Fareast 18 review: Speedy day-sailer

Founded 12 years ago and now based in Jiangsu Province, China, Fareast is a manufacturer of sailing craft ranging in size from small Optimist dinghies to 36-foot sailing catamarans, writes Martin-Sebastian Kreplin.

Fareast 18 under sail

The Fareast 18 is a capable cruiser-racer built in Jiangsu Province, China.

The Fareast 18 is a Simonis/Voogd design with conservative good looks, a retractable keel with ballast bulb, enclosed cabin, and a powerful rig. The design is narrow, with a closed stern, which is rare on sailboats this size, as is an enclosed cabin. There’s nearly 22 square metres of sail area between the main and jib. Add in the almost 28 square-metre gennaker (there’s a retractable bowsprit, too) and you’re talking serious sail power for an 18-footer.

We [the boats.com Germany test team] sailed the boat on Flensburg Fjord and discovered that it’s delectable to sail. Leaving the marina, it felt like a super-sized dinghy with a lively helm. There’s beautiful North Sail canvas that catches every breath of the breeze. The boat converts those breaths into speed without much intervention by the crew, which made it hard for us to turn the helm over to other crew members. In four knots of breeze upwind, the Fareast 18 managed 3.8 knots, tacking through about 90 degrees. As is usual on small boats, the motion through the water felt faster than it really was and Ann Kristin, who normally sails a 49er FX, was enthusiastic about the performance: “You really don’t need more boat,” she said.


Dinghy sailor’s delight

Fareast 18 - plan views

Interior, deck, and landscape views of the Fareast 18 reveal a sporty racer-cruiser.

Even though the wind was very light during the test, the boat felt so agile, and accelerated so nimbly, that it’s safe to expect little change in the level of fun when the breeze is up. Above 15 knots of true wind speed, the Fareast 18 should exceed hull speed on a reach, planing along at 10 to 12 knots without problems. That’s nice for dinghy sailors who might have a tough time getting used to the often ponderous feeling of small cruising boats. These sailors also know to appreciate the Fareast’s deck hardware consisting of quality products from Seldén and Harken. The only shortcoming on the test boat was the diameter of the mainsheet, which was too small. The line easily handles the load, but requires gloves to be gripped and held with any measure of comfort.

On deck it all seems to be fine for novices and those with experience of smaller classes. But what kind of interior can be realistically expected for less than £15,000? Despite the sizable cabin, the moulded liner feels as if it needs some bunk cushions, and indeed, you can check them on the options list. Some moulded cubbies and two seat lockers in the cockpit swallow the necessities; the rest is up to your creativity. Types like Ann Kristin are absolutely happy with this kind of fit-out, while others might want to add canvas lockers and maybe a portable pantry for added comfort.

Fareast 18 - performance, accommodation, build quality

The German boats.com team liked the Fareast 18′s performance, accommodations, and build quality.

With the proper gear, this little keelboat has enough space for two to survive a two-week trip. The headroom of 1.2m (4ft) under the companionway hatch is sufficient to don your waterproofs. The sitting headroom of 91cm (3ft) in the forepeak is reasonably comfortable. Ditto with the size of the berth: 2.3m by 1.4m (92in x 55in) offers more than enough space. What’s missing is a foredeck hatch or a secondary opening for venting the interior. The rounded and forward-reaching cabin trunk makes it difficult to retrofit an aftermarket product, which is irksome. The cabin is completely sealed off aft and parts of the interior are used for buoyancy, hence there is no access.

Nevertheless, there is enough total stowage volume to load down this boat and ruin its stellar sailing performance, so consider going without additional lockers and compartments, which will only tempt you to burden the boat with household kit. The lifting keel can be cranked up for the road with a small crane that is inserted laterally, but it’s not a solution for daily use. In venues where the slender T-shaped keel might cause problems (i.e. by snagging kelp), a more sensible choice might be the traditionally shaped fixed keel, which also has a 1.2m (4ft) draught.

