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A 27ft deep vee from Magnum of Miami.

John Teale continues his thesis

in the third extract from his new book High Speed Motor Boats
@ 1969 by John Teale. Published by the Nautical Publishing Company at 32s


be as well at this stage to put

forward a definition. A deep vee will be

considered to be any hard chine boat that
has a minimum deadrise of 20 deg or more.
In practice this will mean that the deadrise
at the transom will be that amount, and
elsewhere along the hull it will probably be

a 20ft,

seven-step hydroplane


constant 28 deg deadrise and powering this

with a 30h.p. motor achieved the very
respectable speed of 27 knots. Litde more
seems to have been done with the very vee'd

type of hull form until after the 1939-45

war when the American Ray Hunt, and

Italian based, British-passport-holding

So many craft are claimed to be "deep

vees", when in fact they are nothing ofthe
sort, that it seems worth while to lay down
those limits; genuine high deadrise vessels
have disadvantages as well as advantages
and anyone hunting for a boat to suit his

Renato Levi both turned out genuine deep

vees and proceeded to dominate the racing
field. Certainly the long lack of interest
between 1908 and the 1950s was due to
the difficulty of obtaining high-powered,

particular requirements could well


production. A deep vee takes more power

something quite unsuitable on the basis of

a manufacturer's advertising blurb.
Since builders make this deep vee claim
it is obvious that they are trying to cash in
on something. In fact what they are doing is
attempting to bask in the reflected glory of

flatter-bottom craft and comes into its own
only when really high speeds are required.
Why is this? Well consider the case of an
aeroplane. Its wings are generally set fairly

the racing successes of craft from the

stables of, to name a few, Ray Hunt,
Renato Levi, Jim rWynne and Chris
Tremlett. The operative word there is
"racing", for it cannot be disputed that
with suitable spray rails slung along the

lightweight motors in commercial

to drive it than does its

well parallel to the ground with only

slight upwards angling. By this means the

maximum lift is obtained. If one saw a

'plane with the wings raking

common sense would


tell you that it

would take more power to keep it up in the

air, and that if the engine should suddenly

decrease wetted surface and fail the aeroplane would tend to come to
effective beam, a deep vee power boat is earth pretty quickly. Exactly the same
a very potent racing machine. Whether the thing applies to a boat. If the bottom is flat
average owner really needs such a vessel is or nearly flat it will tend to rise up and
a matter of some doubt, and it is significant start planing along more easily than if it is
that when, for example, Jim Wynne designs heavily veed, and it will require less power
a high speed cruising boat for commercial to keep it up in this planing position.
production the chine is often &opped That being so, the high deadrise boat
towards the stern giving a flatter bottom. must have some advantages to counteract
The result is called a "modified deep vee" its inherent weakness as far as powering is
when in fact it is a normal warped bottom concerned. So it has, and these apply
or monohedron hard chine boat. Ah well, especially to racing boats which we will
consider later on' but its most commonly
this is the age of the catchpenny phrase.



Anyway, before we dive into the quoted superiority over a craft with a
technicalities, pros and cons, and so forth it flatter bottom is that it gves a softer ride in
is worth mentioning that, despite popular rough water. Let us ponder on that a morrF
superstition to the contrary, the deep vee is ent and then look at an American tank test.
Well, in normal cruising when the
not an exclusively modern hull form. Back
in the dim, dark ages of 1908, Fauber built comfort of the crew is of some interest,

a high speed powerboat will not

normally be driven so fast that it becomes
completely airborne. What may well happen

is that the forward third of the hull will

leave the water from time to time and then
slam back again in rough water. The more
veed the bottom forward the smaller the

bang will be on re-entry. That is pretty

obvious, for it will tend to slice back
through the sea rather than bang on its
surface as would a completely flat bottom.
Hence it is clear that a good vee given by

a high chine line forward is indicated for

any sort of comfort in bad weather. An

of such a shape is the

D which were built in

numbers during the war, and numbers of
which can still be seen round our estuaries
and rivers as houseboats.
A deep vee boat has this high chine
forward but continues it all the way back
to the transom. This is very nice if one is
contemplating becoming airborne, for most
fast boats will come down again stern first
and the cushioned descent given by the
steeply angled transom will soften the drop


