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Old 04-20-2021, 12:09 PM   #1
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Stabilized or not?

Looking for a live aboard long distance cruiser. The discussion is are stabilizers essential? We have been told by a few brokers that we definitely want stabilizers. But could a 52’ full displacement hull boat with 60,000 displacement handle beam seas without stabilizers? Looking at the Seahorse 52 in California and would cruise her down to the Sea of Cortez and maybe through the Panama into the Caribbean, or even up north to PNW/Alaska. Would you go with an unstabilized boat for this type of cruising? We are coming from a 37’ trawler that definitely rolled in beam seas!
Other considerations are DeFever 49RPH, Nordhavn 46 and Cherubini independence 50.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:37 PM   #2
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A proper blue water boat (Seahorse 52 for example) can handle it but the crew would be far more comfortable with stabilization.

Our unstabilized KK54 was brought around through the canal and up the West coast to Seattle by the previous owner. He reported no safety concerns but a couple of crew had bumps and cuts and bruises. To be fair the boat has a short ketch rig that can offer some stabilization in a beam sea/wind.

As we now prepare her for longer distance crusing (our itenerary is similar to yours with a trip to Alaska on the front end)...we're scheduled to have paravanes fabricated here in Seattle this Spring as I'd like my wife, family and guests to want to continue to cruise.
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:12 PM   #3
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could a 52’ full displacement hull boat with 60,000 displacement handle beam seas without stabilizers?

As above-handle it yes but more comfortable with them--Yes.
2 trips from Anacortes to Glacier and back in 52' semi-displacement boat without stabilizers--no real problems but there were a few times stabilizers would have made passengers more comfortable
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Old 04-20-2021, 01:28 PM   #4
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Looking for a live aboard long distance cruiser. The discussion is are stabilizers essential? We have been told by a few brokers that we definitely want stabilizers. But could a 52’ full displacement hull boat with 60,000 displacement handle beam seas without stabilizers? Looking at the Seahorse 52 in California and would cruise her down to the Sea of Cortez and maybe through the Panama into the Caribbean, or even up north to PNW/Alaska. Would you go with an unstabilized boat for this type of cruising? We are coming from a 37’ trawler that definitely rolled in beam seas!
Other considerations are DeFever 49RPH, Nordhavn 46 and Cherubini independence 50.
Thanks in advance.
This is easy. YOU WANT A STABILIZED BOAT for this type of cruising. Fins, fish, sail, other.....you need some form of stabilizer. Even without beam seas (they often come from every possible direction).

I'm guessing you've never been aboard a stabilized boat. If you had, chances are the question doesn't need to be asked let alone answered.

Peter
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:03 PM   #5
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Gotcha. Yes, you’re correct, have never been aboard a stabilized boat. Reading that maintaining them is very expensive, and you need to run the genset the entire time they are active, so added fuel cost as well. We are used to planning our cruising around weather windows to avoid big seas, but know that isn’t always possible and weather happens.
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:45 PM   #6
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Seakeeper/Gyro systems generally require full-time generator running. Hydraulic fins do not since most of the work is run off the engine for hydraulics (some boats setup the hydraulic pump off the generator, but that is less common). As far as expense of maintenance, a recent thread had several people state their service costs were in the $2000-$2500 range every 4-5 years or so. Yes, nothing to sneeze at, but not outrageous either.

Paravane/Fish stabilizers are a good option. Less expensive to install, no mechanical systems, and they work well. They are much more manual so not a flip-of-the-switch convenience of fins, but a good option too.

By the numbers, my Willard 36 is about as stable as you can get with a full displacement boat. She's very low to the water with low-ish ceilings (A/B ratio); has very high ballast to displacement ratio (6000# displacement in a designed 25,000# vessel, or almost 25% - Nordhavn and KK are barely 10%). I run my fin-stabilizers when needed which is often during meal prep and that's it. Other taller/bigger boats run them full time (N47, Defever 44, etc).

I promise you that if you cruise, you will not regret buying a stabilized boat. As a matter of fact, you will shake your head and think "Geez - I can't believe I even had to think about this." Any stabilization system is better than no stabilization.

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Old 04-20-2021, 03:00 PM   #7
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Thanks! Just needed the trawlerforum confirmation! We will stay on the hunt for a stabilized boat ⚓️������
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:07 PM   #8
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Vahela, I wouldn’t be too concerned about finding a stabilized boat as one of your criteria, unless your budget cannot cover installing a new system.

There are alot of options out there. Personally for a boat with your 27 mt displacement, which isn’t so heavy, I’d favor a QuickItaly gyro with a small cruise generator to power it underway, over traditional active fins or a Seakeeper.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:38 PM   #9
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Some vessels have covered up the ideal location for active stabilizers with other equipment or building materials. Don't assume that stabilizers are an easy retrofit. Shop carefully and focus on a solid glass hull for retrofitting.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:41 PM   #10
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Vahela, I wouldn’t be too concerned about finding a stabilized boat as one of your criteria, unless your budget cannot cover installing a new system.

There are alot of options out there. Personally for a boat with your 27 mt displacement, which isn’t so heavy, I’d favor a QuickItaly gyro with a small cruise generator to power it underway, over traditional active fins or a Seakeeper.
Installing stabilizers into a boat that didn't have them is expensive. Assuming there is room, blocks need to be bonded to the hull. A hydraulic pump needs to be attached to engine including pullies and belts. Hoses, electronics, etc. Plus haul and incidentals. No bargain to add after.

Adding a gyro is difficult as an after-thought. Adding a cruising generator requires at least what is required to add a hydraulic pump for fins, plus all the electrics.

I just don't understand this recommendation, especially with an off-brand (to US market) Italian gyro. What could possibly go wrong?

Peter
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:00 PM   #11
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Many of the DeFever 49 RPH ‘s (including mine) are stabilized. My admiral rated stabilizers and island Queen master as equally important #1requirements when we looked for our boat (previous GB36CL).
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:19 PM   #12
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I like the paravanes on my 54' steel trawler: makes the world of difference in rough conditions and up out of the way with no power, drag or maintenance costs when conditions are good.

Im pretty old school so would be wary of anything requiring too much power to drive or nouse to maintain.
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:52 PM   #13
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Once you go stabilized, you never go back to an unstabilized boat. Buy a boat with them already installed. Its very expensive to install them yourself. Our Naiad's just run a hydraulic pump off the starboard main engine. Really little maintenance. Fins seals every 6 to 8 years (says the Naiad Tech).
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Old 04-20-2021, 09:10 PM   #14
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Whatever boat you get, and however stable it is, it will be significantly more comfortable with stabilizers than without. I'm in the camp of "once you've gone flat, you never go back".
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Old 04-20-2021, 11:53 PM   #15
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Once you have stabilizers you won’t complain about being waked in a narrow channel.
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Old 04-21-2021, 01:32 PM   #16
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Except while docking (they go crazy when I try to backup), my stabilizers are always on -- even in calm conditions, though I do occasionally forget. My daughters are very quick to notice, however, and ask that I turn on the stabilizers. The difference in roll is remarkable -- though note they do virtually nothing for pitching.
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:14 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=Taras;998018]Once you go stabilized, you never go back to an unstabilized boat.

Well said! I am very happy with my Keypower stabs installed ten years ago.
The staff in British Columbia is very reactive and friendly. Like their agent in FL, Shane Bradley from Starlight Marine Services. He just sent me new solenoids in less than four days to Europe!They know very well this kind of equipment which must be properly installed.
Also, I must try my plan B, horizontal paravanes in galva steel with fish, no hydraulics etc but less easy than push the button on dashboard.
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Old 04-22-2021, 03:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Gotcha. Yes, you’re correct, have never been aboard a stabilized boat. Reading that maintaining them is very expensive, and you need to run the genset the entire time they are active, so added fuel cost as well. We are used to planning our cruising around weather windows to avoid big seas, but know that isn’t always possible and weather happens.
I just had my Naiad Stabs serviced. Materials + Labor $1,033 in Tacoma WA. Tech said that they hadn't been done for 6 years or so (boat is new to me) and recommended a 3-5 year service interval.

My Stabs run off a main engine.

Beam Seas can and do occur even in any fair weather window, as can large wakes. With Stabs you set and forget. You do not need to steer into that wake from a passing ship, you just steam right on.

I am new to stabilizers and am wowed by the improvement. On our old boat we used to have to time our crossing of the Juan de Fuca channel early morning to avoid the constant beam seas, and it was still very uncomfortable at times. With Stabs the boat simply did not roll at all. ~A
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Old 04-22-2021, 04:00 PM   #19
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What he said

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
This is easy. YOU WANT A STABILIZED BOAT for this type of cruising. Fins, fish, sail, other.....you need some form of stabilizer. Even without beam seas (they often come from every possible direction).

I'm guessing you've never been aboard a stabilized boat. If you had, chances are the question doesn't need to be asked let alone answered.

Peter
I would never own an unstable trawler. Only those without them dis them.
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Old 04-23-2021, 04:08 AM   #20
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I would never own an unstable trawler. Only those without them dis them.
There are not, indeed, many rules:

1 coastal cruising, semi planning with twin engines, medium size engines, run from 12Knt to 20 with flaps. Everything is ok in more or less normal weather and waves conditions. Flat seas, run at 7 knts, more economical, little rolling.
Very bad seas, obliged to run also at displacment speed, everybody sick, lockers opening underway, hope to back soon in the marina!

2 offshore cruising and coastal cruising in difficult areas ( predominant weather, currents etc), heavy displacment with one low RPM and silent engine, heavy duty M2 or M1 +stabs or paravanes, less noise and vibrations! Permanently at 7 or 8 knts, you accept to be late for dinner with friends at the marina.Or you have planned to do a lot of miles before arriving at destination, and you know the goal. Sometimes you may regret, but safety and comfort first, less maintenance with one engine than two...And you feel more relax, like on a sailing boat, but with more space aboard.
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