Method of Determining Balance in Sailing Hulls, A

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Douglas H. C. Birt/The "Metacentric Shelf System," and how it works.

The "Metacentric Shelf" system and how it works.

by Douglas H. C. Birt

The so-called Metacentric Shelf is one of the few systems in yacht design which may claim to have evolved by truly scientific methods. It has developed from step by step experiments first with model yachts and later with the real things. Some years ago Engineer Rear Admiral A. Turner, R.N., originator of the metacentric shelf system of hull balance, designed and built a model he called “Principia,” which embodied the first elements of the theory of balance. Following this came a chain of such experiments carried out by various people under Admiral Turner’s guidance. Gradually the principle of balance was formulated on the evidence of experimental success and failure and amplified by mathematical proof. Today the metacentric shelf has lifted yacht design from the category of a rather nebulous art, and placed it on a scientific basis. It is now possible to ensure, with a fair degree of certainty, in the design stage, that a yacht will be well mannered and docile—will have that peculiar quality known as balance.

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