Bow Thruster for a 32?

  • June 23, 2016 11:31 AM
    Message # 4094824

    Hey all-  after a difficult time getting out of the slip today with the wife/kids on board, I was asked how hard it would be to put a bow thruster on our 32-  Has anyone done it?  Worth the trouble?  Changing slips is not an option and of course the optimal exit would be backing to starboard, which does not really work.  I have a Beta 38 with a 3 bladed prop.  The slip has small finger piers which only go about as far as the first stanchion, so walking the boat out is pretty impossible.  Prevailing wind seems to be directly on the beam, and when backing out, there is not a lot of room behind me.  


  • June 24, 2016 8:53 AM
    Reply # 4100368 on 4094824
    Deleted user


    I am not in favor of bow thrusters, as they cost big $$$$'s,  will reduce your speed a bit (flow related)  1 to 3% speed = .05 to 0.2Kt at 6kt speed.  Second there is an extra option for a leak ( the big issue for me).

    One thought Which I have not done (yet) is to rig a removable thruster.

    The Idea:  a removable bracket allowing an electrical trolling motor to be lowered through the bowsprit and bolted (clamped to the bowsprit) and with a catch to the bobstay for added strength, so as to be mounted to face 90 to the boat and have the prop under water.

    elec. part (temp. move a battery up front, or wire in some big cables?) for power. Install a set of relays allowing momentary push buttons for fwd or rev on the trolling motor from the cockpit. ie, motor is fwd when the port button is pushed and rev when the starboard is pushed and not running when no button is held down.

    This requires a place and time to put it on, and to take it off (sea room). So far I have not done this, as $$$'s time and need have not all met for me.

    if your issue is only getting out of the slip, a line from fwd to the midship pilling then back to the cockpit could help, allowing you to hold (over a cleat) the line as you back and then release once pasted, you just have to pull the line in before motoring forward over it (that is what kids are for).  For entry you could leave a line from the midship piling to the outermost piling that you can pickup when entering and have one of the kids pick it up with the boat hook and then while on the boat they can pull on the line to keep the bow to windward as needed.  There are many other line options to deal with this, but really strong cross currents can be an issue.

    In any case be safe, and think about what needs to be done before it has to be done and have fun.


    Last modified: June 24, 2016 11:37 AM | Deleted user
  • June 25, 2016 9:39 AM
    Reply # 4101916 on 4094824

    Cross wind slips are a bummer . Can you get someone on the dock to help ?  

    Last modified: June 25, 2016 9:39 AM | Anonymous member
  • June 26, 2016 12:53 PM
    Reply # 4102841 on 4094824
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    With the wind on the beam I also have a hard time to get the bow into the wind.  I have had to back out of the slip and down the fairway when the winds are strong until I could have enough room to turn into the wind.  

    Try backing the boat in an open area - I've noticed that about 3kn the loads on the tiller are reasonable in reverse but you do need to keep control of the tiller. 

    Can you back into the slip when you return?  



    Last modified: June 26, 2016 12:55 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • June 30, 2016 6:50 AM
    Reply # 4108993 on 4094824
    Deleted user

    Since I mostly single hand, I rig what I call cheater lines from the dock to the outer dolphin pilings. Half inch is good enough. I have a fitting on the jib sheet tracks at amidships that allow me to clip on using a short piece of line hanging from the cheater lines with a snap shackle tied to the end. These allow me to remove the dock lines and mostly keep the boat stationary centered in the slip. The cheater lines also allow me to hang the dock lines for easy access on my return rather than throwing them on the dock or hanging them from the pilings. When ready to go, I unclip, then walk the boat out into the fairway with the tiller positioned according to which way I want the stern to go. Sometimes the wind will dictate that however. You can walk the boat out hand over hand as you move forward on the side deck until clear. On return, I clip on both sides and then tie up. I've used this method for years at different docks with only a minor scrape on the rub rail now and then. I've also noticed that many sailors tend to reinvent the wheel every time they go out by not marking their dock lines or leaving lines only accessible with a boat hook upon return. I find that a loop on the boat end of the dock line is a lot easier to throw over a Sampson post than tying off a bitter end for instance. Most important though: No running, no cursing, no yelling. You gotta look good.

    Have fun


  • July 03, 2016 4:56 AM
    Reply # 4113203 on 4094824

    Alas, the art and science of warping seems to have been lost to many of us.   The Pardeys talked about warping in their books, but it is rarely seen today.   Probably those who learned to warp best were those who had no auxiliary engine.

    We need teachers to explain and demonstrate for us.  Verbal explanations won't do, we need video. (Sorry Werner, I couldn't follow your explanation.  Too many words.)  There are also many variations, of wind, currents, with/without pilings, number of people on board and their skills.  Etc.  

    The scariest for me is to drive down an aisle to make a turn into a slip with a stiff wind at my stern.  I can't use much reverse to reduce speed because then I lose steerage control, and there is no room for a U turn if you miss the slip.  

    On youtube there are lots of videos that show docking techniques that include warps.  The ones I've seen always choose calm conditions to make the video.  We need to see it done in worst case conditions. We need to see it demonstrated with full keel boats. We also need to see the outtakes when things do not go as planned.

    The SSCA Gam in Melourne, FL used to have a Captain Jack who taught seminars on docking and line handling near the docks (how to throw a line 25 feet to someone on on shore and get it there every time.)  It would be great if we could invite people like that to a Westsail rendezvous.

    If any WOA members know of online videos about warping that are particularly good, please post links here.

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