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Old 12-24-2014, 03:00 PM   #1
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To stabilize or not to stabilize?

Hi,

I'm in the process of looking for a full displacement (or possibly semi-) in the 46-50' range. Many of the boats in this range have active fin stabilizers, and a few (Nordhavn 46) have paravanes.

I'm trying to assess the importance of stabilizers in my buying decision. Adding them after the fact is an expensive proposition, so I need to decide if they are a requirement for me. I plan to spend quite a bit of time on the Pacific Coast up and down from San Francisco.

I am used to being coastal on my Catalina 36 and have been in a variety of conditions. Contrary to popular belief, even with sails, sailboats still roll quite a bit if you're in a beam sea. Most of us avoid those conditions and change tack to quarter the waves. As sailors we're used to the idea that the best route between two points is often not a straight line!

I'm interested to hear from those with experience - especially former sailors - on how much of a necessity they are. From what I've read they are really beneficial in long (multi-day) passages to avoid crew fatigue. It seems vessel safety is less of a concern - especially if on adjusts course to reduce the rolling.

Thoughts and comments most welcome.

Thanks

Richard
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:12 PM   #2
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GET THEM!!!!! You'll thank me later. We have them on our Norhavn 47 and they're outstanding.
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:21 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. B. We've been on two boats of exactly the same model, one with Naiads and one without. Soft chine, full displacement, rolls like a cue ball unstabilized. Like Mr. 4712 said "Get 'em..." You WILL thank him later.
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:27 PM   #4
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To stabilize or not to stabilize?

How much do you like your stuff to stay where you put it. I would never consider not having them. You don't drive a sailboat the same way you drive a powerboat a large beam sea will put everything on the floor in a hurry even things that you didn't think could move.
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Old 12-24-2014, 04:21 PM   #5
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I'd place a high value on a boat with them, or would figure in the cost to add them. Eveyone who has had stabilizers would never go back, and everyone who says you don't need them has never had them.
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Old 12-24-2014, 04:58 PM   #6
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For me stabilizers are worth every cent. I had paravanes on my first Nordhavn and stabilizers on the boat I have now. They are amazing how well they work. Some of my family and friends, who are not former sailers, would have trouble enjoying the experience without them.
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Old 12-24-2014, 05:09 PM   #7
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They might be worth every cent, but how many cent's are we talking about? Anybody have a rough estimate of what the cost is to install fin stabilizers?
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Old 12-24-2014, 05:11 PM   #8
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..Eveyone who has had stabilizers would never go back, and everyone who says you don't need them has never had them.
From a sailing background with vertical stabilizers than moving to full displacement power with paravanes, made me (us) appreciate what we had/have. We traveled from AK to FL with paravanes and I can say that we would not have done the trip without stabilizers, either active or passive.
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Old 12-24-2014, 05:37 PM   #9
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They might be worth every cent, but how many cent's are we talking about? Anybody have a rough estimate of what the cost is to install fin stabilizers?
Probably around $60k, yard installed. If retrofitting, it depends on access. Ideally they will be midships, but anywhere in the middle third will likely be ok.
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:31 PM   #10
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$60K ?? Wow, can't hide that from the Admiral.
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:50 PM   #11
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Would paravanes (professionally designed & installed) be around $10K...ish?
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Old 12-24-2014, 06:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Britannia View Post
Hi,

I'm in the process of looking for a full displacement (or possibly semi-) in the 46-50' range. Many of the boats in this range have active fin stabilizers, and a few (Nordhavn 46) have paravanes.

I'm trying to assess the importance of stabilizers in my buying decision. Adding them after the fact is an expensive proposition, so I need to decide if they are a requirement for me. I plan to spend quite a bit of time on the Pacific Coast up and down from San Francisco.

I am used to being coastal on my Catalina 36 and have been in a variety of conditions. Contrary to popular belief, even with sails, sailboats still roll quite a bit if you're in a beam sea. Most of us avoid those conditions and change tack to quarter the waves. As sailors we're used to the idea that the best route between two points is often not a straight line!

I'm interested to hear from those with experience - especially former sailors - on how much of a necessity they are. From what I've read they are really beneficial in long (multi-day) passages to avoid crew fatigue. It seems vessel safety is less of a concern - especially if on adjusts course to reduce the rolling.

