Monthly Archives: February 2013




Once found only aboard big ships and megayachts, gyro stabilizers are now being fitted on boats under 40’.

By Ken Kreisler

ocean-2012062_1280Sea sickness. To the French, it’s known as le mal de mer; to the Spanish, la enfermedad del mar; even bahari ugonjwa, as uttered by our nautical brethren in Swahili, are some of the most dreaded words that mariners understand regardless of the language. It can bring most sufferers to their knees in humbling supplication to both the captain on the bridge and the heavens above to please, please, get them back to dry and not-moving and solid terra firma post-haste, if not sooner with the absolute and irrevocable promise of never, ever doing this again.

Besides possibly getting a good whiff of early morning diesel or gasoline exhaust combined with the previous night’s imbibing of copious and varying amounts of dissimilar adult beverages and just having to go for that last serving of lasagna, the often multi-directional pitch, roll, and yaw of a vessel underway, even in relatively calm conditions, can bring on the debilitating symptoms and resultant end product of the dreaded malady.

sea-band-us-adultProductsWhile the physiological causes of sea sickness are complex, involving the sensitive organs of the inner ear and our brains which can be dealt with somewhat by using an assortment of pills, remedies, and homeopathic and placebo-based therapies, getting your boat to stop, or at least significantly diminish, it’s up and down and side to side movement, which often occurs at the same time, is the key to a sure-fire cure.

gyro-861100_1280Enter the idea of the gyroscope. Breaking it down to its most simplistic explanation, thus avoiding having to try to clarify what anyone except those capable of understanding such advanced concepts of physics as inertial moments, precession, and angular momentum, a gyroscope, once set into motion will stabilize any force that is trying to prevent it from remaining upright.

Take that one step further to a specialized device designed specifically for applications aboard a boat that when installed somewhere below decks inside your vessel, will result in a stabilization of motion without the need for drag-inducing, damage-prone external fins. As long as the gyro is kept spinning, the yawing and pitching; the up and down and back and forth and…well, you get the idea, will be significantly diminished.

While gyro stabilization has been around for quite a while, due to the large power consumption necessary to run them, and the weight and size of the units, they were limited to use aboard only large ships. But by applying the latest in technology, especially being able to spin the flywheel at high speeds in a near vacuum—higher spin speeds require a smaller flywheel which results in a more compact and energy-efficient piece of equipment—thus all but eliminating bearing and air friction, as well as supplying protection from the marine environment, the system is now available to a wider range of vessels.

“We are leveling the horizon for a larger range of boats now, and will continue to design and innovate. Our MX Series is an evolution in advance of the gyro revolution,” so says John Kermet, VP of sales and marketing for Seakeeper, the Maryland-based company, founded in 2002, that is in the forefront of the technology.

The SeeVee 430 easily accommodates the Seakeeper MX Series.

The SeeVee easily accommodates the Seakeeper MX Series.

The MX Series Kermet refers to is designed for boats from 11m-13m/36’-42’ and has already been successfully installed aboard a 39’ Intrepid, a tender for the Abeking & Rasmussen-built Silver Cloud, a 40.8m/134’ megayacht. Seakeeper teamed up with Ocean5 Naval Architects and Intrepid to bring this design to practical use. The unit installed is the Seakeeper M8000. Among the other notable builders utilizing the other Seakeeper Gyro Stabilization Systems are Azimut, Fairline, Hatteras, Viking, Sabre, Tiara, Lazzara, and a long list of others.

hatteras-seakeeperSeakeeper units are of course readily available to new builds but are also, and in most cases, capable of being retro-fitted to existing boats. Take, for example, the job done on Finders Keepers, a 59’ 1979 Hatteras while the boat was being remodeled. The problem was finding a suitable space for the equipment. While the owners first balked at the thought—the typical unweighted 70-75dB(A) sound, as ascertained in the Seakeeper lab as well as with no wave load on its 43-foot Viking test boat—they found the sound barely noticeable, especially above that of the air conditioning. “Installing gyros under the master stateroom is unusual, but proves our flexible mounting options,” said Kermet. “To bring stability and more safety to a 33-year old classic yacht is rewarding.”

