Many years ago, when my wife and I and my youngest daughter would take our annual family summer cruise from Norwalk, Connecticut, to Nantucket, my daughter would always ask if we could please avoid Buzzards Bay. That’s because it seems every time we did cruise through Buzzards Bay, we hit a bad chop that made our Grand Banks 36, which was built like a little battleship, roll around like a cork, and my daughter would definitely get a little green around the gills.
All that, unfortunately, was in the days before Seakeeper, the gyro stabilizer that takes almost all the rock and roll out of boating. I tested one of its first applications, in a big Azimut off Atlantic City, probably ten years ago and I knew it was a winner. Then last fall George Day, our publisher, and I were on a new MJM 35z with Bob Johnstone, the company president, when he turned on the boat’s Seakeeper in Narragansett Bay and reduced our rolling, even in a beam sea, to almost nothing. “I’d think everyone would want one,” Day said.
Indeed, lots of people agree. So far, Seakeeper has sold about 6,000 units, putting them on new boats and on retrofits from 25 to 85 feet, at prices from $22,000 to $200,000 each. And the company is working on developing smaller versions for smaller boats.
Here’s a great first-person story from Wired about taking a ride in the Pacific on a 29-foot fishing boat with a Seakeeper. It tells how Seakeeper works, how it fits into a boat, and how it improves the entire boating experience. “It changes the game for everyone on the boat, a far as comfort, safety and the performance of the vessel,” said Berkeley Andrews, the company’s West Coast sales manager. “Fatigue is a big thing in boating, and people make mistakes or get sick.” Read more: