SAIL’s Best Boats 2014: Far East 18/18R
Shanghai Far East Boats got its start building Optimists for the Asian championship regatta held in Qingdao, China, in 2002 and quickly grew into one of the preferred builders for this one design class. More recently, the company has begun building sportboats and trailer sailers, such as the Far East 18 and 18R, designed in Holland by Simonis Voogd.
Hulls are constructed using multi-directional fiberglass and a PVC foam-core that’s sandwiched and resin-infused under vacuum pressure. A cast-lead lifting keel and a removable, transom-hung rudder make the boat well suited as a low-cost, sporty trailer sailboat for the export market, while external chainplates secure the shrouds supporting the boat’s single-spreader, Selden rig. A sportier version of the Far East 18, the 18R boasts a sleaker deck design and high-quality racing hardware from Harken and Ronstan. The cockpit is large and well configured for both daysailing and racing.
After years of building untold numbers of dinghy blades and hulls, Shanghai Far East has become masterfully accomplished at working with a wide variety of resin types and laminates, and it shows. The Far East 18 and 18R are not just the products of a Western company looking to cut costs, but of a truly indigenous company that takes pride in its work and has created a top quality trailer-sailer capable of holding its own on any body of water.