Keeping things on the level with Humphree stabilisers

Humphree takes the zero-speed fins story a stage further with its new integrated trim and stabiliser system, writes Dave Marsh

Quick and easy installation

Humphree’s new system allows us to raise two issues that we’ve not had the space to discuss with other stabiliser tests and reports; namely noise and the electric versus hydraulic question.

Describing its 24V DC electric actuators/motors as ‘ultra fast’ implies some sort of speed-of-response advantage, but frankly the hydraulic fin systems I’ve tested have been so brilliant anyway that I reckon this is an irrelevance.

More pertinent is probably how the boatbuilders perceive the installation advantages of being able to dispense with a hydraulic system and simply run (albeit chunky) 80A power cables and tiny control wires.

Humphree - installationAnd notwithstanding the varying sizes of different actuators (hydraulic and electric), it is likely that an all-electric retrofit would be easier than a hydraulic one. But it will vary considerably between boats.

As for the ability to run Humphree’s fully 24V DC system without help of the generator (as the new Seakeeper 3DC can) that is a varying benefit.

Under way, generator and alternator noise would normally be swamped by the engines, so no big deal. Anchored in a quiet bay, it would be great to run silently from the batteries alone.

But when that anchored use is extended to the high current draw situation that zero-speed overnight operation would entail, who knows whether a typical battery bank would cope?

Noise is an issue to which there seems to be no definitive answer. I’ve heard owners of both electric and hydraulic systems claim that their system is the quieter one.

This suggests that much has to do with the particular installation. I’ve recorded hugely different sound levels on similar boats powered by identical engines.

Sometimes it’s been obvious that sound insulation was the key, but structure borne noise can be a big factor, and that can be an elusive thing.

Hopefully we might be able to answer some of these unresolved questions soon, as Humphree hopes to have a big cruiser for us to test towards the end of this year. Watch this space…

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