There are two kinds of people; those who have thrusters and those who want them!

Recently, I was having a conversation with Jon Moles from Toronto Yacht Services and he mentioned how much consumer interest there was around installing bow or stern thrusters. He added that there are often attractive deals at the winter boat shows for smart shoppers who want to save a little money and also be ready to go at the start of the season.

So, we set up a time when I could interview Jon and ask what consumers have been looking for from his perspective as the man who actually installs thruster systems. We also wanted to know what it takes to install thrusters into an existing boat.

He started off by telling me that there are 2 kinds of people; those who have thrusters and those who want them! He added that once you have thrusters you will love them even if you are skilled boater who really doesn’t need thrusters. It turns out that just knowing thrusters are there, can reduce anxiety when docking in high winds or tight quarters.

A properly installed bow thruster system should be able to rotate the boat 360° in 30 seconds. It’s easy to see how that would get you out of trouble once in a while!

Jon also cited some other important considerations. He noted that it’s much easier to bring the boat in stern first if you can control its angle with thrusters. This is especially true as slips get tighter, or boats get larger. Of course, to be able to spin your boat in the fairway and drive out forward, is far easier.

Recently, systems have come on the market that include remote control and, in some cases, the thrusters can be used to hold the boat against the dock as your crew gets off to tie up.

Jon felt that almost any boat over 25 or 28 feet can have a thruster installed. It’s not just for big boats. The main issue at the bow is getting the tube about its diameter below the surface.

We also asked what costs are typical and Jon answered that to install an Imtra SidePower system [which is the brand he installs] will run perhaps $7-$8000 for boats up to 32’ while boats from 32’ to 45’ will be $8-9,000 and $10,000 for boats 45’ or larger. Stern thrusters are generally about 70% of the cost of a bow thruster due to reduced installation costs in most cases.

When planning an installation with a customer, John explains what he calls the A,B,C scenario. It’s a matter of choosing the right size and power of thruster for the combination of both your boat and the boating conditions you anticipate being in.

“A” would be the biggest and most powerful system but it might be overkill if you do your boating in sheltered waters. “B” would be a general choice while “C” would be the least expensive, but also the least powerful. (removed the ‘A’ because if you use it there it should also be used in front of the “A” and the “C”?)

Jon also cautions that when you order thrusters from the factory on a new boat, they may be sized for price more than performance.

Consumers might also think it’s better to have the factory do the work in the first place but that’s not necessarily true. The factory does not know what your boating conditions will be, and they actually install the thruster exactly the same way as Jon’s Toronto Yacht Services team does on an aftermarket basis.

Either way, the boat has to be out of the water, cleared out and cleaned up, a special installation tool used to correctly locate the tunnel, and whether it’s a brand-new boat at the factory or your beloved old clunker, you still have to cut a hole in either side of the bow to install the fiberglass tunnel and fair it in.

Jon reassures us that in his experience, he has never seen a tunnel installation fail and in fact, it probably adds quite a bit of strength to the boat when it is installed properly.

From a performance perspective, the installation is critical. It’s not just a matter of installing the tube and trimming it to size. One of the biggest cost elements is faring it in properly and creating a kind of “eyebrow” over part of the tunnel and then a carefully rounded curve to the other part. That’s a lot of grinding and careful hand work. If you don’t do it, you can lose up to 30% of the thrusters’ effectiveness and increase the noise about 30% too.

That’s when you’re installing bow thrusters–installing a stern thruster is a bit of a different matter. If your boat is laid out in such a way that the thruster can easily be accommodated, the engine is mounted inside the boat, the thruster tunnel unit is fastened outside the boat on the transom, out of sight below your swim platform and you can go ahead quite easily.

That assumes that there are no rudder stocks or steering gear in the way, that the fuel tank is not mounted right against the inside of the transom or that the engine installation people haven’t used the transom for all the wiring panels. Also, in a boat with gas engines or in a wet area, an ignition protected, (IP) unit should be used.

Jon assures us that no two installations are the same!

These are a few questions that he thinks are important to ask if you’re planning a thruster for your boat.

Ask what their recommendations are. The most important thing is to get the thruster properly sized for both your boat and the boating conditions. As an example, when Jon and the Toronto Yacht Services crew install a thruster from Side Power, the company does a full workup on that boat.

Be a performance shopper not a price shopper. Going cheap can be a false economy.

Ask if the installation is likely to increase the value of your boat. Jon feels that installing thrusters is one of the few upgrades that increases the value of the boat by approximately the cost of the installation, but this can vary widely.

Ask about the warranty coverage. Will parts be available to refurbish that thruster several years from now? Toronto Yacht Services has had to tear out some old installations and put in newer equipment. A properly sized, good-quality thruster system should last the life of the boat.

In a future issue, we will cover new systems from companies like Yacht Controller that can integrate the main engines with bow and stern thrusters to closely equal the performance available from the latest pod drive systems.

