Boat Design Glossary

To try and help the individual who may not be familiar with the basic aspects of boats and the properties associated with them, I have provided some information for the uninitiated. It's just few things you may want to consider or to answer some questions you may have if thinking about buying or building a boat. Please keep in mind that these are only basics and there is a lot more that could be added. Also, it would be wise to remember that there is almost always an exception to every rule. Please have a look at the list below or contact us if you have any questions.

Hull Classifications
There are three main classifications of hulls: displacement, semi-displacement and planing. A hull type is named according to its shape, particularly the shape of the hull's run or angle or degree of the quarter beam buttock line as compared to the water line. The quarter beam buttock line is basically a cutting plane that runs perpendicularly and longitudinally or lengthways and halfway from mid-ship to maximum beam of the boat. It intersects the hull and bottom of the boat. The vessel’s run affects the vessel’s general performance and ability to attain certain speeds. Therefore, vessels with equivalent displacement and water line length (depending on hull shape), may attain very different speeds and levels of efficiency. At displacement speeds a planing hull is less efficient than a displacement hull in that its full weight is pushing the water aside; a planing hull’s transom— where it meets the hull bottom—being below the surface of the water, disrupts the water flow forming turbulence and eddies of water that pull back on the hull. A displacement hull on the other hand, has its bottom exit the water usually before it reaches the transom. These hull types consequently require different propellers and amounts of power to optimise performance. Displacement Hull The displacement hull, true to its name, displaces or pushes water out of its way as it moves. A bow wave forms in front of the hull due to water being an uncompressible material. As the water starts to move around the hull, the pressure drops and water speeds up forming a trough

Although the hulls have less beam than its monohull counterpart would. To move a displacement hull past this point takes an incredible amount of power and is extremely inefficient. At the point where there is a bow wave followed by the trough and then the crest of the stern wave is at the boats transom or where the hull bottom exits the water. Semi-displacement or planing hulls can be identified by their buttock angle and shape of their run.4 are neither practical nor economical for most displacement hulls. A sailing catamaran would simply be an example of two displacement hulls. they are still displacement hulls due to the shape of the run. the waves are short and then lengthen as hull speed increases. When the boat is at low speed. This is as fast as the hull can efficiently travel.3 to 1. the displacement hull is not designed to provide dynamic lift. It is this fact that basically limits the speed at which the hull moves through the water by the waterline length. SL ratios of higher than 1.which drops below the normal waterline. After the point where the stern wave passes the stern of the boat. As opposed to a planing or semi-displacement hull. a displacement vessel is said to travelling at hull speed. the vessel starts to fall into the trough and begins to climb the bow wave. The "speed length ratio" or SL ratio is key in determining the practical speed potential of a hull. . Waves also form behind the trough towards the stern of the boat. A typical example of a displacement hull would be a sailboat or trawler.

4. Although hulls with very light displacements for their lengths can achieve higher SL ratios than 1. This hull form falls between the displacement and planing with regards to speed and sea keeping ability. true planing hulls require flat under bodies aft for planing surface. Semi-displacement are identified by three factors: 1) the shape of the run. It is primarily the flatness of a vessels run that determines whether more power can be used to push her past theoretical displacement hull speed of SL ratio 1.4.1. . Displacement Hull Lines Semi-Displacement Hull Vessels with quarter beam buttock angles that are flatter. would be considered semi-displacement vessels. between 3 to 7 degrees. 2) the displacement length ratio or 3) DL ratio and the amount of "V" or draught of the hull and they generally have a hard chine or tightly rounded bilge.

. The hulls run must be shaped such that the quarter beam buttock angle is less than 2 degrees which allows for the hull to climb its bow wave and ride on the water as opposed to through the water with a displacement hull.2. Most modern planing hulls have a reverse chine or chine flat. The weight of the vessel to its length is also a critical factor in what speed it can attain. planer. Semi-Displacement Hull Lines Planing Hull Boats with true planing hulls can attain SL ratio over 2.5 or higher. This increases stability at low speed. True planing hulls require flat. The flat under body aft must not be twisted or have what is called a warped plane. slightly angled under bodies aft for planing surface. increases dynamic speed and makes for a dryer boat in general.

