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Bow Thruster Install Donzi Z-54

Discussion in 'Donzi/Roscioli Yacht' started by DOCKMASTER, Jul 11, 2013.

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  1. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Member

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    I'm looking to install a bow thruster in my Z-54 at the end of this season. I was wondering if any other 54 owner's have done this and if there were any issues? I just want to make sure the tunnel will not create any unexpected drag problems or other hydrodynamic changes. Best I can tell, the tunnel will likely be above the waterline at cruise speed so I can't see any problems here but thought I better ask.
    I plan to install a Side Power, 24v Model 210 with variable speed. The tunnel is basically 10" and unit has a max of about 13.4 hp.
    I likely will not use the thruster very often but would like to have it for when our Harbormaster puts a really wide boat next to me and I only have a few feet of room getting into my side of the slip.
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I've never noticed any drag problem with any boats I've run with a thruster. We just put one on a 56' Hat. I hate using a thruster, and the 56 maneuvers well without one, but I've already been in a few situations where I was real happy to have it.
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Real drivers don't need no stinking thrusters.

    But they are nice when they are there.
  4. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Member

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    I'm actually surprised it went almost 4 hours since my post before someone posted a reply like that.
    Sorry rcrapps, not all of us can be "real" drivers I guess. :)

    Seriously though, I've owned lots of boats, none have ever had a thruster and I've never had a real issue. And honestly the Donzi handles better than any boat I've had in the past. However, I figured why wait for an issue if a I can install a piece of equipment that can help me out of a jamb. At a very minimum, it will be convenient and make some manuevers easier. Besides, I'm lazy so easy always sounds better to me. ;)
  5. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    When I deliver a boat with thrusters they are usually never used. I will take a moment trying them out away from the dock to get a quick feel for them and they are enabled/ready for use when I make any dock approach, but they are never relied on.
    After the mains are shutdown and I'm fine tuning the dock lines, I have used them quickly when nobody is looking.

    I'm not the greatest and don't mean to down play anybody's improvement on their boat, but if I can't clutch my way in/out of a dock, I should not be there with/without thrusters.

    Now, I'm still shopping for a used/salvaged set of stabilizers....
    I am getting old and lazy also.
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    They're nice if the wind is blowing or you're in a tight spot, but where I use them most is inside the slip to move the bow to one side or another when attaching line. Some places like Montauk have the poles pretty far away from the bow. If you can afford it, why not. And unlike most items you'll put on or in your boat a thruster is a decent investment on the resale end.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I use a thruster as well as any other piece of equipment made available to me on that particular yacht for it's operation. I can't understand why you have this attitude about them. I have run all different sizes and can without every using a thruster. But why would I want to scrape up a yachts rub rail, leaning on questionable pilings and pivoting off of them, if there isn't a need. Now to mention many yachts, such as several of the Italian builders use hollow rub rails, and unless you lay up on the piling just right at less than a knot and don't lean on them to much, they're going to get dented.
  8. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    And what is my attitude about them?

    Not installed on my personal boat. Would prefer to invest in stabilizers.

    Not trusted, relied on or used much when making deliveries on boats I'm not involved with.

    Not required when docking (but on the ready if needed) on boats I am involved with.

    A good investment for somebody else's boat.

    When I get real lazy, I may start to use them.

    Yep; That's my rcrapps attitude on thrusters, What did you not understand?
  9. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I just hate the sound of them.:D When used a lot it sort of screams 'I don't have the docking skills I should have'. I know that when I'm on a dock and hear thrusters my head turns to catch the entertainment. It's nice to have whatever aids we can afford, but using them too often can decrease our ability to operate old school. Prime example: How many of us can still plot a course on paper calculating time, distance, speed and drift?
  10. captaintilt

    captaintilt Member

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    I agree with you all on Bow Thruster, it's good to have them activated when coming into a slip, or even out of a slip for that matter, but I would never attempt to dock solely on being able to use it while clutching in and out.

    In terms of resale, or selling value, I helped a dealer out a few weeks ago that was selling a small cabin cruiser with a single stern drive, and it came with a bow thruster, and that is the sole feature that sold the boat. It wasn't the huge factory incentives, great engine, gas generator, or any of the "pretty" features, but that bow thruster caused this person to drop $110K on a boat that was under 30'. Amazing what people will spend their money on.
  11. Mark Woglom

    Mark Woglom Senior Member

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    I'm with Capt J on this one. I get the impression that many captains think that thrusters are "cheating", or that they are for less experienced boaters.

