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Old 12-10-2019, 12:09 AM   #1
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Best stabilizers

Iíve been researching fins for the NP 45 and best I can tell, the price is relatively close on the three systems Iím looking at, eg AB Trac, Naiad, Wesmar. All coming in around $34-$38 for hardware quoted from mfr.

Have decided against gyro at this time or at rest systems.

My research suggests all about the same in operation and Maintenance. Correct? I see they are now all 3 axis digital gyro versus old mechanical. Would appreciate why you chose one over the other if you added.

Have not found a yard in my area yet so donít have quotes on labor/install.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:42 AM   #2
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I've repeatedly heard that ABT Trac support is top notch.
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:57 AM   #3
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I've repeatedly heard that ABT Trac support is top notch.

I can vouch for that. The very best I've encountered anywhere in the industry.
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:16 AM   #4
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There is a post on this or CruisingForum about poor after-sales customer service from Wesmar. I would suggest contacting the poster directly for details before making a decision.

FIWIW, our original 1986 oversized analog Naiads are still going strong.
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:17 AM   #5
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Iím looking at, eg AB Trac, Naiad, Wesmar. All coming in around $34-$38 for hardware quoted from mfr....Would appreciate why you chose one over the other if you added.
I am in the process of replacing 50-year old Vosper hydraulic stabilizers on my 1970 Willard 36. I chose Wesmar and am sorry I did - I do not recommend them. Their technical support has been dismal. Very slow to respond to basic questions on power requirements and whether a very short cable can be lengthened (still waiting for answer on the latter - it's been about 10-days). It will all work out, but they more or less disowned me once they got paid. I understand the company changed hands about 2-years ago, so who knows.

About ABT - I have an email from them that states they do not make DC systems anymore, so presume they run off 120VAC, which seemed odd. I had already decided on either Naiad or Wesmar so didn't pursue an answer. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, I was a delivery skipper based in SF and delivered a bunch of Nordhavns and Selenes out of California to avoid sales tax - ABT was considered the cream of the crop at the time.

Finally, read on this forum a few good recommendations for KeyPower stabilizers, a firm out of BC Canada. I had never heard of them before I found the references in the archives.

Keypower thrusters, stabilizers & get-home drives for commercial and pleasure craft

Good luck - would be interested to know what your final decision is.
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:18 AM   #6
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Have not found a yard in my area yet so don’t have quotes on labor/install.
This is your primary hurdle, finding the right place with considerable previous experience. Any of the brands you mentioned will do fine in the right yard. And, any of the brands will be less than satisfactory in the wrong yard.

There is an article by Zimmerman that is linked in a different active TF thread for reference. One task you can do now, check out where in the hull the stabilizers can be placed for optimal action, install ease and ongoing service. Then, ascertain necessary engine mods for hydraulic pump and cooling water.

Have you considered taking your vessel to Dana Point for install, provided it is a good candidate?

BTW, there are many satisfied Wesmar users out there, I'm one. As previously mentioned, do your homework and select the right yard. Ignore these two activities and you'll be miserable and fuming.
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:44 AM   #7
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BTW, there are many satisfied Wesmar users out there, I'm one.
In several years time, I hope to be a satisfied Wesmar owner. But right now, I feel their technical support is awful and I have given specific examples why - they simply do not respond.

The OP asked for reasons to pick one brand over another. One anecdotal thumbs-up for ABT support. One thumbs-down for Wesmar support from someone (me) who is currently having the system installed via an installer whom I purchased the system through (though given my experience, I can tell you I am involved in all aspects of decisions).

All I can tell you is I've been around the block a bunch on all sorts of boats, with at least 20k offhore miles delivering Nordhavn and Selenes out of SoCal. I've spent 100's of hours in boat yards and 100's of hours fixing stuff and 100's of hours getting boats ready for multi-day offshore trips so I'm not exactly a novice owner - I don't have 1000's of TF posts as I've been a bit busy being out-there.

For me, Wesmar has made it more difficult than it should be to replace an existing system and I'm sorry I selected them. God forbid if it were a new system that required engineering.

That said, I am optimisitc that in a few years time the system will be trouble-free. But I am very worried if I need technical support......
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Old 12-10-2019, 08:52 AM   #8
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I feel for you. I too have been around the block. Possibly your experience to date would have been better had you selected a well experienced yard as opposed to the inexperienced yard in Mexico.
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Old 12-10-2019, 09:35 AM   #9
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I feel for you. I too have been around the block. Possibly your experience to date would have been better had you selected a well experienced yard as opposed to the inexperienced yard in Mexico.
What makes you think the yard is inexperienced? You've never asked, you've just assumed. If you were to walk into the yard's office this morning, you would see a large Wesmar display with a fin and stabilizer and display panel right inside the front door. Turns out that for years, many SoCal boaters have decided not to pay $130/hr yard rates.

