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Cost of installing a bow and a stern thruster

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by hat4349, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    We now have a couple of generations of boaters who've never plotted a course on paper or tried to navigate by that means. How far are we from being generations away from being able to handle a boat strictly by gears? How many people today could dock a boat under sail, playing off the wind and current? Today we spend money rather than develop skills. Seems to me that takes a lot of the fun and pride out of boating. I know that I have very little desire to do what everybody and anybody can do. That's boring.
  2. leeky

    leeky Senior Member

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    Or is it another old saying: "It's like riding a bike."?:)
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    First you have to learn to ride the bike. If you only ride the handlebars.....
  4. leeky

    leeky Senior Member

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    I was referring to your post #19 where you said, "I see a lot of people saying 'I can dock using gears, but thrusters are so convenient'." The learning has already happened.
  5. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

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    I get what you are saying, and as a new boater, I am more rewarded by using gears to move around. Joy stick brings me very little joy, but it does get used.
    As for charting, other than exercises and homework I have not plotted an actual course. But I am on a river, so maybe less apropos.
    Regarding this, has NOAA not discontinued printing actual paper charts for US waters? If so, it is not just the fact that users are more technology dependent but support of manual seamanship is dwindling.

    As to the original question, I have never had a stern thruster so not sure how helpful it would be. Bow thruster on a 50' sailboat was nice for perfect docking in wind and current though.
  6. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    Here's my two cents. If I had it to do over, my bow thruster would be tied to a hydraulic manifold and piggy backing on the Naiad system pumps. The system is providing the flow when you don't need the fins, and the battery headache for the thrusters can be avoided. That being said, overkill your battery support with parallel systems if you choose electric. When you get to a point where you're relying on the thruster for your handling, you want it to be there when you call. I run a 24v thruster system on two banks of batteries in parallel. I'd like a mulligan and shift to hydraulic thruster support.
  7. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    Agreed. I think the basic rule of thumb for the average boater that can afford the toys is to still push yourself to be proficient with the handling of the boat minus the support of thrusters. Similarly, plot a course on a nautical chart and study the details of that chart. It will help you be fluent with the electronics when you go to use them, as the charting and details will be familiar.

    But if you can handle the boat well in most conditions where practice is available and reasonable, then the addition of the thruster will be a very nice facilitator as opposed to being the crutch that makes up for the captain's ineptness and maneuvering the vessel. To me there isn't a batter feeling then standing at a helm with absolute comfort of knowing how the boat under my feet is going to respond to the directions I call out, so to speak. I absolutely loved my Hatt for that. I'm still getting used to this one, but I'm pretty close.
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I understand. What I'm pointing out is you're referring to this generation. I'm referring to the next who grows up learning nothing but joy sticks or thrusters. It takes me hours of practice to teach someone to dock a boat, but it would take me about 5 minutes to teach them to do it with thrusters and joy sticks. They'd also get 5 minutes worth of knowledge and not know the difference till the S--- hit the fan one day.

    rtrafford, you're correct that they've stopped publishing paper charts, because people weren't buying them. A shame, and a little unnerving when your chart plotter shows a blank screen one day.
  9. leeky

    leeky Senior Member

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    I wasn't referring to any generation. I was pointing out that I could legitimately replace your cliche of "use it or lose it" with my cliche of "it's like riding a bicycle." Your point is that there are boat drivers that will lose their ability to maneuver effectively with only gears/throttles, if they start relying on thrusters; my point is that there are boat drivers that won't lose that ability. Some boat drivers are just better than others; if you teach others how to dock, then you know what I'm talking about.
  10. bayoubud

    bayoubud Senior Member

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    I doubt many experienced boaters lose their ability to dock with gears only (bicycle riding theory). I don't lean on the thrusters much until in the slip. I would be in big trouble if I did not thruster my gal over to pickup the dock lines to drop them on a cleat.
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Absolutely. But how much longer will they be taught to maneuver with gears? Doesn't happen if they have pods even today. How much will it be taught if the boat has bow & stern thrusters when the teacher knows that 99% of the time that's what they'll use? Look at the skills we've already lost. Course plotting and following on paper, tuning radar, mechanics or even daily engine room checks, playing wind and current, now maneuvering by gears, etc. I've had students who bought 65' first boats that do 36 kts, and didn't even think they needed a lesson until the crashed their neighbors.
  12. Zud

    Zud Senior Member

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    NYCAP, Believe me, I get what you're saying about the loss of old time boating skills. Do you still use your sextant to navigate your dug out canoe? Technology is making some of the things that we hold dear no longer necessary. We need to move along with it or be doomed to rue its passing.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    As a coastwise cruiser I have no need, but I do know how to use one. :cool: Electronic do go down more often than I cross the pond however and electric thrusters pop breakers on a regular basis especially for those who depend on them. Although I consider stern thrusters a waste on smaller boats bow thrusters do come in handy some times. I love innovation. Just hate to depend on the undependable.