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:
Publish date:

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

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more

Sail2010_597

How to: Find Good Values on Charter Vacations

So, you want to find a great deal on your next charter vacation? Sure, you can scour the internet, hope for Black Friday deals or ask friends. But an even better way to find good prices on charter boats is to go to a boat show. Not only do charter companies like The Moorings, ...read more

leadphoto

Know How: Dinghy Modification

The rigmarole of stretching a cover over a dinghy in choppy water prior to hoisting it on davits can become a very wet business if you’re not careful. Leaning right over either end, trying to stretch a cover over the bow and stern pods can quite easily result in a head-first dip ...read more

25980

Catnapped Aboard a Racing Multihull

It was after midnight when I realized my daysail with Tony Bullimore aboard his giant record-breaking catamaran, Team Legato, was not going to plan. The big cat was en route for a December dash from England across the Bay of Biscay to Barcelona and the start of a drag race ...read more