The new Farr 280 makes no secret of what she’s about from the start – performance.

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With her low freeboard, a beamy flat run aft, hard chines and a foredeck as open and uncluttered as a cricket pitch, the new Farr 280 makes no secret of what she’s about from the start – performance.

At 28ft LOA and weighing in at 1600kg with a downwind sail area that is just short of three times her upwind sail plan, she’s designed to fly downhill, which is precisely what she does. In just 15-17knots of wind we sat pretty at 13knots as she rose up onto her bow wave while her flat sections aft ironed out her wake astern. Had the short Solent chop not acted as an endless set of speed bumps I’m sure she would have gone even quicker, especially if we had been able to heat her up just a few more degrees.

Light and responsive on the helm she provides more warning of a potential broach than you’d expect from a boat with a rudder proportioned more like a bread knife, making it easy to explore her handling and find her sweet spots. Like most modern performance boats with flat runs aft and aggressive chines you need to let her heel a little to press on the chine in order to generate the maximum righting moment from her hull shape. But you still need to ensure you don’t over-cook the heel and drag her after leeward quarter like a bucket on a string, while putting the handbrake on with the rudder. Fortunately the rocker in the chine towards her stern lifts her bow slightly as you heel, making it both easier to find the groove as the bow lifts and therefore easier to steer around the waves.

When it comes to her handling there is plenty to recommend this boat, particularly when you’re flying downwind. Most of her controls work easily, effectively and are close to hand. From her vang control which emerges from under the cockpit floor abaft the mainsheet traveler to the jib cunningham which also emerges in the cockpit, it is easy to change gear.

See the March issue of YW for Matt’s full report on Farr Yacht Design’s latest 28 foot master blaster.

You can see the high res version on our YouTube Channel