View Full Version : Stepped hull running surface

04-22-2013, 04:56 PM
Saw this Regal ad in Boating mag a couple of months ago and someone on another forum scanned it and posted it. Really dramatic illustration of a small single-stepped hull in action. This is relevant to my interests... Any of you snorkelers or scuba divers volunteer to film while I run over you in the old bowrider? :kyle:


04-22-2013, 05:35 PM
Happy to, and I have all my own gear. Of course, I'll need a plane ticket to meet you somewhere with crystal clear water... :)

04-22-2013, 05:58 PM
A couple of years ago, Michael Peters presented a two part article in Professional Boat Builder concerning high performance hulls. It's copyrighted, or I'd post it, I've copied it onto my computer, which I'm allowed to do.
The second part concerns mostly stepped hulls and the handling issues of them.
He points out a number of things which are pretty well illustrated in this picture, like why stepped hulls spin out so easily.

Maybe I'll try to get permissiln to post them..................

Ed Donnelly
04-22-2013, 06:05 PM
As long as the water is over 88 f I'm in
I will pay my own air fare too....Ed

Greg Guimond
04-22-2013, 07:17 PM
March 27, 2012
Steve Stepp-Building Fast Boats for Five Decades With No Stinkin Steps. No Bull. (http://www.seriousoffshore.com/steve-stepp-building-fast-boats-for-five-decades-no-bull/)

We caught uplast week with Steve Stepp, founder and president of Velocity Powerboats. Steve was kind enough to share with us a look into how this long-time boatbuilderhas been weathering the storm of this tight economy and some of the thingsthey’re doing now and in the future.
In lookingthrough the photos from the Miami Boat Show, something caught our eye. Among the million-dollar megaboats was one little, but very intriguingboat. Serious photojournalist (http://www.seriousoffshore.com/steve-stepp-building-fast-boats-for-five-decades-no-bull/)Tommy Snyder happened across the Jack Daniel’s Velocity,appropriately named “Old No. 7” while navigating the vast ConventionCenter. Seeing this boat, we felt we needed to get the story behind whatis arguably the smallest in the current trend of “theme boats” in offshore.

Talking to Steveabout the Jack Daniel’s boat, we unearthed not only a unique story of how thisboat came to be, but also the unique marketing approach Velocity is takingduring these lean times. This may be one of the most round-about ways atheme boat ever came to be.According to Steve, some yearsback, he and Mrs. Stepp became fans of the sport of ProfessionalBullriding. While on the surface that may seem to be pretty far away frompowerboating, thinking about it- what’s more extreme than a fast boat in bigswells? I think one possibility would be sitting on the back of a 1,500pound bull that really doesn’t want you there.
The Stepp’saffinity for the sport eventually led to them actually taking on the promotionof events in their native state of Florida. This was their first contactwith the folks at Jack Daniel’s. According to Steve…. “While working to put these events together, wecame in contact with the marketing peoplefrom Brown-Forman. As the parent corporation of Jack Daniel’s,Brown-Forman was looking for nice marketing opportunities”. It doesn’ttake long to draw an association between two very-American institutions likeProfessional Bull Riding and Jack Daniel’s. As Steve went on to say,“Jack Daniel’s had just exited from their support of NASCAR racing (http://www.seriousoffshore.com/steve-stepp-building-fast-boats-for-five-decades-no-bull/)and began focusing their efforts and investments in niche marketing (http://www.seriousoffshore.com/steve-stepp-building-fast-boats-for-five-decades-no-bull/)opportunities. PBR fit very well”.
It didn’t takelong for Steve to follow that logic. Watching what a $12 billioncorporation such as Brown-Forman was doing resonated with Stepp. “WhatBrown-Forman assembled could be best described as “the Jack Daniel’sExperience” said Stepp. “They have a whole road show they take to variousevents all across the country. Bringing a road show featuring a miniatureJack Daniel’s museum and gift shop and a stage featuring live musical acts isquite an event in itself”. The road show includes a collection of JackDaniel’s themed “toys”, such as a very pricey chopper and the Velocity themeboat. Among the various appearances, the show makes stops at Sturgis andat Daytona Bike Week. The show now features a Jack Daniel’s offshorepowerboat.
As Stevedescribes their participation, “We have someone from Velocity traveling withthe boat to the various locations. They not only look after the boat,they’re available to answer questions”. While many builders are lamentingthe current condition of the economy and its impact on new boat sales, here’ssomeone taking his products out to potential buyers who may not even be boaters-yet. The boat may be smaller than what some might consider to be an “offshore”boat, this hull has seen more than its share of big water. At the sametime, this is the perfect entry-level boat, both is size and cost.
“We went “FullJack Daniel’s” on the boat” says Stepp. “The hull color is a match of JackDaniel’s whiskey and the black stripes on the seats mimic the barrel bands onone of their kegs. They’re even the exact same width”. The boat goes wellbeyond looks. Steve describes the powerplantas a 383 cubic inch, supercharged small block that pushes 800 horsepower. At the quoted 125 MPHspeed this boat will run, it’s got to be one real thrill ride. If you caught a glimpse of how the back seats frame the engine, you’d expectthose passengers to be telling that story for some time to come. Ifyou’re thinking about giving your friends a taste of this Jack, it’s yours fora couple bucks under $40K.