But how often does the

cruising man take off completely? You
might say that all orher things being equal
the vee'd transom is worth having for its
occasional real usefulness. Unhappily all
other things are not equal. The power
question has been mentioned but there are
other factors too. Firstly, the deep vee is a
very wobbly boat in the water until it is
going fast. To put that technically, its
transverse stability is low because of the
shape of the bottom. It is clear that it will
take more effort to give initial heel to a flat

bottom than to a vee'd one. Further, the vee

taken to extremes interferes with the
accommodation since it reduces useful
space, but more important, perhaps, is the
fact that the genuine deep vee craft
actually has a more violent pitching and
slamming movement than a shallower boat





by the motion pictures.


at usual cruising speeds.


Let us take that tank test report now.

The Davidson Laboratory in America was
asked in 1963 to carry out tests on three

attributed to the high trim characteristics

different types of boat to find the best shape

for a 52ft high speed landing craft. Two of

the vessels were conventional hard chine

planing boat types, though one had convex
and the other concave bottom sections. The

third craft was a genuine deep vee,

designed by a world-famous exponent of

the forrr, having the usual spray rails and
average deadrise from 'midships to the
transom ofabout 22 deg.
Various tests were run to determine
power requirements in calm and rough
water and to measure vertical accelerations
in rough seas. In the last-named, the tank
generated a State 3 sea where the average
height of the waves is about 2.5ft and
average period about 4.4 seconds. This sort
of thing happens after a wind of 11-16

knots has been blowing



calm water,


for about


was found that the

deep vee needed consistendy more power to



than the other two. 750h.p., for

instance, would push the two conventional

craft at roughly 31 knots and the deep vee
at a bit undet 27 knots. To achieve 40
knots the high deadrise vessels required
1,400h.p. and the other two, 1,200h.p. All
craft were running at a displacement of


or about 24j tons, and



e.h.p.----effective horse
power-which is about half that of brake

On the rough water runs, it


observed that the deep vee model required

consistently more power than the other two
up to the maximum speed run of 40 knots.
Bow accelerations are measured in "g's"
and regardless of the technicalities of this
form of measurement it can be taken that

the higher the "g's" the

uncomfortable things


will be for those on

board. Astronauts are subfected


certain number of "g's" on take-ofF-sorry,

blastoff in the modern vernacularl pilots
black out when the "g's" exceed a certain

number on pulling out of a dive.

the same measurement. However

It's all



demonstrated that the deep vee, complete

with spray strips along the bottom,
consistently pitches more violently than the
other two right up the speed range. This is
interesting but very rarely appreciated by
those who dash out and buy a cruiser
hoping for the fabled easier ride of the deep
vee. They simply won't get it and the whole
thing smacks of another of life's great
illusions; the maintenance-free properties
ofglassfibre. They fust ain't there!
Well, well, and how do we account for
this rum state of affairs? In fact with the
deep ved model run in State 3 sea, with the
bottom spray rails removed, lower vertical
accelerations were revealed. In fact the boat

is not much inferior to the other two in

that condition.
The Davidson Laboratory sums up this
as follows; "The Scheme C model (this is the
deep vee) encountered larger accelerations

than Schemes A or B. This fact was

visually evident during the tests and is


of the Scheme C model. With a large initial


of attack the model had a


distinct tendency to lift off the crest of one

wave and slow down on the face of the
next. . . . When bottom strips are removed

from the Scheme model C lower

accelerations are encountered. Again,
removal of strips resulted in reduction of
running trim. This reduction


simply reducing the deadrise

a bit. The

second is to reduce wetted area by keeping

some part of the bottom drier than it would
otherwise be by deflecting water away and
back down to the sea. On deep vees they

a special function in reducing the

effective waterline beam as well as making
for a smaller wetted surface.


probable explanation for the reduction in

acceleration amplitude.


Although the three models all started

floating level, the deep vee took a much
higher bows up attitude than the other two
and this is what causes it to iump off the

tops of waves. Its trim

decreases though,

Fig 1 Spray rails on a deep vee can reduce wsttsd

flatterbottomed craft.

surface more easily than on a

the faster it goes, as is the case with all high

speed boats, and at ,[0 knots is approaching
a reasonably efficient level while the trim of

Fig. 1 shows how this reduction in

waterline beam can be achieved on a high
deadrise craft but not on its flatter

the other two is becoming rather too flat.

