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Shape Shifter : Aquila 44 Performance

Bulbous bows used to be for commercial vessels only. Do they really work on recreational boats?  Even Powercats?

By Capt Bill Pike.
As published in Power & Motoryacht Magazine

Talk about a cool little project! We had a great testing venue lined up at Clearwater Harbor Marina in Clearwater, Florida, complete with two Aquila 44 powercats from MarineMax Vacations, the stateside rep for Aquila and a purveyor of vacation charters featuring Aquilas as well. The weather was okay, meaning it was calm both inshore and offshore, which was good for gathering most of the test data we were after but unfortunately not all.

And then, there was something else—two rather controversial questions concerning bulbous bows on small boats. First, do bulbs genuinely address all aspects of performance, improving speed, efficiency, and seakeeping? And second, do they have a downside? Are there potential drawbacks?

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