Interview with Theo Koop

Interview with Theo Koop, founder and developer of RotorSwing Marine

Theo koop, founder and developer of RotorSwing Marine answers several questions we had at the METS boat show 2015.

Theo Koop, you are still very active in the stabilizer field. What inspired you to design a completely new motion control system next to your design based on the Magnus effect?

Theo Koop with one of first RotorSwing prototypes

Theo Koop with one of first RotorSwing prototypes

Theo: May I start with a bit history? Since my first business in 1965, KoopNautic Holland, my main target has always been focused on the design of new stabilizer systems. After my retirement, my passion in inventing and designing remained, and in 2002, after forming the new company Quantum Controls, with my colleague and mechanical designer Lambert Dinnissen, we gave birth to a new line of Magnus effect stabilizers. These systems are retractable, or better foldable, against the hull of the vessel, and fulfill a requirement for many yacht owners for a less vulnerable system instead of normal fin stabilizers. In the meantime the Quantum MagLift and the RotorSwing models are well known in the market.

But…..these Magnus effect stabilizers are specifically designed for displacement vessels. They function best in the region up to 8-10 knots. And although we have a patented solution for higher speeds, the RAKE, the Magnus effect still has its limitations. Therefore Lambert and I came up with our new line of the WING motion control system.

These are High Aspect Ratio (like in aircraft) wings and are therefore very efficient over a high speed range. The new WING yacht stabilizer is based on a proven mechanical design and is capable of:

  • Roll damping during cruising
  • ZeroSpeed roll damping
  • Trim around the pitch axis
  • Pitch damping when placed near the transom
  • Dynamic positioning
  • Emergency propulsion

The system has been, as I write this, introduced during the METS boat show in Amsterdam November 2015.

Besides the Magnus effect, what other features sets your roll damping systems apart from the rest?

Theo: quite a few reasons:

  • Both RotorSwing 140 and WING systems are retractable, therefore you don't have the sizing restrictions compared to fixed fins. When the systems are not in use, they automatically fold up against the hull. With this automatic function in place, not only will the captain save fuel, but more importantly, the chance for damage is now much lower.
  • The patented Rake function. While cruising at higher speeds, both Magnus cylinders and WINGS, minimizes the disadvantages of the drag force. They fold backwards like in some fighter planes.
  • Positioning... Since both RotorSwing and WING yacht stabilizers have no unwanted steering effects, they are very flexible in terms of placement. Many times we hear yacht owners and boat yard experts complain about limited space for non retractable fin stabilizer installations in the engine room. Not so with our systems. Both systems perform the best as they can be installed near the transom of the vessel. However the main advantage of RotorSwing lies in the way it functions while cruising at low speeds. No stabilizer fin system can offer this high performance.

Is there competition with the “normal” fin stabilizers?

Theo Koop with carbon fiber RotorSwing rotor.

Theo Koop with carbon fiber RotorSwing rotor.

Theo: The damping performance of normal fin stabilizers depends on the question: do I get sufficient surface area? Fins that protrude outside and below the beam/keel envelope are unsafe since excessive large fins can easily be damaged. Both our RotorSwing and WING stabilizers are retractable so there is a lot freedom in terms of size and design. So, yes, in some cases we need to compete with normal fins. However, we when we look at efficiency, the lack of steering effects, and being the solution to engine room restrictions, we absolutely dominate the market.

How would you compare the RotorSwing and WING with a GYRO stabilizer system?

Theo: Every system is specific. A gyro, or gyroscope roll damping system works well for boats that have a short roll period. Typical examples include the deep-V and hard chine hulls and smaller boats in general. The shorter the roll period, the better the gyro stabilizer works.

 The RotorSwing yacht stabilizer works especially well while sailing and is unsurpassed in terms of roll damping percentages at low cruising speed. We have one client who owns both a gyro stabilizer and a RotorSwing yacht stabilizer system.

The new WING will be the most universal system on the market. It controls roll damping at anchor, Roll damping while cruising, Roll damping at anchor  or "ZeroSpeed", Pitch damping, Dynamic positioning and Emergence propulsion. This WING yacht stabilizer is the future of yachting comfort.

One final question, what else can we expect in the future?

Theo:  One thing that I can mention is that there is another new yacht stabilizer system from RotorSwing Marine on the horizon. However, we like to test this system first before bringing it to the market. At the moment we need all our capacity for the fine tuning of our latest invention: the WING.

 

 

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