Thoughts and comments most welcome.

Thanks

Richard
Now for an opposing viewpoint:

I have a 55 ton steel trawler and have done quite a bit of travelling over the past year (San Diego - Mexico - San Francisco). We have only bilge keels on our vessel and find that under "normal" conditions, I would have a hard time convincing the admiral to approve a $60k expenditure for fins. The keels are said to reduce roll about 20%. Roll tanks are said to provide a similar reduction.

We are VERY careful when planning our offshore trips and have not had many days where we felt uncomfortable. We also do not have any problems waiting out weather either.

I wouldn't say I don't have fin envy, but not enough, in my case, to reduce my cruising budget to that extent.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:10 PM   #13
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Mate,
Look for a boat with active stabilisers.
I don't have them but I am in the process of refining my paravanes. They make an incredible difference.
My Better half thinks they are the ducks nuts. She would be more impressed with active stabilisers. Less work to deploy and retrieve. Just keep the maintenance up to scratch.

Both styles are reasonably hard and expensive to retro fit.
Cheers
Benn
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:15 PM   #14
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This boat made it from the PNW to the San Francisco estuary equipped with paravanes. Didn't discuss their trip, however. ... What bothers me with paravanes is having sharp objects in the water close to the hull. Surely, I'm paranoid (?). ... My idea of stability at sea is on a 1000-foot ship with active stabilizers.


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Old 12-24-2014, 08:25 PM   #15
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Mark,
Get out and have some adventure on the Koot
I have spent my whole life on board large vessels from small 25000 tonne tankers to 300,000 tonne tankers.
The last thing I want to do is spend time on some passenger ship driven and run by people with inferior qualifications from a third world country accompanied by 1000 unknown people with questionable personal habits .

Mark, with the paravanes set up correctly , arms long enough so that the fish run deep and also can't reach the hull then everything is good and safe.
Cheers
Benn
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:26 PM   #16
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Yes, buy a boat that already has them installed. Been sailing and power boating for over half a century and would not even consider a trawler style vessel over 40 feet without them. But, it all comes down to budget and what you want to spend.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:35 PM   #17
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Mark,
Get out and have some adventure on the Koot ...
I've been unsuccessful in recruiting boating friends to venture beyond a half mile west of the GG bridge. (Fifty years ago sailed a 29-foot sloop twelve miles beyond the gate several times in races. Each time got seasick.)




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Old 12-24-2014, 08:52 PM   #18
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The higher the helm above the water line, the more the stabilizers matter. On my little 38, at the lower helm my feet are only about 3' above the water. Even rough, it's not too bad. The flybridge, on the other hand, is tough. Kind of like a mouse on the end of a broomstick.. It matters how much the stick is moving, but also matters how far out on the stick you are!!

My vote is to get the active stabs. Flopper stoppers work on anchor better, but sounds like the OP's travels that may not be a big deal.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:54 PM   #19
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If you are looking at atypical slow trawler yes for stabilization. If you are not doing open water long distance and should move into the fast SD range 16+ knots then it probably is not needed and would be detrimental to performance. More care picking weather would be needed. I have also noted on my boat when it gets a little snotty against intuition increasing speed often helps it sort of picks the boat up on top of the waves. I know SF and smaller off shore fishing boats use speed for increasing comfort and safety. Those boats however are in the high 20-30s knot range.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:58 AM   #20
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I too lived in los gatos area and sailed regularly to Monterrey and north towns. Once I moved to fl and got a power boat I began to understand the attraction of stabilizers. Don't have them for fl west coast but then our seas are calmer most of the time.
I would not touch para vanes.


PS: Even under power with the main up the rig and keel of a sail boat add a lot of roll resistance.


To the comments about stuff flying around inside a boat without stabilizers IMO everything should be tied down or put away before leaving the dock, but them I sailed for a long time before converting to a floating condo. "make all preparations for going to sea" still sounds like good advice.


I never had the opportunity to try a larger power boat off shore CA but have studied stability a bit and if you watch the action of a flat board on the water and a semi submerged beer bottle the difference in action is obvious. One responds to surface action by always remaining flat on the surface of the water whine the other tries to remain vertical as the wave passes.
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