New stabilization system for boats under 35′ developed by SEAKEEPER that is not a gyro.
The Seakeeper RIDE, a new active TRIM system, has chosen to use the following name: Vessel Attitude Control System or VACS for Vessel Attitude Control System.
Seakeeper didn’t want to introduce a system comparable to what is already available, such as Humphree or ZIPWAKE.
They wanted an even more powerful system that would control the movement of the boat in almost any environment.
Well, it seems that it is a mission accomplished.
Following is the product description from SEAKEEPER and Motor Boat & Yachting:
ELIMINATE UP TO 70% OF PITCH AND ROLL WHILE UNDERWAY.
Nothing compares to the Seakeeper Ride’s first-of-its-kind attitude control system, which can eliminate up to 70% of underway pitch and roll. Our proprietary rapid deployment rotating blades make 100 adjustments per second to combat wave motion, providing unmatched performance.
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A little history about SEAKEEPER:
It’s fair to say that Seakeeper’s line of gyro stabilizers for boats revolutionized the zero speed anti-roll market. When the same marine motion control specialist says its new Seakeeper Ride active trim system will be “the next big thing in boating,” it’s worth paying attention.
New Approach :
Seakeeper Ride’s automatic list control keeps the deck level regardless of uneven or moving weight distribution. With Seakeeper Ride, you aren’t getting a finger workout making constant adjustments to combat list or heel.
Among other things, the bow rise when climbing onto plane was significantly reduced, compensates for changes in crosswinds and uneven boat loading and actively coordinates turns for smoother, safer sailing. In simple terms, it’s like having the boat “magnetically attached” to the water.
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Seakeeper Ride 450 : The entry-level unit that brings stabilization within the reach of most boaters.
The hardware itself has a number of similarities to existing trim systems in that it consists of two separate units that attach to the transom, in line with the trailing edge of the hull, and generate lift by intercepting the flow of water as it leaves the hull.
Increasing lift on either side adjusts the heel/wheel angle, while increasing or decreasing lift on both sides at the same time controls forward and aft trim, similar to a basic set of trim tabs.
That said, the new Ride system is actually closer in principle to the interceptor-type trim tabs used by Zipwake, Volvo and Humphree, but instead of having vertical interceptor blades that descend in line with the transom, the Seakeeper system uses a rotating arm with a cup-shaped lip that descends behind the transom.
The rotating arm is sealed in a waterproof housing for reliability.
They both generate lift by trapping a wedge of high-pressure water in front of the protruding surface that forces the main flow of water down and pushes the hull up, but according to Seakeeper, the design of the rotating arm allows for exceptionally fast movement, highly efficient lift and excellent reliability.
Speed and control
Andrew Semprevivo, president and CEO of Seakeeper, said, “We’ve been playing with guillotine-style tabs and blades and could have had an improved automatic trim system on the market years ago, but we weren’t interested in doing the same thing but better, we wanted something different.
“Rotary provided the breakthrough we were looking for. It was the only way to make it fast, powerful and reliable.”
The graphs show pitch and roll with the Ride system on and off.
The numbers speak for themselves: the rotating blades can extend at a rate of 300 mm per second, allowing for up to 100 fine adjustments per second.
It’s not just the hardware of the mechanism that’s new, the software behind it is just as innovative. Instead of having to program the software to adapt to each boat, it uses artificial intelligence to continuously learn and refine its behavior.
A three-axis sensor in a separate software module, which must be installed inside the boat, monitors the boat’s movement in the water and via a GPS feed, reacting instantly to compensate for any changes in pitch, roll, speed or heading.
The only thing you need to set is the trim angle you prefer when cruising. The simplicity of the installation is such that you don’t even need to install a keypad, although one is available for those who want it.
Any changes you wish to make can be done through the boat’s existing MFD. The vast majority of users will simply set it to turn on when the engine starts and let it do its job.
Two small black boxes for sensors, software and power distribution are all that is needed.
It remains to be seen how it compares to Humphree’s Active Ride Control system. Like the Swedish company’s solution, the boat must be moving at a sufficient speed for the blades to generate lift. So it’s not an alternative to a fin- or gyro-based stabilization system, which also works at rest.
The exposed blades (and the entire housing) must also be done in anti-fouling, unlike Humphree blades that retract into a housing.
However, the Seakeeper Ride’s drive unit is sealed inside a dry, greased, waterproof housing with few moving parts and very simple installation and configuration requirements.
Initially, the Seakeeper Ride system will be fitted as standard equipment on a number of new Chris-Craft, Sportsman and Scout models, and when production capacity allows, it will be available as a retrofit item for DIY installation on boats in the U.S. and Europe.
Three sizes are available at launch, suitable for both 12V and 24V electrical systems: the Ride 450 for 19-26 foot boats priced at $4,500, the 550 for 27-30 foot boats priced at $7,500 and the 600 for 31-35 foot boats priced at $10,500 (USD prices).
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