With more than 450 F-27s built, we can hardly approach the new folding Corsair F-28 as a novel design. The Corsair group felt it was time to update the 12-year-old F-27. The new F-28 is longer, wider and lighter than the 27. Keep in mind that we are not looking at a new boat designed to fix the problems of an older boat; we are looking at the subtle evolution of a highly successful model into an even better boat.

The Corsair F-28.

The Corsair F-28.

The main hull shape, and the flat rocker throughout the midsections, is interesting. Designer Ian Farrier says this promotes early planing. Note how steep this makes the actual rocker of the run. Farrier says this steep buttock-run aft helps keep the bow from burying. I'll buy that, but I'm not so convinced that the overall shape does much to accelerate early planing. I would have thought that a faster boat would have a flatter overall profile from midships aft. The bottom line is that the new 28 is a lot faster than the older F-27.

The folding amas of the 28 have more volume than those of the 27. This increased ama volume gives the 28 more stability and keeps the akas higher above the DWL. This results in less spray hitting the akas, making the 28 dryer and faster.

The F-27 had a problem with the rudder losing its grip at high speeds. This was corrected by adding a rudder "fence" about a third of the way down the rudder blade. The rudder blade is actually raked forward 4 degrees and, according to my pal John, works like a charm.

The 28 is available in two models: The 28R designates the racing model with a carbon-fiber stick and an additional 12 inches of hoist. All that is really nice, but perhaps the most significant aspect of the new 28's rig is the fact that the mast is rotating. Consider this: Regardless of how carefully shaped your mast extrusion is, if it does not rotate it is operating backwards to what the mainsail's leading edge would like for attached flow. Improving the efficiency of the mainsail by cleaning up the leading edge means you can sail faster upwind and lower downwind. This is very important when you are racing with an asymmetrical chute.

Another benefit of the carbon-fiber racing rig is that the spar is much lighter for trailering and stopping. The SA/D for the racing rig is 41.02. Please remember that this SA/D is calculated using all the mainsail including roach and using an "empty" displacement. If I add some cruising gear and boost the displacement to 3,000 pounds, then remove the mainsail's roach, we still get an SA/D of 34.15. With the fathead-style upper batten configuration of this mainsail, it doesn't make much sense to ignore the additional area.

The 28's layout features an aft cockpit, and the accommodations have moved forward — great improvements over the 27 in both areas.

These are very interesting boats in that they are marketed as cruising boats, but most of them end up being raced. This speaks well for the type. If you are dubious as to their actual speed, I can tell you that we have several Farriers racing in my area, and the F-28 rates PHRF 36 — 25 seconds per mile faster than a turbo F-27. If you check the ratings of boats in your own area, I think you will be impressed. I've sailed the F-27, and I look forward to sailing the new 28 very soon.

Boat Specifications
Beam19'9" 8'3" (folded);
Draft4'11" (daggerboard down) 1'2" (hull only);
Displacement2690 lbs. (estimated bare weight);
Sail Area495.93 sq. ft.;
SA/D41.02 (racing rig);
Auxiliary8-horsepower outboard (2-cycle Nissan or 4-stroke Honda);
Water18 gals.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.