Revolutionary. That’s the word that Andrew Semprevivo, president and CEO of Seakeeper, uses to describe the company’s Seakeeper 1—the smallest model yet and one built entirely from the ground up.
“All of our other models are very much the same,” he says. “We just kind of sized them down. They get smaller and lighter, but the overall geometry and mechanical makeup are the same.”
The Seakeeper 1, on the other hand, had to be designed differently because the 23- to 30-foot boats it’s intended to go aboard are radically different from larger vessels. The unit had to be quieter because it will physically be closer to the skipper. It had to be flush-mounted, to lower the time and cost of installation for the smaller end of the market. It had to be made of plastic and look nicer because people other than crew would see it. And it had to be no more than 17 inches high, so it could fit inside a leaning post instead of forcing boat owners to give up the aft-facing seat that’s popular aboard today’s center-console boats.
“Every other unit, we’d have our engineers design it to get it small and light, and then we would do our best to wrap the mechanical elements of it to make it look as aesthetically pleasing as possible,” Semprevivo says. “This time, we designed it how we wanted it to look first.”
One of the most significant changes that emerged from the design process is the Seakeeeper 1′s flywheel, which spins at a maximum rpm of 9,750. The faster the flywheel spins, the less it weighs and the smaller the unit can be. A new motor helped make the design work and had the bonus of reducing spool-up time. Larger Seakeepers take 25 to 45 minutes until they are spooled up for stabilization, Semprevivo says. The Seakeeper 1 knocks that wait down to 15 minutes.
The new model is expected to be available to manufacturers and the public this month, even taking into account the global slowdowns associated with the novel coronavirus. More than a dozen boat manufacturers including Jupiter, Regal, Cobia and SeaVee are planning to include it in new models, Semprevivo says. Retail price is $14,900.