Design by C Raymond Hunt Associates Commentary by Joel White

While a glance at the outboard profile gives the impression of a thoroughly up-to-date power craft, the design of Sting Ray V is more than 30 years old, for she was designed in 19621963 and built in 1964.

It was in 1960 that Ray Hunt and Dick Bertram revolutionized the offshore powerboat racing scene with Moppie, beginning the era of the deep-V hull. Since that time, this hull form has been used for powercraft of all types — sometimes in applications where other shapes might have served better. Certainly for fast motorboats in rough waters, the deep-V has proved to be a reliable and able performer. While "comfortable" is not the word I would use to describe a highspeed powerboat traveling across rough water, the deep-V hull form handles these conditions better than most, allowing small vessels to make difficult passages without self-destructing.

For those not familiar with the type, a deep-V hull has a bottom deadrise angle at the transom of 20 degrees or more. Usually this angle is carried forward to about amidships, giving parallel bottom sections in the after body. The forward-bottom is twisted to provide sharper deadrise as it approaches the stem. The topsides above the chines can be of any shape, but most hulls show considerable flare forward with straighter sections aft. The transom may have some tumblehome, as seen in the lines of Sting Ray V, or not. Many, but not all, deep-Vs have one or more spray strakes running from the stem aft to amidships, or even to the stern. These triangular-sectioned strips have horizontal bottom surfaces. Most designers feel that these surfaces give greater lift to the hull, reduce spray on the topsides, and introduce air under the boat, which helps to lower surface friction and drag. The penalty for spray strakes is some jarring and bang ing as the flat surfaces hit the approaching seas.

With all of the above as preamble, let's have a look at this particular boat as a fine example of the type. (It is of great interest to me to learn that these lines were drawn by Fenwick Williams, as I had not realized that he was working for Hunt in the early 1960s, and that he was involved with the evolution of the deep-V hull form.)

Remember that hull lines such as Sting Ray's, which seem so normal to us today, were considered quite new and unusual in 1962. Sting Ray's transom and after body have a constant deadrise of 22 degrees. As the body plan sections approach the centerline, the V becomes an arc of a circle running from the transom to the forebody, where this cylinder dies out and fairs into the sharper bow sections. While the lines plan shows the chine line well above the designed waterline for its full length, Stephen Weld of Hunt Associates states that Sting Ray floated with the chine barely immersed aft, and photographs seem to confirm this. The forward top sides show great flare blending into a radiused upper stem. The transom has a bit of tumblehome for looks.

We are told that the hull was built using entirely sawn-frame construction, and without the use of the steam-bent oak frames shown on the righthand side of the construction section drawing. The plan indicates double planking, mahogany over cedar, with a finished thickness of 1 inch. Four spray strakes are shown on the midship section, evenly spaced between the keel and the chine. Decks call for teak over thin plywood. Deckhouses are plywood over spruce framing, fiberglass covered. Throughout, construction scantlings are very much on the light side, as with all good high-speed power craft. Excess weight is the enemy of speed, performance, and fuel consumption.

A letter from Stephen Weld that accompanied the plans states that this is one of his favorites among the older Hunt designs of this hull form. He has this to say about Sting Ray V: "The central fact of Sting Ray's form and conception is that she is simple and light and makes her speed with small engines and small tanks (about 500 gallons; today's owner might demand 50 percent more). Her handsome, low after house is only possible because the fuel tanks are in the engine space, a situation impossible to achieve with the contemporary mix of large engines, large tanks, multiple generators and batteries, compressors, desalinators, water heaters, and so on Larger engines mean heavier structure and bigger fuel tanks, and seem to go with more gadgets and systems. The resulting boat is heavy and expensive; it will run fast, but its mid-range performance will be less graceful than that of a lighter boat. Sting Ray at moderate speed seems to move without the fuss and bow-up trim of a heavier boat."

These observations coincide exactly with my own. All that I would add to Mr. Weld's comments is that the heavier boat will have greatly increased fuel consumption as well, a point that we can hardly ignore in these times. We must start to enter efficiency into the design equation when developing modern powerboats.

The profile drawing and the photographs of Sting Ray show us a very handsome power vessel of medium size. The Hunt firm of designers has been turning out craft of this type for more than three decades, and no one does it better. The boats have a look of competency and correctness that is a pleasure to see. The low profile resulting from a hull of moderate freeboard and low deck structures speaks of safety and stability at sea.

Forward of amidships, a two-level cabinhouse gives light and headroom to the forward accommodations, and is followed by the windshield and pilothouse canopy over the raised bridge amidships. Under this bridge is the engineroom, which contains twin diesels and fuel tanks. The sides and after end of the pilothouse are mostly open — although canvas and plastic curtains were installed to enclose this space. The low after house contains the owner's stateroom and head. This is a truly luxurious space with a large berth on each side, three bureaus, a huge hanging locker, and a large head to port with its own shower room. A three-step ladder leads from this cabin to the small cockpit in the stern, under whose soles is the 10-kilo-watt generator.

Three steps down from the bridge takes us to the forward quarters. The first area is labeled "deckhouse" and includes an L-shaped settee with table, two movable armchairs and a folding table to port, and, placed against the after bulkhead, the galley. The cook is provided with an electric range, a freezer under the counter, a large sink, and several lockers. Two large windows on each side make the deckhouse a light and airy place. Going forward, another step down takes us into the guest stateroom, with upper and lower berths to starboard, a bureau, and a bath and hanging locker to port. Yet another step down takes us forward to the fo'c's'le, with a single berth, a toilet and a lavatory, and sundry lockers and shelves, right up in the eyes of the boat. This is a perfect illustration of simple yet effective and comfortable accommodations, without the frills that many would deem necessary today.

Such a boat these days would probably have to include an office area, a sophisticated electronic and navigation center, TV viewing possibilities, and some sort of motorized launch carried on deck — handled by an onboard crane. All of these added complexities would make most owners feel that they required the services of a captain and/or engineer, who, of course, must have quarters suitable to the position. Suddenly our simple, comfortable cruiser of 55 feet is much more complex, much more expensive, larger and heavier, and much less efficient to run and maintain.

It used to be that people had yachts to enable them to get away from life's complexities and back to a simpler style for vacation relaxation. Now the cruising life is often more stressful than being home, what with keeping tight schedules despite the vagaries of weather, and hoping all the gadgets will work in a harsh marine environment. It is not my idea of fun. Sting Ray V offers more relaxation than one of her modern sisters with a full complement of high-tech equipment.

C. Raymond Hunt Associates, Inc. can be reached at 69 Long Wharf, Boston, MA 02110.

Particulars, Sting Ray V LOA 55'7"

DWL 50'7"

Beam 16'0"

Draft (to keel) 27"

Particulars, Sting Ray V LOA 55'7"

DWL 50'7"

Beam 16'0"

Draft (to keel) 27"

Raymond Hunt DesignsAlejandro Sota Edificio Clesa

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Ray Hunt Designs
Copyright 1990, C. Raymond Hunt Associates, Inc.
Joel White Sailboat Designs
Copyright 1990, C. Raymond Hunt Associates, Inc.

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