Boat Review: Fareast 23R

Author:
Publish date:
Fareast 23R

Another rocket ship from China that won’t break the bank

This new sportboat is a smaller sister to the Fareast 28R, which proved a breakthrough design for Chinese builder Fareast Yachts. Fareast honed its chops for years producing small dinghies like the Optimist and 420 to ISAF specs, but the 28R was a proprietary design that quickly built brand recognition in Western markets. The fast, affordable, simple sportboat won lots of attention at shows and some awards as well, including a Best Boats accolade from SAIL in 2016.

The new 23R takes the core concept of the 28R—a modern performance boat without grand-prix complexity and cost, but with grand-prix speed—and strips it down even more. Like the 28, the new boat boasts simple but high-quality construction, including a vacuum-infused, foam-cored hull set in polyester resin, an aluminum rig from Seldén, and quality deck hardware from Harken and Spinlock. Like the 28, the 23 also carries carbon foils (a deep high-aspect rudder and a retractable T-bulb keel), a reverse destroyer bow, a retractable aluminum bowsprit and an aggressive hull form. To even further simplify the formula, though, the 23’s rig carries just a single pair of sweptback spreaders and no backstay. Its smaller size, too, helps make it more affordable, just under $35,000 for most everything you need (except a trailer).

Yes, this is a simple, affordable boat, but make no mistake, it is also a powerful boat. The 23R has a generous sailplan, with nearly half of its total weight buried in its lead ballast bulb. It also has a very low D/L ratio, high SA/D ratios both upwind and down, and its velocity-prediction polars show it hitting speeds of 16 knots sailing off the wind in strong conditions. U.S. rep Matt Wake of Sturgis Boat Works tells me he has personally seen it go 18.

Alas, we experienced nothing like this during our test sail on Chesapeake Bay, which was conducted in a near void of wind. I can say this, though, with complete confidence: we were hands-down the fastest boat in sight. We had no instruments, but with our big square-headed laminate mainsail and nicely shaped jib, we easily beat our way past a couple of fleets of 420s and Flying Juniors that were struggling to race.

From there we tacked out as far into the bay as we dared, and then turning downwind, pulled out our sprit and launched an A-sail out of a bag hanging in the companionway. After that we ghosted most of the way back to Annapolis, dragging sheets through the water.In the end, as the wind finally went to less than zero, we had to rock and scull our way the last few hundred yards to the dock.

Despite the lack of fireworks, I did still get a feel for the cockpit ergonomics, which are very good. The controls are simple, with everything falling neatly to hand, but not so simple that you cannot properly manage the sails and their shapes. There is a solid Seldén vang and a full traveler, and even a nice fine-tune mainsheet tackle within easy reach of the helm.

According to Matt, the 23R was expressly designed as an inexpensive fleet boat intended to be sold in multiple numbers to sailing clubs and other institutions looking to build in-house one-design programs. That said, while it will serve admirably in such a role, it is also a boat that should appeal strongly to individuals looking for a fast, fun, affordable performance boat to race or simply blast around on.

What do the ratios mean? Visit sailmagazine.com/ratios

fareast-23r-sailplan

fareastboatsusa.com

sturgisboatworks.com

May 2017

Related

MHS-GMR_3549

New Multihulls 2018

Farrier F-22 New Zealander Ian Farrier ushered in a new genre of sailing with his folding-ama trailerable trimarans, the best-known of which are the Corsair designs. Farrier’s last project before he passed away last year was this sweet little tri. Available in three versions, ...read more

shutterstock_373701682

Cruising: Island Comeback

The U.S. Virgins Islands have surged back from the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes, with new infrastructure plans that will benefit charterers and cruisers alike. After hurricanes Irma and Maria roared through the Leeward Islands in September 2017, it was impossible to ...read more

albintoilet

Gear: Albin Pump Marine Toilet

Head Start Is there room for a new marine toilet? Albin Pump Marine thinks so, having just introduced its line of Swedish-built heads—ranging from compact to full-size models—to the American market. The toilets feature vitreous porcelain bowls and either wooden or thermoplastic ...read more

07n_45R2699

Multihull Sailor: Classic Cats

If you’re looking for a decent sub-40ft cruising cat, you have few choices when it comes to new-boat offerings. It is a well-known fact that the multihull market has taken off in a way very few could have predicted. Despite Hurricane Irma’s recent destruction of a large part of ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Thanks a bunch  This scene is very calm and seamanlike. No frantic rope throwing or shouting. As he passes the line to the gent on the dock, the crew on the boat says, quietly and clearly, “Would you ...read more

mcarthy-and-mouse

Experience: McCarthy and the Mouse

Sitting at the helm in a light breeze, my arms crusted with a fine rime of salt, my skin so dry I’d lost my fingerprints, I heard a clatter and a curse from below. There were only three of us a thousand miles from shore and only one on watch at a time. Usually, the off watch lay ...read more