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Old 09-11-2013, 16:43   #31
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

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Thank you Capt Capngeo. I do appreciate your opinion but I also respectfully disagree with your conclusion. Nowhere do you say that you have driven a boat with bow thrusters. So, I am guessing that you have no idea as to how helpful they can be. In reference to my opinion, I am 71 and heve been boating for 50 years. This is my fourth twin engine boat. I have cruised the entire Loop, another one half of the Loop and have boated roughly twenty thousand miles. The fact is that wind does not push around a sail boat (unless sails are up) going into a slip as it does a two story power boat. In addition, I have witnessed many Great Lakes sail boaters lose control during docking strictly do to wind speed and direction (and not because of their boating abilities). You can tout no bow thrusters all you want but (for instance) as in driving a car, do you have power steering on your car? No one needs power steering either, but it sure comes in handy in simple everyday driving. Same with 4-wheel drive - if you need it, it sure is helpful. And lastly, my Florida broker friend also has a captain's license and mostly runs 50 to 90 footers - so I do respect his opinion. In conclusion, I am truly pleased that you responded, but I am beyond the question of whether or not bow thrusters are needed by me.
I really miss my old 2wd S-15 with manual transmission, brakes, steering and hand crank windows. Nothing ever seemed to break and it never caused any problems getting around in snowy Michigan. I never lost control because I didn't have power everything.

If you want a fun toy, that's great but it's not something I would rely on.
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Old 09-11-2013, 16:52   #32
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You seem to really want a bow thruster, nothing wrong with that, but I would go with the internal as opposed to the external one. I'm sure the external would work exactly the same as an internal with the same thrust, but I would worry about that appendage hanging down, if you don't, then go for it.
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Old 09-11-2013, 17:24   #33
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

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Originally Posted by CampbellsSloop View Post
Thank you Capt Capngeo. I do appreciate your opinion but I also respectfully disagree with your conclusion. Nowhere do you say that you have driven a boat with bow thrusters. So, I am guessing that you have no idea as to how helpful they can be. In reference to my opinion, I am 71 and heve been boating for 50 years. This is my fourth twin engine boat. I have cruised the entire Loop, another one half of the Loop and have boated roughly twenty thousand miles. The fact is that wind does not push around a sail boat (unless sails are up) going into a slip as it does a two story power boat. In addition, I have witnessed many Great Lakes sail boaters lose control during docking strictly do to wind speed and direction (and not because of their boating abilities). You can tout no bow thrusters all you want but (for instance) as in driving a car, do you have power steering on your car? No one needs power steering either, but it sure comes in handy in simple everyday driving. Same with 4-wheel drive - if you need it, it sure is helpful. And lastly, my Florida broker friend also has a captain's license and mostly runs 50 to 90 footers - so I do respect his opinion. In conclusion, I am truly pleased that you responded, but I am beyond the question of whether or not bow thrusters are needed by me.
Yeah, I’ve run just about everything on the water up to my license (500GT Oceans) and have 1000x more miles under power than sail and can’t see any twin screw under 70 feet needing a thruster. Yes, I’ve delivered thruster equipped boats, but as a matter of pride, I don’t use them.

But alas, I do concede automatic transmissions, 4WD, ABS, power everything, GPS, Plotters, and other modern conveniences are fun toys. But people are increasingly using them as a crutch and the “up and coming” are now for the most part unable to cope without them. Just ask the average (non-farmer) 20 year old if they can drive a stick…. Or ask the average SeaRayer if they can read a chart (or dock their boat without a thruster for that matter).

Funny side story: I was hired to move a boat (~40’ Sea Ray) from its slip to the dealer for some repair. Called the dock from the entrance channel, asking where they wanted the boat. By the time I arrived there were no less than 10 people; Mechanics, dock workers, & office staff, all waiting with boat hooks, lines and fenders! I came in hot, twin screwed it sideways to the dock and stopped parallel and 6” from the pier. The guy closest to me said “oh hired captain huh?”
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Old 09-11-2013, 17:41   #34
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

Captain,

How many hours of training did you have before taking command the first time? Not just formally, but also time in the bridge house having things explained by some crusty captain who was birthed on a tug?

Driving a boat is a skill, and while you may have thousands of hours doing it, and probably had thousands of hours training doing it most boaters, and certainly not pleasure boaters, have the time or money to learn to do it as well as you. Should they then not be allowed to operate boats?

I have about ten years of sea time driving everything from 70' single screw racing sailboats to 130' power yachts. But on my 60' twin screw bower boat I have a bow thruster and use it all the time. Not that I can't dock the boat without it, but because it makes it easier. And I am well past the point of needing to prove that I can.

Since I have docked a large twin screw boat without a operational rudder does that mean that anyone who uses rudders is a novice that should be prohibited from using a boat? Or that people should be challenged because they choose to use rudders?
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Old 09-11-2013, 17:50   #35
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

I don't believe motorboats need more than two engines/motors for boat-handling. But if someone wants more, it doesn't bother me.
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:11   #36
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

I'm in favor of anything that makes boating easier or safer. Thrusters do both.

