so what was the faster boat an ultimate or ultra
Good question. In 1999 the Ultra's switched from hiking to 8 man trapping. The ultimates only had 6 guys trapping. Although the Ultra's were newer by design date they were based off the ultimate 30 " frequent flyer".
My guess is because the Ultimates were a box rule and had a lot of room for development, they were faster than the ultras which were one design and tamed down from the Frequent Flyer boat. With that said if you look at alot of the Ultimates some of them looked very archaic and you know there must have been a large speed discrepancy in that fleet across the wind range. I bet some Ultimates were way slower than the ultras. In the end I would say one of he fastest ultimates would prevail against the Ultras.
Now I know Team Zombie our ultra 30 has had a lot of love over the years and is faster than the original Ultras. Seldom carbon mast, boom, pole, huge fat head main, newer/lighter racks, rod rigging, redesigned systems and blocks, all make for some nice speed bumps over the original design. We do have a bulb on the bottom of the keel adding about 600-700 lbs more than just the heavy keel fin alone.
Some things remain a mystery...