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The family tree extends back into Formula Boats and Don Aronow

July 6 2015 at 12:48 PM
Paul  (no login)

Response to For you Lancer and small Commander fans !

[linked image]
Don Aronow (left), Jim Wynne (center), Walt Walters (right).
Aronow hired these two guys when he formed the Formula Boat Company, and the rest is history.

I think it is safe to say the 23 Lancer hull is a close approximation of the FORMULA 233 that Don Aronow had Jim Wynne and Walt Walters design for him 2 to 3 years before Chris-Craft hired the same team to design a 23 for them. Two boats of the same length, designed by the same guys, heck it may as well have been a direct copy of the mold, and it has been said the 233 was one of the (if not THE) most copied hull of the times. The reason was, it was just awesome in rough water.

As pleasure boats for the general public were more often geared for smooth water, the use of the deep v was given up in favor of boats with flatter hulls. All Chris-Craft "speedboats" by the way, have a nearly flat-as-a-pancake aft plane section, in other words they have a zero-degree deadrise, where the 23 Lancer has a 24-degree deadrise. The ski boats can do the slide turns allright, but the deep V will allow the boat to lean into the curve instead of leaning outward onto the chine. That is, of course, if you have the right deep v. The 23 Lancer was just one more step in the evolution of a very fine idea. People are re-discovering the Lancer these days due to the fact that most of us have been aboard those flat bottom speedboats that run so nice on flat water but pound like hell on anything approaching a chop. I know, I have a 17-foot Chris-Craft Sportsman Utility, and it is most certainly designed for smooth water. It is no fun in the chop, where the Lanccer would not even know there WAS a chop.

Walt Walters by the way, is the man who drafted the plans so he is the "pen" behind the designs, and Jim being more on the engineering and business side also had input of course, but they were coming from different perspectives and made a great team when they worked together. Jim Wynne was the businessman and promoter behind the firm, and of course he was an avid competitor as was his partner Walt. When Walt finally departed the business Jim had to find another designer and for a short time he collaborated with C. Ray Hunt. In an arena of working together as a business, nobody knows really just what contributions one made to the other while working on the 23-foot hull, for instance, but because someone drew the plan does not necessarily mean it was his idea (I am well aware of that from the architectural side). In my practice I always preached that "nobody cares who has the good idea around here, we just want to all be smart enough to recognize it when we see it."

The lifting strakes, for instance, were a Jim Wynne patent, and I don't know if that was established at Formula before doing the Lancer hull, but the Lancer got em for sure. In the very same era, boats like the Moppie (race winning Hunt design for Bertram) had strakes, but they were not lifting strakes. That little tweak makes a HUGE difference in the way a deep v hull performs.

It has been suggested that Walt Walters played a bigger role than he got credit for in these designs because Jim Wynne was the flamboyant and debonaire man about town, and this may be true. One thing for sure, the two of them working together was one heck of a team.


This message has been edited by FEfinaticP on Jul 6, 2015 12:58 PM

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