While we hadSteve, we asked what else was going on at Velocity. When you ask thatquestion of anyone in the high-performance boatbuilding business, you’re neverquite sure these days what you’re going to get. While everyone tries tosound optimistic and downplay the impact, Steve almost seems unaffected. “We’re still here and we’re building boats” he tells us. “Our typicalcustomer is someone we already know. They’re very often repeatcustomers”.
We even chatteda bit about the Still Crazy raceboat that was recently restored at the Velocityfactory. Watching the video below may not be immediately impressive, butremembering it’s 1983 and the team set the world record in a legal Modifiedclass raceboat at 93+, it’s truly impressive. Take a look at that hullcontact. Who needs steps?
Since we openedthat can of worms, it’s worth remembering that there were two builders that hitthe offshore scene about the same time. They came from outboard racingand brought alot of the lessons learned there with them. They saw thestraight-bottomed boats like the Cigarette and believed they had a bettermousetrap. Those two fellows were Reggie Fountain and Steve Stepp. As time went on, each chose a direction to take their company. Fountainbecame the name that started more than a few shouting matches while cutting avery wide swath through the sport. Over the years, Velocity often timeswas “Oh, yeah. Velocity”. Today, one of those builders is still here,building a well-constructed boat without alot of glam and fanfare. Velocity holds on tight to the reputation of building a solid boat that runsfast on small power. In years past, that meant faster. Looking at five ormaybe even six dollar gas, today that speed with small power means efficiency.
Before headingour separate ways, I asked Steve about the Velocity factory and brand being upfor sale. “I have to move on sometime” Steve told me. I’m in mymid-sixties”. He went on to say “My daughter came to me and told meshe really didn’t want to take over the business. I told her I’d burn itto the ground before I would have her doing something she didn’t want” Intypical Stepp fashion, he said he’d like to find someone with the interest totake over the company and continue with it. But until then, Velocitywould continue to do what it always has, building boats for a very loyalfollowing.

04-22-2013, 09:29 PM
Happy to, and I have all my own gear. Of course, I'll need a plane ticket to meet you somewhere with crystal clear water... :)

As long as the water is over 88 f I'm in
I will pay my own air fare too....Ed

Alright, it's ON!! Just gotta wait for a bluebird day with more than 8" of visibility in the TN river. Unless maybe someone in the S. FL contingent wants to host the event...

Lots of discussion around the interweb regarding steps in small boats. Is the juice worth the squeeze? A definite "maybe." In small boats - not sure what the official cutoff is, in my mind it's around 25-27' - they can be a detriment. First, not enough LOA for the step to make a huge difference compared to a "big" boat. Second, and more importantly, they introduce some well-known handling quirks that are magnified by the short LOA. Since new boaters generally buy smaller boats they are the ones that will probably end up with the small stepped hulls and that can be a recipe for disaster.

Seems like the potential for adverse handling for the most part increases with speed, and my slow boat has been pretty docile thus far. Just gotta stay awake at the wheel and ignore the temptation to trim in and/or reduce throttle while turning, which is tough after that has become ingrained over the years. Gotta keep the trim up and set the throttle before turning. I don't do any WOT sharp turns either. Mostly seems to be a matter of getting the hull settled in for a turn and keeping track of what it's doing. I suspect that at 70 my boat would be a different animal and would require some retraining...