Every component in the Fareast 18 is produced with vacuum-infusion technology, including the hull, deck, rudder blade, and keel fin. The ballast bulb is lead, the curved tiller is made of carbon fiber, and the core material for the hull and deck sandwich is PVC foam. Everything is finished in near-industrial quality, which goes to show the advances that have been made by the yard. A few years ago, some interior components of the Fareast 26 could be categorized as below average. Today, not one manufacturing detail on the Fareast 18 was cause for alarm. Especially well done is the hull-to-deck joint.

While the Fareast 18 has its limitations (though not many), we found it to be very capable, well thought out, and extremely well built – all qualities you might not have expected from a Chinese yard a decade ago.


Fareast 18 Review: Specifications

LOA: 5.61m

Beam: 2.20m

Draught: 1.20m

Displacement: 650kg

Sail area main: 13.10 sq m

Sail area jib: 8.80 sq m

View Fareast listings on www.boats.com.



More day sailers and performance cruisers on www.boats.com:

Arbor 26 Boat Test: Dream Daysailer Built in Britain

Varianta 18 video: first look

How to Choose the Right Weekend Cruiser

The boat that runs on ice cream

A lake in Virginia, USA is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the boat that runs on ice cream.

Two brothers, Travis and Ryan Burke, came up with the idea of selling ice cream from a floating platform when they were 12 and 13 years old, and 10 years later, they still ply the waters of Smith Mountain Lake every summer.

Watch the pair’s moment in the sun as Associated Press filmed a short news segment on the business.

Ice cream afloat

Ice cream afloat.

The Burke brothers admit that there is no profit from the enterprise, but maintain that as long as they aren’t losing money, they will continue to sell their range of frozen treats to adults and children enjoying the water.

It’s hard work selling ice cream in the summer, too. On a good day, according to the report, the boat can hit 20 docks before lunch time.

Keep cool this summer with boats.com: Summer fun: Silly Boat Race footage and Devoti and Volvo announce summer sailing roadshows.

Musical work inspired by the Grand Union Canal

Award-winning sound artist and composer Kaffe Matthews has created The lock shift songs, a new sonic installation commissioned by the Canal & River Trust and IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014.

The installation will premiere at the Festival and run for the entire 10 days (18 – 27 July), located within a shopping unit in centre:mk.

Click on the video link below for an introduction to the work by the artist.


Kaffe Matthews: The Lock Shift Songs

Artist Kaffe Matthews presents: The Lock Shift Songs

Inspired by the Grand Union Canal – which connects London and Milton Keynes – the development of The lock shift songs has engaged waterway communities and canal users, as well as workers and volunteers based in the Canal & River Trust’s Milton Keynes head office.

Having collected sounds (including from under the water in the canal) and stories in her 80-mile walk along the Grand Union from London to Milton Keynes, Kaffe has written songs – recorded by singers from the Milton Keynes area – and created a 36-channel composition that will emanate though a series of large ‘sonic beds’ that people can lie in.

Lock shift songs bed

Lock shift songs bed in which audience will lie and listen to the sounds.

These sonic beds will vibrate and pulse to the surrounding soundscape thereby creating a sense of flowing and moving water, providing a fully immersive and sensory experience for the visitor to the installation.

For more news and reviews on life on the UK’s inland waterways network, see: Narrowboat or barge? Canal boats explained or First ever Canal Laureate Appointed.

RC boat video: all in miniature except the speed

What’s not to love about RC boats? Granted, the noise resembles an angry, giant mosquito trapped in a car on a hot day – and that’s without the rest of the fleet chiming in.

However, no doubt once you’re at the controls, the noise disappears and the sensation of driving such a tiny boat with absolute precision at high speed must be exhilarating.

See for yourself by clicking on the RC boat video image below:

RC boat video

Watch RC boat video : some high-speed wave jumping.