Indeed, the unit or units do not have to be installed on the vessel’s centerline to be effective. However, the space does need to have the proper structure and mounting capabilities to successfully transmit the gyros righting technique to the hull. Other considerations include having to run the unit off a genset while running or at anchor or, if necessary, on shore power while in the dock.

A Seakeeper M8000 gyro is just one of many models available for a wide range of applications.

A Seakeeper M8000 gyro is just one of many models available for a wide range of applications.

If you are thinking of installing this kind of equipment aboard your new build or adding it to your present vessel, Seakeeper has all the information and infrastructure at your disposal to assist with pricing, model need, positioning, and after care. And while you can watch the dramatic videos on its site, if you really want to experience what this kind of equipment can actually do, schedule an on-board sea trial. Keeping things on an even keel aboard your boat will definitely take on a new meaning.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Equipment



Sea Trials

Boat wake from bridgeChange For The Better

An owner’s vision results in an innovative interior for a stalwart member of the Hatteras motoryacht series and one that will now be the new standard for the venerated builder.

By Ken Kreisler

The latest Hatteras 80-foot MY, H2OME, sports a brand new paint job as well as a game changing interior.

The latest Hatteras 80-foot MY, H2OME, sports a brand new paint job as well as a game changing interior. (Photo: Ken Kreisler)

H2OME. Aboard this Hatteras 80 motoryacht, with its newly designed interior and on whose transom this boat’s name is adorned, the yacht’s moniker means a lot to its owner and his family. It goes way beyond an enthusiasm for being able to achieve the finer things in life and adds a genuine appreciation for the means to get what one wants and needs. And besides, it is their second home in more ways than one.

Interior Designer Cullen Moser (right) and Construction Manager Jimmy Talvacchio are all smiles in H2OME's main salon.

Interior Designer Cullen Moser (right) and Construction Manager Jimmy Talvacchio are all smiles in H2OME‘s main salon. (Photo: Ken Kreisler)

“Designing the interior of one of our boats, whether it’s a sportfish or a motoryacht, is just about the same. We always find out, covering every little detail, no matter how minor or seemingly insignificant, how the owner is going to use it and go from there,” says Cullen Moser, Hatteras’ interior designer and one of the Hatteras team most closely associated with the end result of what goes on inside.  “With this boat however, things were pretty different. The owner, who already had purchased one of our 80 motoryachts, it was hull #39, came to us and said, ‘…this is what I want, let’s make it happen.’ And so we did.”

Since H2OME’s owner wanted a much more contemporary layout, one that fit his particular lifestyle and taste, more so than the traditional arrangement Hatteras had been offering, Moser, along with construction manager Jimmy Talvacchio, set about turning his dreams into reality.

“Given that he bought this one even before he sold his other boat, we knew we were dealing with a highly motivated owner. To that end, we needed to review each detail, comparing everything from his original layout to flooring and fabrics, lighting, hardware and hinges, as well as having to deal with possibly repositioning structural bulkheads, designing portlights, and, going from 1,600-hp to 1,900-hp, allowing for larger engines, ” said Talvacchio. “We even visited with him at his home in Florida, spending lots of time on the 80 he had at the time just to see where and what we could do. And of particular importance was a redesign of the bridge deck and adding a hydraulic swim platform.”

Moser and Talvacchio worked very closely with the owner so as to achieve the dramatic and contemporary design statement of the yacht, here typified in the main salon.

Moser and Talvacchio, and their Hatteras design team, worked closely with the owner to achieve the  contemporary decor statement of the yacht, here typified in the main salon.

