Stabilizer Selections By Captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell
A passive stabilizer steel delta plate with a lead-filled nose is resting out of the way on the stern of the trawler waiting to be deployed.
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o rock-’n’-roll or not to rock-’n’-roll…that is the question. When you have a round bilge trawler or a full displacement hull like a shrimp boat or sailboat, just how do you prevent the uncomfortable rolling from beam seas? A sailboat owner can easily calm the boat’s motion first by taking advantage of the ballasted keel and then by raising the sail. Not only does this give you better stability in a rough sea, but the sail also gives you motive force to move the boat along. A trawler responds differently. A true ocean-quality trawler may have a ballasted keel, a deep draft and large fuel tanks to make the boat heavier and less roly-poly. But it will still roll, and all trawlers are neither so heavy nor so deep. Another option which can reduce the motion of the ocean is a design to include stabilizers. Volumes have been written covering this controversial subject, so we will keep it generic and outline three basic designs of stabilizers: passive, active fin and gyro. Passive Stabilizers The most common type of stabilizers used primarily on commercial fishing vessels is a passive design called paravanes. These are also known as birds, fish or downriggers— the three more popular terms. With subtle differences, they are each the same concept and look like a big steel leadfilled, delta shape that flies underwater providing stability to the vessel. When not in use they are stored aboard the vessel in a nose socket to prevent them from rolling around on deck. Think of the large mast and booms on shrimping trawlers that pull on the nets. They are also equipped with additional cables to secure to underwater paravanes that reduce the rock and roll of the boat by flying underwater like a kite. The paravanes provide resistance when the boat www.southwindsmagazine.com
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