The real test of a hull is not how fast it feels but how well it disguises it. Some boats feel positively scary at 25 knots while others are totally relaxed at twice that speed.
I discovered this early on in my time with the Windy Solano 27. I’d be running at speed alongside our photo boat, a Zonda 31, so that our snapper Richard could reel off some nice tracking shots.
A westerly breeze was just starting to kick up a short chop directly on our bows and both boats were lapping up the conditions, drilling through the wave tops at 40 knots with salvos of spray ricocheting off the chines like bullets from a Gatling gun.
The 27ft Solano had no trouble keeping up with its bigger sister in these conditions and thanks to its single 430hp petrol V8, the most powerful engine option available, it still had more to give. A lot more.
A couple of explorative bursts saw the tacho stray well past 45 knots and by the time I eased back to 35 knots it felt like we were barely moving. That, at any rate, is my excuse for what happened next.
The photo boat had slowed to around 14 knots so that Richard could change lenses, kicking up a sizeable wake as it dragged its stern through the water.
This was too good an opportunity to resist. I pointed the Solano’s bow at the tallest, steepest section of the wake and eased the throttle forward to what felt like a 25-knot cruise but in retrospect must have been a good 10-15 knots faster.
When we hit the wake, the hull’s flat running angle and sheer momentum was enough to briefly bury the forefoot
in the wake before generating the lift needed to launch the bow skywards.
For a horrible moment I thought I’d overcooked it as first the hull and then the propeller parted company with the water. The engine note barely faltered but I can still remember the sudden absence of hull noise as water gave way to air and we flew straight as an arrow for a good couple of boat lengths before landing with a satisfying whoomph and continuing on our way.