Hydrofoil Question

partlowrpartlowr Member Posts: 119 ✭✭

I used the search tool and read several other hydrofoil threads but none of them addressed my specific question. I would like to hear some real world honest results from other owners. I have a Captiva 232 cuddy with a 5.7 bravo 3 and a 17P stainless quicksilver prop. When I have just 2 or 3 people on the boat it planes in a decent amount of time, could be quicker but not too bad. This past weekend I had 7 people and more gear and coolers on board than usual. Needless to say it took forrrrreeeeevvvver to get up on plane.  Obviously trim tabs would help but that is a big expense for an "older-ish" boat. I have been reading about hydrofoils. Most of what I have read is positive but some of the claims I have read seem a bit outrageous, especially for a product that ranges in price from just $75-$150. Hard to believe Mercury Marine would not attach one of their own to every stern drive unit if it was such an inexpensive miracle working device. Do any of you have any experience with hydrofoils on a similar size boat and power unit as mine? Any specific brand or model you recommend? Any draw backs to using one? Will a hydrofoil raise my top speed, again that is one of the outrageous claims I have read. Also, will it require me to change my prop? Will it cause any over reving? I am not a skeptic just want to hear from other with real world experiences with this type of product.

Thanks in advance.


  • williamwilliam Member Posts: 3
    http://rinkerboats.vanillaforums.com/discussion/4263/you Hydrofoil work great on small boats .        sorry you need trim tabs or move all the heavy people to the bow
  • cettialpha6cettialpha6 Member Posts: 42 ✭✭
    I put one on my Rinker 212 about 10 years ago. My reason was my high five prop didn't bring my boat on plane fast enough. I had young boys that were learning to ski and I needed to get up on plane at slower speed. I put a hydrofoil on and it did the job but it did lower top end speed; not by much but it was noticeable. I'm sure the boat did not go faster. You can always take it off if you don't like it. I think I paid  $50 for a plastic one
  • partlowrpartlowr Member Posts: 119 ✭✭
    Would Smart Tabs or Smart Tabs II work on my 323?
  • partlowrpartlowr Member Posts: 119 ✭✭
    i meant my 232 lol
  • Robs_232Robs_232 Member Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    I have a 2004 232 BR 350 Mag with B3 drive. A Bravo 3 drive has twin props and mine are 26 pitch on each prop. You say that you have a 17 pitch SS prop. You must not have a Bravo 3 drive but a Bravo 1, with single prop.

    Not sure which drive you have but if you have a B3 check this if your WOT is within spec before adding a hydrofoil. I am not familiar with a Bravo 1 drive to know if they have something similar, so do some research before making any changes.

    These boats are very *ss heavy and need extra stern lift for planning. My 232 has a 75 gallon fuel tank, 2 batteries, and a 10 gallon transom shower tank (which I don't use) at the stern. Here is a suggestion that I found on my Bravo 3 drive;

    Support the skeg of the drive while boat is on a trailer with a floor jack with no upward pressure. There is a spacer block that fits on the drive end of the hydraulic tilt/trim cylinders pin. Take the plastic caps off (unscrew) on the drive end of the trim/tilt cylinders pin (one on each side). You will find nylock nuts on each end of the cylinders attachment pin. Loosen these nuts until which ever nut comes free, then you will be able to pull the pin out. Be careful there are washers (thicker and thinner ones) that have a particular locations so remember where they go. Once the pin is out and the cylinders are lowered out of the way you will find that there is a elongated hole in the drive with a plastic spacer that can be moved forward of the pin or behind it. Make sure this spacer is in front of the pin. This will allow the drive to be pulled in further toward the stern of the boat when the drive is trimmed in and will result in less bow rise (more stern lift). I checked this on mine 2 years ago, after I had it winterized by a shop, and first time out the next spring my boat had trouble getting on plane. Changed location of the spacer and it made a huge difference.

    Like I said these boats are very *ss heavy. I also ended up putting 12" x 12" Lenco trim tabs on my boat last spring because I still didn't like the planning time when loaded down or pulling watersports. I will never regret it. Yes it was $750, plus my time to install them, but it has changed all aspects of my boats handling, whether pulling skiers to cutting through rough water or leveling uneven load.

