When Lt. Commander Scott Armstrong and his wife, Tiana, bought a 1979 Hatteras and gave her an extensive makeover, they had a specific vision for Finders Keepers. “We didn’t want to just scamper from marina to marina,” said Tiana. “We wanted to explore remote locations.” Seakeeper helped them achieve that mission with the installation of two M8000 gyros.
Moored in MWR Harbor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Finders Keepers’ recent refit transformed the 59′ Hatteras into a Kennedy-esque, retro-style yacht with 21st-century amenities. When it came to stabilizing options, Scott said, “none satisfied our need for stability while underway and at anchor except for Seakeeper gyros. We looked at the engineering and found Seakeeper would allow the Hatteras to do what she was always intended to do — go to sea.” The M8000 gyros were installed by Gulf Coast Hatteras, Seakeeper’s dealer/service and installation partner in Alabama.
Before the gyros were fitted, “significant swells necessitated maintaining precise seamanship or our salon looked like a scene from The Exorcist with everything moving around,” said Tiana. “Remaining on the flybridge was out of the question.
“After the Seakeepers were installed, a ‘magic carpet ride’ is a far more apt description. Several of our guests are nervous at sea, but now everyone loves the experience, because the boat’s motion is far more predictable and gentle. Seasickness is a thing of the past,” Tiana continued. “It allowed my 70-year-old mother-in-law to move about safely in conditions that would have prevented her from doing so before.”
It was determined that the best location for the gyros was immediately beneath the master stateroom bed. “The Armstrong’s were apprehensive about the noise,” said Gulf Coast’s marine electronics supervisor, Porter Lloyd. But there was no need to worry.
“We are completely unaware of their presence,” said Tiana. “The white noise of the generator and air handlers is several times louder. And, there is no vibration unless you actually touch them. It’s hard to believe there are steel flywheels whizzing along at 8,000 rpm a mattress away! People’s eyes bug out when I show them off.”
The Seakeeper gyros also create fuel savings for the Armstrong’s. “I can plan voyages without constantly maneuvering relative to the sea state, wasting time and diesel trying to find a smooth ride,” said Tiana. “The vessel’s control has been improved and she tracks more precisely. We also noticed that heave is a bit more controlled, due to the gyros’ position relative to the center of gravity and waterline.”
Gulf Coast Hatteras also oversaw Finders Keepers‘ comprehensive refit, including hull sandblasting, repainting and woodwork. “We also built a new dining area, modernized the electricity, installed system monitors, and updated the fuel system and watermakers,” said Lloyd.
“Installing gyros under the master stateroom is unusual, but proves our flexible mounting options,” said John Kermet, Seakeeper VP of sales and marketing. “To bring stability and more safety to a 33-year old classic yacht is rewarding.” With no external appendages, Seakeeper gyros deliver unmatched stability whether a boat is at anchor, low speed, or underway.