In 2021 the Zipwake interceptor-style trim tab system is the top pick big vessel control. Zipwake is a sub-brand of Imtra out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. While this is a newer trim system, it’s already trusted by many boat builders. In fact, Grady White, Bass Cat and Ranger Boats install Zipwake interceptors.
What’s An Interceptor?
An interceptor is a small blade that extends down in a vertical motion from the transom of the boat. It cuts into the flow of water coming out from under the hull of the boat. Fully extended is only about 3/4-inch, but this blade reacts quickly as it protrudes down.
It’s amazing how this type of trim system works. The system uses advanced, intuitive control system to provide trim control. Including GPS, 3D-Gyro & 3D-Accelerometers to make dynamic adjustments. It engages several sensors combined with lightning-fast brushless servos. Which in turn zip the interceptors up and down to counter-act a boat’s natural motions as it moves through the seas.
Why Choose Zipwake Interceptors Over Tab Systems?
The big advantages of this kit over traditional trim tabs is less drag. This means blades are ultra-fast moving and only extend about 1.3 inches (3.3 cm) below the transom. Unlike tabs that extend at least 6 inches (15.24 cm) below the hull. The result is greater ability to react to the boats motion in real time and provide that dynamic control. So you can cruise on a more even keel with a steadier attitude. No more standing at the console and holding onto the frame with a white-knuckled death grip.
Another advantage is the speed the system operates and innovative design decisions. First, inside the interceptor is a brushless DC servo motor that runs on 12-32 volts. The blade stroke takes 1.5 seconds, outperforming typical trim tabs that take about 7 seconds. Since the interceptor comes in two pieces you can repair and replace motor units. Plus the blades are a composite material that isn’t exposed when not in use, so it’s less likely for marine growth. I especially like that you have the choice of either thru-hull of over water-line wiring.
Beyond fore-to-aft comfort, the Zipwake kit improves fuel efficiency too. It does this by keeping a watercraft on an even attitude while reducing rolls, pitches, and heaves. As a result, it boosts overall fuel efficiency by around 10 percent.
The third bonus of this trim control system is for anglers fishing off the stern. No more worrying about line wrap around the tabs leading to snapped lines during a fight. This is because the interceptors are vertical and tucked into the transom when the boat’s at rest.
On The Water
I’m blown away by the performance of the Zipwakes, it just works and is buttery smooth. In use the system gets set to automatic but you can set it to manual at the helm control. The color smart helm control is easy to read in sun light and waterproof to an IP67 rating. You’ll see feedback of boat speed, pitch and roll angle, as well as the interceptors´ positions.
Disadvantages To Zipwake Interceptor Trim Kits?
The main downside for Zipwake and any other brand of interceptor trim systems is slow boat speed. Due to the small blade extension these systems need strong water flow to be productive. Thus, watercraft like heavy trawlers moving at less than 10 mph or 8.7 knots won’t have enough flow under the hull. In this situation a traditional trim tab system is more effective.
Next, is an issue at the other end of the speed spectrum. For vessels that are capable of speeds over 60 mph/ 52 knots this amount of speed damages the blades. Whereas tabs that deploy at shallow angle are effective and less prone to damage at high speeds.
Finally, the price compared to traditional tabs tend to give boaters a shock. Although if you chose best-of pick and add their AutoTrim Pro Controller. It’s almost the same cost as the Zipwakes with fewer features. Also, Zipwake is a bit vague on their warranty, it’s dependent on where you buy it.
Buy the Zipwake Interceptor if you yearn for fantastic and dynamic trim control. It’s truly a set it and forget it system. One that is capable of precision control for vessels 20 to 60 feet (18.29 m) in length. You get expansive technology and incredible performance, but for a hefty cost. Warranty wise Zipwake’s is shorter than traditional trim systems.