Of course, in practical terms, as the headline suggests, everything is miniaturised – the boat, the engine, the controls, the weight, the cost, the risk factor (to yourself and others) – yet the speeds some of these machines can achieve is ridiculous: over 100mph in some cases!

And as this promotional video for the sport demonstrates, you can even get in a real boat and drive the RC boat along behind and jump the wake, like you would in a real “boy racer boat“.

Do you drive an RC or other boy racer boat? Have you got any RC boat video to share? See more here: Frauscher 858 Fantom review: Fearless flamboyance, or World’s Fastest Powerboats: 5 Famous Record Breakers



Monte Carlo Cup: fossil-fuel free powerboat race

A city usually associated with the well-heeled on their superyachts and in their Formula 1 supercars is pioneering a new type of racing: a powerboat race fueled by solar energy, called The Monte Carlo Cup.

Sea trials before Monte Carlo Cup 2014

A solar-powered electric raceboat completing sea trials in the harbour at Monte Carlo, the site of the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup July 10-12.

Taking place on July 10-12th 2014, this is a first of kind race with electric boats powered by the sun. Competitors from all over the planet will gather to fight it out in a series of races designed to demonstrate the full capabilities of these boats in terms of solar power, maneuverability, their technical performance.


Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup: event format

Each day will be punctuated by three races: “Slalom”, “Fleet” and “One-on-one sprint”. With the winner receiving the first ever ‘green’ crown in powerboat racing.

Participants will be divided into three classes. The first is the simplest: “Challenge A-class.” The second, “Open Class” does not limit the size of the boat, allowing teams to innovate on their designs, both in the form of solar panels that propulsion etc. And finally, the “V20″ which is more of a one-design idea with ‘stock’ electric boat, for those without the deep pockets to develop a custom boat.



Boats have lithium-ion batteries and solar cells can charge the batteries or provide direct power to the propeller.

Not only is this ground breaking in terms of energy source, but also that the boats are being designed to be as light weight and with little water resistance as possible. The Vripack solar engineering team has accomplished this by adding wings or foils, to the hull of the V20 so it can ‘fly’ like the America’s Cup boats. By creating lift (upward pressure), the foils raise the complete hull out of the water, thus reducing drag as much as possible as drag costs energy. By trimming the tip of the wing, the optimal mode of the boat can be set. The more energy left for making speed, the sooner the boat lifts on to her foils and the faster she goes.

V20 sea trials - Monte Carlo Cup

V20 solar-powered foiling electric raceboat in Monaco in preparation for the Monte Carlo Cup.

As well as raising awareness and educating the world in the latest innovations of solar power and green technology, the regatta organisers, Solar1 are also aiming to be a Sailors for the Sea gold level clean regatta. This means committing to best practices including no trash overboard, no discharge, recycling, biodegradable or reusable products for events (such as cups, plates, cutlery etc.).

For more information on Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup go to www.solar1races.com.

For more news and reviews relating to alternative nautical propulsion, see: Greenline 40: Still an Attractive Hybrid Concept, 5 alternatives to petrol-powered outboard engines and Code X: the 47ft renewable energy speed machine.

Summer fun: Silly Boat Race footage

There is definitely a risk that boating can get a little too serious, a little too expensive and a little too competitive – which is where boat races like this one filmed at a summer camp in Nanaimo, British Columbia come into their own.

Repeated all over the world under numerous different guises, the Silly Boat Race never ceases to get the crowds going.

Watch for yourself by watching the video below, and see what you (may) have been missing all this time.

Silly boat race

Just one of many Silly Boat Races taking place each summer around the world.

As usual for a race like this, there’s one team that leaves the others in its wake. Here, the six-paddle-front-runner has either taken part before and realised the secret formula, or else they’ve misunderstood the ‘silly’ part of the race.

Competition is, of course part of the fun, but over-elaborate decoration is also key. The second-placed boat in yellow and black flying a selection of bumble bee balloons is no slouch around the course, especially since there is only a crew of three, but still looks very silly indeed!

