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Old 12-06-2013, 13:35   #1
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A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

I just watched that movie for the first time

The summary seems to be: fishing captains just need their romantic view of the ocean and no real understanding of the sea, sailors are power hungry despots who think you should lay ahull in a hurricane, and the USCG is pretty good (so at least that part is true).

Anyway...

What the heck was that stabilizer thing in the water on the edge of the outrigger? I don't think it was part of the fishing gear because they put it out when they tucked tail and headed home.
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Old 12-06-2013, 13:41   #2
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

It looked like the fish plate on a tow rig. ?
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Old 12-06-2013, 13:58   #3
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

It was a towed stabilizer, sometimes called a paravane:


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Old 12-06-2013, 14:00   #4
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

Paravane stabilizer system. The gizmos that drag in the water are called fish. Fairly common with trawlers as a simpler stabilization system compared to active fins or gyro systems.
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Old 12-06-2013, 14:05   #5
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

Interesting.... is it normal to use those? I've seen big private boats with outriggers rolling around at anchor without any kind of stabilizers outboard.
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Old 12-06-2013, 14:09   #6
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

aka, flopper stopper. They do work quite well in all weather with the exception that in large seas the thing comes flying out of water at which point it becomes a missile.
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Old 12-06-2013, 15:02   #7
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

They are also sometimes used by yachts at anchor, in a slightly different way. Usually just one rigged on a spinnaker pole. The flat triangular plate is weighted so it sinks with little resistance, but it water pressure forces the plate horizontal on the up roll. This causes a lot of resistance and dampens the motion. The further outboard it is located the greater lever arm.
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Old 12-06-2013, 15:05   #8
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard5 View Post
aka, flopper stopper. They do work quite well in all weather with the exception that in large seas the thing comes flying out of water at which point it becomes a missile.
I think those are a little different? Flopper stoppers would drag hardcore if underway.
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Old 12-06-2013, 15:06   #9
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

Most of the Nordhavns are rigged for flopper stoppers. They say that nothing like them reduce rolling while on hook. Underway some, if equipped, use active stabilizing system but they don't work while on hook.

Sow some sailboats using small anchor rigged to the boom at some rolling anchorage. Helps a lot, thou I never tried that.
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Old 12-06-2013, 15:32   #10
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

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Flopper stoppers would drag hardcore if underway.
You might think that but actually they are not. What I have mostly seen is that as shown in the pictures posted by Paul Elliot and Dennis G.

The device is available in sizes appropriate to different boats.

Notice if you will the series of attachments holes fore and aft. Your job is to select the proper hole, it's mostly be trial and error and may change according to sea state. You want the thing to dive but not too deeply. In that case, flat plate drag will increase and as you know drag increases exponentially and can and will affect your helm. Obversely, you want the thing to stay in the water so you don't want to give it too much angle of attack. It's the "Goldilocks method", there is a happy medium.
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Old 12-06-2013, 15:50   #11
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

For what it's worth, there some types of Flopper Stoppers that are designed to be used at anchor only. These usually have a "one-way valve" design, allowing them to sink quickly, but resist upwards pull. You would not want to tow these! Here are a couple of examples:


and

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Old 12-06-2013, 16:03   #12
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

Oh snap. I had forgotten about those rigs. Mea culpa.

I guess since the subject was also about being underway.
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Old 12-06-2013, 16:10   #13
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

I loved that movie!
When i worked on trawlers we called them "stabilisers". We only used them in rough weather. They definately made a difference but we had to up the revs a little, thus using more fuel. If we were in a hurry to get somewhere, we wouldn't use them unless absolutely necessary.
If you had to go out on the boom for any reason in bad weather, as in the movie, you'd raise the stabiliser up.
From my expeience, a gas axe, as used in the film, wouldn't work under those conditions so i thought that was a bit silly from a real-life perspective..
And as for the hugging -as an Aussie, i can't imagine any crew i ever worked with doing that under any circumstances!
A lot more true to life was the ease with which you could end up OTS, and just how hard core fishermen could be. I remember tying up to another boat where the mate was sitting on the foredeck stitching up his own hand to close up a very deep cut.
The bit where they were trying to put the plywood across the wheelhouse windows. I thought that was pretty "real". As a fisherman there were many times at sea when we we did impossible things.
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Old 12-06-2013, 16:13   #14
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

Was crew on delivery of a 90' trawler from TX to Maine a few years ago. We used a delta wing shaped device pretty much like the pictures. Captain called it a flopper stopper and we used them underway. Might have slowed the boat just a hair but not much.

We lost one when we got caught by a gale going around Hatteras and had to rig a new one in the middle of the night. Unlike George Clooney we weren't crazy enough to climb out on the outrigger but rigged the new one on deck. But when we tossed it over the side the capt didn't have enough slack in the line so it did start swinging back and forth like a 300 lb wrecking ball. Never saw sailors move that fast before. Left a couple of serious dents in the hull.

It made a huge difference in the roll with one missing. Was starting to worry about the possibility of rolling over but then it was a pretty bad storm. Definitely the worst I have ever experienced. We had a couple of waves break over the cabin top which was about 25' over the water.
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Old 12-06-2013, 16:25   #15
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Re: A Perfect Storm Movie: what was that outrigger stabilizer thing?

I worked on boom trawlers where the fishing gear hung off the end of the booms, not the stern as depicted above
in Paul Elliot's post. Stabilisers were used even whilst using the gear but it was important to have them set up on exactly the right holes, otherwise they'd get tangled in the doors etc.
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