The V allows the boat a softer ride to minimize slapping and provide some grip in turns. Appling moderate rocker to the bottom makes for a more manoeuvrable and seaworthy boat. at a sharp angle rather th than n a round bottom or rounded bilge. This is typically a planing boat that rides on top of rather than through the water. Increase in deadrise makes for a more seaworthy boat but also reduces the low speed stability and static or initial stability. deadrise can range from 10 to 15 degrees. Although a smoother ride is achieved the deeper or more deadrise a hull has the more wetted surf surface ace is increased and also resistance. These are hard chined vessels—the top sides of the boat meet the bottom near the water er line.Hull Most power boats have this hull shape. because of its flatter bow and hard chine it provides a comparatively rougher ride. Due to its rough roughness ness at speed these hulls are limited to the amount of horse power applied. For insho inshore re craft. Planing hull lines Hull Types Flat Bottom Although this hull type has good initial stability in calm weather it. You can think of this hull as a hybrid of the flat and round bottom hulls.3. This will increase the horsepower requirements as compared to a flat bottom hull. V. . This hull type is typically used on calm waters. Most planing power boats have a low to moderate amount of "V" or deadrise in their hulls.

Offshore vessels should be 20 to 25 degrees and very high speed vessels up to 30 degrees.For coastal craft. semi-displacement or planing hull depends on the degree of the quarter buttock line or the run. also keeping some of the advantages of a hard chine. One very good example is the Newfoundland trap. These vessels were typically 22-25 foot in length and used to haul cod traps. Hard Chine These vessels can be displacement. deadrise should be 15 to 20 degrees. The round at the bilge or near the waterline helps reduce wetted surface area and usually allows for good reserve stability. many small boats powered by Orr and later some by engine used this hull form. Although mostly in displacement hull form there are round or rounded bilged boats designed as semi-displacement and to a lesser extent planing hulls. steel and plywood. Hard chined vessels do have some advantages . and performance associated with a round bilged boat. semi-displacement or planing hull form. semi-displacement or planing hull form. not the degree of V or deadrise. Easily and efficiently driven through the water with little power. Other advantages include more usable hull space and better initial stability.skiff. Traditionally. They lend themselves very well to construction by sheet materials such as aluminum. Sailboat hulls are usually of this of the biggest being construction costs. As many as five men would be leaning over the gunwale of the boat pulling by hand the trap full of cod to the surface. Remember the determining factor to whether it's a displacement. The shear of the boat would often be inches from the water demonstrating excellent reserve stability. Double Chine Essentially a vessel with two hard chines rather than one. The degree or size of the angle may vary from vessel to vessel depending on if it is a displacement. . giving the vessel the characteristics. these boats showed excellent sea keeping abilities. Round bottom This shape of hull almost always refers to displacement hulls. double chines help reduce the angle or soften the bilge area. It simply means that the top sides of the boat meet the bottom at an angle rather than having a round bilge.

resulting in more resistance. and is used in attempt to let air go under the hull to provide more lift to the vessel. reduces sea keeping ability and in general adds little or no additional performance to the hull. Propulsion Propulsion is the method used to power or move the boat. within the past one hundred years. people did not understand how to totally utilize the sail. The larger center hull is the Vaka and the two outer hulls are the Amas. Today some boats can sail at angles almost directly into the wind. unlike a displacement monohull. you can think of this as multiple V hulls on one boat hull. Monohull Quite simply a boat having one hull. The hulls placed apart in such a way gives additional stability to the multihull as opposed to a monohull.Cathedral Hull Used for power boats. Sail Sail boats have been around for thousands of years and have been the motive of transport for trade. That's because we now understand that sails can be used to utilize the wind in much the same manner that an aircraft wing does. A catamaran is a twin-hulled vessel. Trimarans have three hulls. In general the additional V's add surface area to the boat. Multihull This term is generally associated with boats that have more than one hull and can have three different hull forms. The shape of the . Most boats had to be sailed with the wind or at small angles across the wind. This makes them lighter and faster. This design provides good stability. It can be anything from a paddle to jet turbine. exploration and war for many of those years. they do not have to be ballasted down at the keel to hold them upright and also the lack of a deep keel and appendages helps reduce resistance. It's interesting to note that until recently. This complicated hull is far more costly to make. The twin identical hulls of the catamaran are called Amas. We will stay with the basics and most popular. This additional stability given by the general greater overall width of the multihull gives a significant advantage in that. They can be either displacement hulls or planing hulls. The Proa has a narrow single main hull called a Vaka joined to a smaller hull or outrigger by cross-members called Akas.

