Angle of Attack
Adding an Armstrong bracket can change the way an outboard-powered boat performs, even with the same old engines reinstalled.
Do you love your outboard-powered boat, but don’t love everything about her? There’s the question of performance: Are newer boats with less horsepower and even fewer outboards leaving you in their wake? Plus, maybe your old outboards, while still running strong and feeling good and torquey, aren’t the most efficient engines ever. And then there’s the question of space abaft the leaning post. A couple of big outboards on the transom, when a few people come aboard, can feel like you’ve got a couple of -offensive linemen crowding the cockpit.
A bracket from Armstrong Nautical Products (www.armstrongnautical.com) can change all that. There’s a reason why some manufacturers include these brackets as original equipment on their best center consoles: They work, positioning the outboards and propellers aft of the hull, letting both the props and the hull do their jobs better. Water slips off the aft edge of the hull-making the most of its whole wetted surface, while the props get cleaner water, eliminating turbulence and aeration that can sap efficiency.
“Typically we can improve the boat’s performance,” says Russ Sedlack, vice president of Armstrong. “We’ve got a couple of outside tests that were done both with the boat as it was delivered originally with the engines on the transom and then that same boat and motors, with a bracket installed, as a comparison. One of the most dramatic tests, if I remember correctly, showed about a 22-percent increase in fuel economy. When you improve the efficiency of the motor, pretty much everything else follows.”
What’s the first step to adding a bracket to your boat? “When determining if a boat is a good candidate for an Armstrong bracket, we start with the length and the size of the boat,” Sedlack says. “And then we ask folks how the boat is being used, whether for fishing, waterskiing, etc.” Sedlack says his customer-service people will also ask about the boat’s attitude: “If it’s an existing owner, then we want to ask them how the boat sits at rest: Is it stern-heavy, level, or bow-heavy?” he says. “There are times when we can kind of help the attitude of the boat as well. We also talk about power options, shaft length, and specific dimensions from the hull itself.”
Prices start around $1,300. RIBs can also see benefits, with more space in the cockpit, and room to add a boarding ladder, dive-tank racks, and more. But Sedlack cautions against going crazy: “Don’t fall victim to temptation and put a 200-gallon bait well back there,” he says. “Because you’re going to change the attitude of the boat, and your attitude is going to change considerably as well!”
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.