I poke around in shallow water a lot so I would prefer a tunnel type thruster. I can see that the external would be easier to install and is probably cheaper because of that.
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:20   #37
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

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I used to run a 43 foot Wellcraft Portofina with twin IBs for my agency sometimes several years ago.

I was taking it off a commercial dock (with all kinds of jagged bolts and debris sticking off of it) one night with the wind blowing about 25 knots directly on the beam and pinning me to it. I would given a lot for a bow thruster that night.

(And, no, I didn't put it in that position, it was handed off to me like that).
You'd need one hell of a thruster to overcome that, likely more than what is available off the chandlery shelf
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:46   #38
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

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Since I have docked a large twin screw boat without a operational rudder does that mean that anyone who uses rudders is a novice that should be prohibited from using a boat? Or that people should be challenged because they choose to use rudders?
I submit you were able to do that BECAUSE you had the skill set learned by hard experience…. which perfectly illustrates my point; had you never learned to handle the boat without a thruster or rudder, you would not likely met the same success!
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Old 09-11-2013, 19:28   #39
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I submit you were able to do that BECAUSE you had the skill set learned by hard experience…. which perfectly illustrates my point; had you never learned to handle the boat without a thruster or rudder, you would not likely met the same success!
I have over 30 years sailing experience, captains lic, numerous race flags, etc. And I'm happy that my 42 has a bow thruster and use it whenever I'm in tight quarters. Of course I could dock without it but then I guess I don't really need a furling genny, autopilot, etc, etc
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Old 09-11-2013, 19:33   #40
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

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Since I have docked a large twin screw boat without a operational rudder does that mean that anyone who uses rudders is a novice that should be prohibited from using a boat? Or that people should be challenged because they choose to use rudders?

I've docked more than a few 50-65 foot twins and I have never used the rudders as they tend not to work well without some flow over them which does not normally happen at docking speeds
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Old 09-11-2013, 20:21   #41
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

This is all quite interesting and I am glad to see that there are so many opinions concerning bow thrusters. To sum up my experience and your opinions, those that have 'em, love 'em. We also now know that capengo is very hard headed. He probably builds fires by rubbing sticks together just to prove a point.
Alas, I am guessing that I may never learn (from this forum) whether a tunnel type thruster is superior to a bow mounted external thruster. Apparently no one within shouting distance has any experience with the bow mounted type of thruster. The reason that I initially asked for opinions is that Yacht Thruster, who manufactures both types, highly recommends the bow mounted style as water cooled, less heat, less required amperage, less maintenance, easier to install and more reliable. Thanks to all - even capngeo - you've made this first experience with the forum very interesting.
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Old 09-11-2013, 20:45   #42
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

Capt. Jack, I looked up the address of the company and darned if I don't drive right by it on my way home from work. I had no idea they were there. It must be their sales office as the address is an office building. If you decide to go with the external, I'd be interested in hearing how it works for you.
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Old 09-11-2013, 21:28   #43
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

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This is all quite interesting and I am glad to see that there are so many opinions concerning bow thrusters. To sum up my experience and your opinions, those that have 'em, love 'em. We also now know that capengo is very hard headed. He probably builds fires by rubbing sticks together just to prove a point.
Alas, I am guessing that I may never learn (from this forum) whether a tunnel type thruster is superior to a bow mounted external thruster. Apparently no one within shouting distance has any experience with the bow mounted type of thruster. The reason that I initially asked for opinions is that Yacht Thruster, who manufactures both types, highly recommends the bow mounted style as water cooled, less heat, less required amperage, less maintenance, easier to install and more reliable. Thanks to all - even capngeo - you've made this first experience with the forum very interesting.

I just came upon this thread now and I would like to put in my 2 cents worth.

A fellow in my marina went from a 25ish foot Bayliner with twin i/o's to a 38' Bayliner with twin i/o's and an internal bow thruster. After 2 seasons of using the bow thruster he thought it was the greatest thing ever invented for a boat except the repairs. He said it worked only 50% of the time and that was even after having it replaced.

Eventually after about 3 more seasons it finally gave up and so did he. He had the marina where he bought the boat remove it and seal up the bow.

The following spring the dealer asked if they could install a sideshift external bow thruster and if he didn't like it they would remove it and if he did like it he could keep it free of charge except they wanted him to write a short story about his experiences for their newsletter/promotional material.

So today, about 2-3 years after this, he still has the sideshift and still loves it like a brother.

So if this helps good. I think the marina is called Marinaque or something like that. It is located in Quebec, Canada but I do not know exactly where. I tried to Google it but no luck.
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Old 09-11-2013, 23:09   #44
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

Maybe if you installed a line cutter on the front of that sucker....
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Old 10-11-2013, 03:48   #45
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Re: Externally Mounted Bow Thruster vs. Traditional Tunnel Type

I've only seen two external units (not even sure they are same brand) and I am in fresh water. Within 2-3 years of installation they both had corrosion and electrical problems . The mechanic who installed them is a friend and he was not impressed with the materials or quality of construction including the conductors. I'd suggest you ask about a corrosion Warranty.
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