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.
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
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,
for the story of El Lagarto