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Old 09-25-2020, 02:39 PM   #1
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Fin stabilization on 40-45’ Trawler

So, I know a fair bit about sailboats but we changed our minds and we’re thinking we’ll skip the sails and go trawling instead.

The wife likes the idea of stabilization so I’ve been poking around here and there and have seen a few things that suggest that boats in the 40-45’ range May be too small to get a lot of benefits. The suggestion was basically that smaller boats just naturally roll too quickly and the systems just don’t react quickly enough.

Anybody got any hands on knowledge they can share?
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Old 09-25-2020, 03:51 PM   #2
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What's most important to you. Size of boat, cost of stabilization system or a happy wife? There's only one right answer.
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Old 09-25-2020, 05:09 PM   #3
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I have been on a 35 foot fishing boat with gyro stabilizer and the effect is dramatic. The gyros are becoming popular with all sizes of fishing boat due to stabilization at low and no speed. So I would think fin stabilizers would be very effective on a 40 something "trawler" if there was a way to install them. I had them on a 56 and wouldn't do without them. Other than that, no direct experience. It really depends on where and how you are going to use the boat, and on the hull form to some degree.
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Old 09-25-2020, 05:15 PM   #4
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What's most important to you. Size of boat, cost of stabilization system or a happy wife? There's only one right answer.
Giggle. What if I can only afford 2 of those three?

My question Though isn’t “should I?” it’s “does it work well?”
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Old 09-25-2020, 05:30 PM   #5
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I have been on a 35 foot fishing boat with gyro stabilizer and the effect is dramatic. The gyros are becoming popular with all sizes of fishing boat due to stabilization at low and no speed. So I would think fin stabilizers would be very effective on a 40 something "trawler" if there was a way to install them. I had them on a 56 and wouldn't do without them. Other than that, no direct experience. It really depends on where and how you are going to use the boat, and on the hull form to some degree.
We are planning on the PNW for a few years, mostly small vacation forays in that time. We’re in Portland so hopping up From Astoria to Canada and exploring inside and outside of Vancouver Island a couple times a year.

Once both we and the boat are ready we may do AK then head Slowly south to the Sea of Cortez.

From there Who knows, maybe on to Panama and the Caribbean maybe the great loop...
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:00 PM   #6
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Properly sized and installed stabilizer fins are highly effective in boats 40’-45’. The boat will still roll some, just not nearly as much and it will recover quickly. In some situations like moderate seas or a big boat wake passing, they are nothing short of amazing.

However, like many things, they do not replace good seamanship and boat handling skill. If you get beam seas with the right period, it is possible to roll mercilessly. If you ignore steep breaking seas, it is still possible to capsize. They do nothing for pitching and can have arguments with the auto pilot, especially in following seas.
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:31 PM   #7
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Properly sized and installed stabilizer fins are highly effective in boats 40’-45’. The boat will still roll some, just not nearly as much and it will recover quickly. In some situations like moderate seas or a big boat wake passing, they are nothing short of amazing.

However, like many things, they do not replace good seamanship and boat handling skill. If you get beam seas with the right period, it is possible to roll mercilessly. If you ignore steep breaking seas, it is still possible to capsize. They do nothing for pitching and can have arguments with the auto pilot, especially in following seas.
Thanks Porgy
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:52 PM   #8
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Glad you have a sense of humor!. As mentioned, stabilizers are effective. You don't mention the type of boating experience that you and the wife have. A stabilized boat is going to ride better in many situations. Are you both experienced cruising sailors or is open water cruising new to you both? It's a pricey option that may mean giving up other features. But may be the best thing for your situation. And welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:30 PM   #9
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Glad you have a sense of humor!. As mentioned, stabilizers are effective. You don't mention the type of boating experience that you and the wife have. A stabilized boat is going to ride better in many situations. Are you both experienced cruising sailors or is open water cruising new to you both? It's a pricey option that may mean giving up other features. But may be the best thing for your situation. And welcome to the forum.
Thanks for the welcome.