This is the reason why power requirements
of the deep vee are not higher than those of
its conventional rivals in rough water at

brethren. The water will simply break away

over the rail on the latter type and reforrr
again on the bottom a bit farther up. Now

its own at these velocities.

Translated into more everyday terms and
taking the water-line length of the deep vee

and gratification that for once two

negatives in life, as opposed to algebra,

around the 40 knots mark. The highdeadrise craft is just starting to come into

case where it is
inefficient and wasteful of power up to 40
knots or a speed flength ratio of 5.7.
There is no reason to suppose that a
smaller vessel would not behave in a
similar way. Hence a powerboat 25ft long
on the waterline, say, would be a better

at 49ft, we have the

and more comfortable vessel if of

conventional hard chine design unless it

were designed to run at consistently above

a speedAength ratio of 5.7. Recall that

speedlength ratio


sothis, means

of 28.5 knots ('5' I 5.7

'r. 5.7.
therefore V :'t/ L x 5.7 or
where Z is speed in knots and Z waterline
length in feet). Since very few cruising
boats, whatever their potential, will exceed
such a speed at sea except once in a blue
moon, the deep vee appears a fairly
above a velocity

we must equate narrow effective beam

with the high trim angles inherent in the
deep vee and we find to our astonishment

have made a positive. We have small beam,

which has really not been quite the

accepted thing for high-speed boats, and big

trim angles, which in themselves are not

always desirable.

This is thorny ground we


approaching and much set about with

abstruse technicalities. Rather than

stumble over the prickles we will quickly
skirt the shambles ahead and reproduce
instead a graph, Fig. 2, plotting speed
against power for tvto 22ft racing craft. 1$(/e
have assumed that one ofthem can have its
continued overlegf

unuseful type for all round use.

Of course that does not imply that any
old hard chine box flopping round the


will be a

superior craft


well-designed deep vee. Far from it, we

must assume a high level of design in both
cases and a recognition that a sharpish
bottom forward is essential to comfort at
sea. All that we have discussed simply
implies that it is not really wise to continue
that sharpish bottom all the way to the
transom, and rhen scntter a few spray rails
along it in an effort to improve its inherent
poor lift qualities, unless one is aiming for
racing speeds or other special qualities.
The gradually reducing trim eventually
produces a more efficient attitude in the
water than is the case with the normal
planing boat. That is part ofthe reason for
the success of the deep vee when racing
but only part, and we must now bend our
minds to the subject of those spray rails
along the bottom.
Such rails have two properties. The first
is to give a small amount of lift, though
not so much as would be the case by








Fig 2 Speed/power curves of two idortical

2z-footets but assuming that one can reduce
its effective waterline beam from five to three



..,.a[diust what iln







beam effectively reduced from 5ft to 3ft. It

will be seen that the narrower craft has a

smaller power requirement for all speeds

above 33 knots. Since racing boats may be
expected to travel at over that velocity for a
reasonable pan of their working lives, the
advantages in using a deep vee hull

together with beam reducing spray rails are


The only way one could beat this

effectively narrowed 22-footer would be to

use either a stepped hull with a very much
superior aspect ratio, or a catamaran with
two hulls of even less than that 3ft beam.

and the alloy weight of this 30-footer

would have been a little under 3,0001b.

It was then decided, largely because

Vospers were also building an aluminium

racer for btr*-Flying Fish in fact-that

Fig 4 Sketch plan of a 31ft deep vee

designed by the author for Dr Savundra. Note
the full forward sections towards the keel.

between bottom and topside. There are

variations though, and one is shown in
sketch plan form, Fig. 4. This was designed


by the author for Dr


bottom towards the keel is very rounded so

as to give a quick build-up of buoyancy as
the hull enters the water having been flung
clear. The shape may give a slightly harder
re-ntry but on the other hand it will also
mean that the hull may be able to start
planing again after its airborne pursuits

in opposite directions, really, for

is a craft with a very wide, short

planing area in the vicinity ofthe step, and

the other a long, thin creation; but both
achieve the same end ofhigher speed.
Perhaps one other practical lesson can be
learned from rhe deep vee discussion so far,
and that is the imponance of being able to
achieve high speeds in a race and so take

of the form. There would be

little point in slogging it out with a more
conventional planing boat in conditions
that limited speed if a slightly longer but

Savundra. The

without first slicing deep into the water

and being slowed down. Both hull forms

calmer course was available.

