Last article update: October 2nd, 2021 (11:35 pm)
Many inflatable boat owners like to upgrade their SIBs either aesthetically or mechanically. As a first upgrade, I always recommend the installation of a hydrofoil on your outboard motor. It has numerous advantages, makes your motorized boat faster & safer, and best of all, it is cheap.
What is a hydrofoil?
A hydrofoil is a lifting surface in the form of a foil, which is operated in water. It bears similar appearance and purpose as airfoils, which are actually the wings of an airplane.
Boats and watercraft that have hydrofoils installed are termed as hydrofoils.
The term Hydrofoil actually refers to the wing-like structure fastened on struts below the hull of the boat. This feature elevates the hull of the boat a little out of the water during forward motion to reduce the drag on it.
In theory, hydrofoil technology increases fuel efficiency and speed in boats during operation, by stablizing them and getting them on plane quickly.
Nowadays, many boats incorporate hydrofoils in order to propel them more smoothly.
How does a hydrofoil work?
The creation of hydrofoil dates back to 1908. The first ones were designed by A.G. Bell and Casey Baldwin to aid the American troops in avoiding mines in the water during the First World War.
Hydrofoils mimic the properties of a seaplane, allowing it to smoothly glide on the water. It works by mounting wing-like hydrofoils under a boat.
The foils create more lift than drag, and as a result, elevate the hull. They diverting water friction and waves normally pounding on the hull to the mounted wings. This allows the watercraft to maximize the power of the motor used to propel it, resulting in an increase in speed.
Hydrofoils can be used on various watercraft.
Some examples are Hydrofoil Kiteboards, Hydrofoil Water Skis, Hydrofoil Windsurfers, Hydrofoiling Small Sailboats, Hydrofoil Boats, and even Hydrofoil RIBs.
Hydrofoils on inflatable boats
In SIBs with smaller motors, hydrofoils are different than depicted above. They are basically foils that you bolt onto the lower bit of the outboard motor.
This works the same as a traditional hydrofoil. However, it does not raise the bow too far, which is ideal since inflatable boats are not designed to withstand excessive bow rise anyway.
On your average inflatable boats with a motor, hydrofoil stabilizers help in:
- easier planing, even at lower speeds
- add stabilization
- saves fuel
- reduces cavitation, chinewalking, porpoising, and ventilation
A hydrofoil is probably the best upgrade you can get for your inflatable boat. They are inexpensive at less than $50, and provide many benefits.
Hydrofoils for inflatable boats
Hydrofoiling is not widely used by most inflatable boat owners, but here are some hydrofoils that I can recommend for you to use on your SIB.
Davis Instruments Whale Tail XL Hydrofoil Stabilizer
The Whale Tail XL hydrofoil stabilizer has a marine-grade aluminum exterior with an anodized finish, which makes it lightweight and a great buy if you are looking in upgrading your inflatable boat’s performance.
This model extends out behind the prop, allowing the boat to plane off smoother and easier.
It lifts at the stern, providing less rise at the bow. Naturally, this increases fuel efficiency and the top speed of the SIB.
It only fits outboard motors over 5 HP.
Here is the Davis Instruments hydrofoil on Amazon.
Davis Doel-Fin Outboard Stabilizer
The Doel-Fin hydrofoil stabilizer is a model designed by an aeronautical engineer for motors with lower power output.
It is constructed from high-strength plastic, with each side designed to flex independently to absorb shock. It is also easily installed, not taking more than 15 minutes to do so.
It is a hefty hydrofoil that can help your boat to plane at lower speed and lower the bow rise.
It decreases fuel consumption by 30% whilst increasing your speed reach, all of these with a smoother sailing.
Again, this model fits outboard motors with 5+ HP.
You can purchase it on Amazon.
Hydro Tail Junior StingRay Hydrofoils
StingRay is a great company, which has been in the business of designing and manufacturing hydrofoils for over 30 years.
For inflatable boats, look for their Classic Junior Line of bolt-on hydrofoils.
There are 3 models to choose from, each designed to provide added lift, speed, and stabilization.
StingRay foils fit engines with at least 9.9 HP.