Saturday, October 2, 2010

A straightened out Elite Craft, part 2

It was a lovely Friday morning, and Sandy called me to go play on Sarasota Bay with the new trim tabs on the Elite Craft. It really is a beautiful boat, wood-esque appearing, without the the struggle of maintaining real wood, and boy does it turn heads when your'e out on the water.

As the fork truck was taking the boat to the water, I snapped a shot of her undersides. She has a moderate vee hull entry at the bow that carries back, and transitions into a small flat pad aft at the rudder, and prop. With no hull strakes, I sensed that it could be a little slippery in the water, and why the back end might have a tendency to slide out doing aggressive turns, or while encountering larger boat wakes. She runs bow high until planning off, and then the bow drops, and she flattens right out. One of Sandy's complaints was when planning flat in a light chop, you get spray over the bow, and I experienced some of this during our excursion. It also has a bit of a bottom slapping feel when crossing larger boat wakes at speed, but the comfortable, and thick cushions take some of the sting out of this.
The tabs worked very well, and the ability to pick up the bow a bit in a moderate chop dramatically reduced the amount of spray that came over the bow. 
So at this point, since I have not had the opportunity to ride in the boat prior to the trim tab installation, here are Sandy's comments:

"The handling is much more stable! Turning feels more solid, and predictable, and the boat just seems to resist tilting over anymore. You really have to move some weight around now and then only one or two clicks corrects it, and holds it. It no longer swaps lanes in the ICW when encountering wakes. Rather now it stays the course and holds its heading much better. You can scrub off speed just like an I/O, and you feel her dry off, pick up rpms, and move out steadily under high speed as the tabs are lifted. Pretty hard to achieve without the tabs, more like "impossible".

"The boat is much dryer, (which is not easy to accomplish) and overall a pleasure to drive now, whereas before I was considering not keeping it. Now she runs as good as she looks, and it feels like a 20 foot plus boat. I am ecstatically happy with her now! I am scrapping the big block idea in favor of a seriously warmed over small block, for simplicity and weight, cooling etc.. and now I think she take a few more mph with ease."

Even though I had not experienced the boat prior to the trim tab installation, the boat felt good to me. We did a couple of very sharp high speed (25 kts) turns, and the back end felt very stable. I also suspect that the additional outboard support given by the tabs, made the boat a little more stable, especially at speed. It's such a pretty boat, I want one.