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  #31  
Old 01-18-2011
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T and I have had this friendly argument before, just a little different version. He thinks using your outboard for steerage in tight spots is "cheating". I say if you have the ability to maneuver with more control, then do so if needed. I would put the bow thruster in the same category. If your boat has one, I think it would unwise (even unseamanlike) not to use it if the conditions called for it. I believe that you use all tools available to you on each boat to sail it the best and safest you can. That means if you have a bow thruster, then learn to use it, and use it if conditions call for it. Like every other system on your boat, however, one should to also be prepared to do without it, should it fail.
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  #32  
Old 01-18-2011
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I wasn't going to fess up to this one.

The first time we took out the Nauticat, we read over the manual, but missed the crucial section on transfer control of the hydraulic steering from the inside station to the cockpit. Aside from that, we did everything correctly, including turning on the bow thruster, just in case.

As we are leaving the dock, bow first, we discovered we cannot turn the wheel. We used the bow thruster to got out of the dock and the marina.

Success teaches nothing. I am now quite adept at switching control on hydraulic steering.
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  #33  
Old 01-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzy1414 View Post
T and I have had this friendly argument before, just a little different version. He thinks using your outboard for steerage in tight spots is "cheating". I say if you have the ability to maneuver with more control, then do so if needed. I would put the bow thruster in the same category. If your boat has one, I think it would unwise (even unseamanlike) not to use it if the conditions called for it. I believe that you use all tools available to you on each boat to sail it the best and safest you can. That means if you have a bow thruster, then learn to use it, and use it if conditions call for it. Like every other system on your boat, however, one should to also be prepared to do without it, should it fail.
Do people really need to "learn" to use a bow thruster. Perhaps the inability to operate a switch explains why they need it in the first place!

Izzy- Maybe you could just hang another outboard off the bow and teach the dog to shift it into forward or reverse as the situation requires???
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  #34  
Old 01-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T34C View Post
Izzy- Maybe you could just hang another outboard off the bow and teach the dog to shift it into forward or reverse as the situation requires???
I'm busy teaching her to use the GPS, a new aid to sailors that you've unaccountably found acceptable to use.
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  #35  
Old 01-18-2011
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Originally Posted by T34C View Post
I consider the motor exactly what it is..., an auxiliary means of propulsion. In case of emergency, or a lack of wind the motor is there to get me to my intended destination. Try that with a bow thruster and you only go in circles. You can't really compare the two.

I am quite capable of docking with or without my engine. Not something that I can say about many of the people using bow thrusters. Most of them don't look to be able to dock without it, much less without their motor.
If the motor is only an auxiliary means of propulsion for emergency or doldrums, do you keep it off or out of gear when approaching the dock whenever the wind is blowing? Good on ya if you do, but I wouldn't understand why.

I can dock a sailboat without a motor, given the absolute need and some planning. I wouldn't say I can do it in my sleep. However, I'm not putting my 45,000lbs of displacement in a slip with my neighbor just 4 feet away under sail. Approach fast enough to overcome a crosswind and toss a line over a cleat to stop her, rather than using the motor, and you will tear the cleat off the dock or the boat. This is not to mention that I have to back in anyway.

All I'm saying is that motors have become a very acceptable tool that has expanded our ability to maneuver. Bow thrusters are the same. Both can be abused by the incompetent, both can be used appropriately. Today, some expect that thrusters should be used in the rarest circumstances, when the motor can be used (and still consider yourself a sailor) for every approach. I disagree.
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  #36  
Old 01-18-2011
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Kind of funny... most of our friends at our current marina are power boaters and we're the one sailboater in the group. We did a few raftups this year - one had 22 power boats, and then us on the end. It was July 4th, though, so they loved us raising the huge flag up the mast and turning Pelican into a big flagpole. While I still yell "stinkpotter!" at them and they still yell "blowboater!" at me every time we hang out (which is every weekend), I think we've managed to show them that not all sailboaters are evil and we've learned that not all powerboaters are horrible.

It's actually interesting hearing some of their reasoning and discontent about sailboats, and some of it actually makes sense.

For example - we complain about the fact that they cross our bows at speed instead of turning and going around our stern. Their comments? First, most of them never really understood how much their wake slows us down. Second, at speed they prefer to hold their course so that they can be more predictable for other boats. As a sailboater, we're looking at traffic a few hundred feet in front of us when making course decisions. As a high speed powerboater, they are looking a half mile or more ahead of them, so any course changes can be confusing to other higher speed boaters.

