G-48  Obsession

Page 2 - Stepped/shingled bottom design


The new shingled/stepped bottom - photos taken on March 31, 2001

During the Fall of 2000, we noticed that the epoxy/marine plywood bottom that Phil Spenser put on over ten years ago was beginning to peel away. After much thought and many questions seeking words of wisdom, we decided to fix the bottom by adding multi-steps or shingles. There is a good picture of this concept  - Delphine IV on page 20 of the Clayton Race Boat Regatta program - A Gold Cup Primer.

We used Spanish cedar for the 5 shingles/steps. These photos show the shingles screwed down for dry fitting. They were later removed, then screwed and glued down with epoxy, then fared. The new steps/shingles were applied over the previous epoxy bottom, applied by Phil Spenser,  that had lasted over 10 years. Many hours were spent making the new running surfaces as smooth and correct as possible.

Although all newer offshore race boats (Fountains, Cigarettes, Donzi's) are touting their stepped hulls as radical new designs - stepped hulls were actually used quite effectively in the early 1920's by Chris Smith, John Hacker, Gar Wood and others. In fact, all of Gar Wood's Miss America designs were stepped hulls.


Our design was actually multi-steps, also called shingles, with each step only 3/4 inch. This is just enough to break the water suction and allows the hull to ride on a series of steps - getting more air under the hull, reducing drag and increasing speed. Shingles were used on several Gold Cup race boats in 1929, when APBA relaxed the rules and allowed stepped hulls. Delphine IV was perhaps the best known Gold Cup boat that was "shingled". It actually did run much faster and went on to win many races - including the 1932 Gold Cup.


The most prominent "shingled" Gold Cup boat of the 1930s was EL LAGARTO, "The Leaping Lizard of Lake George" (New York). Owned and driven by George Reis, EL LAGARTO was the first three-time consecutive winner of the APBA Gold Cup in 1933, 1934, and 1935.

Click here for the story of El Lagarto 

Page 3 - Epoxy faring and barrier coats

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