And then there’s the tail-enders: no shortage of effort from the huge crews attempting to drag their rafts around the course but progress is extremely slow. Yet they appear to be having the most fun – and that’s the point: winning and losing… whatever. Just get out there, get soaking wet: come ashore, dry off and try again!

Enjoy the summer with www.boats.com: 6 Crazy Ways to Have Fun on a Boat, Devoti and Volvo announce summer sailing roadshows and 5 new powerboats under £5,000.



Clipper yachts set off on penultimate leg

Following a spectacular send-off from Derry-Londonderry by the Red Arrows and big crowds, the penultimate race of the series, the OneDLL Cup to Den Helder in the Netherlands, is underway.

Clipper race crews - Foyle

Clipper race crews prior to departure from Foyle for the OneDLL Cup race, the penultimate leg of the 2013-14 Clipper Round the World race.

The near 800-mile race is a tactical challenge with the teams needing to choose early on where to position the yacht to take best advantage of the strong tides that flow round the British Isles.

The yachts are currently in light winds with conditions expected to lighten further over the next 24 hours before the incoming low moves the decaying weak ridge over the mainland.

Old Pulteney has pulled a few miles ahead according to the most recent data, followed closely by Switzerland and then Henri Lloyd. Overall, Henri Lloyd leads the fleet with the final leg from Holland to London due to start on 10 July.


Clipper Race Thames parade of sail

The grand finale is scheduled for 12 July with a formal fleet procession that will take place between 10am to 3pm. The twelve 70-foot state-of-the-art racing yachts will parade up the Thames to Tower Bridge while dockside supporters enjoy live music, drummers, dancers and international cuisine in the St Katharine Docks Race Village.

Celebrations will then reach a peak at the official Prize Giving Ceremony from 2:00pm – 3:00pm.

For those wanting to secure their front seat to all the action, the official spectator boats will provide the best viewpoint of the Clipper Race yachts as they parade down the Thames.

Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £7.50 for children with boarding beginning at 09:15 on the day.

The spectator boats will meet the Clipper Race fleet on the Thames before following its victorious parade all the way up to Tower Bridge before entering St Katharine Docks. Tickets will available www.clipperroundtheworld.com

Further details of the fleet’s Thames Parade of Sail on the day are as follows:


Saturday 12 July

10.00 – Parade of Sail
10.19 – QE2 Bridge at Dartford
11.48 – Thames Barrier
12.01 – Dome
12.12 – Greenwich
12.30 – Canary Wharf Pier
12.45 – St Katharine Docks
14.00-15.00 – Final prizegiving ceremony at St Katharine Docks.

This edition of the Clipper Race has had its moments of high drama: Ocean Racing Video: Rogue Wave Smothers Clipper Yacht and Clipper Race MOB rescue. 

Glacier’s huge wave vs small boat

Riding a huge wave in the sunshine off a tropical island could indeed be mistaken for a glimpse of heaven on earth – certainly the amazing camera footage available these days defies belief!

However, on a small boat in a frozen harbour at the face of a huge glacier that is making ominous cracking sounds… the fear is palpable.

Click on the video below and see if you can stand the suspense… It starts very slowly, but exercise some patience – it will be worthwhile.

Glacial wave pounds small boat - video

Glacial wave pounds small boat – video.

When the ice face finally breaks, the chunk that slides down into the sea is much larger than the crew (or most of the viewers) imagined.

The consequences of falling into the near-frozen water would be catastrophic – and that is assuming that the boat itself survives and is able to rescue any swimmers.

This is brave camera work, as there is almost no flinching in the face of the enormous wall of water that descends on the boat.

It’s quite possible that the camera angle makes the huge wave look worse than it actually was – but it’s a gripping little clip that deserves a wider viewing.

