Preview: Long Ends or Short? A Design Blog by Doug Hylan

December 14, 2013

Doug Hylan

The casual observer of workboats and yachts could be forgiven for some confusion as to why some boats have very long overhangs, or ends, while others have virtually none.  With the exception of ships specifically designed for ramming into other ships, or nowadays, wave piercing catamarans or warships like the recently-launched ZUMWALT, virtually all vessels have some overhangs; that is, they have topsides that extend beyond their waterlines, either forward or aft, and generally both.
 
1950s Concordia Yawl -- lovely moderate bow and stern overhangs

SAILBOATS: Free from artificial influence, bow and stern overhangs tend to be relatively short, but yacht racing and the measurement rules that govern it, turned the normal considerations of safety and sea-kindliness onto their heads.  It is difficult to overstate the extent to which measurement rule have influenced boat shape (and still do), and if Charles Darwin had not been more profitably employed, I am sure he would have had some valuable insights on this subject.

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