VIDEO: Gyro stabilizers gain popularity

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Gyroscope stabilization has emerged as one of the fast-growing technologies on today’s recreational boats. Designers and boatbuilders are now creating spaces for the gyro installation during the planning stages of boat design.

“With every boat we draw now, we have to have a planned space for [a gyro stabilizer],” said designer Michael Peters, owner of Michael Peters Yacht Design in Sarasota, Fla. “Five years ago, we didn’t even think about this. It’s a huge development. It’s becoming much more prevalent than we thought. We thought it was just for guys with larger boats and deep pockets, but with everything we design over 40 feet, the builder wants to know where the gyro is going.”

Seakeeper (www.seakeeper.com) is a Solomons, Md., company that specializes in active gyro stabilizers for boats. Seakeeper has delivered more than 1,300 gyro systems, and 374 were delivered in 2013, says Seakeeper’s Shep McKenney, who founded the company in 2003.

Intrepid Powerboats (www.intrepidboats.com ) has installed four Seakeeper gyro systems in powerboats from about 39 to 48 feet. The only drawback is price, Intrepid president Ken Clinton said.

Like most technologies, early versions were expensive, McKenney said.

“But as quantities go up and costs come down, we believe gyros will become ‘must have’ equipment on most boats over 30 feet,” he said. “To that end, we are making large investments in plant and personnel to make this happen as soon as possible.”

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