It was about 11 AM, July 16, 1958. The open ocean off Newport was dotted with boats, power and sail. Committee boats, yacht tenders, and the sleek 12 Meters, vying for selection to defend the Americas Cup.The wind was blowing a good twenty knots plus out of the southeast. Seas were running six feet or more. Great weather for 12 Meters and the America's Cup, but a little rough for the wallowing powerboats.
I was on Vim, in charge of the foredeck crew, and we were waiting for the preparatory gun. In a situation like this racing crews are usually concentrate so completely on the boat and their jobs it really takes something special to divert their attention. Well that, something very special came hurtling across those six foot crests. It was Ray Hunt's deep vee prototype. She was there as tender for the 12 Meter Easterner, also designed by Ray, and this was her first appearance. She picked a great time for it.Knifing through those six foot seas at thirty knots, this little 23 footer stopped every sailor in the fleet in his tracks. No one had ever seen powerboat performance to approach it. I know I hadn't.
Before the preparatory gun sounded, I made a mental note to corner Ray after the race and get to the bottom of this amazing exhibition.I found that "getting to the bottom" was the right place to get the answer. Ray explained that this new design was deep vee the entire length of the bottom. Other boats had had vee bottoms before, of course, but the vee and the deadrise diminished to a flat, planning surface at the transom. ("Deadrise"), is the angle the bottom makes with horizontal.
Ray figured if he carried the deadrise and the vee clear to the transom, pounding would be practically eliminated. He also put longitudinal strakes on the bottom to give lift and throw spray out flat to keep the boat dry.He figured right. A demonstration ride the next day proved it. She ran straight and true, smoothing the seas cushion-soft, she performed down sea as well as she ran it them. When we returned to the dock we were as dry as when we left. I commissioned Ray to design a 31 footer for me on the spot.