OK. I put this in the category of failed experiments. I am sure trim tabs are great, but not on this dinghy. I think the problem is that they are too close to the tubes and outboard. Not enough room on the little transom.
Trim tabs promise to (this is from the box) …
- Plane at lower speeds
- Improve fuel efficiency
- Reduce pounding
- Improve your hole shot
- Eliminate porpoising
- Reduce engine laboring
- Eliminate chine walking
All I am hoping is that I’ll get the stern up a bit at slower speeds. Much of the engine is in the water at slower speeds with just one in the boat, unless I sit as forward as I can. Getting up on plane easier would be helpful. With just one in the dinghy, the bow points up quite a bit. It takes some effort to get up on plane. Faster is always good too. ‘Cause that’s fun.
What I ended up with is Bennett SLT6 self leveling trim tabs. These are designed for boats 10′-14’. Ours is right in the middle at 12 feet. There may be other makers, but these are the only ones I could find that would fit our dinghy. These trim tabs came from Defender.com. I’d been holding off on this for a while due to cost. Defender lowered the price $50 recently (or at least since the last time I checked). It was close enough to what I thought was a reasonable price. I was also feeling kind hearted toward our little boat after the last blog post.
As the title suggests, we have not been kind to ours. We expect our dinghy to transport us to shore and back, take us exploring, adventuring, joyriding, and perhaps even rescue us in the event of an emergency. Yet we treat ours poorly. Not intentionally. We always have the best of intentions. I’d call it benign neglect.
We’ve had our boat a bit over six years now. The inflatable came attached to the stern. Back in early ’12, we installed new davits, seats, steering, and a new 20 hp Tohatsu outboard. For anyone wishing to relive that exciting story, visit this post.
Since that time, the dinghy has lived on the davits on the back of our boat. Good weather and bad. Tipped up on the stern, it’s convenient to use, but not to work on. We wash it and keep it mostly clean, but that’s just about the extent of our care. As for the motor, I check the oil from time to time. I also check to make sure it is still firmly attached to the dinghy.
The most recent abuse came from sitting in salt water for a month while our boat was in the yard. Barnacles and various slimy things were growing on it when we finally pulled it out of the water. Yuck.
One of the joys of boating is inviting friends to visit for the weekend … then putting them to work. That was Bruce’s fate this weekend.
Last year, we added a seat and steering station to our 12 foot Flexboat inflatable. This was a great improvement to the usability of the boat. The details can be found in this post. What we learned was that we still need a fair amount of weight forward to keep the bow down and allow the boat to plane easily. To address this, the second person in the boat usually sits forward. Too bad there is no seat up there and that person has to sit facing backward.
Our solution was to add a matching seat forward in the boat. This gives the passenger something to sit on and allows them to face forward (or backward, I guess, if they want to … or maybe even sideways …).
We ordered a seat from St. Croix Marine Products through Defender.com. The seat matches the seat we put in earlier. Defender was the only place I could find it. St. Croix no longer lists this seat on their site. It may or may not have been discontinued … which may also explain the sale price at Defender.