Bryce, age 10, asks “Why do cigarette boats have a closed bow?” An excellent question! It does seem like a waste of space, doesn’t it?
Cigarette boats are designed for a single purpose and that is to “go fast.” That is why you may hear them referred to as “go fast boats.” They are V-hull, planing, boats which means that they actually ride on top of the water, and they are equipped with high horsepower engines that are able to push them at incredible speeds, some over 100 miles per hour.
The teams that race these boats consist of three people. One person steers the boat, one works the throttle to make the boat go faster or slower and one is the navigator and lookout who keeps and eye on everything else including making sure the person steering the boat stays on the course.
Cigarette is actually the brand name of one of the first successful ocean racers; which has, over the years, become generically applied to fast racing boats – such as Kleenex is for tissues. According to the Cigarette Racing Team, Inc., who manufacturers the Cigarette Boat, “these legendary racing boats are so long and narrow they remind people of smoking materials. The recognition of the name by the general public is so great that they often mistakenly refer to all racing boats in the class as Cigarettes.”
The long and narrow construction of the Cigarette boat improves its aerodynamics. This means that it is able to move through the air faster because of the clean lines and lack of obstructions which would create friction and slow it down. This is one reason that the bow is enclosed. If there were an opening in the bow, air would not flow smoothly over the hull.
The only real reason for having an open bow, such as a recreational bow rider, is to carry passengers. It would be too dangerous to carry passengers in the front of a boat that was involved in a race. Besides, the additional weight added by carrying passengers forward would also make the boat go slower.