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Old 12-11-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
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Mainship 34

We are new owners of 1984. Any comments on steering with bow thrusters.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:03 PM   #2
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Not sure what you are asking but if you use your thruster for steering it will not last long. Electric thruster motors are pretty much like the "starter" motor in your car. Imagine how long that would last if you continually ran it for more than a few seconds. Your thruster manual will tell you how long you can run it for and how long it must cool down before you use it again.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by hansondl View Post
We are new owners of 1984. Any comments on steering with bow thrusters.
Most thrusters that I am familiar with are designed to use to counter act wind, current, and or prop torque during close quarter maneuvering. They are really great for moving the bow or stern around in the slip for tieing up. If electric, they have timers on them to shut off before getting too hot. They are short duration appliances. After getting familiar with the handling characteristics of your vessel you will use your thruster only when necessary.

There are also hydraulic thrusters and individually powered thrusters, but I don't think that your boat would have any of those. A thruster is a very good thing to have especially on a single screw boat.

Where do you keep your boat?
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:20 AM   #4
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If you are looking for advice on maneuvering your boat with a thruster, then the general section of the forum would get you more traffic and activity on this subject.

With that said, I have a single screw boat with a thruster....Mainship Pilot 30. To me, this is the most brainless configuration for maneuvering a boat. Maybe I am just used to it. My biggest piece of advice is to be mindful of where you want the STERN to go...be cause you can put the bow wherever you want. A good example of this would be departing a side tie dock. My technique(which I feel is the best) is to turn the wheel hard over TOWARDS the dock....not what is natural. And then put it in gear...the stern goes AWAY from the dock and then use the thruster to push the bow away and the boat walks gently and measuredly away from the dock. When you get clear, you can resume normal steering inputs. Same goes for "parallel parking". have the boat lined up with the spot. Have the helm turned AWAY from the dock and go in and out of gear walking the stern towards the dock while pushing the bow with the thruster. If you can get this on the side your prop walks to, that helps even more.
I have an acquaintance who is in a band that was playing at a waterside bar on a busy afternoon and he was playing a song and I pulled up and literally parallel parked my 33LOA boat in about 37 feet of space...he literally stopped playing mid song and had to give a play by play to the crowd of my parking maneuver....luckily, I pulled it off and he was pretty impressed. Anyway....you get the idea.

My thruster has a 3 minute time limit on it. You should never get anywhere close to that. They should be short little bursts. And there are times when the wind and current are stronger than your thruster.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:34 AM   #5
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I concur with Baker's analysis of handling a single screw with a bow thruster. The big caution that I will offer is current. #1 always head into the current if possible. #2 In you have a keel, getting your keel perpindicular to the current can be a disaster. In a strong current a bow thruster may not be able to overcome the side setting effect. Unless in an extremely strong wind, in docking situations current usually rules.

With careful analysis then planning you should do quite well. There is usually no big rush. Stay outside the docking area to see how wind and current is going to affect your situation. When you have a plan, set all lines and fenders. Let your crew know exactly what you intend to do. Give them your instructions, and have at it. You'll look like a pro.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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I concur with Baker's analysis of handling a single screw with a bow thruster. The big caution that I will offer is current. #1 always head into the current if possible. #2 In you have a keel, getting your keel perpindicular to the current can be a disaster. In a strong current a bow thruster may not be able to overcome the side setting effect. Unless in an extremely strong wind, in docking situations current usually rules.

With careful analysis then planning you should do quite well. There is usually no big rush. Stay outside the docking area to see how wind and current is going to affect your situation. When you have a plan, set all lines and fenders. Let your crew know exactly what you intend to do. Give them your instructions, and have at it. You'll look like a pro.
All good advice. One other thing to remember is the thruster is most affective when the forward or aft motion of the boat is nil. Of course you can't totally negate current but the thruster works best if the water isn't flowing past the opening in the hull at some great speed.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:46 PM   #7
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Agree with all above... with near zero wind/current, a single screw w/bow thruster can walk the boat sideways and I've found the thruster to be almost ineffective with a strong side wind. Just out of curiosity I tried the thruster (at the mooring) with a strong port side wind, and the bow moved to port very little. Now I know what the thruster will do and what it won't do in strong winds. Good lesson learned.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:36 AM   #8
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I have a 34' Mainship Trawler with twin engines and a bow thruster, but no stern thruster. Rarely use the thruster. Mostly use it when getting into a slide slip, or out. It sure can be handy at those times.
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:00 AM   #9
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With a bow thruster (or without), the challenge of a single-propellered boat is controlling the stern: employing/countering unequal blade thrust (prop-walk).

The Coot's 24-volt bow thruster has readily handled the minor currents and sometimes-strong winds so far encountered.

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