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Old 09-03-2016, 12:31 PM   #61
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Practice...practice...

But agree bull rail docks are more of an issue....as well as the boat you are on.

One of the main reasons to use spring lines in my book is because I do so much single handling....a LOT when trying to maneuver the assistance tow boat and holding it in place with wind/current while handling the towline.

Just used one to get a twin engine outboard 23 foot walkaround out of a slip because the 30 knot gusts and 3 knot current had it pinned firmly against the finger pier.

Never would I slam one for having or using thrusters....and maybe someday I will put one on my single engine trawler. For now, there hasn't been a docking situation where a spring hasn't sufficed, and that was only needed a couple times in 9 trips either to or from FL to NJ....and much of that I was practically.... single handling.

If you use one enough, it becomes second nature as part of the initial docking, not as an alternative or backup.
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:45 PM   #62
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Springs are great. However, it is a very rare event that there is any assistance when docking. Getting a spring on the cleat or around the bull rail when coming into a dock is extremely difficult and unsafe when short handed and all but impossible when single handing. So while I agree that spring lines are a useful tool, I just don't understand your insistence that spring lines will do the same job.
So how did everyone manage to dock boats for decades before bow thrusters became so common?
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:53 PM   #63
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Just used one to get a twin engine outboard 23 foot walkaround out of a slip because the 30 knot gusts and 3 knot current had it pinned firmly against the finger pier.
I have used them a lot for leaving a dock, particularly with my sailboat. It is the arrival at the dock where I have issues. I have used it when single handing on the sailboat when I was coming into a familiar dock and knew I could loop a line from my mid-ship cleat, around a dock cleat, and tie off back to the mid-ship cleat. Then hold the the boat next to the dock while setting the rest of the dock lines, but that depends on knowing that you have a properly positioned cleat on the dock and that you can successfully catch it with a line. When going into a transient dock, I never know where the cleats will be.

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So how did everyone manage to dock boats for decades before bow thrusters became so common?
When I was a kid, it seemed as if the boats and the docks had a lot more fenders and a lot more "dings" than they do now.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:07 PM   #64
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So how did everyone manage to dock boats for decades before bow thrusters became so common?
A psychological bias know as loss aversion perhaps?

Recreational boats were smaller on average. Marinas had larger fairways. And they still managed to crash into things. You used to hear panicked voices upon arrival and departure of boats with people running to fend off. Now you hear a whirring noise somewhere between a blender and a cement mixer.
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:46 PM   #65
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A psychological bias know as loss aversion perhaps?

Recreational boats were smaller on average. Marinas had larger fairways. And they still managed to crash into things. You used to hear panicked voices upon arrival and departure of boats with people running to fend off. Now you hear a whirring noise somewhere between a blender and a cement mixer.
There is some truth to that.l perhaps.

Not sure if I hear that many less panicked voices.

Especially when the mixer noise stops suddenly.

The sad thing today is how often you hear the thruster being used just to turn the boat while its only moving around at slow speeds while underway.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:08 PM   #66
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"So how did everyone manage to dock boats for decades before bow thrusters became so common?"

Practice.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:15 PM   #67
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I got it, Best Thruster is one that works when it's windy or fighting currents but most won't help in those situations. So thrusters good for fair weather docking.
Spring lines or gaging the wind, current, sail effect and engine and rudder capabilities will work along with prudent seamanship.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:18 PM   #68
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"So how did everyone manage to dock boats for decades before bow thrusters became so common?"

Practice.
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Old 09-03-2016, 03:39 PM   #69
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I have used them a lot for leaving a dock, particularly with my sailboat. It is the arrival at the dock where I have issues. I have used it when single handing on the sailboat when I was coming into a familiar dock and knew I could loop a line from my mid-ship cleat, around a dock cleat, and tie off back to the mid-ship cleat. Then hold the the boat next to the dock while setting the rest of the dock lines, but that depends on knowing that you have a properly positioned cleat on the dock and that you can successfully catch it with a line. When going into a transient dock, I never know where the cleats will be.



