I haven't read every post on here, but I know a little bit about thrusters. In your post you asked about high winds and higher vessel speeds. Bow thrusters work very well at low speeds and low winds and can make docking
in tight spaces much easier.
With speed, whether due to forward speeds or leeway caused by winds you get increasingly diminishing results from thrusters. There is a concept
called "boundary layer", this is an area of water
, that for lack of easier explanation is an area of water
that sticks to your hull
, the higher the speed the bigger the boundary area and the less effective your thruster. anything over 3 or 4 knots you get basically nothing from your thruster. So if you buy it to complement normal ship handling techniques they are fantastic. If it is to save your neck on windy days, they really don't do anything, not opinion here, but hydrodynamic principles. I was running a tour boat a few years back, double decker, about 90 feet. We were coming into a tight exposed dock
, (about a 105 foot dock
space). I convinced the owner to install a dc thruster. It worked okay, it definitely softened hard landings in big blows, but it never really got me out of a jam. To summarise, they definitely help maneuvering in tight places, but when docking
in really tough conditions they don't help much, if at all. Until 2011 I had always used hydraulic thrusters, I can definitely say the results from a high torque dc thruster are more favourable, especially in high winds, they just push so much water so fast.