Sunchaser, you've been oddly defensive of Wesmar in this and other posts. I simply do not agree that an installer is better suited to inform on amp/power requirements of system design than the OEM themselves. There are system issues, and there are installation issues. I believe you have defensively assumed any fault can't be Wesmar's. Given Wesmar's recent change of ownership, it's entirely possible the Wesmar you have grown to respect no longer exists. But that's just a guess. But I'm am definitely hoping your happy experience is the norm, not my dismal experience. Time will tell.

In all due respect, I don't think you've read a bit of what I've said except to defend Wesmar. ABT and Naiad both provide an engineered 12V to 24V step-up converter. Wesmar is silent on the topic. This isn't rocket science to size properly, just need to know system power draw (Watts), so asked Wesmar. They were unable to provide. When pressed, their solution was a hand-written sketch on scratch paper describing adding two 12V batteries in series and a 120VAC/24V battery charger. That's nuts - this is a solution for a high-current draw Thruster, not a low-current draw stabilizer.

I hope to join you as a happy Wesmar customer at some point in time. But right now (and I mean right now), in my opinion, their customer service and technical support sucks. I'll gladly call out a yard for installation issues. But for system-design and specification issues? Sorry, OEM bares responsibility. Wesmar gets low marks from me. I don't take these posts lightly, which is why I've described my experience in detail. And I tried many ways to work with Wesmar directly prior to going online with my experience. Crickets from Wesmar.

But in the end, the OP asked for reasons to chose one brand over the other. This is my experience. Do with it what you will.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:06 PM   #10
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What makes you think the yard is inexperienced? .
Please note I prefaced my comment with Possibly.

A week ago you agreed that it it would be nice to find a capable tech. Thus, I assumed, possibly wrongly, that your group in Mexico either could'nt address your needs. or were never asked.

Defensive of Wesmar. Not at all. What bothers me is the lambasting that takes place on TF of boats, equipment, yards and repairs that is solely one sided. In this case it is clear that the Wesmar 12 to 24 volt requirement was misjudged. Not by me, but by somebody.

I gladly pay north of the border rates for quality instrument work knowing the guys are conversant with the task at hand. Can't wait to hear of your overall success when this realistically trivial, but frustrating 12 to 24 volt issue is resolved.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:59 PM   #11
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Thanks Sunchaser - first, stabilizers are part of a much, much larger refit. Replacement of fiberglass fuel tanks, hard-top, full re-wire, replacement generator, refrigeration, re-located thru-hulls, and more. There are a zillion items to work through, all of which require back-and-forth, and most of which have daisy-chain impact on something else. For example, my question on whether a very short cable can be extended is because I need to know where I can have the brain-boxes installed. The stabilizers also come with a larger inline oil cooler which is effected by re-location of seacocks. The new larger hydraulic oil reservoir is quite a bit bigger than the old one. 12V/24V converters get physically large very quickly depending on size - figuring out what is needed is important to determine where to place the converter, and where to draw power off the breaker panel (which is new and fully labeled). I'm NOT leaving placement of items such as these to an installer in Mexico or anywhere else.

I could give you the back-and-forth on this that included the yard installation team, but the upshot is that Wesmar gave ridiculous/CYA responses (the "install 12V batteries in series" response), then went radio-silent. What makes this obvious is their two main competitors - Naiad and ABT pre-package the engineered solution as an option for 12V installations. No head-scratching required.

I would have never taken to the airwaves had Wesmar worked with me. But they didn't. I had to do all sorts of sleuthing to figure it out which is fine - I have done a ton of it, just wasn't expecting it in order to make a stabilizer system work from a company that had been doing it for 53-years.

I would like to reiterate one item: these new systems are essentially plug-and-play. They come pre-wired with idiot-proof cable connections. There are significant logistics around installation - where to locate boxes, installing hull-block/pads for new installations, etc. But the base system is very modular and assembled once installed.

In closing, I agree with you about one-sided trashing of companies/people - it can be awful and should not be taken lightly. I only initiated that when Wesmar went silent. I even sent them an email informing I would prefer to work with them, but in their absence, would scout the Internet. In the process of giving my experience on TV, I have endeavored to be very complete and specific. And you are right - the 12v/24v issue is more or less trivial, so trivial ABT and Naiad simply charge an extra $500 for a 12V installation and include the converter. But Wesmar not only wouldn't size the converter, but wouldn't give me the information I needed to reliably size it myself. That's flat out wrong.

