Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD -

Not ev­ery­one can swing a new boat, so what about retrofitting a Sea­keeper? John­stone says the gyro has to sit on “fairly sub­stan­tial” struc­ture. MJM in­stalls stringers to ac­cept the Sea­keeper, but many boats will need ad­di­tional sup­port, adding com­plex­ity and ex­pense to the job. Place­ment is also an is­sue: A Sea­keeper is heavy—mod­els range from 550 to al­most 4,000 pounds, plus the ad­di­tional weight of ex­tra struc­ture and an­cil­lary gear. It doesn’t have to be mounted on the cen­ter­line from a func­tional stand­point, but cen­ter­line-fo­cused weight is a fac­tor in main­tain­ing proper trim, said John­stone.

In most retrofits, the Sea­keeper can be tied into ex­ist­ing stringers, said Brook Stevens, regional sales man­ager at the com­pany. Some­times the stringers have to be sis­tered to get the right span for the mounts; this is fig­ured out on a case-by-case ba­sis, he said. Once the sup­port struc­ture is built, the Sea­keeper—with a ro­tor that lives in a vac­uum-sealed sphere that piv­ots fore and aft, sup­ported by a sturdy steel cage that also holds the hy­draulic ac­tive-con­trol cylin­ders—can be se­cured ei­ther via metal plates glassed in­side the stringer and tapped to re­ceive mount­ing bolts or via tapped sad­dles that fit over the stringers and are glued in place with Plexus or an­other high-tech ad­he­sive. Ev­ery Sea­keeper in­stal­la­tion is a cus­tom job that should be car­ried out by au­tho­rized tech­ni­cians, said Stevens. When plan­ning a retro­fit, con­tact the com­pany first, he added. En­gi­neers there can pro­vide ad­vice, and a list of cer­ti­fied in­stall­ers. “We try to get in­volved in ev­ery project,” Stevens said.

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