Originally Posted by Tillsbury
. . . In any lightish wind (under 20kts abeam) it's not hard to moor, as long as you take the usual precautions and approach sensibly. Anything more than that, the bowthruster isn't going to help and you're aiming at the wrong pontoon. Go somewhere else temporarily.. .
You don't need a bow thruster at all for getting onto a dock. I never use mine for that. And I agree with you that if you are trying to get on being blown off in 20+ knots, no bowthruster is going to solve that problem.
But where it is supremely useful is maneuvering in a tight marina, especially in reverse. Sometimes you need to be able to get the boat sideways or correct the position of the bow independent from the stern. Without a bow thruster in such conditions you pretty much have to go really slow and have crew push you off as needed. With wind or current
and no thruster this can be a dangerous situation single handed. WITH a bow thruster you have a huge amount of control -- put the rudder
over in the opposite direction from the thruster and this creates creates lateral movement. Steer bow and stern separately to make your boat go in any direction you want.
Also really useful getting off docks without scratching the top sides, or if the berth is really narrow. Mostly you can do the same thing with spring lines, but the thruster is really handy, especially single handed.
I use spring lines A LOT -- it's part of the art of harbor maneuvers, and something worth being skilled in. In many cases a spring line is a BETTER solution than the thruster -- it's more powerful. To get off a dock while being blow on in 25 knots of wind, a spring line is actually the only solution -- spring the stern out (then use the thruster to keep the bow from scraping the dock) and back out. But single handed you often cannot use a spring line -- so the thruster is awfully nice (but single handed and being blown on by 25 knots of wind I would not be able to leave).
Yet another really handy use of a thruster is to correct the position of the bow when setting the anchor
. There are too many to list, but on the other hand a thruster is not a panacea and certainly is not a substitute for skill.