Many powerboaters look at sailboaters as highly unpredictable. We change course frequently to deal with wind shifts that they don't see - and have no problem heading across their path (as much as we complain when they head across ours).

A few months ago, a bunch of us went north from our marina on a friend's Carver 50-something to a restaurant about 30 miles upriver. It took us a little over an hour to get there. I offered to drive back as the owners wanted a couple of beers and I was intrigued to drive such a big powerboat. Up from the flybridge looking down at all of the boats was a very odd experience. I tell you what - I wanted to yell "Get out of my effin way to every sailboat that was crossing my path. Perhaps having those huge engines and the gigantic wake pumped up my testosterone some. I did have fun with my passengers though as I joked about everyone moving to the other side of the boat since I was going to tack us, and made lots of comments about going 20+kts vs. 7kts on our sailboat.

Anyway, back to the original posters other question... bow thrusters. I laugh at the power boater next to us who has a 25' inboard powerboat with a bow thruster. I love watching one of my really good friends with an old 1960's Chris Craft Commander (46') pull into a REALLY tight spot without a bow thruster (but twin screws). You know what though? Who cares if you have a bow thruster or not! If I had anything over 45' I'd definitely want a bow thruster. Would I use it all the time? Maybe. Would I know how to dock the boat well without it? Sure. But who defines "right and wrong" when it comes to what equipment you are allowed to use on a sailboat.

I have to disclose that we have an air conditioner and generator on our sailboat and we used it while cruising.
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  #37  
Old 01-19-2011
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Labatt. Nicely said.

I'm all for rules that improve the safety of our crew. Those that simply make it harder (ie no bow thrusters) are silly. (make fun of stinkpotters all you want, I'm with you, but that doesn't mean it's rational.)

In my family we have both raggies and stinkpotters and we laugh and poke fun at each other. Someday, I'll have to tell you about when I first told my Father I was buying a sailboat. It was like coming out of the closet! But there is a documented phenomenon that crosses the boundaries. We have dozens of photographs that show the widest smiles on faces at sea that never appear on land. Absolutely true story. I don't really care what technology it takes for anyone to get out there and experience that.
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  #38  
Old 01-20-2011
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Designing for technology?

This is probably a point to muse over without ever having consequences, butÖ
It could be that design and bow thrusters go hand in hand? Nobody would argue that canoe shapes, Colin Archers and boats of the 60s to 80s excel at maneuvering in harbor, but they do have the advantage of weight and directional force. If you manage to point that bow at a wharf, you can mostly steer it all the way in.

Modern boats tend to have bows that live a life of their own. The moment you take off the last bit of power the bow wakes up, smells the wind and decides to do a Scottish reel all on its own. It needs a bow thruster.
So, you could say that modern designs necessitate bow thrusters, or in reverse, that bow thrusters permitted new designs that are otherwise not maneuverable?

Iím not judgmental about this Ė although it is generally tricky to introduce new dependencies on technology. As an aid, yes, but if the dependency becomes absolute, not so.
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Old 01-20-2011
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Originally Posted by OsmundL View Post
......it is generally tricky to introduce new dependencies on technology. As an aid, yes, but if the dependency becomes absolute, not so.
Very good points. I will add, however, that without modern technology, you would never step foot on a commercial airliner. They would crash way too often (like they actually did in the 50s) no matter how good the pilot was at the basics. If pilots took the same general approach as 'no-bowthurster' sailors, we would still be flying paper airplanes.

In the aviation industry, the human is there to backup the technology, not the other way around. The only similarity, is that the human must remain competent, they just aren't looked down on for using the technology first.
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Old 01-20-2011
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Hmmm I have a modern bow and it doesn't have a mind of it's own at all. It goes where I point it. It's not about hull shape, it's just that bow thrusters are simply a technology who's time has come. Manufacturers have been able to bring the price point down where the common boat buyer can afford it. It's no different than any other advance in technology be it in a boat, car or anything else. For those who think it leads to a less than competant skipper I'd ask, if necessary, would they rather have a critical surgery performed by a Dr with a scapel or modern techniques such as laser or DaVinci? After all the Dr using the laser can't possibly have the same skills as the one with the blade in their hands. Or can they?
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