What has been said on deep vees may

give the impression that they are fairly
useless obiects unless employed for racing.


glassfibre it might very well be an answer

for some specialised applications. In any
case, when employing this timber it should
first of all be kiln dried and then kept in

The lines of one such boat, a Tremlett

25-footer, are shown in Fig. 3. The
Tremlett boats of this size are normally
hot-moulded; that is the hull is made up of

airtight bags until it is used.

On the Dr Savundra ocean racer a

norrnal wooden plug was made first and
then a mould taken from it. Inside this
mould the glass, resin and layers of balsa
were laid, An expensive way of making a
"one-off' but the only way of ensuring a
good finish without a tremendous amount

a number of veneers of timber or ply glued

together over a building mould, and then
finally curved and bonded together under
heat and pressure. A very strong structure
results, especially when of the deep vee
variety; as can be seen, the botton and

of sanding of the final hull.

sides are one smooth curve, so can be made

Sandwich construction boats are

fairly popular as a way of

of continuous laminations with no fear of


or cracking at the vulnerable chine

ioint. Spray rails and so on are added
afterwards to the bare hull. The convex


building a basically glassfibre hull without

the need of a plug and female mould. The

normal core material is expanded p.v.c.

which after hot air heating can be
the required shape over a simple batten
malemould, or jig. On this p.v.c., glass is
laid to the required thickness, when the
boat is removed from the iib and further

sections add their own measure ofstrength

compared with flat sheets, too.

competitors in offshore racing, especially

among the Class 111 boys. This particular

laid inside. This system seems to

work very well but there is always a


160h.p. MerCruiser inboard /outboard

which, incidentally, develops 135 useful
horsepower, not 160. Displacement of the
boat is 1j tons approximately.
That boat is a fairly extreme example of
the type having more or less wedge-shaped
sections with no particular demarcation

also soaks up resin at an alarming rate and

it appears that resin/glass ratio ofabout 3j
: 1 by weight is nearer the mark than the
usual 3 : 1. Even so it is possible to achieve
a pretty light hull and here the weight
works out to be 2,2501b, or a fraction over
a ton. The strength of this type of boat is

planking. Balsa at 16lb per cu. ft. is, for

instance-, stronger than spruce at 28lb and
when covered with a waterproof skin of

water skiers.

of 38m.p.h.-with

but an average would have been something

like 3in. by 3in. The great advantage ofthis
construction is that the resin soaks into the
end grain and so gets a splendid grip on
things. Between each layer of blocks a 1oz
chopped strand mat was inserted to key
things together even further. Well the end
grain certainly makes for a good key but it

material; however there are interesting

possibilities in using the heavier stuff as

specialised pursuits,
such as water ski-ing, the deep vee has
advantages as it tends to turn without
skidding and rhe depth of boat in the water
makes it difficult for the skier to swing it
off course. Anci these days even quite
respectable size craft are used for towing

225-footer is capable

Here the balsa was laid so that the end

grain was in contact with the glassfibre and
the timber was in blocla 1in. thick.
Depending upon the position in the craft
where it was laid, and thus the complexity
of the curve, block size was not constant

not for strength, but for a good


Tremlett's boats are highly


balsa /glassfi bre construction.

Balsa itself comes in all sorts of densities

and can be anything from 4 to about 24lb
per cu. ft. With this construction, the
lightest type is the best, for we are looking

days buy a cruiser with the thought at the

back of their minds thar they might one day

race. Further,

we would change to a


So far as normal cruising is concerned that

is probably true, but many people

illustrated have their advantages and it is

rather a matter of choice.
The Savundra boat was originally drawn
out to be built in aluminium alloy. This
should have been a pretty strong structur,e

Fig 3 The lines plan of a Tremlett 25ft



sneaking doubt as to the adhesion between

glass fibre and the core material. Ifit is not
perfect, a thoroughly suspect iob will result.
Balsa ensures a good bond to the resin and
deserves to be used a bit more widely than