    Good Luck,


  • Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2015
    Against my better judgement I put a well known and quite expensive hydrofoil on my nephew's 19 foot boat with a 4.3LX Alpha 1. IMO it did little except increase gas consumption, make it harder to steer, provided unpredictable lift and made planning and handling  characteristics erratic. I do not like hydrofoils. Get trim tabs. 
    Post edited by Michael T on
  • partlowrpartlowr Member Posts: 119 ✭✭
    Yes, I am sorry I meant Bravo 1
  • randy56randy56 Member Posts: 4,083 ✭✭✭✭✭
    partlowr, comming in late here,  I've had many boats, some with and some with out hydrofoil, it seems onty to help smaller boats such as a 19ft crownline deck boat I had it did wonders, getting up on plane fast. and slower cruse speed. I bought my 270 in September, which is known for slow plane time. so thinking about how much it helped me in the past, I put one one the 270. Reporting that it made no differance what so ever. Now knowing, and I do have trim tabs, wished I would have put bigger tabs on and may still. your boat maybe to heavy to make differance as mine. Trim tabs are the way to go. Yes the hydrofoil is only $60 or what ever and tabs are much more. Tabs will work.
    Boat Name : 

  • partlowrpartlowr Member Posts: 119 ✭✭
    Randy56, I ended up buying Smart Tabs. I have friend with a 22 ft older cobalt and he swore by them. I didn't believe something so inexpensive would work so he took me for a ride last fall. First we did a couple pulls from a stop with the tabs in place then we did a couple with them up(he bought optional quick release mounts), there was a noticeable difference. The boat would get right up on plane. I ordered a set the next day, I will have them installed before launch day and let everyone know how they work on my 232. 
  • mvnmvn Member, Moderator Posts: 744 mod
    Set up properly,  you will be very happy with the performance of Smart tabs given their price.   I have put them on a 192 and a 226 with excellent results.   Keep in mind that the tabs work hand in hand with the prop.   I had the best results when I installed the tabs then found the best prop that worked with them. 

    Good,  fast,  cheap.... pick two. 
    2019 MTX20 Extreme

  • randy56randy56 Member Posts: 4,083 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good move you will be happy with them. now all we need is warm weather.
    Boat Name : 

  • BayrunnerBayrunner Member Posts: 177 ✭✭✭
    I had a hydrofoil on a Cobalt 206 Bowrider and did not see much better results.  I paid 150.00 for it and I think if you are looking for better improvements go with trim tabs.  But remember once you get close to max weight you may still have issue to get on plane fast.  May be an improvement but not sure if by how much.
    Bayrunner -- FV312 - Simple Pleasure
  • Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2016
    I'm with @Bayrunner on this -  forget the hydrofoil and don't expect miracles from the tabs,  some improvement yes but not a major change in handling. 
    Post edited by Michael T on
  • jme097jme097 Member Posts: 1,224 ✭✭✭
    Just for my curiosity how do these smart tabs work?
    Boat Name: Knot A Worry
    2007 280 Rinker Express 6.2L B3
  • 212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    jme097 said:
    Just for my curiosity how do these smart tabs work?
    welll.... they aren't really smart- they're actually dumb, meaning no user input.  but- they work really well for what they do and what they're intended for. 

    there is a little strut on them that compresses when the tension of the water exceeds it's ability to defeat, which makes them parallel to the hull at planing speeds.  at below planing speeds, the strut extends the tab into to water (maybe 35-45*) creating drag on the stern- which helps tremendously with handling but also in the hole shot when the back is pushed at a differing angle momentarily, allowing quicker jump up on step (plane)... 

    the foil's, by my reckoning, add stability from front to back (in theory) where the tabs (real ones) add stability side to side.. obviously that feature bleeds into each other, but that is the jest... from what I've read, foils place tremendous pressure on the lower leg of the outdrive, and more than the design had in mind.    
  • NRathNRath Member Posts: 135 ✭✭
    edited February 2016
    Partlowr, I went through the same debate as you last summer.  Foil, smarttabs, trim tabs.
    I really wanted the fully adjustable trim tabs, but couldn't put out the $$.  For quick satisfaction, I went Smarttabs and am extremely happy with their performance.  Much quicker to plane and slower cruising speed on plane.  However, I can def see the benefit to full adjustables and can say they're a good upgrade- being able to make the port/starboard adjustments for loading/boat tilt.  If you can squeeze it- they are the way to go.  If not, I rate the smarttabs as the best 2nd choice given how close they are in price to a foil.
    I guess I can see the appeal of the foil- much easier mounting, aka no hull drilling.  Having spent the money on them once, I'd go smarttabs again before I was even willing to try a foil. I also agree with your comment, if it worked that good, it would be built into the lower unit from the factory.  There's a reason they stopped with the size stabilizer they did.
  • Cableguy GregCableguy Greg Member Posts: 4,999 ✭✭✭✭✭
    When I had my 232cc, I had a foil on the Alpha 1 drive. It made a minor difference to getting on plane. If I would have kept the boat, I would have went with the Rinker spec tabs that Al mentioned above. I never realized how nice tabs are until I got into my 280, which has them. It is nice to make minor leveling adjustments along with the benefit of faster planing times.
    2008 280 Express Cruiser, 6.2MPI, B3, Pittsburgh, PA "Blue Ayes"
    Go Steelers!!!
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