Craft 51 Dolphin — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Hip, Slick, and Cool
Our test boat was equipped with a set of Flexitab trim tabs (see illustration below), a crossover product from the realm of Italian offshore racing. “Flexing up” the Mochi Craft 51 Dolphin was the idea of Brunello Acampora of Victory Design, the company that developed the Mochi in cooperation with Ferretti Group’s engineering department as well as Norberto Ferretti himself. Although Flexitabs are much like other tabs in many respects—they are stern-mounted, hinged, hydraulically actuated flaps that alter boat trim underway, for example—they are also fundamentally different in that they not only deflect the bow downward, but upwards as well. This double action is accomplished via a flexible connection on the leading edge of each vacuum-bagged, epoxy-composite tab and a hydraulic actuator on the after edge that is designed to both push and pull.
How did our Flexitab trim tabs work? When deployed downwards from their neutral setting on our Dolphin, they performed the way any other set of tabs would. However, when retracted into the hull—full travel was approximately ten degrees—they engendered stern suction, noticeably raising the bow and thereby significantly increasing trim range.
This latter development could well prove handy in some situations, especially during downsea runs in big seas, when some boats may exhibit a tendency to stuff or at least dig their bow in. —B.P.
Flexitab Phone: (39) 0817-901-909. www.flexitab.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.