Traveltalkonline.com Forums


BVI Cruise Schedule TTOL Sponsors BVI Travel Calendar
Forum Statistics
Forums39
Topics38,762
Posts313,622
Members26,578
Most Online2,218
Jan 21st, 2020
Top Posters(30 Days)
Kennys 37
alecu7 28
Zanshin 27
Member Spotlight
megamania
megamania
Harriston
Posts: 836
Joined: February 2005
Show All Member Profiles 
Today's Birthdays
aguiar44, bvigirl, CarrieO
Who's Online Now
32 registered members (Toni, SXMScubaman, xrayman67, Matt W, Kennys, Kiles41, Buddyhog, Todd, BarbyandLeo, Instigator, MrTim-BTV, ColoBoater, VirginGordaResident, candu, bailau, WWII, MrEZgoin, charlie, Todd_Melinda_K, KenW, kaba, boucharda, eightzerobits, 9 invisible), 837 guests, and 90 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage #311767
01/12/2024 08:19 PM
01/12/2024 08:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
tmsxmsails Offline OP
Traveler
tmsxmsails  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
For my upcoming charter, the boat I will have (Moorings 46.3) will have bow thrusters. I've never used bow thrusters so I was looking for some tips and tricks and do's and don'ts.

I've read various snippets about them but it sounds like, in general, they tend to be finicky about being used too long. It sounds like if you use them for more than a couple minutes at a time they might burn out (or at least trip a breaker?). Is this true? It sounds like a terrible design flaw if so. I'm not terribly worried about this I suppose - since I've never used/needed them in the past. On the other hand, this a slightly bigger boat than I've chartered in the past (and there's a reason they are there...).

So, any insight into that aspect of it would be helpful.

Next, and please don't kill me for asking this but, I was wondering about whether it might make sense to use the thrusters when picking up a mooring. My reasoning is that approaching a ball at slow speed means not much water past the rudder and therefore less steerage and more tendency to get blown off to either side as you approach. Could I just keep the rudder straight and use the thruster to change direction and keep my bow pointed at the ball? Can you effectively steer with the thrusters?

Now, I've never heard of this, which makes me think it's probably a stupid idea for some reason, but - again, not knowing anything about them - it SEEMS like it could work. Also, I don't normally have a problem picking up balls so I don't really need a different solution I guess but there certainly have been times when the wind is strong and swirling where I've had to reset, drift back and try again.

Thanks!

BVI Sponsors
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311768
01/12/2024 08:27 PM
01/12/2024 08:27 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 841
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
Traveler
MrEZgoin  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 841
Redmond, WA
There really isn't any situation that i can think of that would require running the bow thrusters continuously more than a few seconds. Even if you were holding the bow in a wind it would likely be bursts of use.

As far as picking up mooring, you will still approach to a stop using the rudder, but if you miss the pendant a little or the bow starts to blow off the thruster is a great alternative to going around :-).


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311771
01/12/2024 10:06 PM
01/12/2024 10:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,347
USVI
LocalSailor Offline
Traveler
LocalSailor  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,347
USVI
Better to ** trip a breaker** than burn out your bow thruster.
learning the times using a thruster in short bursts -- maybe in concert with the prop -- docking - mooring you can find when it is effective

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: MrEZgoin] #311774
01/12/2024 11:34 PM
01/12/2024 11:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
tmsxmsails Offline OP
Traveler
tmsxmsails  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
Quote
There really isn't any situation that i can think of that would require running the bow thrusters continuously more than a few seconds. Even if you were holding the bow in a wind it would likely be bursts of use.

Sure but what's the limit? How much rest time do I have to give it? Do I have one shot to put the bow back on the ball and if my crew misses the pendant I don't dare hit the thruster again because it hasn't rested enough?

And more importantly, why is this even a thing? Can the motor just not cool itself? Why can't it handle more than a few seconds of continuous operation?

Quote
Better to ** trip a breaker** than burn out your bow thruster.

Why is it so easy to burn out your bow thruster? It just doesn't make any sense to me. Regardless of how much I *should* need it, why will it break if I use it too much?

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311775
01/12/2024 11:46 PM
01/12/2024 11:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 738
Panama City Beach, Florida
xrayman67 Online content
Traveler
xrayman67  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 738
Panama City Beach, Florida
It is not recommended to use a bow thruster when picking up a mooring. A mooring penndant can easily be sucked into the thruster. This could be a costly call to the charter company. Much better to back off and go around.

Last edited by xrayman67; 01/13/2024 12:00 AM.
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311776
01/13/2024 03:34 AM
01/13/2024 03:34 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,551
Grenada
Zanshin Offline
Traveler
Zanshin  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,551
Grenada
@txmsails - bowthrusters draw a lot of electric power, a larger boat will have a 16HP motor that draws around 12,000 watts. At 24V that is a whopping 500 amps. Not only does the motor heat up, but so do the batteries and cables producing and carrying that load.

My bowthruster is relatively deep and far back. I singlehand and use it for fine adjustments when approaching a mooring, as the rudder has no effect when I'm that slow. That allows me to easily pick up moorings alone without any stress. I also use the bowthruster when leaving a mooring or anchoring spot in tight conditions. Even at low speed it makes my turn radius much, much smaller.

I use 1-2 second bursts, that is enough to move my bow 10-20 degrees. When I dock I prefer to back in. I will line the boat up and center the wheel while about a boat length away and use 1-2 second bowthruster bursts to steer. Sometimes with a strong breeze I'll need to move the bow against the wind and that will entail 5 or more seconds. All of that is well within the design specifications.

The longest I've used one was several bursts of 10-15 seconds over a couple of minutes (I was waiting in the channel at the St. Martin drawbridge and a boat ahead of me had stopped and the boat behind me was too close, and the wind was blowing me towards the rocks) and it stopped working, it was a thermal fuse as it later worked again when I'd anchored and wanted to fix the problem.


[Linked Image]
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: xrayman67] #311787
01/13/2024 10:55 AM
01/13/2024 10:55 AM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
tmsxmsails Offline OP
Traveler
tmsxmsails  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
Quote
A mooring penndant can easily be sucked into the thruster.

I wondered about this. Are there not screens on the intake ports that would prevent this? If not, I agree this would be a good reason to not use it and even if there are, I can see where you still might not want to risk it. Hmm.

Quote
bowthrusters draw a lot of electric power, ... Not only does the motor heat up, but so do the batteries and cables producing and carrying that load.

This makes sense - thanks for pointing this out. Still feels like a bit of a design flaw to me...

Quote
I singlehand and use it for fine adjustments when approaching a mooring, as the rudder has no effect when I'm that slow. That allows me to easily pick up moorings alone without any stress.

Cool! At least this helps me not feel like a total idiot for thinking about this newbie

Quote
(I was waiting in the channel at the St. Martin drawbridge and a boat ahead of me had stopped and the boat behind me was too close, and the wind was blowing me towards the rocks) and it stopped working,

Yikes! That sounds terrifying. I guess you manage to keep her off the rocks!

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311789
01/13/2024 11:17 AM
01/13/2024 11:17 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,551
Grenada
Zanshin Offline
Traveler
Zanshin  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,551
Grenada
Mooring pennants are relatively thick lines with a float at one end and attached to the mooring at the other. The bowthruster channel is below the surface, so it cannot pick up either end. I have a big bowthruster with a 25cm diameter (10 inches). It is very difficult (polite phrasing for "impossible") for the typical BVI pennant to naturally bend at 180 degrees in a 10 inch radius and get sucked into the bowthruster tunnel. Bowthruster tunnels generally do not have screens - they really are not needed. Smaller boats have even smaller diameter bowthruster tunnels (6-8 inch) and they could only ingest an end of a line, not a loop in one. Plus if you aren't alone you'll have someone on the bow and I recommend using hand signals rather than voice. Have them point left for you to move the bow left, and point forward to move the boat forward and make a fist straight up for you to stop the boat. And a happy thumbs up for having attached the boat to the pennant on a cleat, letting you go forward to either approve their efforts or clean up the attachment. If there's a chance of ingesting a pennant while picking up a mooring, they would just use the appropriate hand signal to stop. I've been using that method with uninitiated newbies on crew for years and we have rarely missed a pickup.

