Deadrise is listed under your boats specifications, but do you know what it means? Read the article below to find out more about the deep-v design, where it came from and what it does for your boat.
You’ve probably heard boat dealers talk about “Deadrise.”
You’ll be glad to know that it isn’t as onerous as it sounds. Referring to boats, it is defined as the amount of angle that forms between the boat bottom and a horizontal plane on either side of the centre keel, measured at the transom.
Historically, boats had either flat bottoms or melon bottoms. Both had disadvantages. While it was understood that if you could build a pointed bottom into a boat, it would avoid the smacking and pounding that occurs with flat bottoms, (like hitting the water with a frying pan versus an axe), but it was long believed that such a design would cause the boat to tip to one side, or “list.”
In 1959, designers began serious experiments to test different boat bottoms. Enter Don Aronow, the tall handsome and suave millionaire. This wealthy developer had a passion for boat racing. He knew that racing is punishing on both boats and drivers, because you can’t slow down for waves and swells.
So Aronow built a boat with a 24-degree deadrise. It became known as a “deep V” design. High horsepower allowed it to travel quickly through the water and kept the boat from tipping to one side. It also reduced the amount of wetted surface, or drag, when the boat was running. Aronow won over 350 races.
Aronow began building boats in Miami, calling his company “Formula” because his boats applied a new design, or formula. Thunderbird Yachts, seeing the potential, bought the company, but despite a non-competition clause, Aronow simply opened a new factory next door. Named “Cigarette,” it was only the second in a long line of boats that Aronow built. Because his boats were favourites with drug smugglers, he had plenty of muscle to discourage the lawsuits that would follow.
A pattern emerged. Aronow would sell and reopen under a different name. His factories included Cigarette, Magnum Marine, Donzi, Squadron X11, USA Racing and Blue Thunder. Smugglers provided valuable feedback from their experience both in smuggling and filling the ranks of offshore racing. The deep V design was being improved with each new Aronow factory.
During much of this period, I raced the U.S.A. circuit with this interesting group of individuals and what was discussed at race locations, stayed at race locations. So what happened to Don Aronow? Well, he got shot and that is a whole different story. Meanwhile, boat builders everywhere benefited by incorporating the deep V design into their boats. Boats today average between 16 and 24 degrees of deadrise. The deadrise in your boat will be listed under its specifications.