Boat Review

January 2013 Issue

The Pros and Cons of a Plumb Bow

Does this racer-style stem make sense for cruising boats?

Practical Sailor editors looked at emerging design trends at the most recent Annapolis Boat Show. What caught our eye was that race-boat designers’ long-running obsession with near vertical, “plumb” bows—a shape that squeezes maximum waterline length into a hull—has trickled down to boats built for cruising. This raised the question: Is this race-boat style stem advantageous to a cruising sailboat? It is important to recognize that a plumb stem and long waterline aren’t the only design factors that make a sailboat go fast.

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