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X2 by four

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 16 Jun 2020 00:22 BST
The X2 by Farr looks ever more the racer she was always going to be! Project number 857 by Farr Yacht Design BTW © Farr Yacht Design

The X2 by Farr is the one that has just about melted the server ever since we posted the first salvo in, The newest fast 30, by Farr (X2 by Farr). We followed that up with X2. Times three... and then In the wilds of Borneo…

Now, today, it is time for X2 by four, the fourth instalment of the X2 by Farr.

Building the X2 by Farr

Yes. You read correctly. 'Building' and 'X2 by Farr' all in the same sentence. Initial works on getting the moulds built is in place. Two boats will appear first, but there are set to be many thereafter. Bret Perry explains further, "We are working extremely hard to be sailing on Sydney Harbour before Christmas, with an eye on competing in the inaugural Sydney to Auckland Race January 31st next year. From there we move to Europe where we are looking at the Cap-Martinique Trans-Atlantic Race Race in April, which is an IRC Double-Handed race."

Importantly, Perry and the team at Farr Yacht Design (FYD) have also put in place two key advisory panels to ensure that not only is the boat everything it needs to be, but that the whole ownership experience also reflects the same levels of performance. Think Mumm 30 and Farr 40 to get a handle on those aspects.

Perry detailed, "We have attracted a team of very high profile people to sit on the X2 by Farr Technical Panel. The aims of this is to break down the brief, and go through the design, systems and parameters with a microscope to make sure we hit the water at full speed with Hull #1. Secondly, we have the Commercial Panel that consists of a team of business leaders. The Commercial Panel will be responsible for making sure all the behind-the-scenes operations are first class."

"Not only do we want the X2 by Farr to be the ultimate on water experience we want the whole experience to be enjoyable from initiating the purchase to crossing the finish line - we will be there with you."

Britton Ward, Vice President of Farr Yacht Design, commented as they advance into detailed design now. "Our guiding principles are thus:

High Performance
Want the boat to be dynamic and fun to sail whether double handed or crewed up with minimal interior fit out optimised for short-handed offshore sailing.

Safe
Cat1 Races, dedicated life raft stowage, with safe sail handling/depowering from the cockpit. An efficient, but robust construction.

Dry
Minimal deck penetrations, good green water treatment, and excellent crew protection.

Cost Effective
We want a boat that is turnkey, and ready to go at an attractive price point."

"The design has developed significantly from the early concept renders and has really benefitted from a lot of input from our technical advisory committee that brings a lot of experience from a range of offshore sailing disciplines. There are lots of solutions to different problems, and it is always a big help to us to bounce ideas and incorporate different viewpoints."

"Perhaps the most noticeable change from the early concept is in the deck geometry and layout. We retain the large foretriangle with rig aft to maximize headsail efficiency and go with an aft mounted straight traveler with the mainsheet purchase driven with coarse and fine tune."

Part of the Farr DNA is performance, and we believe firmly that a light boat is a big part of that. Within the guidelines of cost and efficient construction we'll always want to be on the lighter side to grab a big advantage in transitional planing conditions. We've explored a range of hulls, including scow bow solutions, and while we think there are advantages for dedicated offshore downwind courses, we still want the X2 to go upwind in a chop, so have moderated the bow sections to retain a finer entry."

"We've used in-house CFD tools to explore different hull shape solutions seeking the elusive low drag hull form for light airs with the right amount of form stability to get up and go. There has been a lot of focus on refining the hull's dynamic trim behavior with heel and speed using CFD simulations. It's essential that the boat is well behaved as it heels and speeds up, because we have a limited ability to shift weight aft, especially in short handed mode", said Ward.

"Ideally we'd just be designing the best performing boat we can within the size and budget targets, but the X2 will compete in mixed fleets under different rating systems. While the VPP based systems give a pretty fair assessment reflecting the characteristics of the boat, the single number systems are a bit harder. We know IRC doesn't like small, light displacement boats, and while it does seem to be getting better, it is still a challenge for a single number rule to fairly rate across big ranges of displacement."

"We've been running some IRC trials on the boat and developing initial performance versus rating comparisons with other boats in this market space, so as to better understand the rating landscape. Preliminary IRC numbers of 1.070 - 1.085, a touch higher than we were hoping for, but even at that level our initial performance estimates show the X2 to be easily capable of sailing to its rating. As we complete the next loop of design we think it likely the handicap will drop some, and for those dedicated inshore IRC warriors an IRC optimized sail inventory presents an opportunity to further lower the rating", said Ward reflecting on the multitude of areas to cover off in order to build right the first time.

"Truncating the waterline, making the boat heavier, cutting as much sail area off as we dare, and filling the inside of the boat up with cruiser/racer amenities, as well as going with a large fin keel would all cut the IRC rating down, but at the cost of plenty of performance."

"A safe and dry boat are absolutely key areas of focus on with this boat, so we have gone away from a traditional companionway to a more Mini 6.50 style cockpit and hatch with a protective overhang. We feature a tiered set of coamings to help keep the sailors away from the green water. The house has been shaped to shed green water away from the helm and overboard while retaining excellent visibility below."

"Rather than an overly complex pad-eye based sheeting system we have opted for deck mounted tracks that will cover the primary offshore sheeting angles with a barber hauler setup to achieve maximum inboard angles for working close to wind. We want the deck layout to be flexible and allow a range of different cross sheeting options, so a lot of focus has been placed on achieving good ergonomics and proper line leads."

"As we go through final design we will be continuing to optimise elements so as to achieve the right blend of performance in a range of conditions - always with an eye on the rating impacts", said Ward in closing.

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