Fins, Gyros, Vector Fins. There have never been more options for stabilization systems.

So many variables determine the best solution for a vessel. How the boat is used and space considerations are the two primary factors that go into designing the best option for a stabilization system. Fishing vessels that need to back down on fish and troll at lower speeds prefer a gyro stabilizer system, while larger yachts tend to opt for fin stabilizers which work better under higher speeds. Understanding the expectations of the vessel’s owner is critical. As an example does the vessel spend time on anchor and require “at rest” or “Zero speed” stabilization? Gillen Yacht Services has both the engineering and technical capabilities to help design and install the best solution for your vessel.

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It’s A Wrap

Side-Power Vector Fins installed on Megayacht

The Gillen Yacht team just completed the installation of a Zero Speed Vector Fin Stabilizer on this 105’ yacht. This Side-Power product was selected due to the need to minimize drag to maintain the 24-knot performance speed of this yacht. Also, the attractive price point, as well as the technical support provided by the company were all factors that were part of the Side-Power selection. The process included collaboration with a naval architect to ensure the integrity of the install as well as the production of blueprints that documented the final installation. Gillen Yacht Services is an expert in both stabilizer selection and has the team to handle your new stabilizer installation.

IMAGE: Side-Power Vector Fin was installed by GYS in a 105’ yacht at Derecktors Shipyard. Left to right: Ralph Hall General Manager, Dave Gillen SR President, Steve Owens Side-Power Product Specialist

Employee Spotlight

Carlos Lead Mechanic and Job Foreman

Carlos Viches has been with Gillen Yacht Services for over 7 years. As Job Foreman, he is lead on all of our highly technical jobs. Carlos brings with him decades of field service, starting with Star-Kist Tuna as chief engineer on their fleet of fishing vessels in Guam where he was responsible for keeping large engines, generators, and the huge ice and refrigeration systems operational while remaining at sea for months at a time. He also brings almost 2 decades of megayacht experience. Not only is he our “go-to” for large engines and generators – he is also responsible for leading the companies apprentice program where he is sharing his skills and talents to train the next generation of technicians.

IMAGE: Lead Tech & Job Foreman Carlos Viches performing a mechanical survey on a pair of Caterpillar 350B Engines.

Dave Senior’s Boating Tips


Performing maintenance on your stabilizer system will end up saving you time and money over time. Stabilizer service is usually scheduled during routine haul-outs. Each stabilizer system has a published maintenance schedule that should be adhered to. One of the most common failures of stabilizers is when the external seals start to leak. When this occurs, it takes some time, if ever, to show up inside the boat. Because this is unknown to the operator, severe corrosion damage can be taking place. This is why it is critical to have the service performed in the regularly stated service intervals (Usually 5 years) The other important consideration is making sure the hoses are replaced as soon as they show signs of cracking or rust leaking thru the hoses jacket. These hoses can and do break and this allows high-pressure oil to enter the space quickly depleting all the oil in the reservoir then damaging the hydraulic pump. Most boats do not have provisions to isolate the system from the pump/reservoir.

The maintenance schedule usually involves replacing seals, checking and replacing pencil zincs in the heat exchanger, hydraulic fluid check, and inspection of hoses and mounts. Failure to maintain stabilizers can result in the shaft seizing into the actuator which will definitely increase the cost and time of the yard period.

Maintaining your stabilizer and keeping all service records associated with the maintenance of this and all your mechanical systems will greatly improve the resale value of your yacht. For our customers, we retain your service records for any service performed at Gillen Yacht Service.

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Wheels Up

Fl Suncoast 30-minute flight to Yacht Sea Trial

An engine room ventilation system evaluation on the west coast of Florida was accomplished in record time. A 30-minute flight had two Gillen Yacht specialists on the customer’s yacht within the hour. After a sea trial evaluation, the team was back in the office drafting up the report and recommendations for the customer. What would have taken 6 hours of drive time and an overnight trip was accomplished in the same day – which for this customer actually ended up costing less than if the GYS team had driven.