These are some thoughts about how to soften the ride up front by changing the way the seats are mounted in the Zip and this may be helpful for other builds.
I have read some comments about the ride in the front seat being a bit rough, and I’ve taken them to heart. Over the last few years, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to ride in several Zips at the Gatherings. I’ve observed some difference in the ride among different boats, and my belief is that the way the seats are mounted makes a big difference.
Once, in GD Carpenter’s Zip, we crossed a wake and the hull came down with a little bit of a “slap” on the water. It wasn’t dramatic, but it was enough that the impact jarred my back a little. Now, he built a frankly ingenious floor in his boat, as I’m sure you’ve seen. His seat mounts appear to be anchored to the floor battens, with a transverse piece upon which the seat is attached. I’m thinking that this arrangement, while solid, does not allow for much dissipation of the impact when the hull hits the water. The vibrations of the impact essentially travel directly from the hull, into the seat mount, and into the passenger. That is my theory, anyway.
By contrast, I got to ride in VuPilot’s Zip at the last Gathering. A storm was coming in, and the lake had a modest amount of chop. He sped across it with confidence, and I was really impressed at the smoothness of the ride. His seats are mounted a little differently. He had built a sole, with the boards anchored to the frames (and I believe some blocking), but otherwise not directly attached to the floor battens. A box-frame seat foundation was then mounted on top of the sole. This box-frame supported the plywood of his bench seat.
I believe that this arrangement allows for more dissipation of the impact. When the hull slaps down on the water, the force of the impact travels up and down the floor battens, and from there, into the frames. The boards of the sole would then absorb some vibrations from the frames, and distribute some of that energy into the box frame. The construction of the box frame allows the plywood seat bottom to flex some, further dissipating the impact.
I could be wrong in all of this, but nonetheless this has become my belief based on what I’ve experienced. Here are some photos to show the mounting options discussed: