The bow thruster is nice but usually unnecessary. we've had a few different 40+fr boats over the years, some with and some without a thruster and found on the boats which had it, we hardly ever used it. Docking a 40 even in a nice breeze isn't that difficult once you get the hang of it. The cost seems reasonable but shop around is always good advice.
Ablative is the paint of choice in salt water for a myriad of reasons and avoids the ritual scraping chore. Buy a multi-season paint and it should last a couple of seasons for you.
Not that you asked but you would be well-served to check out the competitively priced boats before focusing exclusively on the Beneteau.
Last edited by k1vsk; 02-11-2009 at 08:46 PM.