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Model Boat Racers Ask the Question: 'To Chine or not to Chine?'

14th April 2014
fusion model boat
Model Boat Racers Ask the Question: 'To Chine or not to Chine?'

#modelboat – The model boat classes have been experimenting with chines for a while now. We have seen a new trend over the recent years in boat designs. This new wave came from the racing boats, TP52, VOR70, and recently making its way to the cruiser racer designs like the new X boats or Malango to name a few.  The funny thing is that not until recently chined boats were still built by amateur builders as they are easier to build. Yet now we are coming back to them, the 10R, A class, Marblehead and also the One Metre class are now coming out with chine.
The IOM or International One Metre Class operates under a box rules format. This, in a nutshell, allows for a relatively open format to boat designs but the rules on the number of rigs and their dimensions are very stricts.
This ensures close racing as we have seen over the years. For the past couple of years the arrival of chines on boat design increased the performance of these boats a notch up. However there are still many debates about the chine and its effect on performance. From what I have seen and tested so far, I can give 3 advantages of the chine design over rounded hulls:
1- the chine helps the boat to accelerate that bit quicker after a tack.
2- It allows to track nicely on the beat versus a rounded hull that would "slide" more as it heels in the gusts.
3- it helps the boat to get planning that little bit earlier and longer on the run
there is a 4th point often discussed within the class. That boats with chines tend to nose dive less in the gusts and accelerate more. I agree to some extend as in my opinion this is primaliry due to more volume in the forward section, complemented by a higher radius of the foredeck to help the come up should it nose dive. I am not of the view that the chine helps here, and the proof is that Brad Gibson who made the most successful chine design, did design another boat before called the SKA which goes well downwind and has no chine.
See the pictures attached to see the difference in designs and even amongst the chined boats, its length, position and angle varies across the design range.
So does that means that rounded boats are passed their due date ? No not at all, not later than a month ago I won an event in Scotland with my 2006 V6 which has a rounded hull, ahead of newer chined boats. There are many other rounded hulls that are at least as successful like the Obsession, the V7 to name a few.
There is it seems a "fashion" trend to go and get a chined boat, but like any other sailing class you can focus on the little things and miss on the big picture. Like getting the tuning of the boat wrong, opting for the wrong rig, an electric failure, a bad start, seaweed in the keel, a wrong tack, overstanding a mark, and the list goes on. One has more to lose in doing any of these errors than not getting a chined boat.

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