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Commander 3 Piece Hull


The first 38'Express was designed by Fred Hudson and Bill MacKerer and shipped in secret to the 1964 New York Boat Show, where it was unveiled amid much fanfare and shook the boating world with it's awesome shape and style. The boat had a pointed transom, and continuous foils that extended all the way along the port and starboard length of the hull.

The shape of the original 38 hull was so unique, it could not be pulled from a mold, and had to be constructed from three pieces. This was an expensive process, partially due to the height limitations at the Holland plant in Michigan, but Fred and Bill exploited this fact with features that make these 38'


The three piece hull design, with the bottom cast as one piece and the hull sides on Port and Starboard being the other two of the three piece design. Evidence of this can been seen today if you look in the right places. There’s a seem under the rub rail around the foil, on the inside they tabbed the hull sides to the bottom across the foil, as well as at the bow and transom. Fred said he knew the boat would be built in Holland, and at Holland they had a height restriction in the plant, and they would not be able to pull a single shape as big as a 38' hull out of the mold. That influenced the fact that the hull would (or could) be built in three pieces. It also allowed Fred to incorporate the "full length air foil strake" that wraps around the transom and extends all the way down each side of the boat. This feature also hides the exhaust on a 38, and it's quite obvious looking at the boat that you could not pull a shape like that out of a mold, unless the boat was built in more than one piece.


In addition to the 38’s, the 42‘s, 47’s, 55’s and 60’s would all use this method.


Port side of a 38 being laid up in the foreground. The bottom and starboard side can be seen behind it.


The molds fitted so the hull could be bonded together.



Finally removing the mold and pulling the completed hull from it.




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