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  1. #1

    Question Hydrofoils good or bad?

    i have a 16ft boat with a hydrofoil on it and im curious if it could make the boat perform worse?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Some people are happy with them, but many have high-speed handling issues. Many threads on subject. Look into smart tabs as a very good replacement for the foil.

  3. #3
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    i have 2 set in my shed, waiting to give them to someone i don't like.

    they put the stress of lifting the stern in the wrong place, increasing stress on the transom of the boat.
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  4. #4
    Lieutenant Junior Grade sickwilly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    You are in an easy place to find out -- you already have the holes in your cavitation plate. Just on bolt it and run a comparison test and find out.

    I like mine a lot.

    But I have to admit, these smart tabs people's constant drum beat has me considering them as a future project some day. They are like the Chinese water torture I used to put on my parents when I wanted something:

    smart tabs

    drip

    tabs

    drip

    tabs

    drip

    tabs

    repeat a thousand times
    2004 Stingray 190LX, 4.3 Merc, carb, SE Sport Hydrofoil

  5. #5
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    willy---tabs----willy----tabs----willy----TABS!!!!!

    http://www.iboats.com/Marine_Store/d...h_type.keyword
    FLORIDA GATORS
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  6. #6
    Chief Petty Officer dvan1901's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    I had one on my 19' bow rider and I eventually took it off and I think it handles a lot better. The initial bow rise is more, by like two seconds, but it does better in rougher water now and I think I have a better top end speed.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    This will also sound like an echo -- fins are a tool. Use the tool wrong and you'll have bad results. Using the tool correctly will result in good things. The fin all by itself probably won't do much and will probably hurt performance. The fin is a tool. It allows you to do other things to increase efficiency. It won't do it magically all by itself. Regardless of what the ad says.

    We used our own design fin on outboard drag boats and had great results. We never found them to create any more stress or drag. We do know that all the boats we had them on were quicker, faster and handled better. Even if the boat had tabs in addition to the fin.

    The fin we used is probably much larger than what you're used to seeing. We had a lot of square inches. The smaller ones today are OK but only if they're used properly.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    My vote is Smart Tabs, I have them and like them, had a foil on another boat, never really liked it.
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  9. #9
    Moderator QC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    That's the first time I have seen Dhadley's comment which has me thinking some . . . With that said my signature used to be: Friends don't let friends use hydrofoils.

    Oh and I always add (and must or John might have a heart attack) that Smart Tabs are great, but don't forget that there are also helm adjustable tabs for those of us who like to fiddle with stuff

  10. #10
    iboats.com Partner Jdeagro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Hi Dale;

    Glad you got in on this.

    To Charley;

    You will not hear me say much good about hydrofoils as a simple "slap it on and go" product and that is not because we make Smart Tabs. As Dale said they are or should be used as a tool to accomplish specific results in combination with other items, adjustments etc. Hydrofoil technology is valid and proven, but to gain the results you are looking for, you need to design it into the overall picture. If not you will get improvements in one area and deterioration in another. Why? Because the devise is fixed, rigid, non adjustable. When Dale raced the combination of the hydrofoil, the prop, the engine height etc. where all part of the whole picture.

    For the everyday boater who is looking for overall improvements in planing, ride, handling, speed, and fuel economy trim tabs are a better solution. Why?
    Because they are adjustable. They change the shape of the hull as required, and the hull dictates the overall performance even more than the power plant.

    If you only want to help get the boat up on plain, the hydrofoil will be of some assistance, but you will compromise other areas of performance.

    Dale is absolutely correct, hydrofoils are a tool that will help you achieve specific results when used in conjunction with other items.

