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Apart from the extra power required for high speed on water, is the fact that water has the annoying characteristic of not being smooth. So to achieve these speeds the boats are designed to ‘plane’ on the tops of the wave with only the propellers constantly submerged in the water.
There are a number of ways that the boat is designed to help achieve this objective of keeping the hull stable and skimming across the surface of the water, one of which is ballast tanks.
These tanks are moulded into the boats structure and filled with seawater using a mechanical pick-up mechanism and emptied using an electric dump pump. The tanks are monitored and trimmed when, for example, the boat is to change direction or the wind direction changes, altering the wind loading on the hull.
To allow the Throttleman to optimise the use of the ballast tanks, they need to know the level of water in each tank. Despite the best efforts of the vessel to keep smooth and steady as it crosses the water, it is seldom a smooth journey – in fact, it is a punishing environment with repeated extreme vertical shock loads, plus the corrosive environment of salt water.