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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking at upgrading my boat from a Magpie 34 (similar to an S & S 34) to a larger and more comfortable boat in the 38 to 40 ft range. I have looked at a Farr 11.6 and also Beneteau 375. We mainly race, but are also looking to do some cruising. Has anybody got experience on the relative sailing performance of these 2 boats? The Beneteau looks to be maybe the better cruising boat but it is heavier than the Farr and I am wondering how they compare especially in lighter airs. Our present boat is very good in heavy weather, especially to windward in rough water but very slow to tack and generally not competitive in light airs. I would like a better all round performer when racing.
Any thoughts?
 

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I'd say it's a safe bet that the Farr will out-perform the Bene 375 (assuming you're talking about the mid-to-late 80s Beneteau?) esp in light airs, but I'd also expect the Bene will be the better cruiser.

Thinking back on local PHRF racing, while there were plenty of 375s around, few of them were memorable on the race course....
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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I own a Farr 11.6 and have raced on and against Beneteau 375's. The Farr 11.6 will out perform the Beneteau boat for boat on all points of sail, and pretty much all conditions light to heavy. The Farr 11.6 is easier to handle, can be raced by a smaller crew (less weight needed on the rail or for sail handling) and is easier to keep at speed in changeable conditions than the 375. Like a lot of IOR derived designs of that era, the 375 loses speed easily and its hard to get it back again.

Compared to modern designs the Farr does not point as high and is a bit stickier in really light stuff, but compared to the 375 there is no contest boat for boat. But of course, if you plan to race, the real question is how the two boats are treated under your rating rules.

As for cruising ability, the Farr 11.6 has less headroom than the Beneteau 375 and is visibly less plush. The interior layout and tankage on the Farr 11.6's vary widely depending on when and where they were built. They typiccally have a very similar layout to the Beneteau 375 head forward version except they do not have the 'aft compartment' option that some of the 375's came with. The Farr 11.6's typically carry 80 gallons of water, which is more than the stock 375, but carry less fuel. Frankly the stock Farr 11.6 fuel tankage is absurdly small and so they often get fitted out with an extra 20-25 gal blatter forward of the starboard water tank.

The Farr's typically were set with three seaberths each side aft of the main bulkhead, which is really nice for distance racing but less convenient for family cruising.

Build quaility wise, the Farr's are surprisingly robust for their light weight. They typically have almost no liners making them easy to work on and inspect. They are not cored and so depend on a complex system of glassed in frames and structural interior components. Even when pushed hard there is no sense of flexing. I have worked on Beneteaus of this era and they are harder to maintain with their near full liners and are known for their wracking.

The one word of caution on the Farr 11.6's is that there were a number of Farr 11.6's that were built in Australia with 'optimized keels' that were very different than the original Farr design. In the original form, there was a reasonably deep sump, with pretty massive width and and depth transverse frames. (which is part of the reason that they do not have all that much headroom). In discussions with the Farr office, they indicated that these boats with the modified keel design and structure were not engineered by the Farr office and were unauthorized pirated versions that were built with IMS style fins or with bulb keels, and without the deep sump and the frames that were part of the original design. These boats also had a completely different laminate schedule and a simplified framing system as compared to the original design. One of these boats, Rising Farrster, lost its keel, killing the crew. The link to the coroner's report and update can be found here: Updated - Implications for Yacht Owners Arising from the NSW Coronial Inquest into the Deaths Aboard the Yacht Rising Farrster

These are very different boats structurally than the Farr engineered 11.6's and although they offer better upwind sailing capabilities, they should be avoided.

Good luck,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for clarifying my thoughts. The all round performance of the boat in both light and heavy conditions is probably the greatest determinant of regular successful racing. (Aside from the crew!) Also after owning a masthead rig I agree the fractional rig is easier to handle and trim for varying conditions with less sail changing, especially headsails. I think you have swayed me to the Farr. I am aware of the problems with some of these built in Australia and will be very careful with this. As regards cruising, the maybe small advantage of the 375 is more than made up for by the better sailing and easier handling of the Farr. Thanks for the guidance.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You may be right but unfortunately the Catalina 400's for sale in Australia are nearly twice the price of the Farr's. Beggars cannot be choosers! And it would be back to the masthead rig.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Jim,

This is CruisingDad's idea of a joke. He likes to kid me about a comment that I made that I liked the Catalina 400 better than most of the Catalinas. Catalina 400's do make nice family coastal cruisers, but if you goal is primarily racing then they would not be a very good choice.

Jeff
 

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The one word of caution on the Farr 11.6's is that there were a number of Farr 11.6's that were built in Australia with 'optimized keels' that were very different than the original Farr design. In the original form, there was a reasonably deep sump, with pretty massive width and and depth transverse frames. (which is part of the reason that they do not have all that much headroom). In discussions with the Farr office, they indicated that these boats with the modified keel design and structure were not engineered by the Farr office and were unauthorized pirated versions that were built with IMS style fins or with bulb keels, and without the deep sump and the frames that were part of the original design. These boats also had a completely different laminate schedule and a simplified framing system as compared to the original design. One of these boats, Rising Farrster, lost its keel, killing the crew. The link to the coroner's report and update can be found here: Updated - Implications for Yacht Owners Arising from the NSW Coronial Inquest into the Deaths Aboard the Yacht Rising Farrster

These are very different boats structurally than the Farr engineered 11.6's and although they offer better upwind sailing capabilities, they should be avoided.

