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Old 06-28-2012, 01:39 AM   #1
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SideShift Stern Thruster......



OK, I purchased it.

I think we all have heard the pro's and con's of thrusters. Rather than beat that dead horse again, I would like to speak out about my experience with this 'kit'. I chose the Sideshift stern Thruster due to the ease of installation (in the water) and minimal invasive set up (no large holes). Not to mention the low cost.

1. on first impression, the unit was heavy (much thicker than the Pic seems) and very well designed (Made in Canada, not China). The packaging was very good and everything seemed in order. The L-Bracket was on back order, requiring an extra week for delivery.

2. Installation was longer than I thought, but went very well with the help of a couple buddies. I chose the 'L-bracket' option allowing me to set up the L-Bracket above the water line and offering complete protection for the unit (runs veritcal). The props are counter rotating and move the boat impressively in the slip.

3. The brain "box" was easily mounted in my engine room, running about 10' of 2 AWG wire (X2) back to the unit. The unit requires 2/0 wire (X2) from the box to the Starter battery (Big size D). If you don't have the large Starter battery, the unit will require two size 32 Marine batteries.

4. The Joystick (beautifully manufactured) is wired to the control box with 2-16ga primary wires. It is then ran from the ignition key (positive), and a Negative in my panel.

5. Test day, wife and I untied the lines. At this point, the boat was idling in the slip. Normally, I would have my wife or son start to push me out while I tried to get my stern in the right position for an easy exit. Fighting currents in LaConner, WA can be a headache. Today, I had my wife just get on the boat (ideal situation). Putting the vessel in reverse, the vessel wanted to prop wash to Starboard, as normal. I quickly put pressure on the joystick keeping the boat in a straight line. Once out in the middle of the marina, I put pressure on the joystick to move my boat parallel to our dock. With a smile and complete relaxation, I headed out. We continued to practice docking at the guest dock and different scenarios with amazing success and ease.

6. The final test was getting back into our slip...... I was able to move, again parallel with our dock, then run the thruster to move us perpendicular with our slip. all this without my wife jumping off the boat, or putting herself between a pylon and the boat. Success! Ultimately this thruster will give me the ability to not have to rely on anyone to get the boat home.


lastly, one of my real worries was the Bow/Stern thruster decision. Which one? My dad has a bow thruster and after driving both, I find that either serves basically the same purpose. All it is, is a different state of mind. If you have twin engines, I would lean towards the bow thruster, or none at all (you got twins ). If a single engine, save the money and go with a Stern thruster.

For those who have wondered about the Sideshift...... there you go.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:00 AM   #2
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What is the mfg allowed ON time?

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Old 06-28-2012, 07:28 AM   #3
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Duty Cycle
Run Time- 30 sec Cool Down- 10 sec

pretty good...30/10 is reasonable in most docking situations

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Old 06-28-2012, 08:37 AM   #4
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Did you mount on the transom or swim platform?
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:21 AM   #5
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Did you mount on the transom or swim platform?

Question 1. I mounted on the Transom with an L-bracket ($175.00 accessory). The L-Bracket makes it harder for anyone to see, since its way under the swim step and tight with the transom. It also makes it look like a really sharp installation when inspected up closely.

Question 2. The power of the counter rotating props really pushes my boat with ease. I don't think I ever had it going for more than 10-12 seconds. As the other poster stated, there is a 30 second max with a 10 second cool down.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:05 PM   #6
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I'm considering a Side-Shift unit so your experience is valuable. What model Side-Shift did you install? The 12 volt 340 or the 24 volt 350? For comparison, I have a 40 foot, 26,000 lb displacement trawler. I'm wondering if the Side-Shift will have enough power for me. Will appreciate any insights you may have.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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While any thruster can be useful, what a stern thruster can't do is move the bow straight sideways while leaving the stern where it is. I have found that I've wanted to be able to do that far more than I've wished I could move the stern sideways and leave the bow where it is. With the rudders and two props I can make the stern go pretty much where I want it to go regardless. But moving the bow without changing the position of the stern, that's the one thing you can't do-- single or twin--- without a bow thruster.

But I have seen docking situations, particularly with a single, where a stern thruster would have been the solution. So I guess it all depends on the kinds of situations one commonly encounters.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jtflyn View Post
I'm considering a Side-Shift unit so your experience is valuable. What model Side-Shift did you install? The 12 volt 340 or the 24 volt 350? For comparison, I have a 40 foot, 26,000 lb displacement trawler. I'm wondering if the Side-Shift will have enough power for me. Will appreciate any insights you may have.
Jim

You will definitely want the 350 for anything larger than a 30/32' Trawler. The 350 should move your boat easily. Pay close attention to your transom when installing. You will want the tip of the prop 5" from the water line ideally (when water tanks are empty). My transom is really shallow, so I didn't quite get to the 5" mark. When my water tanks are empty, I notice a difference in the performance. Don't hesitate to talk with Sideshift directly. Not sure if Mark is still there or not, but he was of tremendous help with installation. Call him directly and see if he has any boat show deals or demo units. Good luck!


Mark Houle
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P. 613.686.6011
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www.sideshift.com

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Marin View Post
While any thruster can be useful, what a stern thruster can't do is move the bow straight sideways while leaving the stern where it is. I have found that I've wanted to be able to do that far more than I've wished I could move the stern sideways and leave the bow where it is. With the rudders and two props I can make the stern go pretty much where I want it to go regardless. But moving the bow without changing the position of the stern, that's the one thing you can't do-- single or twin--- without a bow thruster.