For more extreme video clips from www.boats.com, see: When Boat Lifts Go Wrong, Biggest Wave Ever Surfed? Watch Video from Nazaré Portugal or Amazing 134mph Powerboat Backflip.

New south coast dealer for Beneteau powerboats

Ancasta is to take over from Dickies Boat Sales as the South Coast UK dealership for Beneteau powerboats, including the Swift Trawler range, the Gran Turismo and the Antares.

Beneteau Barracuda 7 powering along

The Barracuda 7 – one of several Beneteau powerboats now on sale through Ancasta.

Ancasta now take on the role of exclusive dealers for this area, while Dickies maintain responsibility for Wales and the North West. Ancasta is already a UK dealer for Beneteau yachts, amongst others.

Dickies will focus its sales efforts on Wales and the North West where they have had a presence for over 100 years.

Search all Beneteau powerboats for sale in UK – www.boats.com

Jean-François Lair, Beneteau’s Export Manager commented, “Beneteau are very fortunate to have two extremely capable organisations in Dickies and Ancasta representing and supporting the Beneteau powerboats ranges. These changes will ensure their combined infrastructure is best utilised for sales and support for Beneteau power boat ranges.”

Peter Dickie, Dickies International’s Managing Director commented, “We are very enthusiastic about these changes. It will enable us to enhance our focus on our core markets in Wales and the North-West, in addition to our other interests, while Ancasta’s involvement will strengthen Beneteau powerboats’ presence in the South. The two companies cooperating in this way is an exciting prospect.

Nick Griffith, Ancasta’s Managing Director, also felt that this move was very positive for all. Ancasta gain a fabulous new range of product. Having both Dickies and Ancasta marketing and supporting the range in their specific areas, Beneteau Power will take its rightful position as a major supplier to the UK power boat market. Great product, being sold and supported by two of the UK’s most experienced dealers.”

www.ancasta.com / www.dickies.co.uk / www.beneteau.com

For more news and features on Beneteau powerboats, see: Beneteau Flyer 6: Three New Looks for the New Year or Beneteau Monte Carlo MC5: A Refreshing Formula.

Light winds for Round the Island Race 2014 – video

At the end of the day – and it was a very long day indeed for all of the competitors – one statistic stands out: 715 finishers and 791 retirees.

Click on the video link below to watch some superb highlights footage of the 2014 JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

Round the Island race 2014

Round the island race fleet parked at the Needles

Race favourites for line honours, the GC32 foiling cat “Team Richard Mille”, took the dubious honour of completing the slowest ever winning lap of the 50 nautical-mile course: nearly nine hours from start to finish – six hours slower than the record set by Sir Ben Ainslie last year.

Mike Slade’s “Leopard” cancelled its appearance due to rig problems, so Ainslie completed the course aboard Farr 45 “Rebel” with a crew of BAR professionals.

First to the Needles was Jamie McGarry and Colin Moore’s Swan 45 “Eala of Rhu” but the going was slow. “Rebel” very quickly became involved in a match race with rival Farr 45 “Toe in the Water” crewed by injured servicemen and women who had served recently in Afghanistan and the lead swapped several times over course.

In the end it was Capt Lloyd Hamilton’s ecstatic crew who nudged across the finish line ahead of Ainslie and his team of professionals.

“This means everything to us,” he said recording a time of 8 hrs 51 mins 39 secs.

“Beating Ben Ainslie is better than beating the Taliban for these guys.

“He left us shortly after St Catherine’s Point and flew away but we kept on trying and it is apt when you look at who we have on board because it proves you should never give up.

“The guys are ecstatic at beating ‘Rebel’. They don’t know many of the America’s Cup sailors but they know and love Sir Ben Ainslie, so are thrilled.”

Slowest finisher was Sigma 33 “Sixes and Sevens”, (IRC3) at 21.51.35 having started his race at 0730 and the Golden Roman Bowl for fastest boat on corrected time was a folkboat, “Madelaine”.


For the full results, see: www.roundtheisland.org.uk