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Old 14-12-2011, 18:54   #1
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Bow Thruster Recommendations

We are planning on putting a bow thruster on our Prout Catamaran (single screw) and am wondering if anyone has any experience / recommendations with the ones that are currently for sale.

We are currently looking at the Vetus 7512C or 9512C, but are also looking at the Lemar ones as well.

I have seen information from MaxPower and Side-Power but have no real knowledge of those companies.

Cursing throught the form I aslo see the following, but know absolutly nothing about them..
  • Arcturus Marine Systems
  • Hydra-Power Systems, Inc.
  • Van Dusen & Meyer, Inc. (NAIAD Marine Systems)
  • Western Marine Company

Geoff.
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Old 15-12-2011, 01:16   #2
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

Side Power is excellent...great customer service.
If you go with the 24v they have a system of contactors that allow you to use and charge with your 12v system..but you need a large bank.
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Old 15-12-2011, 06:05   #3
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

I am assuming your Prout is one of the single engined ones. Do you have the single lever engine direction control working? as this will have a significant effect on manoeuvrability.

I had a 9m Catalac for +20 years with a single engine, which I could control direction, and only fitted a thruster when I came to sell, as it made it more saleable.

I studied which thruster at length, and discovered that there were really only the two companies that were the largest share of the market. Sidepower seems to have the "New" market, whereas Vetus has the "Aftermarket".

I researched problems and eventually fitted a "sidepower". IMHO this is the better option.

If you intend to fit, you only really need it in one hull, and it should be as far forward as you can get it.
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Old 15-12-2011, 06:18   #4
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

Talbot,

Yes it's the single engine prout with the directly control (~30 degree). We have found after cruising on the boat for 2 years that in many of the tight marinas and canals we have travels that the bow gets taken away from us too easily.. hence the bow thruster.

How did you size your thruster? (it seems to be a bit of art/experience to not go overly large).
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Old 15-12-2011, 07:02   #5
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

Try to find a similar boat with a bow thruster and spend some time with the owner.

You may find as I have that bow thrusters are simply not powerful enough to help you much when things get really pear shaped. You simply can't get enough power in the water to make a difference when the wind is seriously working to blow you off.
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Old 15-12-2011, 07:20   #6
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

[QUOTE=geoffr;838487]
Quote:
We are currently looking at the Vetus 7512C or 9512C, but are also looking at the Lemar ones as well.
We just installed the Lewmar 12V 8HP; they are exactly the same as the Vetus model for model. Our decision was based on pricing as there was no difference between the two. The biggest desision is not to go too small (as the thruster becomes useless in strong winds or currents) versus the available electricity (current and load).

Quote:
I have seen information from MaxPower and Side-Power but have no real knowledge of those companies.
We looked at the "Power" models and it was clear with the exception of a few cosmetic and structural components, the basic pieces (power leg, DC motor, switches) were virtually identical to the Vetus and Lewmar. As noted, it all comes down to price and ease of installation regarding energy requirements.

Quote:
  • Arcturus Marine Systems
  • Hydra-Power Systems, Inc.
  • Van Dusen & Meyer, Inc. (NAIAD Marine Systems)
  • Western Marine Company
These are for Mega Yacht and larger applications. Not that they're inadequate in any way, just that cost versus performance may or may not be an issue.
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Old 15-12-2011, 07:48   #7
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

There is not enough real difference in the various manufactures to matter much when comparing apples to apples under 180mm tube size. IMOH. The difference is often the color.

The real issue you and all cat owners have is Tube size. If the tube is too close to the surface it will suck air and be nearly useless. The very narrow entry on most cats makes this a difficult fit. The top of the tube needs to be 1/2 the tube diameter of more under the waterline. One tube diameter under is best,

On one hand you want a thruster that will work well.... but you don't want the mechanisum (Lower unit) protruding out of the tube. Causing drag. I have seen two smaller units (One in each hull) be very effective.

