How To Select The Best Palmetto Boat
We’ve all been there. A headwind pipes up, and choppy waves appear. You throttle up; you throttle back. You do your best to brave the waves.
That’s a rough ride. And it has happened to all of us. What’s a boater to do?
We asked three prominent boat designers, and their answers provided much food for thought. When looking at the next Palmetto boat to purchase, these answers may help you to pick the perfect one.
Soft Ride, Steep and Skinny
Dave Gerr founded New York City-based Gerr Marine Inc. in 1983. He’s designed a broad range of recreational boats and commercial vessels, both monohull and multihull. When it comes to designing a soft-riding hull, he pointed out that there are different sets of criteria for displacement hulls and planing hulls.
Displacement hulls don’t pound the way a planing hull will, so they automatically provide a softer ride. To maximize this, designers need to ensure three things: a good roll time, good heave characteristics and deadrise forward.
“For the roll time, we have a formula,” Gerr said. “Every boat has a natural roll period, which is 1 to 1.1 seconds times the boat’s beam in meters. If it’s slower than that, you’ll get that drunken motion. If it’s faster, it’s going to feel snappy and uncomfortable.”
The formula for heave, however, is more complex. It involves the weight of the Palmetto boat and the water plane area. The lighter the boat is, and the greater its water plane area, the greater the heave motion will be.
Don’t Forget Following Seas
Michael Peters founded Sarasota, Florida-based Michael Peters Yacht Design (MPYD) in 1981. Originally specializing in high-speed boats and offshore racing, MPYD now brings its fusion of performance and aesthetic standards to a wide variety of Palmetto boat designs. When asked about the search for the perfect soft-riding boat, Peters laughed.
“Think of these ideals: soft-riding, dry and fast,” he said. “Now, pick two.”
The softer-riding a boat is, the wetter it is, because it doesn’t confront the wave. Rather, it splits it. If you want to knock the water down and push it away, then you’ll feel the impact. Palmetto Boaters need to think about these trade-offs when seeking a soft-riding vessel.
It’s Not About the Boat
Peter Granata, owner of Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina-based Granata Design, has been designing boats since the early 1970s. With a number of award-winning designs and patented ideas under his belt, he believes that the soft-ride discussion really shouldn’t be about the boat. It’s about the customers.
“First of all, the hull ride is felt rather than measured,” he said. “And, it’s based very much on your own individual perception of what the boat looks like and what you expect it to deliver. It’s very subjective.”
Soft can be a relative term. A boater who is downsizing from a 60-foot yacht to a 30-foot pocket cruiser might find the smaller boat has the worst ride he’s experienced to date, whereas a boater jumping up from a 16-footer will say that 30-footer provides the best ride he’s ever had.
The most important questions a boater can ask, Granata said, are: How well does this design meet its intended purpose, and what can it do for me?
“We get so wrapped up in the specifics of hull generation that we forget someone has to buy it and spend time in it,” Granata said. “The Palmetto boat is for you, not for the guy who made it.”