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Fareast 31R

2014 February 1

There is a lot of attention on sportboats these days. I don't know exactly when we first heard the term "sportboat" and I'd be hard pressed to come up with a cogent and compact definition of a sportboat. Is the Star Class the origins of the sportboat movement? Or would the J/24 be considered the grampy of sportboats? Probably neither would qualify.

Perhaps the easiest way I could define a sportboat would be a very light, overpowered boat less than 40 feet in LOA. What the sportboats all have in common is lots of boat speed and handling characteristics that will keep a well-trained crew working hard. Simonis Voogd of the Netherlands designed this new sportboat, and it was specifically designed so it could be transported in a shipping container, like my own Flying Tiger 10m. The design brief was, "How would your fastest conventional sportboat look like with the ability to fit into a container and compete internationally as a one-design class but being able to be measured under most known rating rules?" The result is a very exciting looking boat.

This is a carbon and epoxy boat, with a displacement of only 4,277 pounds and a D/L of 63.6. Due to the container requirement beam is restricted to 9 feet 8 inches for an L/B of 3.22. I would not call that narrow. I suspect the 31R is tilted inside the container to take maximum advantage of the container width. That's what I did with the FT 10m. I got the idea watching an unlimited hydroplane being towed down the highway. The bow is in vogue with the semi-wave piercing look of a reversed rake. There appears to be a chine aft. The keel is a carbon fin with a long, low-drag bulb weighing 2,645 pounds for a ballast-to-displacement ratio of 60%. That's where the 31R will get its righting moment.

The sheer shows reverse spring giving the boat a very contemporary look. There is a single rudder. This machine is all sailing length.

I can't quite tell what is going on with the deck edge forward. The designer notes offer no explanation. I'll take a guess. From the stem back to the mast the edge of the deck is chamfered off at a 12-degree angle. The sheer is continued over the chamfered area with an insert that leaves a gap at the bottom, that is, a long slot. All I can think of is that this is a way to get water off the foredeck quickly. Maybe I'm missing something.

All lines come aft under the deck. This includes the lines to open the sliding hatch to launch the asymmetrical chute. The sprit retracts on centerline. The boat is essentially all cockpit with only room below for small seabags and maybe a porta potty. The designer offers no " interior arrangement."

This is a monster rig with a SA/D of 42.5. The spreaders are swept 25 degrees. With the square-topped main you can't have a standing backstay, but you will get used to using the runners quickly I suspect. It's an interesting looking sailplan drawing. I wonder how long it took to layout all those tape-drive paths?

Mr. Voogd claims that the 31R will do 7.5 knots in 5 knots of true wind speed and will hit 21 knots in 18 knots of breeze. This will be an exciting ride. Sporty.