Round or Square Chines, What's Better?

Hi All,
What is better for sailing control and speed…a square chine like on a K2 or a round chine like on a victor model v12? :confused: Oh and what about a stepped chine?
Thank for your knowledge

Jim, there are arguments for both.

Hard chines -
Pros - Easy to build from sheet stock. On a short waterline boat like the Footy may increase directional stability when heeled. The Footy NCR Championships were won by a multi-chine boat.
Cons - Theoretically the hard edges will create more surface drag, fluids don’t like abrupt changes in flow.

Rounded bilges -
Pros - Rounded bilges may present smoother transitions from entry to delivery with less form drag over the surface of the hull compared to hard chine boats. Curved surfaces are structurally stronger than flat panels and can be molded to lighter tolerances.
Cons - More difficult to model, requires a greater knowledge of boat building and some advanced skills to make a competitive hull.

Buying a soft bilged Footy hull is a hit or miss affair. I would look for a used Micron or buy an American Footy. Some of the other boats out there are pretty but not really competitive.

I don’t think that there is much difference in performance between hard chine boats and round bilge ones. I have designed several round bilge ones and one hard chined one. They are all fast, which is a real problem in deciding which one to concentrate on. I think that the best recipe for success is to stick with a boat that you like and get to know it well by sailing it a lot. Seamanship wins races, many of the boats you will compete against are pretty much interchangeable.

Very good point, Niel.

Most sailors will buy the ig-dollar boat, thinking that it will win races for them. Then the other guy with LOTS of skill and experience, and the right tuning touch will beat them consistently because the former hasn’t the sailing experience.

That said, it will really help ANY sailor to sail the paint of the hull, or different kinds of hulls, until he can do anything & everything without thinking. Only then one can make the best decision about which is better.

When it comes to a Footy, the hull shape is only one piece of the performance puzzle (a fairly small piece compared to some of the other pieces). You should choose a hull type that fits your purpose, for those who are building their first boat, it would be hard to go wrong with one from Graham’s growing fleet. If you are looking for a molded boat with rounded chines, any of them out there can be a winner if properly set up and sailed. If you simply don’t like boats with hard chines, build a rounded chine boat. If two boats (one rounded chine, one hard chined) were perfectly set up, the big difference in their performance would be in the skippers, but with so many variables in the class (sails, rig types, underwater appendages, radio setups, keel weights, etc.), the chances of two boats being perfectly setup for the given wind conditions in the same regatta are slim. To put it simply, the best hull design out there is only as good as the sum of all the other components, including the skipper! That’s why Footys are more fun!