Weighting your Boat
Best way to weight your wake and ski boat.
“Sacked out” is the slang term meaning that your ski boat has been loaded down with as much ballast(weight) as you and it can manage.
Adding additional weight to the boat in the form of water bags called Fat Sacks laid the foundation for creating the biggest and baddest wave for wakeboard and wakesurf. But did you know that all that extra ballast only does you good if you have it placed in the right locations?
Conventional thinking says you should concentrate the additional weight in the stern(back) of the boat, generally alongside the motor. Conceivably this would force the nose of the boat up and create more of a plowing effect through the water. But this is NOT the best method. This can inhibit the view of the driver, consume excessive fuel, and in the worst of cases cause the tilt in the motor oil pan to starve the engine.. leading to a blown head gasket or worse.
The hulls of modern wake boats are designed to displace water with efficiency to produce a clean and even wave. Even an empty ski boat will supply a wave that has the correct shaping for wake sports. So by pitching the nose of the boat up, you lose the effect of what the boat was designed to do. The wave will may become steeper, but it will lose the shape and energy that the hull is designed to give.
So where should you place the additional weight?
After filling the factory installed hard ballast water tanks which come in some form on new wake boats.. you should spread the weight evenly around the most critical location on the boat. The CENTER. By weighting the center, the boat sits deeper in the water and keeps an evenly balanced ride. This allows the hull to maximize its effectiveness in displacing water with the correct shape!
Evidence of this can be seen in the motor fuel tanks which are located in the center sub-floor of the hull and why the center factory ballast tank is generally the largest. This is the best place to start adding weight to your boat. Focus the first addition of weight between the driver and passenger and in the walkway to the bow.
For a wake boat over 21 feet in length, use 500-750 pounds of additional ballast focused around the center of the hull to enhance the wave for Wakesurf and Wakeboard. This weight can come in other forms such as but not limited to.. human guests, lead, and 200 beers.
After you have the center of your boat weighted, you can begin to add weight evenly to the back storage compartments. Two 750 pound water sacks are standard fare in each of the stern cargo compartments for most pro rider’s setups.
With the factory hard tanks full, three 750 pound fat sacks, and a full tank of gas your wake boat will be throwing its best wave. But let’s say you want to add some more weight to clean up a specific side of the wave or counter balance a driver?
Lead Weight makes 50 pound bags that are easily movable and can be stowed under the seats. Most pro level setups also include anywhere from 4-10 of these 50 pound bags depending on the amount of riders in the boat.
Always remember when adding weight that the boat will turn slower, carry more speed in idle, and more easily take water over the nose. As you begin to experiment with sacking out your boat, add weight in stages to understand how it affects the handling and fuel consumption. Of course don’t forget to have fun riding the bigger wave :)
Next time we will talk about property driving technique with your new massive wave when pulling a rider!!