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Old 01-04-2017, 01:28 PM   #1
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Bow thruster Grand Banks 32

I am looking at an older glass Grand Banks.
I have always owned twin engine boats and am considering having a bow thruster installed.Can anyone share their experience with this?What can I expect form a cost standpoint?

Thanks for your input
Bill
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Old 01-04-2017, 02:49 PM   #2
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I am putting a stern thruster on our boat. It will be here on Friday. I would like to have a bow thruster, but I don't have room in the bow under the deck for a tunnel due to the water tanks. I may look at an external bow thruster at some point. The cost will depend on if you are doing the install or having it done. I have spent about $4,000 so far buying the thruster, stern tunnel, controls and cables. I still have to get an AGM battery, charger and battery cables which should be about $400. I will do the install myself so there won't be labor costs.
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Old 01-04-2017, 02:54 PM   #3
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WOW! I had no idea of the cost of them. I have a bow thruster. It came with the boat. I call it my magic button. I don't think I could do without it!
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Old 01-04-2017, 03:07 PM   #4
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Spend a couple of hours with a commercial fisherman. Just about all run with singles. Save your money.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:52 PM   #5
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Commercial fisherman usually don't dock in slips off of narrow fairways, and don't do it stern to.

I have owned two trawlers with bow thrusters over the last ten years and use them every time I go out. For the past two years I have been on a mooring and consider a bow thruster just as important to pick up a mooring easily with the wind and current opposed.

It will cost about $5,000 for the hardware and about the same for installation, if there is room in the bow for the tunnel and the thruster. I don't have any experience with stern thrusters but if I had a boat where I couldn't install a bow thruster I would seriously consider one. Installation should be much cheaper, but hardware is about the same.

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Old 01-04-2017, 04:55 PM   #6
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FWIW, I have both bow and stern thrusters. I consider the bow thruster to be a LOT more useful than the stern. For the OP, you will like the stern thruster, but if I were you I would looke at installing an external bow thruster as well.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:00 PM   #7
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Single engine GBs, as well as many other single engine boat brands, came without thrusters at either end for decades and people seemed to get along just fine without them.

I know I did.

So while thrusters are nice to have, they are hardly as mandatory as some seem to feel they have become.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
Single engine GBs, as well as many other single engine boat brands, came without thrusters at either end for decades and people seemed to get along just fine without them.

I know I did.

So while thrusters are nice to have, they are hardly as mandatory as some seem to feel they have become.
I just realized that it is a GB 32. I was thinking bigger. It has been quite a while since I used a boat close to that size. I never needed a thruster on a Catalina 36 sailboat, but I had a big rudder and not nearly as much windage as the GB 32. My Catalina 400 has no bow thruster but there have been a few times when I really could have used one.

With a 32' boat, a thruster would sure be nice, but certainly not a necessity.

I admit to really needing the thrusters on my NP43. The boat has a huge amount of windage and there are plenty of times where I would not have been able to get into certain spots without them.
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Old 01-04-2017, 05:25 PM   #9
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We are putting thrusters on our 41' not because it isn't possible to maneuver the boat without thrusters, but as we get older and have less strenght it will enable us to boat longer into our old age. Whatever the cost is is what it is if we can continue boating longer... My wife just had her 3rd operation and 2nd shoulder replacement and is not able to pull and push as much as she used to. I am putting the stern thruster on first since it is so easy to install. I have about 15 other medium to large projects going on this winter and wanted to do the easier thruster first. I don't have room inside the bow for a thruster tunnel so I may put an external thruster on the bow. I have to determine if I can even mount an external thruster an still get it into the barn for winter storage. I don't want to store the boat outside in the winter.
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Old 01-04-2017, 06:54 PM   #10
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I happen to have a 32' GB so perhaps my insight is useful.

1) The point of rotation is just a bit forward of the helm.
2) Rotating the boat going forward with just rudder and throttle control is highly effective.
3) Rotating the boat going astern is just as effective.
4) Threading the needle into tight spots is not difficult with practice.
5) If you do decide on a thruster I would suggest a stern mount. The characteristics of these boats make this configuration the most effective.

The bottom line is get the boat and practice without spending the money first. If you decide it's a gotta have after that then go for it.

