Marine Trim Systems & Performance Enhancers
How to Plane a Boat A Better Ride for Small Boats Article courtesy of Bennett Marine
Small boats from 10 to 20 feet have many of the same planing challenges as larger boats but may not need adjustable tabs to correct these issues. In less than an hour you could improve your hole shot and reduce the speed you need to get on plane.
The Right Attitude
Your boat achieves its best possible running attitude at or near full speed and lightly loaded. The trouble is, as you know, most of the time you are not operating your boat this way. As the boat slows from maximum speed, it begins to settle at the stern or "squat," creating an inefficient, untrimmed condition. At this attitude you use more fuel to drive the boat.
As the boat pushes forward, it creates a "hill of water." In this bow-high position, visibility is limited and the hull bottom is pounded. Also because of significant hull drag and extreme prop angle, fuel economy is poor.
Trim tabs reposition the boat's bow to cut through the water. Keeping the sharp forward sections of the bow down in the water, cleaving the oncoming chop, is what results in a smoother ride.
Whenever possible, installing remotely adjustable trim tabs will give the best possible control over the broadest range of conditions. But for some smaller boats that need help getting on plane faster and staying on plane at lower speeds, trim tabs that adjust due to the water pressure under the trim planes are an option.
These self-leveling trim tabs will help you: Plane at lower speeds Improve fuel efficiency Reduce pounding Improve your hole shot Reduce engine laboring Eliminate porpoising and chine walking
The "Plane" Truth
Just like adjustable trim tabs, self-leveling tabs like Bennett's SLT keep the boat running at its most efficient attitude over a broader range of speed, weight and water conditions. The SLT reacts instantly to boat speed and water pressure by adding trim when it's needed. At slower speeds, when the boat is trying to get on plane, the actuators hold the trim tabs down, which lifts the stern and simultaneously puts the boat at planing attitude. On plane, and as the boat's speed increases, water pressure pushes the tabs up.
Planing at lower speeds gives you several advantages: Less drag and engine laboring, which translate into increased performance, greater speed and reduced fuel consumption Reduced pounding, which means greater comfort Greater visibility, which increases safety
Of course, visibility is a much bigger issue in smaller boats. With trim tabs installed, giving you far less bow rise, you will be able to see where you're going without having to stand up.
Also, on smaller shallow water fishing boats with limited electrical capacity and a desire to keep things simple, trim tabs that retract under water pressure will allow these boats to take off in skinny water without increasing their draft due to stern squat. They can also plane at much lower speeds (again with a shallower draft) without compromising high speed performance.
Planing at lower speeds also has benefits for watersports. You can get a skier out of the water faster with less strain, and it's great for teaching kids to water ski (no big scary wakes to contend with) as well as pulling the young ones around in a tube.
Unlike adjustable trim tabs, self–leveling tabs cannot compensate for side-to-side changes in weight distribution "on the fly." However, they can be adjusted for "permanent" side–to–side conditions such as propeller torque, or a single weight location of a driver. Correcting both of these conditions can be extremely helpful in a small boat.
Lastly, often on tiller steered outboard boats operators will use an extension handle on the tiller to get their weight forward to hold the bow down. But this makes it harder to reach the shift lever as well as maneuver the boat while docking. By adding incremental lift at the stern, the self–leveling tabs will usually eliminate the need for the extension.
Small is the New Big
Again, if you have a small boat you may not need an adjustable trim tab system to boost your boat's performance. Self-leveling tabs can correct your planing problems at a fraction of the price, and with less installation time – so you can spend more time out on the water. Article courtesy of Bennett Marine, the largest manufacturer of trim tabs in the world. Check out the selection and special pricing for Bennett trim tabs for small boats.