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Far Harbour 39

2006 November 5
November 2006

Bob Perry thinks inside the box

The world of production boats today covers the entire market pretty completely. There are the Hallberg-Rassy types for offshore cruising, the J/Boats and sport boats like the Melges 24 for racing and a plethora of racer-cruiser and cruiser-racer types for people who want to cruise and race a little or race and cruise a little. Multihulls are very well represented also. Any visit to a major boat show will show a wide variety of cruising and racing multihulls, including Ian Farrier's successful Corsair line of folding trimarans. I'd like to offer this design of mine, the Far Harbour 39, as an example of something completely new. This boat fits into a high cube container so it can be shipped all over the world in its own "box."

The idea came from a very experienced sailor friend of mine who owns a 49-foot Hinckley and a 43-foot Cheoy Lee motorsailer of my design. He had shipped his 43-footer to the Pacific Northwest last summer via Dockwise to cruise around Vancouver Island. The thought came to him that if he could put a boat in a container he could ship it anywhere in the world at reasonable expense.
This gave me a box 40-feet long, 106-inches high and 91-inches wide to work with. The idea was for a motorsailer with good performance under power and reasonable performance under sail. The more I played with the hull shape the more I was drawn toward a chine aft. This gave me more volume, a greater prismatic coefficient aft and better form stability. The chine also added volume where I needed it in the interior for tankage. The overall beam of the hull is 7.44 feet for an L/B of 5.23. This is very narrow but it's about the same as the meter class boats and some of the new ULDBs. The righting moment at one degree is 696 pounds per foot, and that's about the same as most 35-footers. The limit of positive stability is 148 degrees due to the 40-percent ballast ratio and the hull form. The keel and rudder are removable for shipping.

The accommodations were laid out for a couple. Primary consideration was given to the inside steering position in the pilothouse. The pilothouse extends forward to give generous headroom in the large galley area. Under the bubble deck forward there is more than six feet of headroom. There are two deep settee berths, a head forward and a double V-berth. Despite the lack of beam the boat feels surprisingly roomy, especially in the galley.

The fractional rig is simple with swept spreaders and a split backstay. The mainsail sheets to a bridle that spans the companionway and leads to a winch mounted on the back of the pilothouse and the sheet is fed through a fairlead ring on the top of the house. The boat is very close winded and points well within 29 degrees of apparent wind. The SA/D is 17.29.

The client intends to steer the boat from inside most of the time but we felt the need to provide cockpit steering. We designed a hinge up type tiller that clears the aft bulkhead of the pilothouse by 9 inches. This looked problematical on the drawings but during sailing trials it worked very well. The transom is open for easy stern boarding. The lazarettos are huge and deep with plenty of volume for cruising gear.

We built the prototype to the Far Harbour at Schooner Creek Boatworks in Portland, Oregon. Steve Rander's crew did an excellent job. We launched the prototype, Inbox, a week ago. The production model is currently being built in Croatia by SAS Vector. The boat is very handsome in its red, white and blue paint job but it's hard to find a similar boat you can use for an aesthetic benchmark. There simply are no other boats like this boat. I fell in love with the boat immediately. To me everything about this boat just felt right from the start. Here was a boat that offered comfort along with a size that very easily could be singlehanded. The boat motored effortlessly in excess of 8 knots and was enjoyable, nimble and quick under sail. Am I biased? Totally.

I'd buy a Far Harbour even if I did not want to ship it in a container. I just like the boat. With a big enough SUV I could trailer it all over the country. I'd have to launch at boatyards where the keel and rudder could be refitted but that's a minor problem. The question remains is there a market for a boat that fits in a container? We'll just have to wait and see. My client thinks so.