When I was a kid, it seemed as if the boats and the docks had a lot more fenders and a lot more "dings" than they do now.
There are a thousand ways to use springs...many also involve proper fendering or you are correct in that yacht finishes are served better by dual engines, dual thrusters and a talented captain and crew.

Fortunately my boat finish matches it's captain and shorthanded crew....

as I said and FF echoed....practice is the trick.

Funny thing is...so many boaters I have met and read about ...talk about mid ship cleats...hell...my boat (single, no thrusters) didn't have any mid ship cleats for the first 10,000 miles of springing...they are still the last cleat I use when in a difficult situation...but now that I have them, they add another 500 ways to spring in my repertoire.
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:55 PM   #70
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I am not sure exactly why some people are so opposed to thrusters. They insist that is is not a macho thing and just practice, practice and practice. Nothing wrong with practicing. I have been boating for 48 years and think that I am well practiced and knowledgeable about boat handling. I have taught boating for almost 30 years. Been qualified as Coxswain in the CG Auxiliary for decades and work as a Qualification Examiner. OK, enough about being qualified...

Why not just answer the original question as to what is the best bow thruster? Why tell the OP that he should not need a thruster? I have a 41' twin that will absolutely not walk, I am going to install both a bow and stern thruster. Am I less of a man, or less of a skipper? Maybe in some peoples minds, but I really don't care. Do the people that say don't use thrusters not have plotters and radar? You can navigate without them, but why?

As we get older, we have less strength and endurance. By having thrusters, we will be able to boat longer into our older age. What is that worth?

If someone wants a thruster and has the money to do it, why run the idea down? Why not just tell them which one they should buy?
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:06 PM   #71
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Who exactly is running the idea down?


I think most people like me who don't have them wish they did...but also feel that you really don't need them as some would have you think.


Sure they take a lot of stress out of docking for some...but they don't take any stress out of docking for some without them...they just make docking easier in the sense that you don't have to plan or do as much. Great...but not a big deal for those that have practiced or have the experience.


Much of the contrary talk isn't abut not having them as much as explaining how to do the same thing without them...thus they are a luxury...not a necessity...depending on one's abilities.


I love them, and I think many talented captains here that don't really need them, have them or use them whenever they can. No big deal either way.


But much of the chatter is about what might be considered incorrect statements, not about egos or anything else.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:55 PM   #72
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I don't get the patronizing..... A thruster has NOTHING to do with getting home safely. Practicing without it (if you have one), is like practicing without one of your engines if you have twins. Should the average weekend boater with twins practice docking with just 1 engine (because you never know)? Is that really practical? Now, I am not slamming those who do, but reality is that it's not something that most boaters with twins do. So for some to say that others shouldn't get a thruster because they'll forget how to dock as a single screw vessel, is ridiculous.

Thrusters are a handy tool for those single engine vessels fortunate enough to have them. Are they always needed? No, but I am sure glad I have one.
I'd agree, thrusters are a handy tool, and yes they can get you home safely at times.

As for the engine out practice, absolutely do it. Once practiced and perfected, when it happens it won't be a panic.... and with an engine out the thruster really becomes a great aid.

However, most of the time, the thruster is not needed. But when it is, it can make the difference of making it or not.

Also, one must know how to use a thruster... doesn't take a lot but there are techniques. Also, some are not powerful enough, especially when fighting both tide and winds, so one has to "lead" a bit to get it to work.

I've never regretting not having a thruster, but for me the maintenance has been high.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:00 PM   #73
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Serious question

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I have used them a lot for leaving a dock, particularly with my sailboat. It is the arrival at the dock where I have issues. I have used it when single handing on the sailboat when I was coming into a familiar dock and knew I could loop a line from my mid-ship cleat, around a dock cleat, and tie off back to the mid-ship cleat. Then hold the the boat next to the dock while setting the rest of the dock lines, but that depends on knowing that you have a properly positioned cleat on the dock and that you can successfully catch it with a line. When going into a transient dock, I never know where the cleats will be.



