I have owned a single engine trawler
with bowthruster and I singlehanded a twin engine catamaran
for most of 2009. Let me tell you, twin engines are nice, maybe even mandatory for easy singlehanding
. Admittedly the cat made everything easier with its wide engine spacing, but a conventional trawler with twins would be almost as good- see below.
Let me relate a couple of examples.
I pulled in for fuel
at a marina on the Sassafras. The dead end channel was narrow in front of the fuel docks, maybe only 100' wide even for my 3-1/2' draft
. After fueling there were a line of boats waiting, mostly blocking the channel. I simply made a 180 deg turn, never more than 5' from the dock
and motored away. Try to do that with your bowthruster particularly with any wind
Coming into the right side of the free dock at Oriental, NC I motored up to the dock which is a single pier coming out from the roadway's bulkhead. I was hemmed in on the left by Fulcher's seafood. As I got close I simply made a 180 turn in my own length and snuggled up to the dock.
And on a 45' CHB trawler with twins: I was helping a friend deliver his new to him trawler. We came into Oriental's town dock and there were boats already tied to both sides of the pier. The skipper
of one said that his wife and kids
were browsing the shops and would be leaving soon and would be like to raft for a few minutes.
We pulled in alongside of him bow facing the road, this time on the opposite side as before but hemmed in by the docks at Oriental Marina. Again we turned around in our own length (this took much longer and with more throttle jockying due to the limited engine spacing) and snuggled up along side and rafted up.
In all of these cases, there was no one to help with docklines except for the guy we rafted to. I had to be self sufficient and do it myself. Twin engines really make it easy.