Dario's Lab

Piercing Insights – Part 1

We are receiving many questions about the pros and cons of so-called wave piercing bows.
There seems to be much debate among sailors, partly fuelled by unsubstantiated claims from manufacturers.As our regular followers and clients know, at Carbonicboats we do not make dogmatic proclamations about what our products will do.
Instead we explain the reasoning that leads us to each design choice.
We aim to demystify the principles at work, acknowledging that in most cases there are tradeoffs involved.
Sharing the process is a way to communicate our passion for the art of design.

So let’s look at modern bow shapes.
Unsurprisingly, the ‘piercing vs conventional’ debate is founded on a false dichotomy.
The obvious visual character of a bow profile is in fact almost incidental.
It is driven by something more subtle: The distribution of volume in the cross sections.

Each cross section shape naturally comes together to give a characteristic bow profile.
To understand how this works, look at the following illustrations.
The port and starboard hull halves are shown in red and green respectively, and the transverse section lines are in yellow.
By extending each hull half past the centreline, you can clearly see that the way the two sides intersect defines the centerline profile of the bow.

So now when you look at a bow profile you will be able to read the section shape.
It follows that wave piercing bows are not just conventional bows ‘chopped off’ with the excess freeboard removed.
Instead they are simply a consequence of a particular section volume distribution.
It doesn’t make sense to say that they are inherently more or less susceptible to burying as is being claimed by certain parties.
The question instead becomes: ‘what are the pros and cons of different section shapes?’
That will be the subject of Part 2.