When I was a kid, it seemed as if the boats and the docks had a lot more fenders and a lot more "dings" than they do now.
Someone on this thread said they could move sideways without A bow thruster. Whoever can do that, please tell me how you do it. I have scratch my head over this a number of times, and could never figure out how to move sideways using just my engines. I have my doubts that practice, practice, practice will help.

But I am new to The trawler world and understand that I have much to learn. So if you if you can like me to this I would appreciate it, greatly.

Thanks Gordon
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:07 PM   #74
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Docking in a space just barely longer than your boat can be done with a spring...it does not involve moving the boat sideways though.


Do it all the time at the fuel dock with a long after bow spring, come in anywhere from a 45 to a T-bone.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:26 PM   #75
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I am not sure exactly why some people are so opposed to thrusters. They insist that is is not a macho thing and just practice, practice and practice. Nothing wrong with practicing.



If someone wants a thruster and has the money to do it, why run the idea down? Why not just tell them which one they should buy?

I don't think anyone was necessarily running the idea down. I never had thrusters until 4 months ago. I got along ok without them on my sailboats for a lot of years but sure could have used a now thruster on my 40' Catalina at times (yesterday was an example). I use the thrusters on my current boat and at times I think they allow me to get into places I wouldn't be able to otherwise. However, I don't like the idea of having to rely on them all the time. So I try to dock using them as little as possible consistent with safety and reasonableness. A thruster is a device. In my experience Murphy is relentless about going after devices on boats. If a thruster fails, I would still like to be able to dock and control my boat.
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Old 09-03-2016, 07:19 PM   #76
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I use my bow thruster to turn in the fairway while leaving the berth. Not because it's necessary (prevailing winds are bow-on), but to give it some exercise and confirm it's still working. It's more helpful when returning to berth to tighten the turning radius for a straight-in shot. Boaters with twin engines separately manipulate their engines for the same effect.

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Old 09-03-2016, 09:07 PM   #77
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I don't understand how...

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Docking in a space just barely longer than your boat can be done with a spring...it does not involve moving the boat sideways though.


Do it all the time at the fuel dock with a long after bow spring, come in anywhere from a 45 to a T-bone.
One can come in between two boats Using only a spring line to stop. I have used a spring many times to park the boat but only when there was room to approach it not when it's coming in between two boats that barely leave enough room for my boat.

I never worried on my 43-foot sailboat because I had a large rudder which permitted steering even at extremely slow speeds. The rudder on my sailboat gave me better control at slow speed than two engines on my trawler. Between slow speed steerage and prop walk, I could put the boat on any space in all conditions. My trawler has more wind age, and microscopic rudders.

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Old 09-03-2016, 09:21 PM   #78
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:22 PM   #79
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A spring line can move you sideways into the dock and can pull you in to the dock when there is only a small amount of room between two boats.
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Old 09-03-2016, 09:30 PM   #80
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One can come in between two boats Using only a spring line to stop. I have used a spring many times to park the boat but only when there was room to approach it not when it's coming in between two boats that barely leave enough room for my boat.

I never worried on my 43-foot sailboat because I had a large rudder which permitted steering even at extremely slow speeds. The rudder on my sailboat gave me better control at slow speed than two engines on my trawler. Between slow speed steerage and prop walk, I could put the boat on any space in all conditions. My trawler has more wind age, and microscopic rudders.

Gordon
It is done all the time...what can I say?

Practice, knowledge, experience, need to do it??????? All the above?

I didn't invent spring lines, but without being good using them....assistance towing with a single engine, no bow thruster, gas inboard would be a trick.

So docking using them without a tow on was a real treat and putting the boat into seemingly impossible spots became natural after awhile.

The picture is of the slip I am usually given at Ft Pierce for the month of Feb. I usually have to single hand into there and my boat is even bigger than the boat just in the outboard slip.

2 years ago, I left with a 20 knot crosswind coming from the SE which would be the lower right of the picture. I used a spring to get me out of the slip and stay in the upwind side of the fairway and I backed all the way out.. The other years the winds were light enough, no spring was necessary.


And yes bow and stern thrusters would make it so easy...but certainly not necessary and a little planning eliminates stress...or just extend till the weather improves.
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