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The Quadraconic hull form

Frank Huckins’ granddaughter Cindy Purcell started working in the stockroom at Huckins Yachts in the 1970s, and today she and her husband, Buddy, own and run the company that made its early name with PT boats.

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Huckins now builds semicustom yachts for people undoubtedly attracted to the brand’s pedigree and, very likely, its visual aesthetic, the DNA of which can be recognized immediately in most of its offerings. The modern Huckins hull, marketed as “Quadraconic” — in part an allusion to the concave bottom sections — is quite similar to the original, though with slightly more deadrise aft, which, of course, improves coursekeeping.

The boats are comparatively easy to push up on plane, with moderate displacement, bottom loading and length/beam at the waterline creating equally moderate resistance at hump. Their low-deadrise sections amidships and aft contribute to moderate resistance, efficiency and easy planing.

Just as a boat such as Mark Ellis’ Bruckmann 40, with its full keel, produces both advantages and limitations for the owner (see the February issue of Soundings), the same is true of the Huckins Quadraconic hull form. The hull has a fine entry, so when it is running at semiplaning and low planing speeds and hasn’t risen too much vertically, the sharp forefoot is presented to the waves and does a fine job of slicing through the chop. But all planing hulls increasingly emerge out of the water as speed increases, and this exposes the hull farther aft to the majority of wave impact.

So as speed increases above 20 knots, wave impact shifts farther aft. It’s the deadrise in this area, at station 3 to 6 — station 1 is the stem at the waterline, station 10 the transom — that matters when it comes to deadrise, not at the stem and not at the transom. The Huckins hull flattens out fairly quickly to 23.5 degrees deadrise at station 3, which is 10 degrees less than some of the best offshore hulls. As a result, the hull at higher speeds won’t deliver as kind a ride as one with more deadrise in wave-impact territory.

Besides the flatter sections at the waterline at stations 3 to 5, the other limiting element of the hull form is the concave sections that trap solid water at speed and accentuate pounding. The concave sections make the boat drier, and it works well enough when the boat is on an even keel in a light chop, but it also increases slamming when the boat is heeled, as the water essentially has no escape route — nowhere to go laterally — when meeting the waves.

The Huckins is certainly a better boat offshore than the voluminous floating condos populating many marinas, and it’s more than a match for many overly beamy, full-bowed production convertibles and express boats.

See related articles:

- An early look at the new Huckins Sportfisherman

- The legenday Huckings PT boats

March 2014 issue


A good turn of speed is one of the advantages of planing hulls. (A Beneteau Barracuda 9 is shown.)

How different hull types react in rough water

Displacement, semidisplacement and planing hulls all have their pluses and minuses. We compare and contrast them.