Stabilizing the Market
It will soon be easier to add a Seakeeper gyro stabilizer to ever smaller boats.
When you talk about people’s first introduction to boating, it’s usually a 20- to 25-footer,” says Andrew Semprevivo, vice president of sales and marketing for Seakeeper. “We believe that if we could provide that stabilized experience, more people will get into boating, stay in boating, and hopefully eventually grow the industry as a whole.” Sounds like a noble goal: helping people enjoy boating more. When the company brought its first product to market, the Seakeeper 7000, designed for 50- to 65-foot boats, it was 2008, and the market climate was tough for a relatively expensive piece of equipment widely seen as a luxury item. Seakeeper needed to find a viable market, and it did so by making products to serve at the upper end: 100- to 200-footers.
“It led us to embark on the development of bigger products,” Semprevivo says. “But we always knew once we had the resources and the market awareness that we would scale this technology down to smaller boats.” The first step to achieving that vision was in 2014, when Seakeeper launched the SK-series—five products in five months. It was the first time that the company designed a product suited for boats under 50 feet: the Seakeeper 5.
“I think we’re getting back to what we always envisioned when this company was formed back in 2002,” Semprevivo says. “It’s crazy to think it was 15 years ago when the vision was to bring this product down to mainstream boating in 20- to 25-foot boats. I’ve always believed that the smaller the boat, the more applicable this product was, rather than traditional fin stabilizers.”
To answer the call, the company launched the Seakeeper 3DC to accommodate boats in the 30- to 40-foot range. Basically the unit was the same size and weight as the Seakeeper 5 (designed for boats in the 30- to 50-foot range and 20-ton displacement), but it would spin the gyroscopic flywheel more slowly at 6,400 rpm, rather than 10,700, requiring less power (it could run off alternators or a battery bank with inverter) and generating less stabilizing force.
But Seakeeper’s latest launch will be introduced at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show: the Seakeeper 3, designed from the deck up to hit that 30- to 40-foot center console market. “It provides the exact same performance as what we’ve been providing to the marketplace over the last year with the Seakeeper 3DC, but it’s over 30 percent lighter, 25 percent smaller, and it will be more competitively priced at around $26,900,” Semprevivo says. “And we believe that this is just the next step in getting this product into the mainstream boating market.”
Even better, Seakeeper understands the refit challenges as well on all boats, thanks to the structural requirements of dealing with the forces generated by the gyro stabilizer. “Most exciting, as we’re getting into the smaller products, the torque that’s applied is less than the bigger products, so it gives us a lot more opportunity in how we can mount the unit,” he says. “For the industry, both as a refit and for new builds, we have built a leaning post with Nautical Design (www.nauticaldesign.com), and built into the bottom panel of the leaning post is the gyro mount. Now all a boater will have to do is bond a leaning post to the deck. There’s no structural work or metalwork required.”
That’s a big difference, and one that could change the game for boaters looking to expand the range of conditions in which they, and their crews, feel comfortable enjoying their boats.
VIDEO: Installing a Seakeeper Gyro Stabilizer on a Center Console
This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.