The Super-Hydra-Woopdy-Doo2 Hull

You may have noticed as you looked through my site that I don't give my hull designs any crazy names. Although the names themselves are ridiculous, the claims made for them are even worse. Most of these hulls are little more than deep-V or modified-V planing hulls of average shape and proportion. In fact, you may be surprised to hear that many of these super hull designs were never designed in the first place. No drawings, no calculations, no test data, no evidence whatsoever that the super-hull is all that super! A very large number of hulls on the market today were simply built by eye in the time-honored tradition of small boat builders everywhere. The builders did not name them. It was the sales department.

This isn't to say that these hulls are bad or that they don't perform admirably in their intended service. I am only saying that you should take their claims with a large grain of salt. All hulls should be designed to support the estimated weight of the boat, perform efficiently at the speed intended and handle the expected sea conditions without scaring the skipper or crew. There is no such thing as the perfect hull as we all have different needs and desires that our boats must try to satisfy. There are only different compromises.

Many boat designers will tell you that hull shape, while an important component, may not be the most important. Weight distribution may be the most important element in a good performing vessel. Be it a fast planing hull or a full-displacement trawler, proper balance and weight distribution are critical to allowing the hull to perform at it's best. I am not a fan of outboard motor brackets for this very reason. They tend to create a large aft weight bias that is difficult to counteract. Mid-size sportfishing boats suffer from the opposite problem. Like a pickup truck, they have little weight aft and tend to be bow down when light on fuel.

Lastly, as the saying goes ". . . in all things moderation." This is especially true of small planing hulls. Let's be honest, when you combine the natural elements with all the other boat traffic and numerous no-wake zones, how often can you really use that 50-knot top end in your small boat? It certainly isn't when running through a choppy inlet on a busy Sunday afternoon! If you settled for a 35-40 knot top end in a well-balanced boat, would you be able to manage the same cruising speed in rough water accompanied by lower fuel consumption? When running in rough seas in a small boat, sometimes you need more than just a Super-Hydra-Woopdy-Doo2 hull under you!

Timm Smith
February 17, 2003