Good luck,
Jeff
Jeff,

I read your post and the coronor's report with interest. One point that struck me as odd is your statement that there are unauthorized pirated versions which include The Rising Farrster. However from the coronor's report I get the impression that the Builder, Binks Yacht was in contact with Bruce Farr throughout the construction of this particular vessel. This does not sound like an "unauthorised copy".

Also from your response it sounds like the Farr office is implying that they had nothing to do with these particular boats, including the Rising Farrister. However the Coronor's report (p28) states:

The expert evidence is, however, that there was a combination of design, build and ABS requirements that resulted in the hull shell being inadequate for this type of keel.

I admit from my reading of the report that the builder seems to have more issues / responsibility. However my view is that the designer does not come out entirely blameless from the whole incident.

Your views?

Ilenart

PS note that I have no connection in anyway to Binks Yachts, or anyone else in the above. It just struck me that your comments were at a odds with the details in the Coronor's report.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I inspected a Farr 11.6 yesterday. This boat was built by Binks in 1979. It had floors about 3" to 4" thick and a sump maybe 6" deep and about 2" to 3" wide. Total depth of floors to the sump bottom would be about the 15" quoted by Jeff. It also had large longitudinal stringers near the outer ends of the floors. (Could have had others as well but I only had a quick look) I think it has the fin keel without the bulb. Draft is quoted as 6' 4". The boat has done several Sydney to Hobart's and Melbourne to Hobart's and looks to be in good condition. Part of the cockpit floor lifted up to reveal the life raft storage area under. It was too deep to be self draining as the bottom was the hull itself. I assume it relies on the lifting floor sealing well enough to allow the self drainers to be effective. So maybe Binks was building to the original design but later produced a different version that rated better under the IMS rule.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Ilenart:

Here is my understanding from my conversations with Farr's office. Unlike many production boats, the Farr 11.6's were built on license. In effect, the builders bought the plans and the rights to build the boat with a fee paid for each boat they built. The 11.6's were originally cold molded wood construction that was later adopted to glass by Farr and was to be constructed silmultaineously by yards in New Zealand and Australia. These yards jointly produced the original tooling for the Farr 11.6's as designed by Farr's office in conjunction with Farr and with Farr's office partially owning the molds and production rights and so these yards paid licence fees etc. They later sold copies of the tooling to two builders in South Africa, and later still the boat was tooled in North America and in Scandinavia. Some were also built as kit boats.

At various points along the way, the design of the boat was altered, sometimes with consultation with Farr's office (such as the Scandinavian boats which had a modern IMS style keel) and sometimes not. These boats vary very widely when you see multiple examples.

In any event, it is my understanding that 'Rising Farrister' was version that was redesigned and reengineered by the builder and according to Farr's office, Farr was not involved in the redesign and the revised scantlings were not was reviewed or approved by Farr's office. They clearly vary from the scantlings for the Scandinvian version with revised IMS style keel which added quite a bit of weight to the hull which was offset by a lighter, higher tech interior.

In any event, the reason that I referred to Rising Farrester as a "unauthorized pirated versions" comes from Farr's office's description that Rising Farrester was not built using the tooling that Farrs' office partially owned; instead 'splashing' an existing boat and producing the boats without paying fees, or sticking to Farr's engineering standards.

I have copies of the original design number 72 and 72-2 drawings and I can assure that the thicknesses quoted in the Coroners report in no way match those in the original design.

Jim Hoi;
The life raft compartment under the cockpit sole was an orginal design feature of the boat. As designed the are above the waterline and so can have a drain. The thru-hull for the drain went into the skeg just forward of the rudder post and in the South African boats, lacked a seacok. The way mine was built it did get a little water in it. I recently cut the bottom of mine and raised it a couple inches higher and added a seacock in the sump. Its not one of the best features of the boat. I added gasketing to mine, but its not perfect and I began getting some mildew in the locker so it is still a work in progress.

Jeff
 

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Farr 11.6 Chrispin from Brazil

I have a Farr 11,6, manufactured in the Brazil in 1986.

How I can obtain a project with the dimensions contrutiva of the keel to know if the Farrr 11,6 this correct one?

Ze Carlos
 

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Farr 11.6 - "Correct Version"

As far as I know the Farr 38 IMS which has had structural problems was only manufactured in Australia. The original Farr 11.6 as designed by Farr has a keel which is smaller at the bottom than the top and does not have a bulb at the bottom. Also the keel is bolted to a small skeg which projects below the hull. It forms a hollow sump inside the boat. The keel bolts can be seen at the bottom of this sump. Maybe the Farr office could tell you if there was an authorised builder in Brazil. I hope this helps. For what it is worth there have been 2 Australian built Farr 38 IMS yachts at my club. Both have run into a reef near the club and suffered fairly extensive structual damage. The damage to one of them revealed structual floors with only about 3mm of GRP over the core of the floor members.
 

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Dear Jim!

Thanks a lot for the return, I go to take off photos or same to make a film of as my Farr this mounted.

Also I go to consult the office of the Farr to know on the constructor in Brazil.

One more time thanks a lot

Zé Carlos
 
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