Bob

P.S. It is great fun to show off you boat handling skills without the brrrrrap of shame!
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:05 PM   #11
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I'm with Bob. The 32 taught me how to handle a single and now I have an extra 20' without much keel and a very light bow. NOW I need a thruster but not on the stern, that is what the wheel and the rudder is for. I wish I had the 32's keel.

I just remembered I wanted to add, driving a single is like driving a forklift, for those of you who have, you steer the stern. The bow frequently follows but not always. Plan to put the bow where you want it early then get the stern where you want it after. Just like a forklift.

A lot of times you will get the bow to swing while maneuvering and that is where the trouble may arise, getting it to stop. Lots of engine roaring and wheel swinging...that's when I get into trouble, if I'm going to. At least (so far) none of the dents have my name on them.
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Old 01-04-2017, 07:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comodave View Post
We are putting thrusters on our 41' not because it isn't possible to maneuver the boat without thrusters, but as we get older and have less strenght it will enable us to boat longer into our old age. Whatever the cost is is what it is if we can continue boating longer... My wife just had her 3rd operation and 2nd shoulder replacement and is not able to pull and push as much as she used to. I am putting the stern thruster on first since it is so easy to install. I have about 15 other medium to large projects going on this winter and wanted to do the easier thruster first. I don't have room inside the bow for a thruster tunnel so I may put an external thruster on the bow. I have to determine if I can even mount an external thruster an still get it into the barn for winter storage. I don't want to store the boat outside in the winter.
Good points. I'm getting to think along those lines. I can handle my boat in most conditions, but why not make it even easier.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:01 PM   #13
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Made do with my bow thruster out of commission for several months, but docking is much easier on me as well as the transmission and propeller shaft (containing two universal joints) when it is working.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:15 PM   #14
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This last weekend my stern thruster decided to not function to port. Not sure yet what the problem is. My initial thought is a contact in the switch. It may be something else but I frankly don't know how the things work yet so I don't have any other ideas.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:11 PM   #15
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If it is only working one way, it could be the control switch. Try switching the control wires either ar the helm switch or at the relay by the thruster. If the motor works the other way with the wires switched, then it is probably the switch.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:46 PM   #16
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My 35' charter boat doesn't have a thruster and is very easy to maneuver. What it does have is a large rudder that turns 45 degrees in each direction. Some single screw boats maneuver poorly as the result of a small rudder. So it's really not fair to say that all smaller single scew boats will handle well without a thruster, as it's dependent on the size of the rudder.

The first year I had problems with the bow thruster of my 45' trawler. It was intermittent and would quit at the worst times. Became afraid to get in situations where I would absolutely need it. So I did all the maneuvering and docking without it. Fortunately the boat has a very large foil rudder, so it's easy to maneuver. Reworked the bow thruster during the refit. Still maneuver and dock the boat without it, but have it activated in case I need it in a pinch. Better to have and not need, than to need and it quits.

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Old 01-04-2017, 09:52 PM   #17
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If it is only working one way, it could be the control switch. Try switching the control wires either ar the helm switch or at the relay by the thruster. If the motor works the other way with the wires switched, then it is probably the switch.
Great idea, the other thing I didn't try (likely because it was 25 degrees and blowing 20 knots) is to check it from the flybridge control. The thrusters have been a bit finicky at times but always would work. This time it just wouldn't.

The switches are noted for being a bit flaky. Vetus wants close to $500 bucks for the switch assembly. Other North Pacific owners have found the actual switch for $7.00 plus shipping. Cheap way to find out.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:25 PM   #18
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Would definately look for a cheaper switch if it turns out to be bad. I went with Side Power, time will tell if I made a good choice, but the controller was not $500 The single thruster joystick was $206 which is still a little high, but at least not $500.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:35 PM   #19
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OC, he specifically asked about a GB '32.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:30 AM   #20
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Picked up a GB 32 about 9 months or so ago. Thruster would be nice but I'm amazed at how well you can maneuver the boat once you understand the physics involved. By no means am I "pro" YET but with some more practice I will get there. Don't let that be the reason you pass up on a good boat. Take it from a guy who has never owned or operated a single until 9 months ago. The GB 32 is an amazing boat...we are so glad to have her in our family.

Let me know via PM if have anything you'd like to chat about
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