First, the biggest problem with computerized hydrodynamics and such is that modeling a planing hull is very challenging. I'm sure it's been done, but I doubt it's widely available. I have two good friends who worked on Oracle's America's Cup team ... they both have graduate degrees from MIT (undergrads from Webb, I went to school with them) ... they had a team of 20 engineers with similar backgrounds working for them and a huge budget. Most powerboat builders do not have that kind of budget, and even the few that do wouldn't spend that kind of money for an extra MPH or two probably. Even then though in the case of Oracle, they still do tank testing and don't trust the results of computer runs. The computer runs will tell you your best bets, but they're still not accurate enough to say for sure one design is better than another.Originally posted by JROMY
Aren't all these designs able to be modeled and tested "in theory" electronically before they are built, which results in these radical designs? There is no way that a couple guys sit around, drink a few beers, and say "hey bob, why don't we throw a step here and a whooziwhatit there and build a severaly hundred thousand dollar boat"? Right??? Just curious. Again, my background is in aviation and there are certainly common aircraft out there with some funky looking packages that certainly upgrade the aerodynamics for greater speed, range, economy, etc. - that all work well and...were all computer designed. I guess one of the biggest factors that makes me ask this is the way old molds are so valuable and continue to pass from hand to hand. I mean, honestly, as great (and classic) as say, a 41 Apache mold is - why wouldn't someone just start from scratch rather than buy an old mold???
I actually did my thesis at Webb on step designs (don't ask me about it, I don't remember too much anymore ... too much drinking at powerboat races has killed off all those brain cells), but another problem with testing step designs is they don't scale very well. For instance, if you have very small steps in a boat, you can't scale them down accurately because they become too small and won't scale back up correctly. In the model we built for our thesis to test step configurations we had a huge step relatively speaking to try and avoid the scaling problems to some extent. Because we were only comparing different step configurations relative to each other, that wasn't a big problem.