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The Importance of Stiffness in Small Boat Performance

by Meade Gougeon

Epoxyworks 21

Cover Photo: The SWIFT SOLO is a single-handed skiff built by Bram Dally. Stiff, durable hulls are crucial to skiff speed.

One of the little known or understood characteristics of modern fiber- reinforced plastic composites is the loss of some initial stiffness capability after repeated cyclic loading. Loss of stiffness can be significant enough to cause a noticeable effect on performance, depending upon laminate makeup and degree of cyclic loading.

Loss of initial stiffness after repeated cyclic loading was first noticed in several highly competitive racing dinghy classes where older boats that had been sailed hard for Continue reading