Carroll County Times

Farr 280 makes strong debut, capturing class honors at Charleston Race Week

Ian Gordon was committed to debuting the Farr 280 at Charleston Race Week in mid-April. It was an ambitious goal considering that Farr Yacht Design did not complete the final drawings in October.

Premier Composite Technology in Dubai began building the first boat a few weeks later and completed construction on March 24. That left less than a month to transport the hull and rigging to the United States.

Everything was shipped to John F. Kennedy Airport aboard a 747 and the container took several days to clear customs. Gordon, whose wife was expecting a baby at any moment, had to travel to New York City to take possession of the first Farr 280 and organize getting it trucked to South Carolina.

"It was touch-and-go for a few days whether we were going to be able to pull it off, but the boat arrived in Charleston a few days before the regatta got started," said Gordon, who praised boat captain Teddy Haaland for working overtime to get the mast stepped and all the rigging installed.

Gordon and a hand-picked team of Annapolis professionals had just six hours of practice time to learn the boat, tune the rig and test the sails. While it was a rather hectic rush job, the final outcome was a rousing success as Chessie Racing to victory in PHRF B class at Charleston Race Week, held April 10-13.

"I'm really over the moon about how it all worked out. Considering that we were starting from ground zero, this is a fantastic result," said Gordon, who runs Farr Yacht Sales. "It means a lot to the project to have the first Farr 280 come right out of the box and win its first regatta."

Gordon steered while veteran Annapolis pro Chris Larson called tactics on Chessie Racing, which won four races and also counted a second in totaling six points. That was nine better than Temptress, an SR 33 owned by Robert Hibdon of Hanahan, S.C. Tangent, a highly-successful Cape Fear 38 skippered by Annapolis resident Gerry Taylor, lost a tiebreaker with Temptress and settled for third.

"I definitely think Farr Yacht Design got it right with this boat. It is a very balanced design," Gordon said. "It is extremely strong going upwind while being fast and fun downwind."

Haaland, who recently started his own marine services company, handled foredeck duties. Renowned North Sails professional Dave Scott served as lead trimmer, handling the jib and spinnaker. Matt Beck, a former North pro now in the marine insurance business with Nationwide, trimmed the main while Farr Yacht Design naval architect Emerson Smith heled trim the jib.

"I like to go sailing with my friends and it was reassuring to know that we had top-notch people on the boat," Gordon said. "We got pretty good starts, Chris did a great job of making sure we stayed in phase and our boat-handling was just awesome. It was important to have a group of great sailors aboard to make sure the boat performed to its full potential."

Gordon said the long-term goal is to establish a strong worldwide one-design class for the Farr 280 and that plans are to build 200 of the 28-footers.

"Although we want the boat to be one-design, we understand that it has to perform well in rating systems," Gordon said. "To win a very strong, 11-boat PHRF class at a quality regatta like Charleston speaks volumes on that front."

While the Farr 280 planes downwind at around 14 knots, Gordon said it would be inaccurate to call it a sport boat. Farr Yacht Design created the boat to be crewed by a family teams of amateurs and Gordon said it is "relatively effortless to sail."

Chessie Racing was one of three Annapolis entries to capture class honors at Charleston Race Week, which celebrated its 19th anniversary. Competition was held on offshore and inshore courses with shore-side activity based out of Charleston Harbor Marina.

Will and Marie Crump and their team on Do it for Denmark put forth possibly the finest performance of the entire regatta, winning all nine races they sailed in J/80 class. The former Marie Klok is a former standout match racer from Denmark and her brother is an integral member of the team.

Thomas Klok owned the boat (Hull No. 1312) used for this regatta and North Sails pro Allan Terhune was aboard as tactician. So dominant was the Do it for Denmark crew team that it did not need sail the last race and still finished with a 21-point victory margin.

"Despite the scoreboard, we did not have a flawless set of races, but staying focused on the big picture and chipping away at every opportunity proved successful for us," said Will Crump, the helmsman.

Crump mentioned the first race of the series in which Do it for Denmark started at the tail end of the nine-boat fleet, but worked its way up to second at the first windward mark. The Annapolis resident felt the commanding victory came from three primary ingredients.

"We were constantly shifting gears for the variable breeze in Charleston which made a big difference in our ability to work forward on other boats," he said. "We maintained a really positive attitude without any friction despite a near shrimping of the kite, missed shifts, bad starts and other challenges. And Allan demonstrated a really strong command of the breeze on the race course missing very few shifts and constantly sailing us toward the best pressure."

Aden King and his crew aboard Battub took top honors in J/22 class, winning a tough battle with fellow Annapolis Yacht Club member Arthur Libby and the Torqeedo team. Ryan Walsh worked the bow while John Faudre handled the middle for King, who steered Battub to first, second or third in nine of 10 races in totaling 16 points - two better than Libby.

"It was our first time sailing in Charleston. It was a great venue, but somewhat difficult given the very strong current," King said. "I think we sailed smarter as the weekend went on, had good starts, good speed, and were able to climb back when we got in trouble."