by Conrad & Judy Kreuter
Q: Dear Boat Talk: My neighbor says I should get a set of hydrofoils for my boat. What will this do for me? Do I really need them? BW, Mastic NY.
A: Dear BW: Hydrofoils are shaped like airplane wings which are attached to the anti-cavitation plate directly above the propeller. They are usually made of plastic type materials although some are aluminum. They can be used on outboards or I/O’s of any horsepower.
The manufacturers claim that these fins will put the boat on plane quicker. Once on plane, the fins ride out of the water resulting in less drag and higher speeds.
In our experience, boats that have the correct horsepower do not need additional help in getting on plane. If your boat is underpowered, these hydrofoils will provide assistance in getting the boat up on plane faster.
To determine if your boat has adequate horsepower, multiply the maximum horsepower rating for the boat by 75%. If your boat exceeds this amount, it should not need additional help in getting on plane. If your horsepower is far less than 75%, you might consider adding hydrofoils.
Q: Dear Boat Talk: How efficient are “ear muffs” in cleaning the salt from my outboard engine? EK: Bayside NY.
A: Dear EK: Ear muffs or flushette devices, if used properly, can be an aid in keeping salt and corrosion to a minimum inside your engine. They can also be used to clean away sediment such as sand, silt, mud or alkali. A lot of people think they should be used religiously every time they run their engine. Though earmuffs will flush out foreign materials, they will not get the inside of your engine spotless.
The “ears” of the flushette are placed over the water intake ports on the lower unit. Water is supplied via a garden hose attached to the flushette. Before starting the engine, make sure water is flowing to the flushette with no hindrance to the flow. The water pump in the lower unit will circulate the cooling water from the flushette throughout the engine. Never allow the engine to run above a fast idle speed as the water pump is so powerful, it will suck the hose flat shutting off the water flow. This will cause an overheat condition to occur and could cause serious damage to the engine. Remember, never leave the engine running on the flushette without constant supervision.
Most new outboard engines have a fresh water flushing port already built into them. They will allow you to connect your garden hose directly to the flushing port. The engine does not have to be run to force water throughout the cooling system. The flushing port has easy access allowing you to clean the engine even while in the water.
If you have a stern drive, you will still need the good old earmuffs to flush the engine and, unfortunately, this can only be done on land.