This year, I’d received a heads-up from two companies that they would be unveiling their new technology at METS, so I decided to use a coffee break from our Global Superyacht Forum to head into the Superyacht Pavilion.
I found the DMS Holland stand first, which was packed with visitors. I’d initially learned about the new company last year during research into the worldwide stabiliser market for The Superyacht Report. At that time, all I knew was that two former Naiad engineers, Patrick Noor and Arnold van Aken, had partnered with Theo Koop, arguably the godfather of yacht stabilisation. They had a big name and pedigree, but they weren’t showing the product, yet. So when I got to the stand, the model they were showing immediately impressed me.
Until now, most fin-based stabiliser systems have worked on a single axis; that is, the system works by rotating fins from posts that protrude from the underside of the hull. Retractable fins have been developed that work on two axes, one which folds the fins forward from their aft-angled stowed position, and the second that rotates them to enact the stabilisation.
The new Anti-Roll system from DMS is a retractable system that ingeniously stows the fins downwards, along the frame of the hull towards the keel. When in use, the fins then have the ability to exert force on the water column in two ways: One as a flat wing which can lift and depress like a wing, and secondly like traditional fins, rotating on their post. See the video, below.
DMS Holland have patent for the full system, and they’re keen to point out that its ability to both rotate and flap means they’re able to maximize stability both under way and at anchor. The stowable system is also designed to work with sailing yachts, which is an interesting option that I’m sure the big sail yacht builders at yards like Vitters and Perini Navi will want to explore.
After DMS Holland, I headed further into the hall to pay a visit to Paul Steinmann and see the first production Veem 40 gyrostabilizer. Steinmann is one of the world’s leading engineers of gyrostabiliser technology, having launched Halcyon International in 2004 to develop and sell gyrostabilisers for yachts and ships. Gyrostabilisers work on precisely the same principle as a child’s gyroscope, but with massively upscaled righting force. The Australian marine technology company Veem—otherwise known in the yachting world for their custom propellors—saw the potential and bought Halcyon in 2011, acquiring Steinmann’s engineering and personal passion for the technology.
I’d written about the technology earlier in the year, based on telephone conversations with Steinmann, but this was the first time I was able to actually see and examine the assembly. It was bigger than I’d imagined, but that didn’t put me off. We’re talking about a single gyrostabilizer capable of maintaining upright stability in a small yacht. It needs planning into a new build design at the drawing-board stage—this is not a system that lends itself easily to a refit—but once in, we’re expecting to see impressive results. Gyrostabilisers are already deployed by the US firm Seakeeper, in smaller units, so the proof of concept is well established. What Veem is offering is a bigger single unit with greater righting force and deeper angle of effectiveness.
The Veem 40 (the number refers to thousands of Newton metre seconds, the unit of righting force these machines exert on a yacht’s hull) is the first, and smallest system Veem has manufactured. 100, 250 and 500 models are available as well. I'd expect to see a couple Veem 100s on a 30-40m superyacht. A single Veem 500 should be able to stabilise a vessel like Grace E from Picchiotti or one of the 67m Sea Axe vessels from Amels. Inspecting the 40, it’s clearly built to very high specifications, and actually finished beautifully. Steinmann told me they’re pressing ahead with full production and will build and warehouse units to meet demand quickly.
Both the Anti-Roll system from DMS Holland and the Veem 40 offer something new and special—and are clearly advances in a highly competitive yacht stabilisation market. The sector is densely populated by companies like Quantum, Naiad, Wesmar, ABT Trac, that all offer highly reliable and largely similar single-axis fin products. But when you consider the technological brilliance that stabilisation actually offers—vastly reduced rolling and movement and thus far greater comfort and relaxation—you can understand why it’s also so competitive and focused on R&D.
Veem’s product is ready to ship, and Anti-Roll is already specified in a 36m new build in Holland. We’ll follow the installation of both to keep you updated on how these new technologies function in the real world.
Elsewhere at the show, Sleipner's Vector Fin stabiliser and motor (for yachts under 20m) took the overall winner's ribbon at the annual DAME Design Awards, which highlights innovative design solutions for the yachting market.