But I have seen docking situations, particularly with a single, where a stern thruster would have been the solution. So I guess it all depends on the kinds of situations one commonly encounters.
Good points Marin. Twins sure are nice! The Stern thruster allows me (single) to make finite directional changes with ease. It gives me (lay person) much more control of my vessel. It was the best $ I have spent on the boat yet.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:46 AM   #10
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The bow thruster on my single (main propulsion) propellered boat spins it well.

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Old 10-20-2012, 01:10 AM   #11
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It gives me (lay person) much more control of my vessel. It was the best $ I have spent on the boat yet.
I think anything that makes a boat easier to maneuver with precision, safer, easier on the crew (which includes reducing anxiety and apprehension) is money, effort, or time well spent.

Our simple permanent spring line and hangar in our slip made a huge difference in reducing my wife's (and my) apprehension when we come in on a windy day. She knows she doesn't have to scramble off the boat to get a line fastened in a super hurry and I know she's a lot more confident getting the boat in and pinned up against the finger.

It sounds like your stern thruster has accomplished the same sort of thing for you two.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:21 PM   #12
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I appreciate your insights guys. I'll be contacting the people at Side-Shift for their advice. My plan is to have a thruster installed in the Spring. Thanks again
Jim
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:03 AM   #13
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I have experienced docking both single and twin boats over the years, the single with a thruster, and twin without. Without doubt, IMHO, the twin offers superior close in manoeuvring control.

Except in one uncomfortable situation.

To reach our pen we come down a long narrow channel running North/South, about 80 yards long, with boats moored head to tail either side, at the end of the channel we have to do a 90 degree turn to port.This is to line up our pen, which is about 50 yards away running East/West.

We have a well known wind in our part of the world known as a 'southerly buster' this occurs on hot days and comes up the coast from the south sweeping all before it, with speeds up to 30-40 knots

My problem is for safety sake we enter the channel well centred and quite slowly, using the gears only for steering. However, to control the boat you need a certain amount of boat speed, so with the southerly behind you you are moving a dam sight faster than you may want, ready slow the boat with a reverse engines to make the narrow 90 degree turn,hopefully, at a speed slightly slower than a WW2 destroyer chasing a U-boat in the North Sea.


In this situation I would love to have a bow thruster to keep the nose from wandering off its centre line, without requiring the boat speed and reverse port/starboard gears to make it happen.

I have found that when you you use your gears to steer while underway, you will turn(pivot) the boat , however the boat will also slew in the opposite direction of the engaged reverse gear, so the boat moves off its course, the bow of the boat may be pointing straight but the boat is now not strictly following the direction of the bow. The faster the forward movement the greater the slew of the boat.Which is not what you want in a narrow channel with a strong following wind.

Completely agree with Marin on permanent mooring lines on hangers, (we have three), it's the way to go. No one jumps off the boat to grab lines, always a bit dicey when coming along side.
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:29 AM   #14
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I have experienced docking both single and twin boats over the years, the single with a thruster, and twin without.

We have a well known wind in our part of the world known as a 'southerly buster' this occurs on hot days and comes up the coast from the south sweeping all before it, with speeds up to 30-40 knots
In this situation I would love to have a bow thruster to keep the nose from wandering off its centre line, without requiring the boat speed and reverse port/starboard gears to make it happen.
I have found that when you you use your gears to steer while underway, you will turn(pivot) the boat , however the boat will also slew in the opposite direction of the engaged reverse gear, so the boat moves off its course, the bow of the boat may be pointing straight but the boat is now not strictly following the direction of the bow.
Ah,the joys of a Sydney late afternoon southerly buster.
Isn`the slew effect coming from the same prop walk you used to tuck in the stern of the single engined boats when docking? Complicated by a strong following breeze in a confined area.
I`m sure bowthrusters would fill the "missing link" for manoeuvring with twins. There was one offered here mounting externally on the bow, ie no tunnel in the hull. Still cost over 10K fitted, plus hauling,so I didn`t. What is the all up cost of the one you guys are discussing?
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:29 AM   #15
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All of the Sideshift products are on a 10% Off sale until the 26th of January so if anyone is contemplating buying one (besides me) give them a call or send them and email. Works out to about $400 avg. savings depending on model.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:38 AM   #16
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Greetings,
I've also looked at Sideshift products but just for casual interest, not for future purchase. The only concern I would have would be for the bow mounted units. What happens when you "bump" the dock? $$$ I think. For a stern installation they appear to be the "Cats pajamas".
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:28 PM   #17
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Would look similar to the hydraulic thruster on my Albin.
And although I would have preferred a bow thruster, the PO had already installed this and I got used to it. (plus no coffee grinder noise so it "pseudo stealth".
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:38 PM   #18
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Greetings,
I've also looked at Sideshift products but just for casual interest, not for future purchase. The only concern I would have would be for the bow mounted units. What happens when you "bump" the dock? $$$ I think. For a stern installation they appear to be the "Cats pajamas".
Yes, and this would definitely hurt a Sideshift, and maybe a few other things.

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Old 08-09-2017, 05:20 PM   #19
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Just wanted to reach out to this old thread. 5 years later my Sideshift still performs as new and has given me 0 problems. Just finished a new coat of bottom paint. Can't say enough good things about my thruster. And no Labomba, that would not ruin my SideShift. It would however cause a ton of other problems! Click image for larger version

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