Back to this original thread - the OP asked for reasons to select one stabilizer manufacturer over another. My lambasting is a reasonable inclusion in this thread.
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Old 12-10-2019, 05:57 PM   #12
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NAIAD are the Northern Lights equivalent for Stabilisers. Simple and robust solutions ( at least with their smaller stuff). Sadly NAIAD factory support can be patchy but there are plenty of experienced people out there to work on them.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:06 PM   #13
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Never had a "patchy"experience with Naiad or its authorized servicers. We regarded our 252's as essential equipment for our particular boat. Like Woodland Hills, decades of service up to and including our 7 years of cruising and ownership. Kind of like the Patek Phillipe ads.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:13 PM   #14
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I was going to mention my 20 years of circumnavigation in a gas turbine powered coracle that I designed and built myself but I thought it superfluous
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Old 12-10-2019, 10:20 PM   #15
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ABT TRAC Support

We have an ABT TRAC 220 system aboard IRENE.

We departed Sequim Bay for Victoria or Sidney on a Saturday morning. We were screaming along at 7 knots or so on a fairly nice crossing of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The ABT TRAC panel alarmed and said the fins were locked as we were in reverse.

I made a quick post to the Nordhavn Owners Group, an email distribution list. I received several owner/operator responses. In about an hour, I received a call from David, the ABT TRAC Service Manager for the region. David asked if we were safe, if we could divert attention from running the boat to the ABT system. In a few minutes, he had the issue diagnosed (reverse switch pigtail failure) AND he secured the alarm. We subsequently fixed the pigtail, likely damaged by me or a large tech in the engine room rubbing on it harshly. We didnít know any better.

It was certainly great service on a Saturday morning. The fact that we were the second owners of a 7 year old product makes the situation even more impressive.

Later, I went to the FREE class that ABT TRAC puts on for owners and operators of their systems. We got to see the parts that made their systems (like castings they have made nearby, parts they machine in-house) and work on a live system in the classroom. The facilitator was first class, they even fed us.

Contact with their parts guru, Steve, has been terrific. You provide him with your sales order number and he has everything about your setup. Super easy and friendly.

We had another issue later, and once again David fixed us up on a Saturday morning in Anacortes.

The system has not been perfect, but it is a machine made by humans. I donít think we have a perfect system on the boat. Their support has been BEYOND REPROACH. I would urge you to visit ABT TRAC in California prior to making a purchase decision. Go to their class. You wonít be disappointed with ABT TRAC.

Best Wishes
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Old 12-11-2019, 04:03 AM   #16
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About ABT - I have an email from them that states they do not make DC systems anymore, so presume they run off 120VAC, which seemed odd

This is odd because I have had two ABT systems that are DC, and am currently installing another. In fact every one of the dozens that I have seen are DC. So this must be a miscommunication of some sort. Perhaps what was meant is that they donít make 12VDC system. That I think is true, but as you said in a later post, they will provide a 12V to 24V converter for operation in a 12V boat.
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Old 12-11-2019, 06:03 AM   #17
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Re: ABT and DC. I agree, must be a misunderstanding. I reread the email and it clearly states "no DC," but my guess is he meant 12vdc. My sense is everyone uses the same brain guts (Eaton perhaps) and it is 24vdc.

Impressive story from Irene about ABT tech support on a 7-year old system.

BTW - before deciding to replace my Vospers, I tried to get parts for them. Naiad purchased Vosper many years ago and still have NOS parts, mostly in their UK fscilities. I found their support to be okay.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:04 AM   #18
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Sun, curious why you mentioned Dana Point for install? Thats a fairly small yard. Is it because they are in Nordhavn land and do a lot of fin installs/repairs?
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Old 12-11-2019, 12:13 PM   #19
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Sun, curious why you mentioned Dana Point for install? Thats a fairly small yard. Is it because they are in Nordhavn land and do a lot of fin installs/repairs?
Yes, I'd ask Nordhavn who they currently recommend. Next I'd ask ABT Trac since they are in Bay area.
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Old 12-11-2019, 11:41 PM   #20
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Edit and Addition

I have an error in my earlier post. We are the THIRD owners of this system, vs. the second as I stated earlier.

You may be wondering about the cost for that ad hoc Saturday tech support. Apparently it was included with the system purchase...free of additional charge.

When I attended the class, we were told they want to be the best customer support in the business. They want operators to know and maintain the systems.
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