Sunset Channel 24 – Open Water Model Testing


One of the great advantages of a hull designed with developable surfaces, like the aluminum Sunset Channel 24, is that the hull plating is easily scaled down, printed, transferred to lightweight model aircraft plywood, to create an accurate scale model.  

Although powerful computer programs with large databases of information make estimating performance, resistance, and horsepower requirements very quick and accurate, a scale model is useful to evaluate seakeeping, maneuvering, and to gauge how wet the full-scale design will be.  In this instance, we wanted to observe how quickly the Sunset Channel transitioned onto a plane and performed at different speed landmarks, including how wet of a ride she will be in rough water.

To build the model, a few female molds were setup just as her full-scale construction specifies.  

After the hull is finished, the model is carefully ballasted to float on its waterline and to correctly position the center of gravity.   

With the finicky Fall weather upon us, we had to take what mother nature gave us.  So, our first trials were held in somewhat windy and wavy conditions.  Of course, even a relatively small wavelet on the testing course scales up to a large wave compared to the model.  These conditions did allow us to view her seakeeping and wetness.  

In the following animation of still shots from the trials, the model encounters a sequence of three waves while operating at the lower end of her cruising speed.  The animation begins as the model is coming down the back of the first wave and plunges into the second, much larger wave.  After a quick recovery, the model slices through the third wave and settles back into normal operating trim.  Throughout the sequence, the model stays dry with very little spray above her sheer.  

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