Getting on Plane
Trim tabs work in-concert with outdrives when powering a boat on plane. Tucking the drives under and the tabs down forces the bow of the boat down. This brings the boat on plane quicker, without a loss of visibility. Once on plane, the operator first trims the tabs up and then trims the drives out until the most efficient running attitude is achieved.
Tabs, when put in a level position with the bottom of the hull, act as hull extensions or after planes. As a wave throws the bow up, the tabs dampen the boats reaction, leveling and smoothing the ride.
Tabs and drives should be trimmed up when operating in a follow sea. The raised bow will compensate for the waves lifting the stern. Tabs are also used to fine-tune the handling of a boat such as a catamaran that may have a gentle bounce or porpoise when accelerating to optimum running speed in mild water. In this case, the drives are set at their optimum trim. Dropping the tabs, a touch at a time, will dissipate the porpoising while maintaining hull efficiency.
At idle, trimming tabs full down will slow boat speed, reduce the wake size and straighten the boat’s track.
Sea conditions or an unbalanced load may cause the boat to lean (or list) to one side or the other. List may occur in a quarter following sea. The waves lift the stern unevenly, causing the boat to pitch forward and roll opposite the lift. Dropping the tab opposite of the side being lifted will correct the listing for a dryer ride. Similar adjustments can be made for boats listing due to an uneven load. Bumping the tab on the heavy load side down will cause the stern on that side to lift, leveling the load.
Boats equipped with K-Plane trim tabs require a trim indicator that provides the operator an accurate, real-time reference of both drive and tab positions. SmartCraft electronic trim senders are available with 150S, 280S, and 380S K-Planes. The electronic sender provides the option of having drive and tab trim positions displayed digitally on a variety of large, easy-to-read electronic displays available from Mercury’s SmartCraft Vessel View to Simrad and other manufacturers.
Mercury Racing continues to offer a full array of mechanical trim indicators first developed by Kiekhaefer Aeromarine for use with sterndrives, outboards and K-Plane Trim Tabs.
Custom color options enable boaters to color match the tabs to boat graphics and color optioned Mercury Racing M6 & M8 sterndrives.