When comparing all the different brands hull design and the effect of a modern hull shape is often over looked.
It is really important to fully understand what has changed over the years, which manufactures have embraced new designs and the benefits this offers owners & their guests.
New hull designs have a huge positive impact both on the sailing experience as well as the space and comfort offered above as well as below decks.
For years nothing changed and every manufacturer had to work within the constraints offered by the traditional and familiar rounded hull. Then through a dramatic evolution of yacht design within the racing circuit, hull chines were introduced for the first time into the cruising market around 2013.
It is very easy to spot those manufacturers who have invested in new hull designs and those that have not. Dufour were at the forefront of this massive change in yacht design with designer Umberto Felci and have continued to lead the way to this day.
Despite appearances yachts have not actually got that much beamier in the middle of the boat, it is just that hull chines have allowed the width in the middle of the boat to be pulled back much further aft. Even in recent years hull shapes have continued to evolve with hull chines getting more and more aggressive and the beam being pushed much further forward.
So why have not all manufacturers adopted the latest designs and introduced hull chines. Simply cost !! Reusing the same hull moulds and just revamping the interior and deck layouts when launching a new model offers massive savings for the manufacturer.
People often say that the new designs have just been adopted to create interior volume because that is what the market demands.
In fact the opposite is true, hull shapes have evolved from the racing circuit to create better performing yachts that sail more comfortably and are easier to handle.
Rather than just relying on the keel to keep the boat upright the ridge of the hull chine offers additional resistance as the boat starts to heel over. Yachts with hull chines will heel over to an optimum angle of around 21 – 22 degrees and then stop.
By sailing flatter, more sail area is open to the wind and rather than just lean over further and further until you reef, yachts with hull chines will simply sit at the same angle, sailing flatter and faster.
As wind strengths increase the key is too reef early. The yacht will still sit on her chines, the sails will become more efficient, the loads will reduce all of which make handling the boat in stronger winds easier whilst sailing just as fast.
Then there are other knock on effects that sailing a boat upright has.
The rudder instantly becomes more efficient because more of it is surface area is in the water and with that the need for twin rudders, which have a massive disadvantage when manoeuvring in a marina disappears.
A rudder with more grip makes for an easier boat to handle especially in gusty conditions and everything becomes more relaxed.
But most importantly sailing a flat boat is just more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone onboard.
Then finally as a by product, these new hull shapes have gifted designers heaps more interior space to play with.
The effect of new hull shapes have added 2 or 3 feet to the hull length of a traditional or rounded hull. So a 35 footer feels like a 37 footer, a 47 footer something over 50 feet.
Designers have been able introduce new appealing layouts with larger cabins and light bright interior living spaces. Aft cabins have become more spacious and much more comfortable and you will find the forward galley layout being offered on smaller yachts than was previously able.
Outside, twin wheels are the norm offering a great helming position with much improved visibility. The larger cockpits have created a more comfortable space offering room for everyone to relax and move around without getting each other’s way.
So in summary our modern hull shapes not only out perform rounded hulls but immediately everyone on board relaxes and are more comfortable as the yacht is flatter and easier to sail.
Our owners all report back how much of a positive impact that this has had on their family and friends attitude towards “going sailing”.
For something that is easy to over look or just dismiss as a trend, we feel it is crucial to fully consider the impact that hull shape has on the over all experience, the importance it has when choosing between different manufactures and why it is worth investing in the latest hull shapes and designs.