Tuning a Farr 7500

Setting up and Sailing the Farr 7500

A personal viewpoint - John Wolff  "Farr Trek"

January 1993


Get the mast centered and with the amount of prebend that is right for your mainsail. Too much bend and the sail will be too flat, too little and the sail will be too full. My mast had too much bend when I bought the boat and we corrected this by taking up the inner shrouds. There was not enough adjustment left in the turnbuckles and I had to make a new attachment point on the chain plate. I used a large saddle that bolted diagonally across the chain plates.

I have never checked the mast rake and feel there should be no need to do this so long as the boat is balanced when sailing to windward. On a reach the boat develops a lot of weather helm and some of this can be counteracted by winding the centreboard back.


e have the following controls with extra turning blocks to bring just about all lines back to cleats mounted on the aft of the cabin:

  • *Outhaul - 3:1 purchase inside the boom* Cunningham - 4:1 purchase

  • Boom Vang - 6:1 purchase* Flattening Reef - 3:1 purchase inside the boom. (This line is cleated off beneath the boom.)

  • Halyard

  • First and Second Reef - Both reefing lines can be tensioned with the halyard winch and cleated off on the starboard side of the cabin top.

  • Back Stay - 8:1 purchase* Main Sheet - 4:1 purchase* Traveller - 3:1 purchase* Topping Lift

The set up for some of these controls is different from the way the boat was supplied by the manufacturer but I strongly recommend their adoption as they make the yacht much easier to sail, especially if you depend upon spouse and children for crew. For example, I think it is always important to get plenty of tension on the reefing lines so that the foot of the sail is tight. If you are going to reef you must also make the mainsail as flat as you possibly can.

The vang attachment at the base of the mast is an important fitting and one that takes a lot of punishment. Mine was broken when I bought the boat and I replaced it with a Selden rod kick vang swivel. It pivots vertically beneath the gooseneck and holds three single blocks. The one in the centre is for a 3:1 purchase to the boom while the two on each side are for a double ended line that provides a further 2:1 purchase and is taken back to the cockpit on each side of the pop-top. We have found it valuable to be able to release the vang from either side of the cockpit and keep the boom out of the water when we broach with the spinnaker!

To avoid punching a hole in the cabin top, it is important to remember that this swivel must be disconnected before lowering the mast!

The flattening reef is a very useful way of depowering the main. With the 3:1 purchase it can be pulled on while the boat is sailing to windward so long as the yang and main sheet is eased. There is no need to take the first luff cringle (normally used for the Cunningham) on to one of the horns at the gooseneck as is described in the accompanying notes.

Quick use of the traveller is important when sailing to windward in gusty conditions. I have a crew member seated on the forward part of the cockpit coaming; the cleat for the traveller is below and between his legs. We have found that the 3:1 purchase is about right for effective use of the traveller. We find it is best to keep the angle of heel to between 10 and 15° for best progress to windward.

Applying tension opens the leech and allows twist into the sail. The two holes in the headboard also affect the amount of twist. Only in light weather (< 10 knots) would we use the aftmost hole.

I am amazed that so few people have a proper topping lift for their main. Mine is a fixed length of 1/8" wire with a plastic cover. It is fixed to the masthead crane and has a spring clip at the other end. From the end of the boom, I have a short length of line through a single light block that attaches to the clip. Its length is easily adjusted from a cleat on the boom. Usually we leave it slack when sailing, so that if we want to reef or drop the main, the boom never falls to deck.

The helmsman should sit as far forward as possible when sailing to windward. This usually means being perched on the coaming just aft of the sheet winch.


For sailing in the Hauraki and Waikato we find the No 1 Genoa is an essential sail. It makes the boat competitive in winds of less than 10 knots and is also great for reaching with eased sheets. But to get the sheeting right for this sail took a lot of experimentation. It also takes a lot of watching to make sure that this sail is not oversheeted when sailing to windward. It is my view that it cannot be sheeted to an extension of the track for the No 2 Genoa as in this position there is too much backwinding of the main.

We now have barberhaulers on this track and take the sheets from the clew, through the barberhaulers and then to blocks mounted at the toerail. It is a nuisance to have to resheet with every change of headsail but that is what we have found is necessary.

Centreplate Issues

My first tangle with the centrecase followed a broken wire from the winch. The board crashed against the forward part of the case and we started taking water. Later inspection showed that the glass was crushed and it took much digging chiseling and grinding to get out all the rotten stuff and the surfaces faired down so that they would bind to the replacement. Most of the more recent 7.5\'s have rubber pads to cushion the crash. The most important tip for looking after the wire is to make sure the plate is resting on the trailer rollers whilst travelling.

The original winch for the centreplate can no longer be purchased and all spare parts went to a scrap metal dealer last year when Maxwell was in receivership. They now .produce a larger winch rated at 300 kg. It has a larger drum and a much lower gear ratio to avoid the need for the self braking mechanism. So even more turns are needed to raise or lower the plate. I have offset this by moving the wire attachment forward so that it is almost directly beneath the winch with the plate retracted. So far so good and the wire no longer plays a musical tune!

Be warned and look after your winch. Keep it greased and replace the bushes before they wear out.

My Farr 7.5 was one of the early ones and this year, on removing the centreplate, we found that the pivot was no more than a 1/2" stainless bolt. It was bent like a banana and had worn a slotted hole in the fibreglass of the centrecase. Only a hefty wad of putty was keeping the tide out. I replaced the bolt with a 3/4" one and have mounted brass bushes on the centrecase. These were recessed into plywood and fibreglassed to the outside of the centrecase.

There is no doubt in my mind that the installation of mylar flaps on the skeg is a good way of improving performance. I have used 1/2" brass dinghy strips, screwed into the bottom of the skeg, to keep the mylar in place and prevent it from being mutilated by the trailer rollers.