Before we go directly into reviewing problems, its important that we first review the major principles of hull design.From and engineering standpoint, fiberglass boats have similarities to both bridges and aircraft airframes.To make matters worse, there are very few avenues for dissemination of information, and virtually no one who maintains any kind of database on hull failures.
Most bridges do not consist of a flat deck supported by girders underneath.
Rather, most bridges are either in the form of a truss, or they are suspended from above by a combination of rigid and flexible supports.
Thus, the stresses on a boat hull are far more than a matter of just gravity and mass, but are multiplied by velocity and compounded by slamming.
And as anyone who has ever done a belly-flopper off a diving board knows, water becomes hard as a rock when a wide, flat object falls upon it squarely.
The skin of the aircraft and the framing system are so closely integrated that they essentially become one structure and its hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.
Modern jet aircraft are essentially flying pipes with wings, and it is from this engineering principle that they gain their strength, despite the extremely light construction.Contrary to common belief, actual manufacturing defects only rarely figure into structural failures.It should come as no surprise to any surveyor that the boat building industry, much like the automotive industry which, after more than 70 years of mass production, backed up with their enormous financial resources, is still fraught with frequent design defects.It will set the necessary foundation for this continuing series of essays.Improper design and the improper selection and use of materials is the primary cause of most non-damage related structural failures.These decks are not "hull covers" but designed as structural elements.These race boats are true monocoque structures because the hull and deck structures are not screwed or bolted together, but literally bonded together to become one piece.But unlike the automotive industry, boats are not manufactured in units numbering millions, rather 10's and 100's at best.Because of this, design faults are spread over a very wide array of different builders and tens of thousands different models over the years so that rarely do major design errors ever become widely documented.Modern fiberglass boats make use of this principle of monocoque construction and in this way are more closely related to aircraft than they are to their wooden-boat ancestors from which they evolved.A wood boat is the sum of its many parts while a fiberglass boat hull is essentially one component.