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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 09-14-2008
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Bow thruster

What size bow thruster I need for my 22 000 pounds Union 36?
Any reading for installing thruster by yourself?
Thank you
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Old 09-14-2008
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first things first
bow thrusters will do no effect if your boat has speed. thay'r used to turn on spot and/ or pull. bow thrusters can be connected with automated system that is used instead of anchor. the system will hold position with the help of GPS, bow thrusters and main engine.
your boat isn't a pilot, it won't pull, so you don't need a lot of HP. cca 10, 15hp max. it depends on your boat length of course.
thrusters can be propelled by hydraulics or electricity.

probably the best is to mount on your bow an external bow thruster. it is electric and comes out the water when it is not used. i saw also a homemade option -> an outboard electric motor mounted on the side. electric because of light weight.

Last edited by Karletto; 09-14-2008 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 09-14-2008
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Karletto, I am confused by your answer.
Gocho indicated he have Union 36, so you know he have a 36 feet boat.
I would normally not advise installing a bow thruster on a 36 footer, but Union is a full keel boat (hope I am not wrong here), so she might be very difficult to steer (specially in reverse).
I do not know enough to give the answer to gocho's question - 36 feet is very small for a bow thruster, but then a full length keel makes her difficult to turn.
My advice would be: try to learn to use prop walk in your advantage, you do not really need a bow thruster on a sailboat less then 50 feet, but on the other hand - what do I know. I only commanded fin keel boats with spade rudders, which are all easy to turn.
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Old 09-14-2008
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The Vetus Catalog starting on page 8 gives a lot of tips and choices.
Catalogue 2009 - English
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Old 09-14-2008
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bow thruster will help. as i said cca 15hp will be enough. another option is new rudder with more surface and/ or servo steering.

Last edited by Karletto; 09-14-2008 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 09-14-2008
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there is nothing like a bow thruster!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karletto View Post
bow thruster will help. as i said cca 15hp will be enough. another option is new rudder with more surface and/ or servo steering.
I skippered a chartered Elan 43 ft yacht in Corsica a few years ago which came equipped with a bow thruster. It was the cat's pajamas! Under certain circumstances it does what nothing else can do except maybe 3 extra crew with boat hooks and fenders!

Pulling into a small harbor, the boat in front stopped, so I was obliged to come to a stop as well. The wind caught the bow and we were headed toward a boat in its slip. A touch of the bow thruster -- magic!

We had another night in the port of Cargèse when the dock guys were trying to find us a slip and we were obliged to hover in the channel while they looked around. Even with the bow thruster, it was a challenge.
I can't imagine doing it without the thruster!
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I rented a 42 ft. canal boat on the Erie Canal for a week and it came with a bow thruster. Using just the motor and rudder the boat behaved sort of like a full keel sailboat under power. What a cool thing that thruster was! You can even make the boat go sideways. Getting into and out of small places was easy as pie. I cant imagine forking out the money it would take to put one on a sailboat but if I had a boat with one on it I sure as hell wouldnt take it out.
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Old 09-14-2008
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So, I've been looking into that too. My main concern is installing the thruster tunnel. Other than using lots of cloth and epoxy - are there any other tricks to installing a thruster tunnel?

I'd hire a "pro" to do that but based on past experience I am not too sure those pro's would do a good job.
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Try this...it is a power boat install but the principles should be the same.
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Old 09-14-2008
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A couple years ago we were waiting our turn at a pump-out dock and we had an in-shore breeze of about 18kts... I was in our Sea Ray so we had little problum holding and waiting our turn..
There were two Sail boats tied to the dock...One ahead of the other..and another large mega yacht ahead of him..The first one ( the one in the middle )about 35' wanted to leave the dock but eventually had to wait for the one behind at the pump out to leave because with that 18 knt steady wind he could not get his bow off the dock and they tried a couple different tactics with the 3 crew pushing and pulling...The rear boat about a 45 footer once finished pumping out..all 5 crew jumped on board the skipper hit the bow thruster and that bow came right off that dock to about a 45 degree angel he shifted his tranny in gear and he was gone.. We had to wait for the first boat to Back off the dock and do some dancing around before we could proceed to dock ourselves.

I was sold right there and then.

I will buy a thruster before new sails...There are just too many expensive boats in our neck of the woods to tangle with..One lawsuit would pay for the thruster...It will also let me go out Single handed or with just the First mate with out her getting all worked up about the whole affair..The latter being priceless.

I feel you need to know how to handel your boat and be able to manage it in most conditions without any aid...but like manual transmissions in cars once I drove an automatic in bumper to bumper traffic or never had to heal toe a break and gas pedal from a stop on a steep hill again they are sure nice to have even if you don't absolutely need them...no different

Its when things are at their worst when the right tools pay there way

Last edited by Stillraining; 09-14-2008 at 08:05 PM.
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