, but it needs to be designed for more than usual headsta sag. The headstay sag will hurt pointing ability very slightly but it allows you to tension the forestay (on the Farr 37 with the backstay and check stays) and flatten the Genoa in heavier air.

The only way that works for heavy air is to have the sail designed with an exceptionally large amount of high modulus fiber to prevent the slightly fuller shape from stretching in stronger winds. While high modulus fiber is expensive it still represents a small portion of the overall cost of a high tech sail. (My understanding is that greatly increasing the amount of structural fiber in my sails added roughly 5% to the overall cost of the sail.) The added fiber also increases the durability of the sail.

My experience with North was that since I was asking for a smaller sail with extra reinforcing fiber, they produced a standard racing #2 which was way too flat to use in lighter winds. When we tried with a second sail, it was cut pretty well but had much less reinforcing and so had a rediculously narrow wind range. I hardly ever used that sail and it delaminated very quickly.

I ended up working Dave Flynn at Quantum in Annapolis, who got it immediately. That sail Quantum produced was miraculous. It was good down to 2- 3 or so knots up to 120 degs true and up to around 20 knots, After 10 years and a lot of abuse, I replaced it with a second version of this sail. The new sail uses fiber and technology that was not around back then and it has an even wider wind range than the first Quantum.

To save cost, I typically figure out what I want in a sail and then buy it during the annual sale period with flexible delivery which makes it somewhat more affordable.

I am not sure what to tell you on the spinnaker. IOR boats typically have problems carrying chutes once the apparent wind gets near 90 degrees. My gut reaction is that I think if I were designing a spinnaker for a Farr 37 I don't think I would make it smaller, but I would want it to be flatter cut to reduce excitation rolling and allow you to carry it at a hotter wind angle without weight on the rail. This is one that you should definitely discuss with your sailmaker and let us know what you find out.

That's about it for tonight.
Jeff


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Re: Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

Speaking of the impact of single-handing on performance, this is an article that was picked up by Scuttlebutt from the ORC Webpage. It does not say much since it only touches lightly on the impact of not having crw weight on the rail to be able to carry more sail area. It uses an Aerodyne 38 as the example, which is a boat that has all of the boxes checked as a pretty good platform for a short handed race-boat. Yet even in a boat that is well suited to short-hand racing the performance penalty is 10 seconds a mile under ORC. That is a pretty big hit. CHESSS (Chesapeake Sailing Society) had a member discussion on the difference in performance between single and double hand sailing, and the conclusion was that the difference over a race course was in the 6 to 12 seconds a mile range mainly due to impact of either making slower tacks and jibes or else losing the tactical advantages of a tack or jibe when single-handed. I only wish that the article had said more about the basis of the rating difference.


Fair ratings for Double Handed racers


An advantage to a science-based rating system is being able to produce ratings that more closely reflect how people actually sail their boats. Short-handed sailing is an example where substantially lower crew weight can have a significant effect on rated performance compared to racing with a full crew, yet this is rarely addressed by many rating systems.

On ORC certificates there are two double-handed special scoring options: Time-on-Time and Time-on-Distance ratings for General Purpose Handicap (GPH) and the Offshore Single Number (OSN) course models. GPH is an average of the time allowances calculated for all wind angles in 8 to 12 knots of wind speed, while OSN is a weighted average of time allowances for wind speeds from 8 to 16 knots that are found in a typical offshore race.

For Annapolis-based Ben Capucoís Aerodyne 38 Zuul, for example, the DH GPH rating is over 10 sec/mi slower than the full-crew GPH, and the DH OSN rating is over 12 sec/mi slower. This reflects the 570 kg (1250 lb) lower crew weight that affects their performance across the ranges of wind speed and wind angles in the two scoring models.

Along with eight J/105s, Zuul and 9 other entries will compete in the first Annapolis YC Double Handed Distance Race over September 28-29 on a Chesapeake Bay course intended to last 24 hours.

With ORC DH ratings, they can be assured of fair racing
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Re: Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
Speaking of the impact of single-handing on performance, this is an article that was picked up by Scuttlebutt from the ORC Webpage. It does not say much since it only touches lightly on the impact of not having crw weight on the rail to be able to carry more sail area. It uses an Aerodyne 38 as the example, which is a boat that has all of the boxes checked as a pretty good platform for a short handed race-boat. Yet even in a boat that is well suited to short-hand racing the performance penalty is 10 seconds a mile under ORC. That is a pretty big hit. CHESSS (Chesapeake Sailing Society) had a member discussion on the difference in performance between single and double hand sailing, and the conclusion was that the difference over a race course was in the 6 to 12 seconds a mile range mainly due to impact of either making slower tacks and jibes or else losing the tactical advantages of a tack or jibe when single-handed. I only wish that the article had said more about the basis of the rating difference.


Fair ratings for Double Handed racers


An advantage to a science-based rating system is being able to produce ratings that more closely reflect how people actually sail their boats. Short-handed sailing is an example where substantially lower crew weight can have a significant effect on rated performance compared to racing with a full crew, yet this is rarely addressed by many rating systems.

On ORC certificates there are two double-handed special scoring options: Time-on-Time and Time-on-Distance ratings for General Purpose Handicap (GPH) and the Offshore Single Number (OSN) course models. GPH is an average of the time allowances calculated for all wind angles in 8 to 12 knots of wind speed, while OSN is a weighted average of time allowances for wind speeds from 8 to 16 knots that are found in a typical offshore race.

For Annapolis-based Ben Capucoís Aerodyne 38 Zuul, for example, the DH GPH rating is over 10 sec/mi slower than the full-crew GPH, and the DH OSN rating is over 12 sec/mi slower. This reflects the 570 kg (1250 lb) lower crew weight that affects their performance across the ranges of wind speed and wind angles in the two scoring models.

Along with eight J/105s, Zuul and 9 other entries will compete in the first Annapolis YC Double Handed Distance Race over September 28-29 on a Chesapeake Bay course intended to last 24 hours.

With ORC DH ratings, they can be assured of fair racing
Where is this race being held? ( beginning mid and end points) . Do all of you carry AIS?

We will be out on the Bay during that time somewhere to be determined but between Annapolis and Solomonís.


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Re: Dickerson Farr 37. I have questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Where is this race being held? ( beginning mid and end points) . Do all of you carry AIS?

We will be out on the Bay during that time somewhere to be determined but between Annapolis and Solomonís.
I am not involved in this race at all. It is not through CHESSS, and in fact AYC has not even consulted with CHESSS or asked us to publicize the event.

Here are the SI's : https://yachtscoring.com/event_docum...0SI%20v1.0.pdf
Here is the NOR: https://yachtscoring.com/event_docum...0123_FINAL.pdf

It does not sound like AIS or a position tracker is required, but I have not read either document very closely.

Jeff


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