Why are New Boats so “Plumped Up?” - 05/09/2018
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The Four Winns H290 has high freeboard, a huge bow seating area and a small cabin below – no wonder she looks so robust – she has remarkable accommodations.

A BoatTEST member asks, “Why are modern boats designed to have full or plumped-up shapes? Are these forms as seaworthy as traditional slender designs?”

Many modern boats are “plumped-up” either because builders are trying to enlarge interior volume to create more space in the bow, create a sleeping space or cabin below, or are raising the freeboard to make the cockpit deeper and make the boat dryer and safer in a sloppy seaway.

All boats with an open bow are vulnerable to shipping water over the bow in sloppy offshore conditions. That is why most small sportboats are designed for -- and limited pretty much to -- protected water and inland lakes. But increasingly sportboats and small center consoles and dual consoles are being used in coastal conditions with the whole family aboard. Thus, the boats are becoming more robust.

So to answer the second part of your question: “Plumped-up” boats are generally more seaworthy than the traditional slender designs that you may be used to. Narrow, low-freeboard boats are less expensive to build, are lighter, and will go faster than more robust boats with the same horsepower. Some brands specialize in this design approach and are popular because they are cheap and fast, and they are usually short of amenities.

Take a look at the pictures below and you will see the amenities available in the “plumped-up” boats:

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The bow of a Four Winns HD 270 OB is blunt and the beam is carried far forward in order to make a large spot for entertaining forward. This is a definite improvement over the old-style narrow boats where the utility of the bow seating was restricted.
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Likewise, the Sea Ray 220 Sundeck has a large bow seating area and even has a beach boarding ladder tucked under the hatch forward, adding more functionality to the boat.
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The Four Winns H290 OB is a big boat in the first place, but by making the bow full, she becomes even bigger and more versatile.
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The Four Winns H290 OB can be configured with filler cushions to make a sunning deck that is the equal to those on much larger and more expensive boats.
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With a table in the back and one in the front a dozen people can be comfortably entertained on the Four Winns H290 OB. None of this was possible on the old designs.
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The Sailfish 242 CC has one of the highest freeboards and deepest cockpits in class. The reason is that this boat is designed for family entertaining along the coasts where water can get sloppy at times. The deep cockpit keeps passengers dry and little Johnny in the boat.

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