Remember that they all eat serious AMPS! Big wire, Batteries near the thrusters. A dedicated battery and small charger work well.

Having a bow thruster was once concidered "Cheating" That was when they put 40 ft boats in 40 ft slips! Not so any more. A thruster is a valuable tool in crowded marinas with boats jamed everywhere and sticking out into the fairways.

BTDT
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Old 15-12-2011, 10:25   #8
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

A lot of valid comments in this exchange. I have a 24V Vetus in each hull. 60 foot cat. They a located further back than one would like because we just don’t have that much draft. I was looking at a single unit in one hull and was talked into downsizing one notch and installing two. Weight distribution being one factor. The unit and bats are rather heavy. If you only have one unit the side thrust in one direction pushes across to the other hull. Makes it less effective in that direction. The pair makes it effective in both directions. And being rather shallow you will move sideways easier that a similar sized mono. (Not that I have anything against monos!!)

Bottom line…. I love it! Doesn’t get used much but when it does it will save your butt. I have so much windage I can sail sideways at 3 knots.

PM me if you want to see some pix of the installation. It was done on the east coast. But it is very painful to watch them drill a hole that big in the hull. Kind of goes against everything you know. Deliberately putting big Ol holes in a perfectly sound hull.

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Old 15-12-2011, 11:00   #9
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikefp60 View Post
A lot of valid comments in this exchange. I have a 24V Vetus in each hull. 60 foot cat. They a located further back than one would like because we just don’t have that much draft. I was looking at a single unit in one hull and was talked into downsizing one notch and installing two. Weight distribution being one factor. The unit and bats are rather heavy. If you only have one unit the side thrust in one direction pushes across to the other hull. Makes it less effective in that direction. The pair makes it effective in both directions. And being rather shallow you will move sideways easier that a similar sized mono. (Not that I have anything against monos!!)

Bottom line…. I love it! Doesn’t get used much but when it does it will save your butt. I have so much windage I can sail sideways at 3 knots.

PM me if you want to see some pix of the installation. It was done on the east coast. But it is very painful to watch them drill a hole that big in the hull. Kind of goes against everything you know. Deliberately putting big Ol holes in a perfectly sound hull.

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PS I always thought the Eleuthera was a good looker. FP got that right!
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Old 15-12-2011, 12:48   #10
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

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Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
I think we'd all love to see your pics. Please post them. BOB

PS I always thought the Eleuthera was a good looker. FP got that right!
I for one would love to see the pictures.
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Old 15-12-2011, 15:08   #11
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

Vetus once sold an interesting thruster for shallow draft boats. It used a large high pressure pump to draw water in through a seacock and then shoot it out through other seacocks on the side of the boat below the waterline. The discharge seacocks were electrically opened and closed from the bridge so you could select which side the thrust came out on. As I recall it used 2" hoses and thru-hulls. I never saw one in use but I imagine it was pretty low thrust. It would have been like squirting a fire hose out the side of your boat. It might have worked on my little boat but probably not on anything much bigger than thirty feet.
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Old 15-12-2011, 15:26   #12
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

HopCar, The Vetus pump system was interesting. There was a lot of loss in the hoses and valving but great for smaller boats and shallow draft. The original owner of Vetus (Wm. Den Ouden) tried to bring it back a few years ago but unfortunatly passed away before he could get it going.

While working for a thruster company I got a call for motor brushes on a houseboat in Kentucky. Knowing they very rarely move these behemoths I questioned her need. She said it ran all the time.

Turns out her grand kids put bread in the tube, Place a net at the other end (12 ft). When the shiners/minnows came to eat the bread they "Shot" them into the net and then sold them to the local fisherman!

and they say kids don't have any imagination anymore!
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Old 22-01-2012, 18:02   #13
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Re: Bow Thruster recommendations

Guys,

Thanks for the info.. We have decided to go with a Vetus due to the ability to get it from our local Chandler easily.
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