  11. #11
    Honorary Moderator Emeritus tashasdaddy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    John, i just save this for futher post. hope i can quote you.
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  12. #12
    Captain MikDee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Well, after taking the Doel fin off my 19' outboard ski boat that it came with, due to the general advice here against them, I noticed my boat leans quite a bit more in the turns, almost to the gunwales, and when fully trimmed out, it has a tendency to lift completely out of the water, & pounds more, running dead ahead at higher speeds in a chop, or rougher water, and although the hull design is made to get up on plane quick, it is quicker still with the fin. Yes, I think it's a bit faster at top end, but not that much that it matters, considering the benefits. I'm actually thinking of putting the fin back on, because I actually like what it does.
    89'-19' Bayliner Capri Ski boat, with a 125hp Force
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  13. #13
    Petty Officer 1st Class Jack Daniels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    WIth my boat when i first accelerate my nose comes up quite a bit. I was hoping that a cheaper hydrofoil would solve the problem. I get on plane fast enough so really dont need it for that, i just want to keep the nose down and stablize the boat a little. Is the cheaper hydrofoil the way to go or should i get the more expensive trim tabs. Thanks
    1983 Bayliner Capri 1600
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  14. #14
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    How about Permatrim Hydrofoils? I have heard good reviews about them

    Marc..

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Hey John! Good to "see" you again.......

    Just remember that each boat & motor combo is or at least has the potiental to be different. I really like John's tabs because they constantly adjust (by pressure) automatically.

    As for tools, remember not all tools are created equal. Not all tools do the same job. A hammer and a saw are needed to build a house but they do very different things and in the end they allow you to accomplish a specific thing.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    IT goes something like this:

    hydrofoil < Smart Tabs < Real Trim tabs (bennett or electric)

    Once you've gone up a notch, you'll never go back..

  17. #17
    Moderator QC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    What he said ^^^^

    Although I now hold out the possibility that a combo might be cool. I could really see that if I could "adjust" the foil right off when I wanted . . .

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    To answer your exact question, yes, but anything you bolt on or take off your boat "may" hurt the performance, even very good products, just moving stuff around in the boat may help or hurt the performance. They (fins) don't work for most of what's claimed on the pakage if you just bolt it on and head for the lake, but they can help do certain things. If you do take the time to set them up correctly they still won't do most of whats claimed though, and they only help if you actually need one. Most people expect them to do the same thing as tabs, but for less money, but they really do different things.

  19. #19
    Lieutenant Junior Grade sickwilly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    I just have to say, in all the hydrofoil tabs debate threads I have read -- and it's been quite a few -- John's post above was the most informative one yet!

    Good stuff!
    2004 Stingray 190LX, 4.3 Merc, carb, SE Sport Hydrofoil

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by QC View Post
    What he said ^^^^

    Although I now hold out the possibility that a combo might be cool. I could really see that if I could "adjust" the foil right off when I wanted . . .
    I've run a combo of a hydrofoil and Bennett trim tabs before on a 21' Statos BR. The hydrofoil didn't do much in that case.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    I've got one on my 18' aluminum bayrunner. It is great. I recently repowered and had the chance to test the new rig both with and without.

    For my lite right with a relatively small (40hp) motor, the hydrofoil is great. I think tabs would have been nice, but I don't want any additional electronics in the water with an aluminum hull. Plus, I am getting benefits very cheap.


    When I researched them, the one type of boat that really sung their praise was the aluminum boats. I will echo that. Performance oriented boats don't seem to like them so much. You may want to think more based on your type of boat.

  22. #22
    iboats.com Partner Jdeagro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Sandiegosteve;

    Good deal, you got what you wanted. You just don't know how much better it could be with Smart Tabs SX. There is a huge difference for the extra $60.00 to $70.00. (SX retail at $129.)

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jdeagro View Post
    Sandiegosteve;

    Good deal, you got what you wanted. You just don't know how much better it could be with Smart Tabs SX. There is a huge difference for the extra $60.00 to $70.00. (SX retail at $129.)
    I hadn't heard of the smart tabs, but I may look into them. I am a little concerned about their setup as I fish in the kelp a lot. It is easy to clear it off the foil by tilting the engine up... I don't know about the tabs.

    So, I don't know if I should say thanks or not. Now I have something else to think about...

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Hydrofoils good or bad?

    After reading several post on this subject I took off the hdrofoil on my 1989 19.5' fish n ski with a 150 Force. I bought it already installed on the motor. I took it it out for a day of fishing. I did notice a better top speed but it did not handle as well at slower speeds with the bow way up in the air and it was harder to keep it on plane. I put the hydrofoil back on and I am happy with the old boats performance. I will look into trim tabs when I replace this boat with a newer one but I can't see spending the extra $$ on this one.

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