Outboards do offer some of advantages over other engine systems. Pod drive Pod drives differ only a little from sterndrives in that the drive leg exits from the bottom of the boat rather than the transom. A well designed displacement hull and sail rig can reach and surpass hull speeds. This was over one hundred years ago in 1906 and the basic concept has hardly changed over that time period. Some units offer the option of being separated from the engine by way of Cardian shaft. shaft. they pass through the transom and then attach to an inboard engine. propeller sizes and lower torque gas engines they do not produce the thrust that lend themselves to use on displacement hulls and to a lesser extent semidisplacement hulls. They offer more flexibility then the sterndrive in a number of ways. Some Trimarans can reach speeds in excess of forty knots. This allows the flexibility of the engine to be . They are sometimes referred to as Z-drive in commercial craft. One of the outboards biggest disadvantages is that almost all of them are designed to be used on planing hulls. Most gas engines are variations of automotive engines. Because of their limited reductions. to even massive tug boats where manoeuvrability is an issue. steering and sometimes fuel tank all in one package. Outboard It's hard to believe that it was a lawyer who is credited with the invention of the modern outboard motor (they certainly don't make lawyers like they used to). are systems that resemble the lower unit of the outboard. where they are called saildrives. Sailboats are not necessarily slow. This can give the owner an advantage to less expensive and accessible parts. propeller. This creates lift and pulls the sails with the boat through the water. Outboards can range in horsepower from about three to three hundred. Many units are coupled to diesel engines. Inboard / Outboard (I/O) Also called sterndrives.sail allows the wind to flow over it creating a low pressure on the upper wind side and a high pressure on the downwind side. This gives the advantage of a higher torque engine with more reliability and added fuel savings but at cost of a little higher weight. The most obvious is its compactness—engine. In general the engines used for sterndrive units are larger than that of the outboard. reduction. Some smaller sail boats do use them for low speed manoeuvring near marinas and wharves. They are used on a variety of vessel from small to midsized sailboats. Just mount to the transom hook up the controls and gas if necessary and go. That is very fast even for a planing power boat.

Drop. Propellers.placed further forward if necessary to optimise the trim of the vessel. b) Versatility. by far. Here are some of the reasons why: a) Simplicity. Some pod drives are offered with the propeller facing forward of the unit.. modified or replaced independent of the other. shafting and propellers. It can be tailored to your specific needs. which keeps the transmission output coupling in line with the engine crankshaft. a basic modular arrangement where each part of the system can be maintained. Transmissions.. It’s one of the best reasons to consider a custom built boat. The proper propeller combined with a compatible engine and transmission can efficiently power anything from a sixty knot offshore racer to a quiet four knot gentlemen's launch. feathering or controllable pitch. folding. drive shaft and propeller in some configuration or another can be found in the smallest of runabouts to largest of ocean going vessels. almost exclusively diesel. transmissions. Angled. It provides. Available in many reduction ratios from 1:1 to 6:1. "V". the transmission output coupling exits the transmission at an angle. the most versatile of the power boat propulsion offerings. For example: engines. Diesel engines are more reliable and fuel efficient than gas inboards or outboards. .. Inboard engines coupled to marine transmissions. which puts the transmission output bellow the engine crankshaft. engines can range in horsepower from ten to tens of thousands. all of the above configurations are available with the transmission being separated from the engine by means of a Cardin shaft. the transmissions input and output are on the same end allowing the drive shaft to go under the engine. for the most part. Uffa Fox. It's true—it all boils down to the propeller. Inboard This option is. They are basically unlimited in the variety of sizes and pitches. This provides the great advantage for the propeller to access undisturbed water which increases its efficiency. They come in two wing and up to five wing and more. No other system can offer the wide range of options in engines. sizes for all horsepower's and configurations such as straight. Propellers can be either fixed wing. Remote. "The final answer to all engineering effort in any vessel is in the propeller".

. There are more and more of these systems coming on the market these days and for obvious environmental reasons. They have almost no appendages to create drag or contact obstructions. quiet. This is something that deserves to be looked at. surrounded by water and having it powered by electricity. powerful. It took me a while. can operate in very shallow water and have excellent low speed manoeuvrability. simple and reliable to name just a few. This works well on sailboats where the electric motor can. Some larger diameter jets are designed to provide high thrust at low speeds. The drives were 200 hp each but the impeller size was about ten inches in diameter—an incredible waste of horsepower. The thing you should keep in mind is that the impeller in the jet drive can never be as efficient as properly installed propeller of the same size. High speed jet drives can only be proven more efficient then a propeller while operating on vessels that travel at speeds over forty knots. I once observed a local boat builder who installed two pod type jet drive units on the transom of a semi-displacement hull. act as a generator and recharge the drive batteries or house batteries. Electric Drives Electric boats and drives have been around longer the internal combustion engine. And that is not very many. Those aside electric drives do have the own attributes. Some boats can be driven up to eight hours on a single charge. They come in configurations including outboards. They are extremely efficient.Jet Drive Jet drives are basically powerful pumps that suck water through an intake at the bottom of the hull and force it through a steerable nozzle at the transom. inboards and hybrids that can attach to your diesel engine to supplement your fuel costs. It's hard for some people to be comfortable about the idea of sitting in a boat. while under sail utilizing a fixed prop.

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