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Old 12-06-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
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Bow Thruster

I've found this forum so helpful with my questions, I'll go to the well once again for your thoughts. *A friend and I bought a 37' Puget Trawler Europa, single engine, last spring and after a season of herding it into places it didn't want to go (especially if the wind is blowing)*we have decided it is worth the money and piece of mind to install a bow thruster. (at my age, ease and safety takes precedence over the challenge).

We have pretty much settled on a Lewmar 185TT 12V, but need some advice on going with a mdl# 4.0 (5.4 hp) or the mdl 5.0 (6.7 hp). It's not a money saving problem, after figuring the total cost, the difference in price between the two is not that much of an issue. *We were more interested in other problem that might be encountered by going with the larger/smaller thruster. Thanks again,
Geezer
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:58 PM   #2
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RE: Bow Thruster

Earlier this year I had a Lewmar thruster installed. The*decision made was to install the biggest kW that would fit within the bilge space. In my case this was about an 8kW 24V unit. So, I'd *go with the 5 kW unit
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:19 PM   #3
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RE: Bow Thruster

Trust me, you cannot install too large a bow thruster.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:52 PM   #4
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RE: Bow Thruster

Yep, I have to agree with Doc. Well worth the extra money. And I'm guessing a small burst of a more powerful thruster takes less power than a longer burst of a smaller unit (just an educated guess here, others might have some data to confirm that theory of mine).

As I'm gaining confidence with handling my boat I use the thruster a lot less but it's always nice to have it when you need it. You won't regret it.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:26 PM   #5
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RE: Bow Thruster

Like the others I believe a bow thruster is well worth installing, a good sized one too. Try to use it as little as possible to keep up your docking skills. You may get some razzing from bystanders who call using one cheating, don't give it a second thought.
Good luck,
Steve W.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:32 PM   #6
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RE: Bow Thruster

I have one and I agree with everything that's been said. Wish I had the next size up.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:19 PM   #7
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RE: Bow Thruster

There is no such thing as too large or powerful when it comes to thrusters. I have one and although I don't use it much, it can be helpful, and mostly when there is a wind blowing you off the dock. I have had several occasions when it wasn't big or powerful enough.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:24 PM   #8
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RE: Bow Thruster

OK, the bigger one it is--thanks again for everyone's input.
I'll get a picture posted of our pride and joy, but Fotoman's Marine Trader is a slightly smaller twin to ours. What a great forum and wonderful asset for us newcomers. Thanks.
Dave
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:00 PM   #9
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RE: Bow Thruster

One thing no one mentioned, but the power requirements will be greater for the bigger motor.** Make sure you have a well thought out scheme to charge all your batteries, including the new one(s) you'll have to install.* .............Arctic Traveller
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:55 PM   #10
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RE: Bow Thruster

Thanks Jeff, I'll do some research on what we'll need.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:56 AM   #11
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RE: Bow Thruster

I'll do some research on what we'll need.

The first question is "how long" can it operate before it must cool off for how long?

Many electric units have very short operating times (usually not given till treading the operating instructions).

Hydraulic is always the best, but not cheap, unless it has more than one use.

Bow or stern thrusters , windlass , dink hoist , cruising AC generator , reefer and many other items can be Hyd operated with usually better results than DC.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:59 AM   #12
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RE: Bow Thruster

From what I've read, installing a bow thruster is not a DIY job, even for an advanced DIYer. So - you're going to have to call in a specialist. These people will be able to give you advice and choices for your boat and your intended use.

I agree with the others though on oen point, bigger is better. I wish mine were the next size up.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:20 AM   #13
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RE: Bow Thruster

Generally, the max operating time for a consumer grade electric 12v bow thruster is 3 minutes.....at least that is what it is for my Side Power thruster. 3 minutes is PLENTY and if you need 3 minutes worth then I think you might need to rethink your docking strategy.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:05 AM   #14
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RE: Bow Thruster

John, my noble man, I understand your point but 3 minutes goes by pretty darn quick when the wind is piping up and you are in a strange marina and the only way to dock is to turn the boat 180 degrees so that you can get something you need like power or say you want to facing a certain way. Sure you can do a temporary job and move the boat later. But if you are coming in and the weather has gone south on you, the boat needs to be planted.

