Lady’t Bee: new bulbous bows

Having just published a new book (Les Admos, Fatales Caraïbes, published by BoD), Dominique Montesinos tells us about how he modified the bows of his catamaran.

Who:               Malou & Dominique

Where:            West Indies

Boat:               A transformed Leopard 474 PC



A good part of the maritime passenger transport out of Pointe-à-Pitre is on board fast catamarans which sail around the arc of West Indian islands at speeds of up to 30 knots. These ships are fitted with stabilizers which are designed to limit pitching. These comprise small ram-activated fins and are situated in the bows. When we bought Lady’t Bee, we would never, given the financial constraints, have imagined that our ex-Leopard could be equipped with such a system. However, pitching is definitely an annoying issue and can compromise our comfort at sea, particularly when sailing against the waves. The bow width at the waterline is very narrow, to minimize resistance to the boat’s advance. As it is necessary to have the correct weight distribution to avoid burying the bows, the shipyard has placed a large amount of volume in the higher parts (in other words the deck). As for the stern, it’s a different scenario. Modern hulls have aft sections which can carry a lot of weight. They “stick” to the water without any exaggerated up or down movement. Because of this, in rough seas you end up with the same cycle repeating itself: a wave pushes the back of the boat upwards. As the bow doesn’t have much volume, it drops deep into the water until it hits the larger volume which is situated higher up. Given the pressure, the boat then bobs out like a cork, leading to the longitudinal up and down that we call pitching, and which tends to get into a self-perpetuating cycle. When trying to come up with a way to combat this cycle, I was inspired by the bulbs on cargo ships and the foils on fast catamarans. I therefore designed, experimented and installed the curious-looking half-bulbs that are now on Lady. The results have far exceeded my expectations!  

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