FasTrac, SureTrac, Z-Trak, Z-Plane -- the world of hull design is a hive of buzz phrases. But what they really mean could be a telltale sign of which used boat to buy, or not to buy.
Oooh, the clean sweeps and crisp lines of those boats. Such style! You'll see a lot of that on these pages. But hull design is not just a matter of style. At least it shouldn't be.
A boat hull has all sorts of shapes, bends, fins and grooves -- things you can see most clearly when the boat's on the trailer. Surely, you've wondered: Why the hull do boat makers do that?
Well, they do it because a deep-V hull is seaworthy but slow, and a flat-bottom is fast but flakey. Finding a blend of seaworthiness and speed has become a tantalizing challenge for some builders. Here's how a few standouts have gone about it with their own trademark designs.
Case Study: Regal's FasTrac Hull
Regal was one of the first recreational boatbuilders to find a way to use a stepped hull to create speed without compromising stability. Go-fast boats have used steps (long notches that run from the outside of the hull to the keel) for decades. They're used to ventilate the hull, which simply means the step allows part of the boat to ride on a layer of air bubbles, reducing friction. In the race boats, though, it can also cause herky-jerky movements.
Where the FasTrac differs is in its retention of a mild V-shape in the aft in turns while avoiding the "coming loose" feel of some stepped hulls. It's been imitated, which is without a doubt the sincerest form of flattery in boatbuilding.