Farr 280

2014 March 6

The 280 is a state-of-the-art, one-design sportboat that brings developments proven in designs like the TP52 class down to 28 feet 7 inches. I can't think what else a PR blurb would say except the same old hyperbolic claims that come with every new sportboat. But this is design number 732 from the Farr office, so I think it's safe to assume that Bruce Farr and his team have the performance factors pretty well nailed down by now and don't need hyperbole.

It's an interesting hull with a chine pretty high on the topsides. I look at the freeboard and it looks generous to my eye. I called Farr Yacht Design and talked to Britton Ward, one of the lead designers. They chose the high freeboard for three reasons: It's about the same as the Farr 30's freeboard and they know that works; it's high enough so crew members don't drag their feet at low heel angles (Science! I like that), and also high enough to provide sufficient headroom below, so you can crawl around in comfort.

The sheer is reversed just slightly, and the deck edge is rolled for comfortable hiking and low windage. I asked Britton about the height of the chine and he said it's there to provide the downwind speed while not dragging when upwind and heeled. It's a balancing act like so many other design features. The draft is 6 feet 11 inches and the keel is a steel weldment with a lead bulb and GRP skin.

I asked what the thickness ratio on the fin was, not expecting an answer, but after some chat in the background I got 15%. I really like it when I can get designers to give me that kind of detail. The D/L is 87.9 and the L/B is 3.04. If I add the crew weight listed on the specs of 992 pounds the D/L goes up to 112.3. The 3-D rendering shows a cove stripe. I think boats always look better with a cove stripe.

As you would expect, this is a big rig. Without crew weight the SA/D is 30.94 and with crew weight 26.29. But those numbers are using I, J, E and P. If I use the actual area of the square-topped mainsail and the headsail I get a no-crew-weight SA/D of 37.5, and with crew the SA/D is 31.8. This boat will zoom along in the light stuff and be a downwind rocket in any breeze. You will need all of the 992 pounds of crew weight to keep this boat on its feet.

The mast is carbon fiber and the standing rigging is Dyform. The bowsprit is fixed. There is a 990-square-foot asymmetrical chute. There is a hydraulic mast jack that can be adjusted from the cockpit and will be adjusted during one-design racing.

The deck plan is designed to keep crew weight centralized with a center console that collects almost all the adjusting lines. There is a built-in spinnaker retrieval sock in the foredeck. Primary winches are arranged so spinnaker retrieval and spinnaker sheets can be lead to the weather winch. Winches for the running backstays are aft of the helmsman's position. The mainsheet traveler spans the entire cockpit sole and is aft of the tiller head.

The Farr 280 is built in Dubai and the hull is E-glass with epoxy and a Corecell M-Foam core. Construction is to 2013 ISO standards with a category C classification. There is a Lombardini diesel with a saildrive and an 11 gallon fuel tank.

This is not mom and dad's Ericson 27.