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X2. Times three...

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 17 May 2020 23:00 BST
X2 by Farr deck layout - Starboard quarter © Farr Yacht Design

This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr. Since its inception we have been excited about the project, if for no other reason than it stood up to be counted as a true racing boat. Quite evidently, we were not the only ones to be excited by it all, as there has been a huge amount of interest, evidenced by the readership of the article, and more importantly, the level of serious and genuine enquiry.

It would also be terribly easy to get lost in the energy that excitement tends to have riding as shotgun, but this is exactly why we have stuck to it. Since the article 'The newest fast 30 by Farr' Bret Perry and the Farr Yacht Design office have been working hard to deliver on the premise of the best value for money, short-handed racing boat on the market.

For sure all the key elements are there in the drawings that we released, but devil is in the details, and things like deck layout, mast position, and keel type all play a critical role in the final success of the project. The upshot is that very soon a builder will be appointed, a rating ratified, and quite possibly most importantly, the initial One Design documentation will be presented. There are quite literally a lot of balls to keep up in the air, although some times it may seem more like one of those specialty acts who is juggling a set of running chainsaws!

Perry said, "From the outset, the X2 by Farr has been designed as a thoroughbred short handed racing machine, with adrenalin fuelled, high speed rides in mind. Do any of us hear alarm bells of concern? Well, yes. How do you design a boat with this in mind, and yet keep within the rating boundaries to be competitive. It can be done, and is being done. Speed is still your friend in any rating game. However, understanding where advantages can be made to improve the rating is also critically important."

"Farr Yacht Design has been at the forefront of designing yachts to obtain rating advantages for years. The key issue is that the rules continually evolve, and will always favour certain features. We have worked extremely hard to look at our competitors in this emerging market. We have looked at where they are positioned on the water from a performance versus rating angle, and this is why we are very happy with the results from the trials we are running. To my mind, we have designed a boat that looks great, goes fast and will be fun to sail."

"We have looked at what boats are performing in the major offshore races, now that they have adopted a short-handed division utilising the IRC measurement system, and come up with a new player. It is a fact that the IRC rule has trends. What is also clear is that the rule has moved more towards performance over the past few years, which as sailors is exactly what we want. We don't want to slow boats down, just to win races. We want to go fast but we also need to be realistic", said Perry.

"Back at the end of March when we introduced the project on, we were very much a concept. Since then, and due to the demand, we have fast tracked the priorities to be ready for production for the first group of owners. The deck layout and the systems are very nearly ready to be ticked off. The interior is in its final design phase with some extremely innovative details in particular the one piece rotating Nav and Galley design that will add a level of comfort that will be second to none."

As we know from both Parts One and Two, The X2 by Farr's sail plan is powerful and modern, with triple headed set ups a priority. This includes a lot of furling options for long distance, short-handed sailing.

The inclusion of water ballast, although it attracts rating points, increases performance well beyond the penalty. The boat can also be shipped anywhere in the world in an open top 40 foot container, due to its two-piece rig configuration, and this dramatically reduces its freight charges.

Perry stated, "All this and more has been thought about. However, where the X2 by Farr truly differs is that we have designed the boat with IRC in mind, but have not stolen the performance just to gain points. This means that we are already in discussions to create the owner run class association, as mentioned in Part Two of the X2 by Farr story. Cue in the Mumm 30 and the Farr 40..."

"The Farr office has been running countless rating versus performance numbers, so that when we release the final details including the best IRC configuration, it will also encompass an ex-factory price, and options as well. The quest has always been to deliver something special, and we have never faltered from this position", said Perry in finishing.

Posthumous Medal

Graeme Ainley (aka GA or G) was recently lost to us all. Many in sailing knew him, as did this scribe, but in the calls and emails that ensued the sad news, something else became present to me. Here marked a very significant change in the whole game, just as distinct as the move from pinched sterns, iron topsails for'ard of the stick, and wire braces, to flat bottoms, wide transoms, and A-bags.

Back then, the results of races were measured in days, not hours. The journey reigned supreme, and the end was vigorously and enthusiastically enjoyed as part of it all. GA epitomised this whole concept, and was lauded for it. Sailors, officials and administrators, would often seek him out for his counsel, not just because he got results, but because of the way he went about it.

There do not appear to be any categories in any honour systems to recognise these characteristics that fall under Distinguished Statesman, for he was certainly an achiever, and more often than not this was done quietly.

Now Leigh 'Dorro' Dorrington is no stranger to sailing, nor a cracking tale me hearties. He said of GA, "What a bloke. Saved my tail back in the late 60's when I 'opened' the bar at the Sandringham Yacht Club on Christmas Day for the Moth sailors from the 'Rock' (Black Rock Yacht Club which is down the road). They included the current World Champion Dave 'Shorty' McKay and Phil 'the fox' Wulf, Graeme 'Ferret' Keys, Peter 'Windows' Dore, and a heap (not bunch!) of other swashbuckling Mothies."

"The Flag Officers were not amused and were going to bar me (sorry about the pun), as I was not a member, but GA stepped up to the plate, and got me to shout the bar when it next opened. Cost me heaps but hell I was saved, and hopefully no one remembers this incident."

To further highlight what the era that is now so sadly lost was like, Dorro also provided this letter from the late Bill Bell. "This is a letter of introduction that Billy Bell did for me when he was commodore of the 'Rock'. I was going to the Etchells World Championships in San Diego, and had been involved in an incident at the club when a group of Sharpie sailors threw beer over each other. I was entirely innocent, as a devious fourteen-footer sailor had framed me. Bill had a wicked sense of humour..."

John Graham also provided an interesting update on GA, "Not generally known about GA is that he began his sailing career at Black Rock YC, where his uncles Stan LeNepvue (of Ronstan fame) and Alan had a long connection with the club - Stan and Alan sailing 12 square metre Sharpies, and Alan was also Commodore of BRYC for a number of years. GA crewed for Alan at Sandringham YC on his boat 'Sir Albert Ross' - actually an Albatross class (a larger version of the Tumlaren)."

So GA, we're going to posthumously award you the Distinguished Statesman's Cross, for a job well done, and a good many laughs.

As we wind up here, GA will forever be linked to The Bus (aka the Peterson known as Bacardi). Unverified for now, and part of the hijinks that the era is so well known for comes this story. Apparently, someone acquired a genuine bus stop sign that was attached to the pile near their berth. The next part of the tale is of two police officers in Hobart being handcuffed to the internal post in Bacardi, and they didn't carry the keys with them back then...

Right oh - there is plenty of information on the site for you to review when you can. Please avail yourself of it.

Now if your class or association is generating material, we can help you spread your word just by emailing us. Got this newsletter from a friend? Would you like your own copy next week? Just follow the instructions on our newsletter page. Whilst there, you can also register for other editions, like Powerboat-World.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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