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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2006
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I used to scoff at people that suggested putting a thruster on their boat. "Just come in quicker... practce your docking... use prop walk to you advantage..."

Well, that is all fine and dandy as long as you are in a marina where you have enough room. However, I will warn you that many of the marinas in high rent districts (SWest Florida for example) are VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY TIGHT!!

One of the marinas we were at did not even have 40 feet on the fairway (between the oppisite side slips). Now, you do the math: if your boat is over 40 feet long, and you do not have 40 feet between you and the slip behind you, how would you like to get a single screw boat in there????? Now add in opposing tides and winds and other boats sticking out more than their slip is long, and you have a really serious docking problem. The only way you are getting out/in of that slip (and this is assuming a nice calm day) is with a whole lot of help on the dock and off. That is no fun, and since I like to singlehand, it is a serious pain.

I do not have a thruster and I am pretty darned good at getting a boat in/out of a slip... However, I would not have a problem putting one on my boat. If you need it to get out and sail more: GO BUY IT!! Put it on!! It is your money!! I find it unlikely that there is anyone that has a bow thruster that would say, "Man I wish I would never have put that thing on!!"

And when you come into your slip and do your perfect push button parking, you can laugh at all of the other guys breaking feet and patching gellcoat!! HAHA!!!
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  #12  
Old 09-26-2006
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There was one on my boat from a prior owner...took it out as it was a power and space hog and I had no need for it even on a 52' boat. Setting aside the expense issue, the only time I would consider one is if I had a slip that I wanted to BACK into and current/wind was an issue continuously, OR if I had a disability which prevented me from being able to quickly control the boat and do the docklines as seems to be the case here.
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Old 09-26-2006
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I appreciate the various opinions for and against the use of bow thrusters. However, I was hoping that I would bring forward some discussion regarding the actual retrofitting of units to existing boats as well as discussion of the issue of power management in association with use of electrical driven units.
As I have already decided it would be a nice feature to add to our boat and that I would go the electrical route.

In my case, the admiral in charge has made it abundantly clear that anything having to do with manuevering this vessel is totally the captain's responsibility, and not a line will be lifted to assist the cause. Therefore I view my situation as a singlehander of advancing years. I am used to a managing risk after a lifetime of running other companies larger computers that must never be rebooted or allowed to shutdown, so I have come to appreciate equipment that functions in difficult spots and performs as specified as well as dealing with tight situations. I found over time that I thrive on managing risk and risk reduction.

Additionally I am on my first cruise on my first large boat. As a boy and young man I used to single hand a flying dutchman, no small feat. That was the sum total of my sailing experience before acquiring a well equiped cruiser after perhaps a 35 year hiatus. Now after dealing with too many hurricanes for a Californian to count, I have moved my vessel 1100 miles upstream from Dinner Key, Miami to the south coast of Puerto Rico. In this passage I have discovered the risks of anchorages, moorings and docking in unfamiliar territory. My future path will be more of the same as I'm trying to find the best and perhaps longest way home to western waters, hopefully via Panama.

A bowthruster looks to me eversomuch like a specialized starter motor in a large tube of Schedule 40 plastic mounted as deeply and far forward as possible. I am sure there must be qualitative differences among the various brands. This looks like something designed to flip the bow 10 or 20 degrees port or starboard which I view as a nice risk reducer. I appreciate the advantage that such leverage can provide.
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Old 09-26-2006
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I don't know anything about bow thrusters, but I would think it would be a good excuse to put a battery forward, to share between the thruster and windlass.
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Old 09-26-2006
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Well...even the smallest electric ones use 10AMP HOURS for every minute of operation and the current surge can be a hundred or more amps to you need good heavy cables to a close by battery of probably 8D size or equivilent CLOSE by...same battery can be used for windlass. This also means that you need heavy 00 cables from your charger/battery switch up to the front of the boat. I believe the Vetus thrusters are the leaders in the sailing market but I've recently seen ads for a new design that drops down out of tthe bottom of the boat and then retracts rather than being a tunnel through the boat. . Don't know the brand but that looked interesting!
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Old 09-26-2006
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I will admit, I've been aboard a 900+ foot cruise ship in a "dead end" fjord when it literally rotated like it was on a turntable--courtesy of bow and stern thrusters.

Pretty Damn Hard to do that any other way, no matter how good the captain and master are.
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Old 11-02-2006
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Just had one installed on my C400. I haven't had a real chance to use it other than putting the boat back in the slip, but, that was amazing.
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Old 12-10-2007
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Smile Bow Trusters

As a retired Chief Engineer and heart failure person, I am always looking for a safer and easier way of docking. My skills are good and have received many compliments........but far from perfect and do not care to me. I would much prefer to damage my boat rather than any other members. That is why we old salts look for these simple safe ideas. Can I sail alongside yes, will I motor instead YES! and I do not like to see smart asses trying it. Call the tender that's why we pay the big bucks for marina fees. Remember roller furlings, nuff said. But I digress, I am now thinking of constructing a rail mounted smaller salt water electric motor that I can mount on the outboard side drop in water on windy days and have as back up. these stow easily and they come with a remote control unit for well under a grand. Just stop in safe water drop over the side and continue to motor in as usuall step off and secure the first lines and Bob's your uncle. In any rate me ode mind is working.........just like many good sailors before me. Good luck

Last edited by dbakody; 12-10-2007 at 09:38 AM.
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  #19  
Old 12-10-2007
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Yep, year old thread, right up Bob's alley.

Hey, it's just a tool ... nice to have when you need one.
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  #20  
Old 12-27-2007
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It seems like the question of retrofit is of interest, i bought a new hunter 44 that did not have a bow thruster installed by the factory, others i had seen were factory installed. I had a great marine company, reputation considered Alden Yachts, install. And i had concerns about the battery config, etc. i was pleases with the install, but the fiberglass was all over the cabin. but satisfied with the batteries.

The house batteries take the load, but i do monitor the use, i concur 10 amp hours...

yes the option of extra control allows confidence in tight Newport and Edgartown, you can move laterally while moving forward...wheel hard to port, and bow thruster "crawling" the bow starboard you're parallel unparking.

it is a tool, yes, but it's the 21st century.
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