One of the biggest issues in dealing with building this boat was that the project would push Hatteras pretty far out of its comfort zone. Once the proposal was accepted, a major portion of the ensuing planning discussions centered on how, after 41 hulls, was #42 going to affect subsequent builds going forward. It was a question that any builder would be thinking of. “We knew this was an owner who was just not going to take ‘no’ for an answer,” said Moser. “It was going to be a game changer.”

With a company like Hatteras, whose very DNA is rooted in change, the solution was to go for it. It all started in 1960 with its tenacious and determined founder Willis Slane launching Knit Wits, a sportfishing boat whose construction broke with tradition by being fabricated out of hand-laid fiberglass. By deciding against a wood build, which was the current material of choice, Hatteras would set a precedent in boat construction and steer the industry in a new direction. In 1962, the first 41-foot, double cabin motoryacht was launched thus heralding the beginning of the company’s cruising yacht line.

The spacious aft deck offers the opportunity for al fresco dining.

The spacious aft deck offers the opportunity for al fresco dining.

H2OME is as custom as custom can get from a production builder. Talvacchio and his crew actually had to move a structural bulkhead on the lower level to accommodate one aspect of the redesign, moving it aft some 10 to 12 inches so as to achieve the desired layout. “Once the work began, we maintained a very close relationship with the owner at each phase as the project moved forward,” Talvacchio said as he and Moser took me on a tour.

The aft deck, with its teak sole presents a transom seat with accompanying table for al fresco dining opportunities with a wet bar tucked neatly into the forward starboard corner. Access to the upper deck from here is via a molded in stairway to port.

Contemporary in its presentation with a bit of Euro flair best describes the interior. Entering through the rear glass door, itself an impressive and robust piece of equipment as it silently auto slides open and closed, one is greeted by a wide open salon that can be fitted out in many ways so as to accommodate any kind of family gathering or entertaining space.

For this presentation, on the port side aft, there is an intimate seating arrangement featuring a stylish area rug underfoot and an L-shape couch and two opposing club chairs. Forward of that is a formal dining table with seating for six. Tasteful artwork both hanging on the bulkheads as well as the various other art objects here and there, all handpicked by the owner, compliments the overall design and is an indication of the quality of his personal touch.

The wood floor, with its wide planked design, adds to the striking design as one’s eye is drawn to the sharp lines and finely finished woodwork of the furniture, well-balanced interior architecture, and custom-built cabinetry. “While we left the structural positioning of all the bulkheads here on the main deck, this décor design is all new,” Moser pointed out.

Wide open spaces and plenty of counter room will make the galley one of the centerpieces aboard this Hatteras Yacht.

Wide open spaces and plenty of counter room will make the galley one of the centerpieces aboard this Hatteras Yacht.

Hatteras 80MY Galley 2

The forward section of the galley is also available for dining.

Forward on the centerline, is the access way to the galley. This space has a fully appointed layout and forward eating area and gives new meaning to being able to have outstanding gastronomical opportunities. The counter space, both on the starboard bulkhead as well as the island in the middle of the room, affords the kind of opportunity to create anything from a casual snack to a memorable dining experience. There is a full size stainless refrigerator freezer, ample storage space in finely fashioned cabinetry, plenty of ambient light courtesy of large windows all around as well as forward—which, with the touch of a button, can be shaded automatically—and a pair of sturdy, aircraft-style doors to either side, giving easy entrée to the bow area and its comfortable seating space.

Comfortable seating on the bow guarantees a front row seat from which to view the sights while underway or on the hook at a special anchorage.

Comfortable seating on the bow guarantees a front row seat from which to view the sights while underway or on the hook at a special anchorage.

Back in the salon, and on the starboard side, is the hallway down to the four stateroom, four head living accommodations where the dramatic décor theme is continued. Whether in the VIP forepeak, with its striking portlight design to either side, the mirror-image matching quarters of the twin staterooms, or the impressive, full beam master suite, all are tastefully outfitted with fine linens and obvious attention to detail along with more than ample storage space for extended time away from terrestrial home.