A bowthruster is a wonderful tool which makes lots of close-quarters actions much, much easier. If you have one, use it!

Last edited by Zanshin; 01/13/2024 11:20 AM.

[Linked Image]
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311795
01/13/2024 11:40 AM
01/13/2024 11:40 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 738
Panama City Beach, Florida
xrayman67 Online content
Traveler
xrayman67  Online Content
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 738
Panama City Beach, Florida
I am only going by what I've been instructed by BVI Yacht Charters and Conch Charters during boat briefing. I certainly don't have the sailing experience Arnd has,but I'll continue to do as instructed by the charter companies. The Admiral is pretty good at picking up a mooring anyway.

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311811
01/13/2024 03:09 PM
01/13/2024 03:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 836
Houston, Texas
louismcc Offline
Traveler
louismcc  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 836
Houston, Texas
We chartered a 46.3 in 2022, as well as a 45.3 a couple of years earlier both with bow thrusters. I found them to be indispensable in several situations.

One is, if there isn't a strong wind blowing, to simplify position keeping while the crew picks up and secures the pendant. When leaving the mooring, a quick burst is a good way to get the bow away from the release pendant to minimize any chance of the boat drifting over the pendant.

Second is when backing into a slip. I've done that both with and without a bow thruster and, perhaps I'm admitting to limited backing skills with a large mono,I found it much easier, matter of fact downright simple to back in with short bursts of power followed by a short burst of the thruster to counteract any propwalk.

There are limitations. I used them a lot on the last charters and never had a situation where the pendant was getting close enough, or deep enough, to get sucked into an intake. Can't say I ever investigated it, but I can't image an intake large enough to suck in a typical pendant. If you keep the bursts short and have good awareness of pendant location, this should not be a problem

Short bursts for sure. There was a case (backing into an east facing slip at Oil Nut Bay with 15-20 knots at about 30 degrees off the bow blowing me off the slip) that they can't counteract and my efforts to do so with the thruster tripped the breaker. We got into the slip (thanks to the dock hands using our dinghy as a tugboat to push the bow), let the thruster cool down, reset the breaker and all was fine.

As an aside, we absolutely loved the 46.3. First charter where we had a genset and A/C (14 charters all monos). Be sure to get a good briefing on the electronics. My son and I both have degress in computer science but it still took some time to figure it all out.


Louis from Houston
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311814
01/13/2024 03:30 PM
01/13/2024 03:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
tmsxmsails Offline OP
Traveler
tmsxmsails  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
Thanks, this is great info!

Glad to hear about the 46.3. Yeah, this will be my first with genset and A/C (beyond dockside). I remember looking down my nose at those hotdog cats who were running their A/C at anchor while we were "doing a REAL charter" and just dealing with the warm temps. Now that I'll have one, it's going to be interesting whether I'll give into the pampering or stick to my guns and rough it like a good sailor should. :-)

I'm going to try and resist - wish me luck!

Thanks all, for this discussion. Very helpful.

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311817
01/13/2024 04:19 PM
01/13/2024 04:19 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 836
Houston, Texas
louismcc Offline
Traveler
louismcc  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 836
Houston, Texas
The heat never bothers me down there, but having the AC running and avoiding the 2am "close the hatches because it's raining" drill had us using it every night. Also the aft cabins have poor ventilation unless you keep the doors open which of course means a certain amount of loss of privacy.

We had an issue with one of the compressors cutting out due to a plugged water intake line. The fix is easy once we talked to the mechanic over the phone about location of the compressor and procedure for flushing. You might want to have them identify this for you before departure.

Fair winds! I'm a bit jealous because we were thinking about a 46.3 charter in late June but it doesn't look like that will come together this year.


Louis from Houston
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311822
01/13/2024 06:12 PM
01/13/2024 06:12 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
tmsxmsails Offline OP
Traveler
tmsxmsails  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 298
Massachusetts USA
Ha! Yes, the close/open hatches dance with the rain is a killer!

This will be the first time with other people on board (in the aft cabin - I'm the skipper. I'm taking the bow!) so yeah, privacy could be a concern.