Got a lot to learn but, I've been boating in one form or another for 45+ years. Most of that on much smaller boats, some sail, some motor, some human powered. Got a couple hundred days the coast guard would be happy with in the 25-52' range. Hold the equivelant of an ASA 104 with a variety of extras.

I also know my way around mechanical and electrical systems fairly well.

I've dreamt of sailing around the world since my teens, but now at 63, an iron genny or two, warm weather year round, and some less ambitious, but fun, destinations to enjoy, sounds pretty darn good.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:40 PM   #10
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Anybody got any hands on knowledge they can share?
Yes.

We have a 40’ displacement boat (55k) with active fins and passive paravanes.

Both systems are effective, separately and together. The fins have adjustable parameters for fine tuning the ride. The paravanes are very simple, quite easy to launch and retrieve, and very effective at anchor.

Good Luck
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:29 PM   #11
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I'd find and buy the boat of your dreams first and use it for a while before exploring stabilization.

We boat in the PNW and have cruised the inside passage for 35 years without stabilization.

We have a 40' full displacement (no chines) trawler which will roll if a wave or wake is taken on the beam. We tack to avoid rolling and turn into wakes. The key is learning the boats motion, become familiar with weather and wave forecasts and not be on a schedule or in a hurry.

The boat came with paravane stabilizers but I took them off to be able to go into a boathouse. To me, covered moorage is more important than paravanes. The few times we used the paravanes, it was nice to have but not an absolute necessity.

There are thousands of 32 to 40 foot boats traveling up the inside passage every year (except 2020). I would guess that less than 5% of these boats are equipped with stabilizers.

You may be in a different situation, being in Portland. Needing stabilizers will depend on if you will moor the boat on the Columbia or Puget Sound. A lot of boats travel from the Columbia to Puget Sound every summer. Most don't have stabilizers.

Stabilization, whether active fins, paravanes or gyro are an expensive, complicated and on some boats a difficult design and installation.
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:37 PM   #12
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My 1970 Willard 36 was originally equipped with hydraulic fun stabilizers. When the time came last year to replace them, it was indeed an expense. But I would not cruise a non-stabilized boat. Period. The difference in comfort is just too great to ignore.

If you plan on coastal passagemaking, I believe a stabilized boat is a requirement, not an option.

Peter
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Old 09-25-2020, 10:10 PM   #13
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If your “wife likes The idea of stabilization” end of discussion. Yes they work well especially in a beam/quartering sea.
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Old 09-26-2020, 06:28 AM   #14
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My N46 had hyd active fins. Worked great. My only experience.
Gotta take it out of the water to install them. Little maintenance required.
Para vanes,..... poorly set and I hear they can jump out of the water..... LOOK OUT
Gyro, perhaps the most expensive of the 3 systems. According to the videos, works pretty good.
If the boat is not moving, just a guess, the best option is para vanes.
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Old 09-26-2020, 08:21 AM   #15
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My N46 had hyd active fins. Worked great. My only experience.
Gotta take it out of the water to install them. Little maintenance required.
Para vanes,..... poorly set and I hear they can jump out of the water..... LOOK OUT
Gyro, perhaps the most expensive of the 3 systems. According to the videos, works pretty good.
If the boat is not moving, just a guess, the best option is para vanes.
I've run many boats with fins. Several with paravanes. And a couple with both fins and paravanes (including one of the last N46s in about 2002 or so). No experience with gyro but assume it works well too.

For long distance passages, paravanes are great. They are simple and have no machinery associated with them. They should not launch unless they were undersized. No excuse for that. They are not handy to set thus the long passage comment. They do provide easy flopper stopper setup at anchor. Lousy if your grounds include bridges. I'll take a stab at saying a setup is in the $15k range if fabricated by a reputable yard, plus winches and such.

Fins. Very handy. We don't often run with stabilizers so having push-button on when needed is great. They do require seals replaced every few years which costs $1500 or so. I know people talk about appendages, but I know of very few issues. They provide no benefit at anchor, the only option that does not. Cost is probably in the $40k-$50k range installed for a 42-ish foot boat.

