Improved stability with a retro fit

Dan Fisher looks at how retrofitting new technology can improve stability and increase the yacht’s performance

Amongst the ever-increasing field of stabilizing options available to yacht owners, one of the more recently commercialised technologies is proving to offer the greatest flexibility for in-build installation, upgrade or retrofit through
its plug-and-play simplicity.

While each of the many stabilizer alternatives on the market have their own strengths and purpose, gyrostabilizers stand alone in offering both underway and zero speed performance in an all-in-one package that can be easily retrofitted without needing underwater hull modifications or complex integration with existing systems.

As a leading manufacturer of gyrostabilizers, or “gyros”, designed for vessels of 20 metres to over 100 metres, VEEM Marine has maintained a development emphasis across its six model range that makes specifying and installing the right sized gyro at newbuild or as a retrofit a straightforward solution.

VEEM Marine’s proprietary GYROsim Roll Reduction Performance Prediction Reports are an important part of the company’s pre- purchase services. By providing vessel owners and their teams the opportunity to assess the predicted roll reduction performance of multiple stabilizer configurations in various sea states, an informed decision can be made around installing the prescribed stabilizing capacity, not just the biggest gyro to fit the space available.

VEEM Marine has worked with many naval architects and shipyards to create practical solutions for retrofitting single or multiple gyros as the company now delivers more than one in three of its gyros as a retrofit rather than to a new build.

Before we take a look at some recent retrofit projects, it should be explained that gyros will perform equally well no matter where suitable space and foundations can be found to accommodate them. They do not need to be on the centreline and even gyros of differing sizes can be mixed and matched to fit available spaces throughout the vessel. No matter the size or location, their individual angular momentums contribute to the total stabilising torque capacity without the need for any linking or programming.

With several gyro configuration options often being evaluated, collaborating with different project teams has been an interesting study in how making space for gyros can be influenced by the owner’s usage profile. For example, 2021 saw the delivery of a VG520SD, VEEM Marine’s largest gyro at the time, for installation in a Damen YS 5009 extended to 60 metres. The owner was seeking to carry more equipment and larger tenders on deck, while at the same time creating the space needed for the 20 tonne gyro. Not only did the extension deliver increased deck capacity and a perfect location for the gyro, surplus space in the new hull section is being used for additional equipment, storage, work areas and refrigeration.

More recently, VEEM Marine delivered a pair of VG52SD model gyros to a 40m tri-deck motor yacht undergoing refit and upgrades in the USA. In this instance, the gyros will fit neatly in the lazarette below a new fishing cockpit and share the space created with refrigerated fish boxes.

An outsider observing either of these projects might wonder if vessel changes are being made to accommodate gyros, and that the added space and amenity is a fortunate by-product. Or is it the opposite case?

Whatever the primary driver may be, VEEM Marine has found that in almost all cases, retrofitting gyros has yielded a win-win of improved functional performance atop improved stability.

An encouraging trend observed by the company is that they are now seeing designers make provision for gyros in standard hull designs. This will make it easy for owners to choose a gyro option during newbuild, or provide a ready foundation for retrofit should they or a future owner wish to upgrade to gyrostabilization in the future.

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