Bodies in Motion
When it came to stopping, that same theory of not-all-weight-is-bad may help explain our results. Pulling alongside our designated mark at 30 mph, the driver abruptly chopped the throttle, maintaining a straight course as the boat settled back into the water. At 800 pounds, the stopping distance was 230'. As the load increased, at least initially, so did the stopping distance. With 1,200 pounds aboard, the distance increased to 255'. Loading another 400 pounds, our distance at 1,600 pounds climbed to 264'. Then came 2,000 pounds, and we were back to 250'. Why the sudden decrease?
Again, it came down to the way we distributed the load. At 2,000 pounds, the bow became noticeably heavier thanks to a full complement of "crew," more of whom occupied the forward cockpit. That meant more wetted surface and more friction between the hull and the water.
Weight also had an effect on the boat's turning radius, but not in a way you might expect. At the base 800-pound level, the distance between our starting mark and a point 180 degrees opposite was, on average, 55.6'. At 1,200 pounds, the turn tightened to 54.9'. The shrinking distance continued at 1,600 pounds to 54', followed by 2,000 pounds where it dropped to 49.9'. We credit the ever decreasing radius to there being more hull in the water, which gave more bite to the chines, strakes, and keel.
Studying the boat's banking angle in sharp high-speed turns adds credibility to this theory. As we added more weight, the banking angle came down. At both 800 and 1,200 pounds the maximum angle was 20 degrees. At 1,600 pounds it dropped to 15 degrees, and at 2,000 pounds it was a mere 10 degrees. Of course, the weight itself was a factor, making it harder for the hull to alter its lateral trim with all that extra ballast holding it down.