Fareast 18

Unlike most production boatbuilders in Asia, Shanghai Far East Boats is a legitimately indigenous company manufacturing its own line of boats, as opposed to a Western-based enterprise looking to lower its labor costs.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Far more than just a low-cost daysailer and racer

Fareast-18-beating

Unlike most production boatbuilders in Asia, Shanghai Far East Boats is a legitimately indigenous company manufacturing its own line of boats, as opposed to a Western-based enterprise looking to lower its labor costs. Far East got its start building Optimists for the Asian championship regatta held in Qingdao, China, in 2002 and afterward became particularly adept at laminating high-quality foils. More recently, it has begun building larger boats as well.

Among these is the Fareast 18, which came out on top in the trailer-sailer category in SAIL’s 2014 Best Boats awards. A smaller version of a 26-foot sport boat the company also introduced to the U.S. market in 2013, the Fareast 18 is available in either a standard or performance “R” version for use in everything from sail-training to one-design racing to stress-free daysailing with the kids—all areas in which it excels.

The resin-infused hulls are constructed with multi-directional fiberglass fabric and have PVC foam cores. A lifting keel and removable transom-hung rudder make the boat easy to trailer. External chainplates secure the shrouds supporting the boat’s single-spreader Seldén rig.

The canoe body and underwater appendages are identical on both versions of the boat, and include a plumb bow and truncated stern; however, the standard version features a slightly larger cabintrunk to provide some additional space belowdecks, and cockpit coamings for more security aft. The backstay-less rigs are identical, and both boats are available with a retractable sprit for flying an A-sail. A hint of reverse sheer combined with high topsides maximizes interior space in both models.

I test-sailed an 18R with designer Maarten Voogd, of the Dutch design firm Simonis Voogd, and was pleased to see how well the boat did despite the light conditions. Sailing upwind at around a 40-degree apparent wind angle, we still slipped along at just under 5 knots in wind that topped out at 8. Cracking off and hoisting our reacher, we accelerated to just under 6 knots in a few oh-so-tantalizing puffs. According to Voogd, this kind of light-air performance is no accident, but reflects the conditions that are common in the Asian waters where the boat was born and is actively raced.

For an 18-footer, the boat felt surprisingly large. It was also encouragingly stable, thanks to the 617lb of righting force providing by the fin and ballast bulb below: something that will provide great assurance to any newbies who step aboard. The boom is good and high, making it easy to get from one side of the boat to the other when tacking—another nice feature, whether you’re racing or teaching.

Then there’s the helm: not only is the carbon tiller a gracefully curved work of art, the rudder is gorgeously constructed and immensely powerful, providing precision control and an intimate feel for how the boat is passing through the water.

For those not lucky enough to steer, both the 18 and 18R feature stainless lifelines and a nicely beveled hull-deck joint that should take some of the discomfort out of rail-meat duty. All in all, this is a sweet little boat from the other side of the world that will hopefully find a home in the North American market as well.

Related

CONNECTING-SHROUD-2048

Experience: Wild Ride

My Hartley 38, Moet, is pounding into massive Pacific Ocean seas. One week of continuous storm conditions has taken me 700 miles south of Fiji, heading for New Zealand. Every few seconds the bow lifts out of the water and hangs in midair for a moment while I tense my muscles, ...read more

01-LEAD-nSterling-ProCombi-S-2

Know-how: Inverter, Charger Combos Offshore

With solid-state inverters and domestic AC devices becoming increasingly efficient, it only makes sense for many sailors to install the necessary 120V AC power for the many appliances now finding their way onboard: including washing machines, TVs, microwave, laptops, chargers ...read more

IMG_5308

Chartering in the British Virgin Islands

Not for nothing are the BVI known as the “nursery slopes” of sailing charters. There simply is no better place to ease yourself into a first-time sailing vacation; for that matter, such is the appeal of these islands that many charterers return year after year. The islands ...read more

IMG_7831

Racing and Bareboat Chartering in the BVI

If not all who wander are lost, then not all who charter are content with sailing between snorkeling spots and sinking a few Painkillers at beach bars. Some want a dose of hard-sailing action blended in with their sunshine and warmth—the kind of action you can only get from ...read more

01-GMR19FP45_1194

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

With new catamaran brands springing up like mushrooms, France’s Fountaine Pajot is something of an oak tree in the market, with a story that goes back to its founding in 1976. It is also one of the largest cat builders out there, sending some 600 boats down the ways in 2018. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Take no Chances This is my stern with the engine running slowly in gear against the lines. We all know that when we’re charging batteries this lets the engine warm up thoroughly. However, I have a ...read more

190910_ROSS_PORTSMOUTH_0187-2048x2048

Cup Boats Hit the Water

Emirates Team New Zealand may have been the first to launch a new-generation America’s Cup boat, but it was the New York Yacht Club’s challenger, American Magic, that had the last (first?) laugh. Just a few days after ETNZ’s radical-looking AC75 hit the water in mid-September, ...read more