    I can't imagine docking my boat (68 Lazzara) without thrusters (or at least a bow thruster), in cross wind/current conditions. How do you back into a slip in such conditions, without a thruster, and without having to pivot around a piling/structure?

    I can "kick" the stern to either side using the engines. I can pivot the boat using opposite thrust from both engines. But how does one move the bow "and" stern sideways (to counteract cross wind/current) at the same time? I can do it in calm conditions, but in crosswind/current conditions, I'd have to pivot against a piling, or be **** good at "sliding/skidding" against the wind/current to avoid rubbing up against the dock/piling.

    I recently had to back into a slip on the Naples river, in Naples FL, during a max cross current. It took a combination of "skidding" sideways, full opposite thrusters, and "kicking" the stern into the slip. I was told by the dockhands that most captains give up, and go elsewhere. If I didn't have a bow thruster, I would have gone elsewhere. I'm a recreational owner/operator, so I may be missing something.

    Can all you "don't need a thruster" guys make the maneuver described above, on a 68 foot boat, without thrusters, and without rubbing up against the dock/pilings? If so, instructions please!
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Not saying I wouldn't use the thruster under those circumstances, but what's this aversions to pilings some people have? Reverse into the current,come in next to the piling, and let your boat be pished to it. If it pushes too fast you can break the speed with quick fore and gears. Once you're on the piling the key is to not go forward nor aft. Hold on one point of your rail against the piling and pivot the boat. Once the bow comes around into the current you can pull the stern off the piling and reverse in,
    If your rubrail won't take that I'd be talking to someone about changing that situation. With a DH he could also hold a fender in that spot.
    The real key though is practice, practice, practice. One thing I've found with thrusters; the day you most need them, is bound to be the day they don't work or pop a breaker.
  13. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    When I was young, I was stunned by how fast big sport fishers would back into his slip, Then I assumed it still part of the race back to the dock.
    Later when I started driving small boats, My father taught me dead slow was to fast. So I maneuvered around docks at a snails pace.
    Lil older, I was in south Florida somewhere (maybe Sailfish) and once again watched these big fishing boats just spin and back into their slip, very quickly. I realized then that it was not a race, these drivers only had a second to put the boat, usually starting at strange angles, into the slip. With/against wind, current and not touch a pile or other boat.

    I don't race my 58 x 18 Bert MY into her slip, I certainly do not rev up my customers equipment, but that snail stuff had to go.
    I'm still not great nor can I spin like those full time skippers who do the same slip a couple times a day in near any weather.
    It takes practice.
    Get in, Get out, Don't snail about, Yo Ho.
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    And yes, I have passed on slips where it could be difficult for many reasons. Just last week it was still windy and I was to tired to mess with a slip at St. Augustine city dock. My wife recognized this and suggested a moor ball (hate those things). Was still a great last night of our vacation.

    No body wants a scratch up a boat or ding a rail. Thrusters are there to help and some people use them, some don't or not much.
    And everybody has their way to do things.

    The OP is looking forward to upgrading his Donzi. He mentioned the boat handles well without but looked forward to use them anyway.
    And everybody has their way to do things.
  15. captaintilt

    captaintilt Member

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    I'm not saying that most Captains have too much "pride" to use a bow thruster, but unless it's a dedicated hydraulic thruster, I don't like to rely solely on a maybe 20-30 second burst of power. Sure, I will admit that I have misjudged the wind a current a few times, and have had to use it in order to prevent the bow being set on a piling too hard, but I've also been in situations where you are planning on using it in a tight situation, and when you go to use it, its dead :eek:

    So, I've always taken the approach that just have it activated and test it before maneuvering, and if you need it, then go ahead and use it, but if you don't then you've done it without having to rely on an extra "tool"
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree, but there have been some slips and on some boats where it's a lifesaver. Just because with the amount of wind on the beam and the location of the slip and angle you had to get it in there. It's also one thing if you have a knowledgable mate that can hold a polyball between your boat and another so you can pivot, and moves/places it accordingly, or if you have the owners 21 year old daughter standing on the bow, holding it in her hand and staring at the boat next to you without putting the fender in between.
  17. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Member

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    I appreciate all the input and great discussion.

    I have ordered my thruster and will install it this winter. I doubt it will get used much but hopefully it will come in handy when I want it to.
  18. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Now, this could be fun;
    Please keep us up on your project. Look forward to a bunch of pictures during the job. Any hurdles, surprises and report on operation would be very welcome here.
    ,rc

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