Gyros. Leaving aside installation items of where to put them (probably a better choice for new than retrofit), the big item on these is you must be a 24/7 generator boat. I do not have a feel for cost, but I'm pretty sure it's a bit higher than fins. Probably 20%-35% higher but not sure. New build may be less, as it would be for fins.

Our travel plans include some distant passages to central America and such. Stabilization is expensive but I just don't see it as optional, at least for us. I should have more closely considered paravanes but the fins are great. Gyros are not an option for us. While we have a generator, we run it sparingly.

Peter
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Old 09-26-2020, 08:52 AM   #16
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We have ABT track stabilizers with the STAR option ( STabilization At Rest) on our 78 ft Selene. Extremely efficient both on the way and at Anchor and makes the family very happy... in our tropical country Air Cond is a must so we have to run our generator 24/7 anyway. I have a friend who’s got a gyro on a 42 Selene and it is also pretty efficient.
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Old 09-26-2020, 11:05 AM   #17
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My current boat is a wonderful coastal cruiser, and I LOVE being on the open water. However, my boating days might very well come abruptly to an end if the "Admiral" or any of our friends, had an unexpected "pukey" day. I don't tend to get seasick, but I did just one time when I was in college, like 50+ years ago, and I still remember it, so I have empathy.

Because of that I have been sticking with the ICW for the past 9 months. I have enjoyed my trips to Savannah and Charleston, but have stayed off the ocean. That I do NOT like. Because of the coronavirus hysteria my income had temporarily (hopefully) come to a grinding halt and I can't drop $50-$90K on a gyro stabilizer, which is, I believe, the best option for my future crusing plans. So, for now I'm stuck on the ICW unless I can venture out on some 1-2' wave days IF the waves are coming in the right direction, and IF I'm feeling lucky.

I'm not complaining because I think it would be "wrong" for those of us who can afford to have boats to complain when some people in the country can't even eat, but it's still true that you ABSOLUTELY MUST take the wife's request seriously.
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Old 09-26-2020, 12:17 PM   #18
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The happy admiral/wife comments are amusing sometimes. But if you have a rolly hull, everyone will be happier with stabilization, even the tough guy that can handle anything.
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Old 09-26-2020, 12:22 PM   #19
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I think that the OP is anticipating/imagining the future of his boating. Lot's of folks are dealing with tight funds and having to put off, temporarily dreaming and planning for when the income picks up again. I think it's healthy and smart to research now. Sometimes our thought create new opportunities and we find a way to meet our goals sooner. Cheers.
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Old 09-26-2020, 01:14 PM   #20
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My current boat is a wonderful coastal cruiser, and I LOVE being on the open water. However, my boating days might very well come abruptly to an end if the "Admiral" or any of our friends, had an unexpected "pukey" day. I don't tend to get seasick, but I did just one time when I was in college, like 50+ years ago, and I still remember it, so I have empathy.

Because of that I have been sticking with the ICW for the past 9 months. I have enjoyed my trips to Savannah and Charleston, but have stayed off the ocean. That I do NOT like. Because of the coronavirus hysteria my income had temporarily (hopefully) come to a grinding halt and I can't drop $50-$90K on a gyro stabilizer, which is, I believe, the best option for my future crusing plans. So, for now I'm stuck on the ICW unless I can venture out on some 1-2' wave days IF the waves are coming in the right direction, and IF I'm feeling lucky.

I'm not complaining because I think it would be "wrong" for those of us who can afford to have boats to complain when some people in the country can't even eat, but it's still true that you ABSOLUTELY MUST take the wife's request seriously.
Yeah everything is a mess right now.

Everyone has their limits. We looked at an un-stabalized boat last week, the owner and his partner had a "6ft at 8sec" rule. Having a specific definition makes good sense to me.

I am taking the wife's preferences into account. She actually worked 'spill tenders' for oil platforms off the California coast and and crew boats on the Valdez oil spill clean up. Their boats were considerably larger (~100) and un-stabalized.

Boat shopping in our price range means we do need to make a few trade-offs though. For example we found a nice Great Banks that ticks off 95%+ of things that she really wants in a boat, the only nic is no stabilizer. The boat we are considering with stabilizers, a Marine Trader, has 60% of the stuff we want.
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