How edges have evolved on modern cruising boats

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Sirena Marine’s Azuree were among the first boats to show sharp edges at the stern.

Design trends in the sailing world are sometimes like fads: when one really explodes it involves the whole market. So it was, about 10 years ago, for edges on cruising boats. Conceived as a solution for the hulls of ocean racing opens, the designers realized that they also responded well to the needs of cruisers: in fact, the edges provide greater width and interior space, and at the same time improve the quality of navigation in certain conditions, especially in a stiff wind as they provide extra support for the hull and improve righting.

Edges on cruising boats, how they evolved

In the early days of this trend, sharp edges with 90-degree angles were observed, positioned mainly in the stern area, resulting in boats with a rather boxy aesthetic. In addition to the aesthetic discourse, the edges are penalizing for another reason, they slow the boat down in light wind because in many cases they increase its wetted surface.

The ICE 52 with a soft stern knee resembles an edge but without a sharp angle.

Over the years, sharp edges have remained in ocean racing boats, such as Class 40s or Imoca 60s; those in cruising boats have evolved differently.

Aft we notice “knees” that are not straight but soft, less visually impactful but still serve their dual function of providing comfort in harsh weather and increased interior space. Instead, the trend in recent years is to see edges even in the bow, in some cases quite sharply.

boat under management
The forward edge on the hull of the Oceanis 46.1

Here the reason is almost exclusively related to interior volumes, with a surplus of width that the edge gives to the forward cabin. When sailing then it will help divert the flow of water and get less of it onto the deck.

Ultimately, today we no longer see “extreme” solutions such as sharp stern corners, but shapes that are less aesthetically impactful but remain functional to the cruiser’s needs: interior space and comfort when sailing when conditions get challenging.

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