From an actual builder of the TX18, nota true hickman but darn close...... and working in the same body of water I plan to use this in......So all real world experiences, not opinions or theories. Yet i would agree that this style should ride like crap, but apparently it doesn'tNot at least for my local area....
As far as performance, I didn't have a GPS with me. I know we were doing 40, though. She comes on plane effortlessly. I found it will come bow up if you throttle up hard out of the hole. If you just ease it forward, it comes up just like Jacques said, level and smooth. We crossed several 20' runabout wakes with hardly a wobble. When we crossed Mobile Bay the rollers were just getting a white spot on every 3rd or 4th. I slowed down which was a mistake. There is a sweet spot in the speed where the air cushion builds but you aren't running so fast as to beat the boat up. Head on, it would pound a bit. Quarter the sea and it was on air, bridging the swells with its super beam.
That's a tough comparison to come up with. A lot of the ride will have to do with the captain. Obviously not a Deep-V boat. My younger brother had a 16' Wahoo (aka B*st*n Whaler) It is gentler than that. Up to a 1.5-2' chop, it does great. It seems to "bridge" them. The boat is very light and buoyant in a VERY GOOD way.
I had several conditions where we were sliding off the front side of a roller and pushing the next. No sneeze there and our speed was definitely changing.
Hurry up and get that thing done for this season. I put MANY hrs on mine this weekend. This boat never ceases to amaze me. I pushed it a lot harder in larger chop than ever before. Super dry, super stable, and a great ride for a flats boat. I crossed the wake of dolphin cruise boats (converted 45'ish navy launches) that I know were 3' rollers with long periods, just bumpin the high spots. That was of course after I dropped the family off. It's a blast in all ways!
I have found the "sweet spot" when it gets rough, and I thought I would pass it along. When there is a really sharp chop, open her up and trim her down hard. You will realize the purpose of the hickman sled, then. The stern lifts and you run on the sponsons. She wiggles her tail a bit like this, but not any way that would cause alarm.
Obviously this is only good up to a certain sea level, but very valuable info to those interested in the design. Still wish JM would design the "BIG ONE"
A larger version with a max beam of 8'6" and more freeboard I think is needed for my application....