One last thought–even if you have pod drives, remember that they’re steering the boat from the stern only. Also having a bow thruster, can make a huge difference in high winds or strong current.

Have fun shopping at the shows!

For more thruster information visit:
www.lewmar.com
www.max-power.com
www.side-power.com
www.sideshift.com
www.vetus.com
www.torontoyachtservices.com

By Andy Adams

Destinations

  • Prev
The 81 boats in the 2016 Salty Dawg™ Sailing Association Fall Caribbean Rally fleet arrived ...
You've all heard of the “Backpacker's Guide to Europe” and the “Hitchhiker's ...
We were cruising for two weeks in Gwaii Haanas. Spread out among three boats, (a Campion, a ...
When we (an Ontario couple) both raised sailing on the Great Lakes and Lake Simcoe,  decided to ...
I was ruined...completely and utterly ruined. At the young age of 22, my very first trip to the ...

Millennial's Charter in the BVI's

By Clarity Nicoll

Vacation of a lifetime in the BVI’s

You've all heard of the “Backpacker's Guide to Europe” and the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”. Well then, consider this the ”Millennial's Guide to Chartering”. Millennial's chartering? Madness you say! I say otherwise. Now, I can't speak for everyone in my generation, but I know that for the most part we are action seekers, relaxation experts, adrenaline junkies, food lovers, cocktail savvy, adventure hungry and looking for some awesome pictures to put on our Instagram accounts.

Read more of the Millennial's...

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This picture speaks to the essence of Paul Elvstrom, probably the most talented, driven and ...
This CY Onboard feature celebrates your photos. A wonderful crop this week. The plan was to publish ...
In 1801, an enterprising Loyalist and British Army officer, Colonel Samuel Bois Smith, was granted ...
It was in one of the lakes, at mile 379, that Adamant lost her transmission. One moment we were ...
On the often overlooked yet welcoming shores of the Strait of Canso the Mulgrave Marine Park is in ...
Nova Scotia's majestic coastline is often popularized by such great harbours, cove and bays that go ...
For centuries the lure of the west coast brought settlers, immigrants, migrant workers, gold ...
As summer becomes a distant memory, see if you can close your eyes and recall those glorious days ...

Lakeshore Yacht Club

By Katherine Stone

From main dock with retired committee boat on the left and the new Lakeshore Lady on the right.

In 1801, an enterprising Loyalist and British Army officer, Colonel Samuel Bois Smith, was granted 1,000 acres of land south of what is now Kipling Avenue in Etobicoke.Fast-forward to the end of the century and this tract of land would be occupied by the newly constructed Mimico Lunatic Asylum, to be renamed the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital,which closed in 1979. 

Read more about Lakeshore Yacht Club.....

 

Beneteau GT 35Andy Adams

Great performance in a versatile, modern design

For the Canadian Yachting readers who are not yet familiar with Beneteau’s broad range of power boat models, the Gran Turismo 35 may come as a bit of a surprise. Our test boat is a head-on competitor to the North American built express cruisers and the latest day boats that are coming on the market.

The GT35 has the style and amenities to match the best new designs in it’s size range, the stern drive power to deliver exhilarating high speed performance plus, it still adds in an overtone of Euro style.

Read more: Beneteau GT 35...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
In this second of three parts, we will explore preparing for a longer cruise from the people side. ...
Informed estimates are that barely 10% of Canadian pleasure craft have underwater lighting but in ...
Comfort and convenience are important factors both to keep boaters enjoying boating as well as to ...
Sunshine flooded the waters separating California’s Catalina Island from Channel Islands Harbor, ...
Winterizing your boat in the fall is important and may be a daunting task for some boat owners.  ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
While many boat owners simply choose not to venture out after dark, there are occasions when you ...
Vidas Stukas of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club has always experimented with his sail boats to ...
In the December issue of Canadian Yachting, we review the new Cruisers Yachts 54 Cantius. Cruisers ...
I must admit my bias upfront to this book review; it’s a book I devoured and read cover to ...
The Hanse 315 e-motion rudder drive, which revolutionizes the way sailing yachts are propelled.
Always a major exhibitor at the Halifax International Boat Show, Seamaster’s sales manager ...
STEREOACTIVE is the world’s first purpose-built, portable, IPx7 waterproof, floating, ...
Esthec® introduces a special concept: luminous decking material. Solar energy that has been ...
The SEVENTY 7, Lagoon’s new flagship, will be exhibited for its world premiere at the Cannes ...
Neptunus Yachts delivers another new custom built 625 MotorYacht to an experienced Ontario ...

Seamasters Inflatables

Always a major exhibitor at the Halifax International Boat Show, Seamaster’s sales manager Dave Trott tells us they will have several news products on display including the new Stingray 206cc and the 186cc.

Seamaster Services of Dartmouth is a diversified company with roots in the marine safety business. Over the years they have expanded from liferafts to inflatable boats, as a Zodiac dealers, and now sell and service an extensive line of fibreglass and inflatable boats including Grady-White and Stingray.

Read more about Seamasters....