Learn how to install outboard stabilizer fins to your outboard motor. Why? Stabilizer fins increase stability, allow for better gas mileage (average of 40%), help the dinghy to quickly plane at lower RPM, increase top-end speed and keep the bow lower at all speeds. (Video at the bottom of article)
The only reason I can think of for an outboard boat owner not to have stabilizer fins might come down to storage. With the fins the unit is wider but overall it seems nuts not to have these fins installed.
Let me back up and explain how we came to discovering stabilizer fins…
Last year, while in Mustique (Caribbean Island) my husband and I returned to our dinghy at the dinghy dock to find that the starboard side was completely deflated (Read my article on Sailing to Mustique for more information on how it happened and how to prevent it!).
We managed to patch our dinghy but she was ready to retire.
By the time we sailed up to Antigua it was time to get a new one. We were ‘stuck’ in Antigua for almost two months so we had time to order the one we wanted. We had to get our boom goose neck repaired and race in the Oyster Antigua Regatta (we won it! Go Britican!!)
When purchasing our new dinghy we also bought the Doel-Fin Hydrofoil fins. Considering our ignorance about costings and finding deals we probably paid a fortune for them. While researching the product for this article I, however, found them on Amazon for only $25! (View on Amazon here)
Anyhoo…We put the outboard stabilizer fins in our Captain’s Cabin and decided that one day we’d install them.
I find that my husband, Simon, and I tend to avoid doing jobs that we don’t know how to do. And that goes for something simply like these fins through to caulking the heads, how to clean a boat water tank, fixing Gelcoat repairs and more.
Perhaps it’s because our learning curve regarding all the necessary servicing and maintenance has been so difficult for us?
We’re great at servicing the engine/genset and we do everything we need to do to keep our boat in tip-top shape. But when it comes to smaller projects we tend to let them slide until something causes us to take action.
Almost a year after we purchased our outboard stabilizer fins we noticed that our neighbor, Brad from sailing vessel Puffin, had the exact fins we had. While looking at his dinghy outboard we could easily spot them. Simon asked Brad how difficult is was to install them and soon after arrangements were made for Brad to help us install them.
Whenever someone offers to help us we always graciously accept!
To myself, I thought ‘thank goodness’! I’ve been looking at these darn stabilizer fins for a year knowing that it’s probably a very easy job. It’s so annoying to have ‘projects’ waiting to be done. I move them from one area of the boat to the other for ages… You’d think that having to move them time and time again would make me want to take action!
So…a few days ago, Simon and Brad hoisted the dinghy from our boat down to the jetty. They then proceeded to fit the fins.
As usual, the fifteen-minute job took several hours!
It quickly became apparent to the guys that the drill wasn’t able to make a clear, straight hole. Due to the outboard shaft, the drill was pushed into an angle – not ideal for making straight holes!
Simon and Brad headed out to the hardware store to purchase a right angle drill bit. Side note: I’m positive that men will come up with ANY reason to stop working and head out to a hardware shop.
Anyway, the guys also acquired some food as I was getting hungry filming and documenting all the activity.
The aim was to drill four holes in the small built-in outboard fin so that the larger Doel-Fin could be secured by the bolts. It sounds so easy but it did take the guys quite a bit of time using a variety of tactics to get the holes drilled. Through the use of the new drill bit and various other bits and pieces they eventually got the bolt secure with locking nuts.
One of our YouTube viewers (Acmeopinion Factory) suggested that we also liberally coat the bolts with Loctite an anti-seize lubricant so I’ve ordered that and will put that on before we drop the dinghy back into the water. I found the suggestion on Amazon, so here’s the link if you want to grab some for yourself also…
Just yesterday we finally took the outboard with our new fins for a test drive.
Simon, Sienna (our seven-year-old daughter) and I were all extremely happy. Watch the video to see the performance! Previously, Sienna and I had to lean onto the bow to get it to plane. With the new fins it planned instantly. Furthermore we were flying – I mean we were really going fast. For those two reasons alone I’m one satisfied customer.
I will put this product on my ‘must-have’ list as it truly is a keeper. I wish I could say that about so many other things we’ve purchased…
Moral of my story…
If you own an outboard motor you will surely find the Doel-Fin (Get on Amazon.com here) or other similar system beneficial. For $25 you’d be crazy not to get them.
How To Install Outboard Stabilizer Fins Video
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