I belong to a Florida Yacht Club and most clubs have only 3 or 4 transiet slips...where you are going to go whether you like it or not

I have wished many times for a bigger, longer lasting (several things) thruster.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:53 AM   #15
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Bow Thruster

Still not buying it........People without Bow Thrusters can be in the exact same situation and somehow nobody dies and their boat doesn't sink. A bow thruster should be considered a luxury...not a necessity(in boats or our size range and application). IOW, it should supplement good boat handling skills....not replace them.....IMO

-- Edited by Baker on Tuesday 7th of December 2010 10:57:36 AM
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:56 AM   #16
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Bow Thruster

I too will stick to my guns on this one. M boat has a fairly deep draft, a full keel and a small rudder so at dead slow speed it only responds to rudder with bursts of power. I have plenty of control going down fairways at idle, however. I cut my teeth on a single engine Albin 33 before bow thrusters were even thought of so I know the 'back and fill" method. I can do that on this boat but only with enough power to throw passengers backward off their bar stools.

I understand your opinion completely, but next time you are going into Midway on a windy day why don't you try it without flaps?

-- Edited by Doc on Tuesday 7th of December 2010 12:57:15 PM
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:26 PM   #17
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RE: Bow Thruster

Give me enough runway and no Problem! And if we are ever going into Midway, it is not a good day......

..as I typed that I realized you meant Chicago "Midway"...not the Island in the middle of the Pacific. I fly over the Pacific Island more than I do the Chicago version. It is usually one of our ETOPS alternates going from HNL westbound.

PS...I am thinking you could consider flaps on a jetliner as a necessity and not a luxury....much like a bow thruster would be considered a necessity on a 900ft ship.....although they could still get help from the harbor tugs.

Regardless of necessity.... 3 minutes on a small recreational boat should be more than adequate.
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:46 PM   #18
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RE: Bow Thruster

Quote:
Baker wrote:

Give me enough runway and no Problem! And if we are ever going into Midway, it is not a good day......

..as I typed that I realized you meant Chicago "Midway"...not the Island in the middle of the Pacific. I fly over the Pacific Island more than I do the Chicago version. ...
Midway Island was also attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

*
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:47 PM   #19
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RE: Bow Thruster

Mark:
I thought you were wrong about Midway so I looked it up. You are correct sir, and I learned something new, as follows:
The location of Midway in the Pacific became important to the military. Midway was a convenient refueling stop on transpacific flights, and was also an important stop for Navy ships. Beginning in 1940, as tensions with the Japanese were rising, Midway was deemed second only to Pearl Harbor in importance to protecting the U.S. west coast. Airstrips, gun emplacements and a seaplane base quickly materialized on the tiny atoll. The channel was widened, and Naval Air Station Midway was completed. Architect Albert Kahn designed the Officer's quarters, the mall and several other hangars and buildings. Midway was also an important submarine base. Midway's importance to the U.S. was brought into focus on December 7, 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (Midway was also attacked for the first time on December 7, 1941). A Japanese submarine bombarded Midway on February 10, 1942.[4] Four months later, on June 4, 1942, a naval battle near Midway resulted in the U.S. Navy exacting a devastating defeat of the Japanese Navy. This Battle of Midway was, by most accounts, the beginning of the end of the Japanese Navy's control of the Pacific Ocean.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:38 PM   #20
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Bow Thruster

Quote:
Baker wrote:

A bow thruster should be considered a luxury...not a necessity(in boats or our size range and application). IOW, it should supplement good boat handling skills....not replace them.....IMO

-- Edited by Baker on Tuesday 7th of December 2010 10:57:36 AM
John You are so right. I would even go so far as to say that if one buys a boat
with a thruster, they should forget it's there for the first year or two. One thing I
see more and more these days is people coming into a side tie situation and
positioning themselves parallel to, but far away from the dock, and then using
the thruster and a combination back and fill to get to the dock. It's absolutely
tortuous to watch.


And then there is the boater who will be cruising through the harbor attempting to
steer each turn with the thruster. It's not what they are intended for. I want to hand them the business card of a qualified captain, willing to teach a novice.


In all honesty, before even chartering my first inboard boat, I sought took the advice of a captain friend, and chartered a boat not unlike the Prairie 29 for a three hour training, and all we did was approach and place the boat in every available empty slip in the marina. My captain friend guided me through each new scenario, and then left me to do the next few similar approaches on my own. Not to toot my own horn, but after that session, I was running inboards better than many who had been utilizing their own self taught bad understanding of physics.


Sorry I went a little astray with this, but one thing leads to another.

*



-- Edited by Carey on Tuesday 7th of December 2010 11:46:32 PM
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