For ultimate entertaining while underway, the enclosed and teak-soled bridge deck affords the owner and his family and guests a place from which to not only watch the world go by but be quite comfortable as well. Accessed via the aforementioned aft deck stairway, or by the interior stairway in the galley, this space is the result of both owner and builder input and, as with the interior design, become a permanent change in the 80 line. “We moved the arch back and changed the look of the hardtop to create the kind of the upper deck we knew he was looking for,” said Talvacchio as we stood up on high, surveying the 360-degree views.

The expansive bridge deck is a great place to entertain and dine as well.

The expansive bridge deck is a great place to entertain and dine as well.

A curved bar is to port while a seating/dining area is over to starboard. Moving aft and to starboard is the cooking space, itself enclosed in a beautifully finished cabinet with under counter refrigeration to port. Fully aft is a lounging area with enough room for several chairs.

The bridge helm has all the necessary space for flush mounting any array of your personal electronics and navigational instruments.

The bridge helm has all the necessary space for flush mounting any array of your personal electronics and navigational instruments. (Photo: Ken Kreisler)

At the helm, the skipper—or hands-on owner—has command of a vast array of HST installed electronics and large screen navigational equipment, including a Northstar GPS/plotter, ICOM VHF, Simrad autopilot repeater, and Furuno depth and temp gauge. I noted that everything was not only within a comfortable reach but easily seen as well. And for the co-pilot, there is a doublewide seat to starboard.

As with everything aboard H2OME, her engine room is as well designed and laid out as any found on yachts of her size of even larger. To that end, I found plenty of space to get both hands on any piece of necessary equipment, easy access to both inboard and outboard sides of the twin CAT C32 1,900-hp powerplants as well wide open spaces for all critical fluid checks and maintenance areas. In addition, there is abundant storage space for tools, filters, and any other items that may be needed here.

Carefully planned and laid out for maximum ability to reach all important maintenance areas as well as critical fluid checks, H2OME's engine room is as good as it gets.

Carefully planned and laid out for maximum ability to reach all important maintenance areas as well as critical fluid checks, H2OME‘s engine room is as good as it gets.

Before leaving for some time away from the dock aboard H2OME, I paid a visit to Bruce Angel, who along with being the company’s marine architect is the Senior VP of Operations and Construction Management as well as overseeing Quality Assurance. “While the performance might be different between true planing motoryacht and sportfish design, whether a 40-knot 63 Convertible or a 27-knot 80 Motoryacht, the same design philosophy goes into it,” he said. “While structural consideration may vary because the boats used in two distinct and different way, the convex bow sections for head entry into the sea and the variable deadrise transitioning at times to zero degrees at the transom, the deep tunnels, the deeper gear ratios to get the maximum efficiency out of the propulsion, and all of the math that goes into the development is the same. “

Bruce Angel discusses some of the dynamics about his hull design on the 80 Motoryacht.

Bruce Angel discusses some of the dynamics about his hull design on the 80 Motoryacht. (Photo: Ken Kreisler)

Because H2OME’s owner wanted larger engines, and because Angel and his team had all the empirical data on his other 80, they were actually able to design the props to match the higher horsepower. “Absorbing the power is easy; it’s getting it into the water so you can really see something tangible. In this case, getting a top speed of around 27 knots. This is as fast as any 80 we’ve built.”

To Angel’s point, the H2OME is all Hatteras while underway. While my time aboard saw calm seas with a bit of wind, there is little concern that she is a comfortable, proven and sea-worthy vessel. Equipped with both bow and stern thrusters, she is quite nimble around the dock whether leaving port or arriving. While speed, range, and fuel consumption can vary from vessel to vessel, and depending on prevailing conditions on any given day, estimated performance includes a reasonable cruising speed of anywhere from 19-21 knots at about 2000 rpm with a fuel consumption of about 122 gph. At that turn of speed, one can anticipate somewhere around a 445 nautical mile range. Knock that down 200 rpm and give up a bit of speed, and further fuel savings can be expected. Given her 190,000 full load displacement, and 2,858-gallon fuel capacity, the Hatteras 80 motoryacht can take you to places far and wide in comfort, safety, and peace of mind.

