elec tech

Sta­bi­lizer sys­tems, whether new or for reft, of­fer more fea­tures than ever.

Yachts International - - Contents -

Sta­bi­lizer sys­tems, whether new or for reft, of­fer more fea­tures than ever.

It’s go­ing to be bad. Your course con­ficts with the pre­vail­ing seas, putting the waves on your stern quar­ter, and your yacht’s cruis­ing speed co­in­cides with that of the waves. You roll once and hang there, seem­ingly for­ever, your sta­bi­liz­ers fail­ing to set you up­right as you’d ex­pect them to do.

Your old hy­draulic con­trols, which likely haven’t been up­graded since the boat was new, de­pend on a small gy­ro­scope that senses only the rate of change in the ves­sel’s an­gle of heel. If the boat is rolling reg­u­larly from side to side, all is fne. If, how­ever, it hangs at an an­gle, there is no change in mo­tion. No sig­nal is sent from the con­troller to the ac­tu­a­tor, and the fns stay fxed in po­si­tion.

With new elec­tronic con­trollers, how­ever, things have changed for the bet­ter. Ac­cord­ing to David Yish, cus­tomer ser­vice manager at Na­iad Dy­nam­ics, th­ese mod­ern units still sense the rate of change, but they also in­clude a ref­er­ence to the hori­zon, so they know if you’re hung to one side and they ad­just ac­cord­ingly. Yish says that in many cases, it can make tech­ni­cal and eco­nomic sense to ft a new con­troller to an older sys­tem, an eval­u­a­tion that must be made on a case-by-case ba­sis.

While you’re at it, an­other sig­nif­cant up­grade can be at­tained by chang­ing a tra­di­tional sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem to a zero-speed or at-rest sys­tem. Not only is the con­troller changed, but big­ger fns or ro­tors are re­quired, of­ten along with a big­ger ac­tu­a­tor. This may also re­quire a more pow­er­ful hy­draulic sys­tem, as well as a change in the power source. Tra­di­tion­ally, power comes from hy­draulic pumps on the main en­gines, but most own­ers would rather not run th­ese en­gines at an­chor, so power from the gen­er­a­tors, ei­ther di­rect-drive or by elec­tric mo­tors, is pre­ferred. In ad­di­tion to sta­bi­liz­ers, Na­iad also of­fers full mo­tion-con­trol sys­tems, which in­te­grate the fns, rud­ders and trim tabs or in­ter­cep­tors.

At each stage of im­prove­ment, of course, cost in­creases, so it be­comes a ques­tion of up­grad­ing ver­sus in­stalling new. This, too, must be eval­u­ated on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis. Mark Arm­strong, mar­ket­ing manager of Quan­tum Marine En­gi­neer­ing, says that com­pany, too, can retroft new con­trollers to old sys­tems, but of­ten fnds a new in­stal­la­tion makes more sense for the larger yachts that are Quan­tum’s spe­cialty. Of­ten in­cluded in a new sys­tem is an in­te­grated hy­draulic pack­age that sim­plifes things by pow­er­ing not just the sta­bi­liz­ers but also the other hy­draulics, such as thrusters, winches and cap­stans.

Re­gard­less of whether you up­grade or opt for a new sys­tem, tech­nol­ogy is sig­nif­cantly ahead of where it was just a few years ago. You can’t go wrong by en­hanc­ing the com­fort of your yacht and en­abling more and hap­pier times aboard, and bet­ter sta­bi­liza­tion is a big step in that di­rec­tion.

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