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Dick Bertram, already well-known in the world of sailing competitions, was there with his first creation-Moppie. From starting gun to the finish line, Moppie's innovative deep-vee hull was a sight to see as it cut through even the roughest waters. Hours ahead of the competition, Bertram left onlookers stunned and competitors entranced as they sat in his wake. Decades later, Moppie continues to be the foundation of an empire of award-winning Bertram Yachts. We turn heads in every harbor and make waves with every new release.
IT WAS ABOUT 11 AM, July 16, 1958. The open ocean off Newport was dotted with boats-both power and sail. Committee boats, yacht tenders, and the sleek 12 Meters all vying for selection to defend the America's Cup.
The wind was blowing a good 20 knots plus out of the southeast. Seas were running 6 feet or more. Great weather for the 12 Meters and the America's Cup, but a little rough for the wallowing powerboats.
I was on Vim in charge of the foredeck crew and we were waiting for the preparatory gun. In a situation like this, racing crews usually concentrate so completely on the boat and their jobs, it takes something really special to divert their attention. Well that very special something came hurtling across those 6-foot crests. It was Ray Hunt's deep-vee prototype. She was there astender for the 12 Meter Easterner, also designed by Ray, and this was her first appearance. She picked a great time for it.
Knifing through those 6-foot seas at 30 knots, this little 23-footer stopped every sailor in the fleet in his tracks. No one had ever seen powerboat performance to approach it. I know I hadn't.
Before the preparatory gun sounded, I made a mental note to corner Ray after the race and get to the bottom of this amazing exhibition.
I found that "getting to the bottom" was the right place to start. Ray explained that this new design was a deep-vee the entire length of the bottom. Other boats have had vee bottoms before, of course, but the vee and the deadrise diminished to a flat planning surface at the transom. ("Deadrise"), is the angle the bottom makes with horizontal.
Ray figured if he carried the deadrise and the vee clear to the transom, pounding would be practically eliminated. He also put longitudinal strakes on the bottom to give lift and throw spray out flat to keep the boat dry. He figured right.