Comfort and luxury are found in all the living accommodations and especially in the master stateroom.

Comfort and luxury are found in all the living accommodations and especially in the master stateroom.

How far is the Hatteras team willing to go with this proven model? “We’re going to do anything we can to make our customers happy and have already discussed building a 100-foot motoryacht for H2OME’s owner and his family, hopefully in the near future. In addition, and but for adding a bar in the salon, the owners of 80 #46 want what they’ve seen,” Moser said. “On our next hull out, that being #43, the request was to eliminate the starboard stateroom as you come down the steps and instead, make it an additional seating and entertainment space,” Talvacchio added.

Hatteras has come a long way since the company was founded back in the 1960’s. Embracing new technologies, staying ahead of the curve, and giving their owners what they want is the way it has maintained its position in the rarefied air of successful production boat building.  And now, with its ability to provide a custom design to suit individual needs and wants, Hatteras will once again, be changing for the better. Hatteras Yachts, 110 North Glenburnie Road, New Bern, NC 28560 USA. (252) 633-3101.


Length Overall: 79’10” / 24.33 meters
Beam: 21’3″ / 6.48 meters
Draft: 5’8″ / 1.73 meters
Freshwater Capacity: 326 gallons / 1,234 liters
Gray Water: 252 gal / 953 liters
Fuel Capacity: 2,858 gallons / 10,819 liters
Holding Capacity: 388 gal / 1,468 liters
Weight Displacement: 190,000 lbs / 86,183 kilos
Height Above Waterline to Top of Flybridge Windshield: 18’10” / 5.74 meters
Height Above Waterline to Top of Arch: 21’1″ / 6.43 meters
Waterline Length: 68’10” / 20.98 meters

Twin CAT C32A Diesel Engines (1800 BHP)
Twin CAT C32A Diesel Engines 1600 BHP
Twin CAT C32A Diesel Engines 1900 BHP
Twin MTU 16V2000 Diesel Engines 2000 BHP

RPM  SPEED (KN)  GPH (ENGINES ONLY)                        RANGE (NM)
2300     25-27                    198                                                    357
2100     22-24                    160                                                    390
2000     19-21                    122                                                    445
1800     16-18                      99                                                    466

Fuel consumption is based on (2) engines at any given RPM. Speed and ranges are estimates based on engineering calculations. Range is based on 95% fuel capacity. Actual performance will vary and be affected by water and weather conditions, load and conditions of boat, engines, and propellers. Speed will increase as fuel is consumed. All data is illustrative and not warranted.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Sea Trials


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A Right Proper Tool Box

Whether at the dock or underway, being ready for a fix requires having the right tools,
and then some, at the ready.

By Ken Kreisler

During my formative years, that being specifically my time as a junior and senior in high school, I was a yard snipe at the now long-gone Schatz Brothers yard in the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, New York (USA for those of your reading this in the international sectors). If you can’t figure out what a yard snipe is, well think of how the non-mammalian use of one of Nature’s most noble animals, the gopher, is often employed. As in, “Hey kid, go and find me a left-handed Phillips screw driver, will ya?” Now you get it.

In those seemingly endless halcyon days of summer work, and when not engaged in cleaning up the yard, I often found myself in the company of some veteran, expert, and habitually very salty workers; craftsmen who not only knew the intricate art of their work, but were as adept with plane and chisel as a skilled surgeon was with scalpel and hemostat. And repeatedly, when referring to such implements of the nautical trade, many a whatsis, thingamabob—and its red-headed stepchild, the thingamajig—doohickey, thingy, and whatchamacallit, among many other descriptive terms were used to identify and request a certain tool. I have to say, that even after all these years, I take pride in knowing a thingamabob is a thingamajig one need not have to point to.