Regal has had admirable success with their "FasTrac" single step pictured above, Donzi less so in boats under 26 (only the LXR, Z22, and 22ZX). Obviously some mixed results with the BBC powered ZX... Not many other mainstream boatbuilders doing it for small hulls, although multiple boutique builders have experimented with them over the years. The LXR has the step and a shallow-v pad running from the step all the way to the transom. Some folks have postulated that the step helps with mid-range efficiency and the pad takes over at WOT. Not sure I've had the power or the right prop to confirm that yet, but maybe I'll find out this summer.

Bottom line, I thought that was a great picture and really illustrates the hydrodynamics of a step in action on a small boat. Lots of physics at work there... Now I'm just a dumb Artillery guy and didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so definitely curious to hear some other experiences with and opinions on stepped hulls.

04-23-2013, 08:58 AM
I remember maybe 10 yrs ago having local regal salesman give me the pitch on the fast trac hull there is more than just the step if I recall the way the step is vented and the design of the chines. the basic pitch was go faster with less power their 17-18 footer with a smaller engine performed the same as their competition with a larger engine.

If you do a search on spinout in a 22zx you will find a lot of info on the web. A friend a couple of years ago picked up a 502 22zx in great shape dirt cheap the last owner got ejected . He has been around fast boats all his life both OB and I/O and I called him right away to let him know about how the 22zx can be quirky.

I know steps require attention but when I got a chance to drive it I did not like the 22zx at all maybe more time behind the wheel and getting rid of the sit down seats. this more personal functionality for me I never liked the hump and fairing of the dash in the zx a line of sight thing. So I guess i never felt comfortable or secure enough in the seat to push it .

not sure what size boat is in the picture but you can see what part is stuck to the water and what part is not stuck to the water. I always felt the step was to far forward on the 22zx compared to other stepped boats making more of the LOA unstuck so when the front stuck there is nothing to hold it from spinning out.

I guess some of this lead to de-powering the 22zx before it was discontinued . I would have loved to have seen Frank C's sit down stand up super charged version 22zx he ran it hard and fast with no issues.

04-23-2013, 09:39 AM

Roger on the sit-down seats. It's a compromise on mine as well to maximize the cockpit space. I think I would prefer a flip-up bolster vs. a true stand-up seat. The big windshield on the bowrider certainly wouldn't be optimal for a performance boat but it works out great for a family boat.

Here are some pictures of the 22ZX and my LXR, which have very similar hulls. The step seems to be pretty close to where I would estimate is the c.g. of the boat, right under to slightly behind the driver. I can definitely see where the big chunk of cast iron at the stern on BB boats could increase the tendancy to spin out, especially with the associated increase in speed.


04-23-2013, 11:48 AM
FWIW, I'd guess the center of gravity is a good bit aft of the step, close to halfway between the trailer axles.

04-23-2013, 11:51 AM
FWIW, I'd guess the center of gravity is a good bit aft of the step, close to halfway between the trailer axles.

Looking at it again that makes sense, with the weight of the motor, drive, thick transom, batteries, fuel tank, and beer cooler all in the rear of the boat. My fat ass in the driver's seat might throw it off a little though...

Greg Guimond
04-23-2013, 10:53 PM
As they always say.......location, location, location.

04-24-2013, 12:35 PM
if that is the case you'd think the steps should be in a different spot for a SB 22zx and a BB 22zx

04-24-2013, 01:15 PM
Maybe or maybe not Matty, but the distribution could certainly be different.

roadtrip se
04-24-2013, 05:56 PM
Fountain built several versions of the same stepped hull depending on the size of the power, the drive systems, and staggered or non-staggered. The 42 Lightning steps are dramatically different in placement and depth, depending on whether it was a side-by-side or staggered set-up, and a Bravo versus NXT/Six Drive system in later years. The 29 also reflects this approach. When they went from a twin big block to a single big block, the size and location of the step on that boat changed dramatically. The 29 single was actually quicker than the 27 single with identical power, because they got it right on the 29. I doubt that Donzi, even in the go-go days, would go to the expense of reconfiguring the 22ZX hull, based on a small block alpha versus big block bravo. As for the step hull being a gimmick, everyone is still doing it. You want to see some amazing trickery in design, get up under an Outerlimits some day. OL has taken it to a whole new level with their venting technology. Sunsation does an awesome job here, too. The tech works.