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Trim tabs and boat bras for drift boats

Posted by Sandy 
Trim tabs and boat bras for drift boats
May 31, 2016 01:29PM
I had eye surgery (right eye only) about six days ago. Dr says no sawdust for two weeks. One week of which has already past.

So in the mean time I'm thinking. My last boat has a relatively flat bottom because I wanted a boat to use with my 1981 two stroke 20hp power Mercury outboard, which still runs like a champ. Trouble is that boat isn't flat enough to work well with the outboard and yet it's too flat bottomed to be a real performer when rowing. I like my last boat but it's a compromise and I'm no politician. I don't like to compromise on anything. I want my cake and eat it too.

I should have built a fully rockered boat with an optional bra. A person could mold a two or three foot wedge for the rear end of a Honky Dory (or any other boat) that straps or bolts on somehow, that flattens out the rear two or three feet of the bottom profile. To almost dead flat. Then you could crank a 20hp motor up to full throttle and it wouldn't dig down so badly...at the rear end. Lots of people will tell you not to use an outboard bigger than 10hp on a drift boat. That's probably right, at least for any fully rockered boat. At full throttle you don't dare turn much. If you accidentally lose your grip on the throttle handle the boat will swing this way or that and dig a chine and flip right over. But I like full throttle. I hold on tight and I don't turn until I get there.

With a bra on the rear end of the bottom it wouldn't dig down so badly and it wouldn't be so unstable. It also helps to slip a 4' foot long length of 2" inch white PVC water pipe onto the throttle handle, so you run the motor from the rower's seat, rather than sitting further back.

I've also been thinking about making some mechanical (not hydraulic) trim tabs. That would be another fun project. My buddy Douglas Saunders in Mangrove Cay Bahamas has hydraulic trim tabs on his flats boat. Flats boats are flat bottomed too and they also tend to be narrow at the rear end. So they too dig down at the rear end, when you crank up the throttle, usually on a 80 to 125hp power outboard. Trim tabs more or less solve that problem. You can buy hydraulic trim tab kits online, for DIY use with most existing outboards. But that's a bit too involved for a drift boat.

I haven't figured it out yet but fixed position or mechanically adjustable trim tabs on a drift boat are certainly possible. So is a bra.

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