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Sea trials: the method behind the madness

Running full speed and hard rudder aboard a 58-footer. If the boat is well balanced, it will heel in a turn so that you fall neither inboard nor outboard.Conducting a comprehensive sea trial is essential when buying a new or used boat. Do it right and you’ll obtain the data you need to purchase with confidence or move on. Do it wrong and you might end up buying a boat that’s a bad fit for you and your family.

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What to look for during a dockside walkthrough

You can get an idea of how a boat will run by examining such features as the hull's entry and where the chines run down below the waterline.When it comes to hull design, a smooth-riding boat is not only more comfortable but is also safer

Seldom can the heart and mind be more at odds than when falling hard for a boat and then inspecting it closely with a practiced eye. Although I can’t help with the palpitations, I can point you in the right direction when you evaluate whether her function lives up to her form.

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Semiplaning boats can meet many needs

Latitude 40The boatbuilding industry holds a trade show every year called the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference, or IBEX. Although there are few boats on display, the show floor is filled with vendors selling the stuff used to manufacture them — fiberglass reinforcements, resins, electronics, windshields, seats and so on.
Just as big a draw for the boatbuilders, surveyors, naval architects and engineers who attend are the seminars on the latest developments in hull design, construction and repair, propulsion systems and more. I was asked to help conduct several seminars, including one on semiplaning boats. What you’ll read here is based on that seminar for which I was joined by Steve Dalzell, the chief naval architecture instructor at The Landing School in Arundel, Maine, and Winn Willard, vice president of C. Raymond Hunt Associates in New Bedford, Mass.

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The stepped hull has come of age

The Metal Shark Fearless 40 turned well at high speed when Sorensen was aboard it at the Multi-Agency Craft Conference.The quest for speed has long been a sort of Holy Grail in powerboating, and the stepped hull has played a role in that pursuit. Stepped hulls have been around since 1910 or so, when powerboat pioneers Gar Wood and Christopher Columbus Smith (founder of Chris-Craft), among others, used them on hydroplanes. The hydroplanes featured a transverse notch, or step, in the bottom amidships that reduced wetted surface at high speeds, thereby reducing frictional resistance.

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Passing the stepped-hull test

MPYD's stepped hull uses a tunnel with vertical side walls that act as mini keels.Michael Peters Yacht Design in Sarasota, Fla., is well-known — and well-regarded by me — for its high-performance conventional and stepped-bottom hulls. Peters has been on my radar for a number of years, and I had a chance to ride on one of the firm’s stepped military designs last June at the Navy’s Multi-Agency Craft Conference in Little Creek, Va. The weather was favorable and seas calm, but this 70-mph 40-footer went through its paces, including hard high-speed turns, without surprises.

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