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What will a VaraFoil™ Pontoon and Tritoon hydrofoil do for my boat?

Curious about the benefits of installing a pontoon hydrofoil on your boat?  First note: We are talking about a foil, or wing that mounts under the tunnel area between your hulls to create lift at your predetermined boat speed and NOT talking about soft plastic or metal lower unit additions mentioned online as “Hydrofoils”. Although a VaraPlate™, Pitch Control Plate will be mounted to your lower unit and comes standard as a pontoon and tritoon hydrofoil kit, we are focusing on the surface/hydrofoil that creates lift to decrease drag and increase the speed of your pontoon and tritoon boat.

In general, water is 780 lbs. denser than air. In theory, a wing of an airplane could lift 780 times more weight size for size if it could fly thru water instead of air! You may ask, “What good is that?”

A boat planning/displacing water in normal mode creates drag. If you can reduce the amount of wetted area of the boat that creates drag, then the boat will generally be faster and more efficient for any given horsepower. Since we add some wetted area by adding a hydrofoil, then the amount of wetted area we add has to be less than the wetted area we remove when lifting the boat out of the water. The greater the difference of foil/wing area added versus the wetted area lost gives a greater speed for a given horsepower/speed.

Study the Data Below. VaraFoil™ Pontoon Hyrofoils work!

Hydrofoil kits for pontoon and tritoon boats
pontoon and tritoon performance graph with hydrofoil

As we double speed, we increase lift by 4 times. So, the speed curve is to our advantage.

As shown by the graphs above, our VaraFoil™ begins to lift at/around 10 knots.However, somewhere at/around 52 knots, the water traveling over a hydrofoil actually boils and becomes delaminated, thus the foil becomes inefficient, producing drag with minimal to NO lift. This is known as reaching “the wall” of normal subsonic hydrofoils.
So generally, if your maximum boat speed is 44 knots or less w/o a foil, a hydrofoil makes a lot of sense. If your maximum speed w/o a foil is 45 knots or more you may not get all the “bang for your buck”. A hydrofoil would make you more efficient at cruising speeds but wouldn’t make your max (WOT) speed much faster. If your boat travels at 52 knots w/o a hydrofoil, a hydrofoil addition doesn’t make sense unless you want to decrease engine size.

Normal planing boats travel stern down as they plane. This is from the air that is formed when an object travels thru the water at planing speeds. The front (bow) is in clean undisturbed buoyant water while the backend (stern) is floating on less buoyant air and water mixed. The ride with a VaraFoil™ will change this ride as it is submerged in clean buoyant water. Our desired setup at maximum boat speed or WOT (Wide open throttle) with a VaraFoil™ install is to have the stability of the hull/pontoon/tritoon log bottoms just kissing/slightly submerged in the water. This way the hydrofoil is decreasing as much drag from the hulls as possible but we still use the buoyancy and stability of the hulls for safer stable boating.


Our first VaraFoil™ prototype #1 increased a 2012 20’ Avalon 2085 w 2012 75Hp Etech normal pontoon boat ride from 21 mph to 27 mph or almost 30%. After changing to a 4-blade aluminum from 3 blade Hydrus, and some more dialing in, this same boat has achieved 28.6 knots/32 MPH.

We hope this explanation helps. If you still have more questions, please feel free to check out our question-and-answer page.  If after visiting our FAQ page you still have a question that has not been answered, please go to our contact us page and submit your question.  We will get back to you as soon as possible.

hydrofoil for pontoon boathydrofoil for tritoon boat

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