Great points. Thanks.

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311824
01/13/2024 07:04 PM
01/13/2024 07:04 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 144
Folsom Lake, CA
L
Latadjust Offline
Traveler
Latadjust  Offline
Traveler
L
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 144
Folsom Lake, CA
I don't know if it needs to be said because it probably comes up in briefings, but it didn't in ours: on the boat we had you needed to push both buttons simultaneously to turn it on prior to use. I only had one situation where I would like to have used it, wind on to the dock on a side tie leaving the dock.

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #311853
01/14/2024 11:40 AM
01/14/2024 11:40 AM
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 29
MPLS, MN
A
Alex Corbishley Offline
Traveler
Alex Corbishley  Offline
Traveler
A
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 29
MPLS, MN
Couple additional things….

1 - lines can definitely be sucked into bow thrusters. Keep them clear while mooring or docking. I’ve seen it happen twice to other boats.

2 - if the thrusters overheat or shut down for any reason they can usually be reset by cycling the batteries. Had it happen to me on a Beneteau 50 when I was coming in to Angel Island docks with a stiff current.

3 - most thrusters have an automatic shut off after 5 mins or so. Make sure before you come in to dock they’re on and awake.

Some people think it’s cheating to use them, but on a boat > 50ft they are invaluable for docking in tight spaces.

Last edited by Alex Corbishley; 01/14/2024 11:41 AM. Reason: Add
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #312006
01/17/2024 10:28 AM
01/17/2024 10:28 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 106
Hillsborough, NC
OceanSong Offline
Traveler
OceanSong  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 106
Hillsborough, NC
Just looking for opinions from those who use bow thrusters on monohull sailboats. My wife and I live aboard our Lagoon 42, so no need for or personal experience using bow thrusters.

We have good friends with a 38’ monohull. They are occasional sailors, they probably take their boat out less than 3x per month, mostly day sailing, with trips of 2-3 days in the sound from time-to-time. Their procedure for using the bow thruster is the wife operates it by remote at the bow while the husband is at the helm.He doesn’t “call out” instructions, she simply uses the bow thruster when she thinks appropriate. My wife and I have been onboard when they hit a dinghy on davits on another boat, backed into a dock and their wind generator blades hit a piling, and numerous “bumps”, some pretty hard into docks and pilings. I attribute most instances I’ve witnessed to improperly using the bow thrusters.

I’ve never seen any other boaters share the helming responsibilities that way. Do others do it in a similar fashion and I’ve just never noticed? I’ve thought about bringing it up with my friends, but they think their way works “great” (their word). I guess it’s none of my business but it doesn’t seem like good seamanship.

Last edited by OceanSong; 01/17/2024 10:30 AM.
Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #312007
01/17/2024 10:35 AM
01/17/2024 10:35 AM
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,168
M
MIDiver Offline
Traveler
MIDiver  Offline
Traveler
M
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 1,168
Holy cow OceanSong. Where do they sail?

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: MIDiver] #312010
01/17/2024 11:33 AM
01/17/2024 11:33 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 106
Hillsborough, NC
OceanSong Offline
Traveler
OceanSong  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 106
Hillsborough, NC
Mostly in the sounds of North Carolina.

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: OceanSong] #312024
01/17/2024 02:03 PM
01/17/2024 02:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,088
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline
Traveler
GeorgeC1  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,088
GA/NC
Try touching fingertips with someone else. It doesn’t work well when you are both trying. That’s what they are doing.

Re: Tell me about Bow Thruster Usage [Re: tmsxmsails] #312026
01/17/2024 02:12 PM
01/17/2024 02:12 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,120
Petoskey, MI
CottageGirl Offline
Traveler
CottageGirl  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,120
Petoskey, MI
We boat in the great lakes on a 60' power boat - with both bow & stern thrusters. Think of the thruster as a little nudge - toggle it on for a second or two & see if that moves the boat where you want. If not, toggle again for a few seconds. No need to flip it on and leave it on - unless you're in some serious winds and it's the only way to move the boat side ways - like docking and needing to get the boat over to the dock.


Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.1