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Old 05-05-2018, 01:13 PM   #1
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What Bow Thuster should I get

I'm planning on adding a bow thruster to my 55' Californian. I'm looking at Sidepower. I'm curious about recommendations for HP. Also, I have 12vdc systems.
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Old 05-05-2018, 01:35 PM   #2
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I’d give Imtra Corp. a call. They distribute Sidepower in the US. I did business with them for at least forty years before I retired. They give first class customer service and have knowledgeable people working the phones.
Imtra | Boating, Transportation, Energy & Marine Products

I’m not an expert on thrusters but my gut tells me you may want to figure out how to get 24v or hydraulic power to a Thruster on that size boat.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:23 PM   #3
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+1 on the 24 volt thruster. We put a Sidepower stern thruster on our boat last year. Love it. Had an issue with the wireless remote control. Sopke to the tech that repairs them, he was really bad at customer service. Asked for a manager and explained the issue, he took care of it to my complete satisfaction. I will be putting a Sidepower bow thruster in at some point. My wife has had 4 shoulder surgeries and can’t pull on the lines too well so the bow thruster will make her life docking much easier.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:28 PM   #4
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27 years without a thruster why now?
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:33 PM   #5
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27 years without a thruster why now?
my boats 32 years and it going to get one as soon as I can afford it.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:38 PM   #6
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Well we have been boating for 50 years. As we get older and have less strength and flexibility anything that can lenghten our boating life and make it easier and safer sounds good to me. Some will say that thrusters are not needed, but that is their choice. We are choosing differently. Neither choice is right or wrong in absolute terms, but whatever works for an individual is the right choice.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:43 PM   #7
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I acquired a Sidepower bow thruster with my 32 Nordic Tug (1999 vintage). In 2017, the thruster began free wheeling underway, shearing pins and then the brushes gave out and could not be repaired. The core was too worn to be salvaged. Although our 1999 thruster unit was discontinued long ago, IMTRA service worked with me to find a compatible current replacement head. Going this route saved huge money and the head they picked out matched bolt holes perfectly. It's as good as new. I can't say enough about IMTRA's customer service. They spent quite a bit of time researching and guiding the replacement process. Great folks and great products.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:42 PM   #8
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We put Wesmar 24V thrusters on Blue Sky about three years ago and love them. We were down to Wesmar and Sidepower but ultimately chose Wesmar; not too much difference although the Wesmar has stainless blades vs the Sidepower's composite blades.

But the key is to go 24V (vs 12V) and get dual props.
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:14 PM   #9
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+1 For Sidepower
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:22 PM   #10
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My vote is for Vetus. Terrific lifetime customer service.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:18 PM   #11
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RickyD For your size boat the #1 choice is hydraulic. Unlimited run time, but expensive. #2 choice is 24 volt thruster. Reply to bayview at #4. It's not a macho thing. Why not have any tool that makes life easier and less stressful. It's like a garage door opener, do you need it? No, but sometimes it saves you a wet ass. Nice to have.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:23 PM   #12
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I agree that a hydraulic bow and stern could be more reliable if you have a hydraulic system. I will admit to little knowledge on hydraulic systems on a 'small' boat. Alas, that system is usually attached to an engine..... I do not know the minimum RPMs necessary to maintain the necessary hydraulic pressure.

IF you are going with electric, which battery bank are you planning to wire it to?
IF you are going to put the truster on batteries, how many batteries do you have.
I learned, if a thruster is on the start batteries and you have an electronically controlled engine, if the start battery is weak, the engine will stop at the most inopportune time, while docking. This I know to be TRUE.
I added a 3rd house battery and replaced the start battery, moved the bow thruster to the houses batteries. Now, both the bow and stern truster are on the 3 (4D) house batteries.
My theory, which I hope is correct, the 3 house batteries should be able to support both the bow and stern thruster during docking AND the main engine wont shut down.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:28 PM   #13
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27 years without a thruster why now?
As we get older health and safety reasons would be my answer.

A interesting alternative to a bow thruster is the side shift they are a bit odd but are a small % of the cost and locally am hearing great reviews on them
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:56 PM   #14
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But the key is to go 24V (vs 12V) and get dual props.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:46 PM   #15
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Bow Thrusters

Why a bow thruster? Well 55' is quite a bit bigger than my last boat. Nice to have. Can I charge a 24v thruster battery bank when my house bank is 12V? I have Naiad hydraulic stabilizers, can the same system run the thruster? I wont need the Naiads while docking. Thanks all for your input. The yard I plan to use likes to install Sidepower so that sounds like a good choice.
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Old 05-13-2018, 01:20 AM   #16
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What Bow Thuster should I get

You should be able to run a hydraulic thruster off the (engine driven, I assume) stabilizer hydraulic pump.
I think this would be an excellent solution.
Pioneer has a continuous flow engine driven Vickers hydraulic pump. We don’t have stabilizers but have a 10hp Sidepower bow thruster and a 10 hp hydraulic windlass. Either or both of these can be run with the main at idle. It’s a big main engine - Cat 3406B rated at 540hp and 2000 Nm.
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Old 05-13-2018, 03:19 AM   #17
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Have a 24-volt bow thruster which works well, but then the boat's system is 24-volt.

Any twin-engine boater that looks down on anyone with a bow thruster (especially with a single main propulsion engine), ...
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Old 05-13-2018, 05:31 AM   #18
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IMHO hydraulic is the way to go if possible, the downside is that its costly.
If you choose to go electric, Vetus have now brought out brushless motors and that saves all the carbon dust from the Elec motor brushes making a mess.

The only thing I would insist on is to take a size (or two) larger than they recommend for you length of boat.
When you use the bow thruster conditions are never perfect, which is why you bought it in the first place.
I'd never used one before but for the same reasons as you I needed to lighten the crews load.
For my 42 they recommended a 75 kgf, I thought long and hard about it and went for the 95kgf instead, the best thing I ever did.
Performance is appreciated long after the dollars are forgotten.
Good Luck.
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Old 05-13-2018, 06:27 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Can I charge a 24v thruster battery bank when my house bank is 12V?

One company that installs electric thrusters around this coast suggests a dedicated bank (usually Odyssey PC-2150s) located near the thruster and a dedicated charger for those if the system is wired to 24V.

I think that's what I'd do if the thruster idea ever bubbles its way up to the top of my wallet...

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Old 05-13-2018, 06:29 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Have a 24-volt bow thruster which works well, but then the boat's system is 24-volt.

Any twin-engine boater that looks down on anyone with a bow thruster (especially with a single main propulsion engine), ...
Agree with you 100% although I have used them many times I have never owned a boat with one ( except a few boats I flipped) I would love to have one on this boat and certainly as I get older even more so.
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