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Step Bottom History

Old 12-02-2002, 05:03 PM
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If it wasnt for Gentry, Reggie would still be standing around with a question mark over his head when it comes to step bottoms. Now he has dollar sighns!
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Old 12-02-2002, 06:10 PM
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Step Bottoms are getting a bad rap from the simple fact that many are poorly designed and engineered.
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Old 12-02-2002, 06:32 PM
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Correct me if I am wrong - PLEASE but I was told that my 51' Fountain INXS was the first step hull Fountain made. Of course the first time it was splashed in 1994 at the PROPPS/APBA Race in South Padre, Texas the hull cracked and had to be sent back to Reggie for repair. Anybody have any history on my INXS?
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Old 12-02-2002, 06:46 PM
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Cool Great Discussion

This type of thread is why I like OSO so much.

I think Frequency has hit on the reason I considered a step bottom boat. I like the look and sound of the offshore performance boat but do not need to go 100 mph to satisfy my boating needs. I do however want the most efficient hull I can buy that will safely satisfy that need. I think a properely designed stepped hull provides that.

Take a similarly equipped 37 AT and a Sonic 386. Same power, same amenities, the AT will go faster than the Sonic (even with the new infusion process). But what about cruising ? Take a boat (with 500 EFI's) that requires 4000 RPM to go 60 versus a boat that requires 3500 to go 60 and it is not hard to see the savings. Forget about top speed, I am talking useability and cost of operation.

I have also been in 60+ MPH turns in Formulas, Fountains, AT's, Sonics, stepped and non-step PQ's and see no difference what so ever in cornering ability. I am not racing, and don't anticipate racing (accept in a straight line). I do however put nearly 100 hours a year on a boat cruising, and the step does make a difference.

T2X, I really appreciate your comments, I think you know your stuff and respect your opinions/comments. I do not think steps help boats less than 30 feet. With anything over 350 HP they run on the outdrive, no wetted surface anyway.
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Old 12-02-2002, 07:45 PM
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If the "steps" are not that important in V's, WHY did Skater build their new V with them? They have been around a while and seem to know a little bit about speed, and i don't think they would do it "STRICTLY" for marketing, there must be some performance gains!
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Old 12-02-2002, 08:15 PM
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Steps are faster.......every 30+ foot non-stepped V hull with the same power without them is slower. Some poorly designed steps are poor performers (not only in a turn).
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Old 12-02-2002, 10:55 PM
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There are differences between a Sonic and an AT other than steps the deadrise of the vee...especially forward. Deeper vee hulls are inherently slower than shallower designs.

Steve Koss, I certainly respect you and Peter Hledin is peerless as a Cat designer builder. That having been said, neither of you, nor me for that matter, is perfect. Peter admits that he is learning from his vee bottom experiences, and also has to admit that the fact his new vee and current cat sponsons have the same number of steps is as much happenstance as circumstance.

My experience with the twin step Shadows left me to conclude that the Conquests (Rolling Thunder, Captain America, Jesse James 35 and 48...etc) we built at Kenny Adam's shop should have only a single step. Fact is, those boats were faster wgt/hp than the twin step Shadow/Chris Cats and I believe turned better. They handled best when we sealed off the inner step in the tunnel creating a non broken tunnel wall from bow to stern. This technique is called an air trap and is common in other forms of race boats, specifically hydroplanes. How and where to use them...I'll leave as a trade secret, but a good hull guy can figure it out....maybe.

All that having been said, Jerry Gilbreath, who I also respect greatly, felt that the Captain America boat lacked enough stern lift...due...he said to the lack of a second aft step. I thought it was a psychological reaction based on the "wisdom" of the time and we never really settled the issue conclusively. My helicopter vantage point showed no visible difference in attack angle between the two designs other than the single step seemed to accept trimming at a lower angle of attack without the speed loss due to the extra "scrubbing" from the second step.

One could conclude that no steps...or simple ground in 1/4" "slots like we used on the early tunnel boats to keep them from sucking down in the turns........ would work just as well as stepped sponsons...for top speed. As to the stepped monohulls, my belief is simple. A non step Sutphen held the kilo record until little over a year ago in the (allegedly) even playing field of Factory 2. Given whatever prop, laminate/mold edging techniques and engine refinements available to the current stepped record holders, I believe the Sutphen..or a Velocity could go at least as fast. However, That would require a major sponsorship "investment" by one or the other builders into a racing organization...... after all it's not what you can actually deliver but rather what your marketing guys say you can today's "business plan" environment....or to put it more succinctly if you spend enough on ads your boat will get a LOT faster.

What did he say???????? He'll never get back on the air again!

..... Thank God.

T2x............ Never underestimating the power of simplicity
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Old 12-02-2002, 11:02 PM
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I believe the Velocity VR1 holds the Factory 1 Kilo now..right??
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Old 12-02-2002, 11:11 PM
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T2x you mentioned

" like the deadrise of the vee, especially forward. Deeper v hulls are inherently slower than shallower designs"

I understand this and it makes perfect sense to me. But can you explain why the Sutphen is so fast. It has a 26 degree deadrise and it seems to get mutch steeper as you go forward. Just curoius. It's one of my all time favorite boats.

Thanks Kirk
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Old 12-02-2002, 11:31 PM
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Re the Sutphen's speed........ The builder is traveling at 100 mph....even when at rest......

or the long constant section aft allows the boat to carry the bow and continually settle back on less wetted surface as speed increases........without a's called the "Miracle of Hopatcong" and would be a lot more famous except Lourdes has a better PR firm....and more steps.

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