Inflatable boats aren’t just slow pacers as many riders find ways to make it a total sprinter. If you’re familiar with inflatable boat racing, you’ll have an idea how much speed this kind of vessels can have. It just takes a few tweaks and additions and you’ll have a boat that can slice through the water like a knife. So you ask, how to increase boat speed if I’m using an inflatable?
Some answers are actually obvious. You can add a motor on it but the hard part is to make it work for you. It’s not just a game of horsepower, it’s also about how much you have in the cockpit and how well you can operate the engine. Skills are also key players in the performance of the boat as a great vessel can still be slow in the hands of an inexperienced sailor.
But there are more tricks that you can do to increase the speed of your tracking. Some of the tips I gave here may or may not work depending on the kind of vessel that you have. Still, we’re going to discuss the basics here and see what works for you. Check each one out.
Use an outboard motor
The basic way of increasing speed of an inflatable is to mount an outboard motor on the provided marine plywood at the rear. Dinghies usually allow this addition but smaller vessels like kayaks or rafts might not enjoy the same privilege.
Always check the capacity of your boat before buying an outboard motor. They aren’t made equal as some can be superb at 50 hp while others are a bit laidback at 2 hp. Why is it important? Inflatables are lighter than the hard-shell vessels and it can go airborne when the speed becomes too much for its build to handle.
Utilize a trolling system
For some who don’t have a boat with a motor mount, don’t fret as you can use a trolling motor as an alternative. This is usually used on kayaks given that the vessel is made to house such addition. The only downside here compared to an outboard motor is that trolling engines are slower. As a way on how to increase boat speed, it’s only best for short distance paddling on calm waters.
Many times, the rider has to paddle if he wants to achieve more speed. That’s better than having no reinforcement at all.
What you should check before buying a trolling motor is the compatibility of the shaft length to the vessel itself.
Yes, your boat allows 500 pounds of user weight, but if you want to speed up, you have to toss some of the goodies out of the vessel. Keeping an allowance between the weight limit and the actual payload would also help in the buoyancy aspect of the vessel. If this is unavoidable, it might help to use an engine with a higher horsepower. That is if your boat is equipped to handle it.
Bring only the essentials if you can. It might also be a good choice to have two separate boats if you have a partner. That way, you can divide the payload and have speed. However, that’s not an economical choice.
Roll up floors are a no-no
Roll up floors are made of rigid slats of plywood sewn inside the material of the boat. This is a good choice for the rider who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of removing floorboards for separate storage. Like what it’s called, roll up floors can be rolled and placed in the storage bag without the need to remove the slats. However, it’s not a way on how to increase boat speed.
As much as this is lightweight and convenient to use, the flat bottom part makes it hard for the whole vessel to plane. This directly affects the speed not to mention that you can only use the vessel on flatwater.
Consider V-shaped hulls
Flat hulls are great for hard-shell boats, but if you’re using inflatables, you might as well look for a V-shaped hull. The rule of thumb is this: the lesser the contact to water is, the faster the boat could be. Of course, the payload and motor horsepower would be factors here. But if you follow everything mentioned above, you’re going to notice a big difference.
V-shaped hulls also have high-pressure keels that add rigidity to the bottom of the boat. This means more speed on your part.
How to increase boat speed: Use skegs
Skegs are fin-like structures attached at the bottom of a vessel. Some inflatable models come with this in the package, sometimes in multiple numbers. Skegs don’t actually speed up the boat, it just helps the vessel retain its stability when different elements like waves and wind are in the works. It can be paired with a rudder to have an impact on the tracking.
Usually, the use of skegs is optional as it’s commonly misunderstood by many riders. There’s nothing to lose if you’re going to try this on your inflatables.
Install a sail
If you boat permits, say a catamaran or a kayak, you can install a sail to make the most out of the wind. This is by far the most effective way to increase the speed of your vessel. If you hoist it well and you have the knowledge of sailing, this will work for you.
Catamarans are the best boats to install a sail on because of the flat floors dotted with D-rings. It also has a flat bottom and parallel tubes that ensures buoyancy no matter how the wind blows.
You can also do this to level up your boating.
Knowing how to increase boat speed will be a good way to track well in the waters. The ways I listed here can work on specific vessels and it’s for sure that you’ll find one that works for you. What do you think of these hacks? Let us know!