A Comparison

Are Multihulls Worth The Extra Cost?

Both an F-33R and an F-9AX were faster than the Volvo 60 monohull racers in the 2004 UK Round Island and Cowes-St Malo races. In the Round Island, the Farrier F-33R led home the first Volvo 60 by 18 minutes and they compare as follows:


LOA: 64′ (19.5 m)
Beam: 17′ (5.2) m
Sail Area Upwind: 2160 sq.ft. (200 sq.m.)
Sail area downwind: 4500sq.ft. (417sq.m.)
Crew: up to 18
Trailerable? – No
Cost: $1,200,000 to $1,800,000


LOA: 33′ (10.06m)
Beam: 23′ 5″ (7.14m)
Sail Area Upwind: 717sq.ft (66.65sq.m.)
Sail Area Downwind: 1501sq.ft. (139sq.m.)
Crew: 3 – 4
Trailerable? – Yes
Cost: $200,000 to $250,000.

In the Cowes to St Malo race, the F-9AX TRIOHE (31 footer with 3 crew and second over the line) led home the first Volvo 60 (3rd) by 38 minutes. The Farr 45 BOUNDER (one design race boat with 11 crew) was the only boat able to beat TRIOHE to St Malo, and then only by 32 minutes in a mainly upwind race of 165 miles in 30 knots of wind plus. Also left behind by the small trimaran in this rough windward race were a Grand Soleil 45, J-160 (53 footer), Tayana 52, X43, and five J-109s (35 footers), the first of which was over three hours behind. Who was it that said multihulls could not go to weather?

A Farr 45 one design racer (IC45) – photo by www.pix-u.com …… Richard Roscoe’s F-9AX TRIOHE

The following weekend, with just two crew on each boat, BOUNDER beat the mono record for the 57 mile two handed Round the Island race by 6 minutes, previously held by a Swan 56. TRIOHE’s elapsed time in the same race was exactly 60 minutes faster.

A notable example in the past was in the 1992 Brisbane to Gladstone ocean race in Australia, where the 67′ monohull racer BOBSLED, a million dollar outright racing machine, was able to break the monohull record by an impressive hour and a half. This was given headline treatment, but sailing under the Press radar was the Farrier F-31 TRIUMPH, a standard family orientated trailer sailer costing a fraction as much, which had started 15 minutes later, and then caught and passed BOBSLED, finishing one hour and fifteen minutes ahead! A true stealth boat.

I’m bigger than you!
But I’m faster!

That a relatively small and much less expensive trailerable racer/cruiser can beat a much larger mono racer in many conditions is not unusual for F-boats, this having been a frequent occurrence over many years. It should also be noted that all Farrier F-boats are designed to be roomy, family friendly, cruising boats first, the performance just coming as a no cost extra. Better still, they do not need a football team on board to sail well!

Typical F-33 interior – no compromise for racing here
TRIOHE is a comprehensively fitted out cruiser, even having an aft cabin.
Richard built it himself, and all up cost was around $60,000 with motor, trailer,
sails, and the best fittings.

A good multihull will always cost more than the equivalent size monohull, but when one compares performance, and the many other advantages such as deck space, level sailing, shallow draft etc., the multihull is well ahead on value, and with a much higher ‘fun factor’.