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- Easy to rig
- Performs very well
- Sail handling is easy
- Purpose built trailer
- Cabin spacious enough for comfortable overnighting or longer
- Different cnetreboard options
- Light, easily driven hulls need just 6hp to get along nicely under power
Good things take time they say, and good things are worth the wait. It’s the sort of advice you will get from Grandma and as usual Grandma is right.
Like Grandma, Ian Farrier has had a lot of experience slowly perfecting a great idea. For over 40 years he’s been designing trailerable folding trimarans, and in that time, he has not only dominated this genre of yacht, but has single-handedly reinvented the family trailer sailer.
Like most quiet geniuses Ian is little known in his native New Zealand, yet commands a cult following everywhere else in the world. His latest creation, the F22 folding trimaran is no different to most of the boats built in his Christchurch factory – disappearing into 40-foot containers and exported to an eager international clientele.
His low-key approach to marketing, backed up by his innovative and thorough eye for detail, mean that there are only two F22s resident in the country. Mollymawk is the second boat from the mould and had been used for R&D until she was sold to long-time Farrier fan David Lang of Auckland.
The concept of a boat-in-a-box has taken over seven years in the gestation, Ian wanting to get all the details right before releasing the boat to the market and ramping up production to fill a large order book. By the looks of Mollymawk the wait has been worth it.
As a production boat the F22 production process has been given the same attention to detail as the design of the boat itself. All of the hulls are built over a male mould in foam-core sandwich using bi-axial glass, and reinforced with carbon and Kevlar for high load and abrasion prone sections of the hull. PVC foam core is used, with high density inserts where required for all fittings.
With the foam and layers of laminate in place, the hulls are infused with epoxy resin under a high vacuum which draws the resin through the various reinforcing fabrics simultaneously, giving a consistent and strong structure to the hulls. The attention to detail means the finish is impeccable with no bold seams or weak points.
The beams are given the same treatment with carbon/glass composite, with multiple layers of uni-directional carbon fibre, top and bottom. The beams are completed with the folding struts which make a smooth folding action and trailability of the boat possible.
The first impression upon stepping on board is of space. With the boat unfolded there is a tennis court like feel which is not what you are expecting on a 22-footer.
The cockpit’s equally large with the 6hp, four-stroke Yamaha outboard, traveller and tiller inhabiting the aft sections, leaving the rest of the cockpit with an uncluttered feel. The cockpit is self-draining and has large storage lockers both sides.
Aft beams land on the main hull half way up the cockpit and due to their low profile attachment system they provide easy access to the trampolines that stretch out either side of the main hull.
Jib sheets and halyard controls lead back to the aft edge of the cabin top where a couple of Harken 20.2PTP Aluminum winches take care of the load. All halyards are locked off at the mast by Lewmar D1 rope clutches, allowing the mast to rotate freely.
The foredeck is finished nicely with a self-draining anchor locker and a recessed KZ furler for the jib. The narrow foredeck offers safety with the inclusion of an extra wide stainless pulpit – a bonus when furling screechers/spinnakers are lowered or raised.
Down below the layout is simple and crisp with a surprising amount of space due to the flare of the main hull above the waterline. The forward berth is a substantial two-metre double with plenty of light and air from the low profile Cule CLW45 fore-hatch and tinted bow side windows.
The test boat had the standard dagger board case, but there is an off-set centre-board option which is located on the port side of the hull and cleverly hidden in the settee edge. This avoids the intrusion of the dagger board into the cabin and has the bonus of retracting nicely if any underwater obstacles are hit.
The cabin’s finished off with two comfortable settees port and starboard which disappear under the cockpit. Their spaciousness is maintained by having the sink to starboard and a two burner Origo 3000 alcohol stove to port, retracting into the flare of the hull.
Storage is located behind the settees and under the cockpit which will make multiple-day cruising a breeze. Perhaps the thing that makes this accommodation more usable is the pop-top hatch which gives comfortable standing headroom of 1.88m – outstanding in a 22-foot boat.
On the Water
Test day looked promising right up until we found one of the cabin locks not cooperating. Thanks to our cameraman’s misspent youth we were quickly back in business!
While the lock-picking was going on I got to have a good look at Mollymawk on her trailer. In folded configuration she is 2.5m with the outer hulls nestling nicely into the curved flare of the main hull. In true Ian Farrier-fashion the trailer is designed around the boat.
It has an aluminum frame, Duratorque axles and a moulded fiberglass cradle which takes the ding factor out of launching and recovery. Such was the balance and weight of the trailer we were able to uncouple it and manually lower it into deeper water like a beach trolley to overcome a very low spring tide on the Weti Yacht club ramp.
Above deck the innovation continues with the well-thought-out mast raising system.
While Ian Farrier has designed a 10.8m tall rig for the racing version of this boat, Mollymawk has the smaller, standard 9.6m version.
At either length raising presents a formidable engineering exercise for one person. Farrier has devised a jockey pole which uses the screecher halyard and some cleverly-designed scissor supports either side to guide the mast straight on its ascent.
The trailer winch provides the horsepower while the stainless mast support structure at the stern and a pin system in the mast step making the whole business stress-free.
Given the low tide and the narrowness of the river we motored Mollymawk out in her folded configuration. The stability was good and the acceleration under the 6hp motor was noticeable, as it only had to push 650kg of boat with little wetted surface area.
Once clear of the river mouth we unfolded Mollymawk. A little heave on the aft beam and the whole outer hulls and trampoline slid into position and were quickly bolted down.
The beams are Ian Farrier’s third generation and the most notable feature of these is the streamlined shape which minimizes drag, while trapping and directing any spray down and under the beams. A tightening of the bolts with a ratcheting spanner and we were ready to put our foils down and our sails up.
I was impressed by the acceleration under sail. The wind was barely above 5 knots which meant we were underpowered, but the odd puff above this showed great promise.
A light responsive helm and an uncluttered cockpit made time on the helm a pleasure. With the addition of a tiller extension the possibility of helming from the trampoline would be a reality.
Mollymawk’s mainsail was set on a boomless system which is perfect for the family sailor. Racers may want to opt for a boom to induce more mast rotation in light winds.
The main’s controlled by a Harken R27 Traveler System with a 6:1 and 12:1 fine tune sheeting system. This has plenty of grunt to control the 30.5m2 working sail area.
With a level platform the F22 is about as family-friendly as it gets and you quickly develop an eye for lounging on the trampoline nets which give you an off boat vantage point for trimming or snoozing.
Downwind the boat would benefit from the addition of a pivoting prod to fly either a screecher or asymmetric spinnaker. With Mollymawk set up in family mode without any downwind sails, we were still going faster than any other 22-foot yacht in the Hauraki Gulf.
The real test of any boat is to watch her owner aboard. David leads a hectic work life and it was a pleasure to see him comfortable and confident in his new boat. His tales of family voyages around the Hauraki Gulf bode well for some good memories.
It is good to know that Grandma was right and that good things take time.