During the learning curve, I also realized that a properly outfitted tool box was not only a respected sign of a good mechanic, but a clear indication of how thorough one was prepared, as ready as ready could be, to handle the job and what might possibly show up. As one old hand said to me: “Ya can’t pull over an’ change a flat tire out there kid.”

Stanley tool boxThere are some basic necessities to putting together a proper tool box. Firstly, and for obvious reasons, get yourself a good one made of heavy-duty plastic or other non-corrosive material. If you have connections in high places, Space Shuttle tile stuff will suffice.

Levity aside, and as with whatever tools you are going to put in, go with the top brands; Stanley, Plano, Grainger, Craftsman, Pelican, and DeWalt come to mind. Make sure it’s the appropriate size for your boats’ needs, is preferably as airtight and waterproof as possible, and can be stowed for easy retrieval. An 18 foot bow rider does not need a rolling, 11 drawer, master mechanics work station.

Irwin Vice Gripspanner wrenchTo know what you require, eyeball all the places, spaces, compartments, and work areas around your boat both inside and out including the engine room, heads, helm, and living and entertainment quarters. Basically anywhere these tools would be needed. Above and beyond Archimedes’ idea of the ultimate tool, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world,” and based on the size and complexity of your boat, you need to have an assortment of flat head and Phillips screw drivers; adjustable, needle nose, channel locks, and vice-grip pliers in several sizes; nut drivers, wire cutters, spanner, crescent, and open end wrenches; a fairly inclusive socket set; a utility knife with extra blades; a tape measure; cordless drill and bits; wire stripper; and a set of hammers—Craftsman socket setrubber, claw, and ballpeen. (All hand tools should be rubber-gripped to protect against possible electric shock and check if you need any metric tools as well.) Other essentials include electrical tape, duct tape, a can of WD40, ScotchBrite pads, safety glasses, multi-meter, plastic tie-wraps, hex key set, the right size batteries, a top-of-the-line Swiss Army Knife and a suitable Leatherman tool, telescoping inspection mirror, a package of disposable gloves, filter wrench, rechargeable LED flashlight.

Gorilla Duct TapeIf you are away from the dock for an extended time, carry enough filters and lube and transmission oil for two complete changes. You should stock spare impellers, hose clamps, and belts and have a roll or two of self-bonding, air and watertight Atomic Tape aboard as it can provide temporary fuel and hose line repair.

I am sure there are many other useful tools you can find to help you out of a jam but this should get you started. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the many years I’ve spent in on-the-fly repairs is to get friendly with the biggest boat in the marina; that hands-on owner or skipper usually has the best equipped engine room and the knowledge and tools to go along with it; ones that you will want in your tool box as well.

To put a dog latch on this conversation, my advice is to always be thinking on your feet and be ready to improvise and be ingenious with your tools and perhaps, anything else you can get your hands on to solve the problem and make the fix. Kind of a nautical MacGyver if you catch my drift.

A quick P.S.: I was once working on replacing a head gasket on a six cylinder Ford Lehman diesel with a friend of mine when I dropped a valve tappet down into the crankcase. After several expletives on the condition of the human experience, I then tried to figure out how to squeeze and extend my hand through the tight-fitting labyrinth of machine parts so I could get down there and retrieve the critical piece. In a eureka moment, he looked at me and said, “Hey, how about trying that thingamabob we use when we need to get a grab on a hook that’s way down in a blue fish’s gut.”

 I knew exactly what he was talking about.

If you have a maintenance story of your own, or have done a unique quick fix while on the fly, send it on over by using the Leave A Comment key just below the text here on the right hand side of this page. If it passes muster, we’ll put it up.

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Maintenance


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