Guests on Australia’s Calypso Star Charters cage diving expeditions can now focus their attention on encountering great white sharks, rather than on struggling to keep their footing. A Seakeeper M26000 gyro stabilizer refit on the 65′ Calypso Star II has improved guest safety and comfort onboard. While the vessel is underway or anchored, and during critical shark cage operation, the gyro creates a stable platform. This makes for happier customers and enables more operating days for Calypso Star Charters, adding to the business’ profitability.
South Australia’s Calypso Star Charters offers spectacular close-up views of great white sharks on its exclusive shark cage diving day tours out of Port Lincoln. A three-hour cruise leads to crystal clear waters near the Neptune Islands, where customers enjoy thrilling observation prospects underwater in a six-person cage and on the boat’s huge upper deck.
The Seakeeper refit on Calypso Star II, a custom Conquest fiberglass semi-displacement hull, was done with Seakeeper’s Australia/New Zealand dealer, Twin Disc (Pacific) Pty Ltd. It marks the largest Seakeeper installation in an Australian commercial vessel, and the first among shark cage diving vessels.
Seakeeper’s range of gyro stabilizers reduce resonant vessel roll without the use of drag-producing, damage-prone, through-hull appendages. The completely internal system uses proprietary technology to spin a flywheel within a vacuum environment for maximum righting torque. These actively controlled gyros reduce resonant roll whether a vessel is underway or at zero speed. Their compact size, light weight, small footprint, low power draw and quiet operation are equally suited for refits or new builds. Seakeeper’s worldwide engineering, installation and service network supports commercial vessel projects of virtually any size.
“A gyro is a huge asset aboard tourism-based vessels,” said Sean Hatherley, Seakeeper’s international commercial sales director. “Customers want to be safe and have fun, and not be seasick.” He anticipates the dramatic success of this recent refit to spark sales from operations offering scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, dolphin-watching or sightseeing tours.
In sea trials, the Seakeeper gyro achieved a roll reduction rate of over 50% while Calypso Star II was underway, and an even more impressive 87% at zero speed at the diving location. “With the gyro, we not only have a more comfortable journey to the islands, but also an exceptionally stable platform for shark diving. It gives guests a second-to-none experience,” said Andrew Wright, Calypso Star Charters general manager. With the company over 11 years, Wright has seen many clients for whom a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was spoiled by motion sickness.
“The Seakeeper gyro has made a remarkable difference, and our customer feedback has been highly enthusiastic,” said Wright. “Minimal vessel roll makes the day much more pleasurable for everyone. I wouldn’t build a new boat without a gyro.”
Wright was also impressed by the fact that the gyro eliminated down time, helping to maximize business potential. “Within the first three weeks after the installation, we experienced two days of poor weather. In the past, we might have been forced to cancel. But the Seakeeper gyro makes even the rough days workable,” he said.
“Over time this will make a big difference to our bottom line, especially considering that the gyro requires practically no operating costs. Water stays in the sink, drinks don’t fall over, the autopilot drives straighter and the vessel appears to yaw less on anchor. Most important, our guests love it, and it has no impact on the sharks,” Wright said.
Image courtesy Seakeeper