Better Boating - Seakeeper Ride

Better Boating

Publisher: soundingsonline.com/

Original Article: https://www.soundingsonline.com/voices/better-boating

I returned from the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show a few weeks ago, and while I saw a lot of cool technology, one experience sticks with me. I was one of a half dozen people invited aboard a rugged Bluewater 2850 with twin Yamaha 300s. We were huddled around the helm as our host, Seakeeper CEO Andrew Semprevivo, ran us up the inlet and through heavy traffic that included everything from freighters to snazzy new builds darting away from the show docks for sea trials. It felt a bit chaotic, yet conditions got even more interesting once we were in open water.

Semprevivo throttled up and the boat made a hard, bumpy dash through a nasty chop, stiff breeze and big wakes coming at us from every direction. I was standing behind the leaning post, white-knuckling the grabrail and pushing up against the cushion to steady myself as the bow reared up and then slammed down into green water, again and again. I had a headache and was starting to regret the decision to come along for this jaunt when everything changed.

“Now let’s try it with the system on,” yelled Semprevivo, pressing a button at the helm.

Instantly, it felt as if the seas had been cut in half. The boat was on plane with little bow rise. There was no more slamming, and the Bluewater seemed to effortlessly levitate out of the hole. The ride was so smooth I loosened my death grip on the rail, gazed at the horizon, which seemed more welcoming now, and simply relaxed.

The seas hadn’t settled and the wakes hadn’t diminished. The only change was that Semprevivo had activated the system he feels could change boating: Seakeeper Ride.

As if to make sure the now laid-back passengers were all paying attention, he pushed that button again, deactivating Ride, and all went to hell. “Make it stop,” said every person on board, this time with smiles all around. And that’s just what Semprevivo did.

Seakeeper Ride is a vessel attitude control system for boats up to 35 feet that the company says eliminates up to 70 percent of pitch and roll when underway. You can learn more about it in our report online, but essentially, Ride uses two transom-mounted controllers below the waterline to generate lift. Proprietary sensing technology measures the boat’s behavior and then deploys rotary blades to counteract pitch, roll and yaw. Semprevivo says Ride is different from trim tabs or vertical interceptors because it can make 100 adjustments per second to combat wave motion. That’s a system that thinks fast, and the good news is that Ride does all the work. Everyone else on the boat just sits back and reaps the benefits.

Can this new system change boating? I’m not sure, but Seakeeper’s latest improved the way I was feeling about a boat ride on that particular day. If anything, it could make it easier for a skipper to draw his or her reluctant spouse, friend or family member out on the water, because it can make boating even more enjoyable. Any technology that aims to make that happen is worth mentioning.

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