Like many folks in the boating press, I have heard and read a lot about the Seakeeper gyrostabilizer since its debut in 2008, but it wasn’t until last July that I got a chance to experience the magical roll-reducing device for myself aboard the company’s 43’ demo boat, which was making a stop at MacDougalls’ Cape Cod Marine Service, the region’s certified Seakeeper installer.
I left Falmouth’s Inner Harbor with Seakeeper captain B.W. James at the helm and accompanied by Tim Shields, MacDougalls’ Director of Sales and Marketing. Seas were calm, but we had no problem finding some large wakes to roll around in, courtesy of several ferries and large yachts transiting Nantucket Sound.
As you can easily see in the accompanying video, the Seakeeper gyro is remarkably effective at reducing roll—up to 90%—and does its job within a few seconds after being activated. (Of course, if you leave the gyro running there is no such delay.)
The 1,155-pound M8000—the smallest and most popular Seakeeper model—can be installed on most large powerboats as an aftermarket system, but often requires some modification of the stringers or other belowdecks structure (i.e., fishboxes, fuel tanks) and systems to make room for the gyro. The unit is typically installed on the boat’s centerline, but can be placed off-center while remaining effective.
Inside the gyro housing is a heavy flywheel that spins at great speed (8,000 rpm) under near vacuum. The vacuum virtually eliminates air friction, greatly reducing weight and power consumption. After taking 20 minutes to “spool up”, the flywheel produces 8,000 newton-meters of angular momentum to counteract boat roll.
All this internal spinning creates a whirring noise, but it was barely noticeable once the soundproofed hatch on the demo boat was shut. I also did not detect any unusual vibration onboard the demo boat when the gyro was operating.
Surprisingly, the Seakeeper doesn’t consume a lot of power. According to the company, the unit requires about 3kW at startup and 1.5 kW once the gyro has reached operating speed.
If the video isn’t enough to convince you of the Seakeeper’s effectiveness, give the company or MacDougalls’ a call. Either place would be happy to arrange a test of the system. Once you experience it for yourself, I think you’ll be impressed.
For more information on the Seakeeper: CLICK HERE
For information on installation in New England, contact MacDougalls’ Cape Cod Marine Services by CLICKING HERE.
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