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Bow thruster for Beneteau Oceanis 323 Clipper

RogS

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23 Aug 2020
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Does anyone have a design for a bow thruster for a 2005 Oceanis 323 Clipper? I’ve been advised that due to the location of the water tank the thruster would be too high up and would cavitate. Would I have to relocate the water tank or is there a way around this ? Thanks
 

Sandy

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31 Aug 2011
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Does anyone have a design for a bow thruster for a 2005 Oceanis 323 Clipper? I’ve been advised that due to the location of the water tank the thruster would be too high up and would cavitate. Would I have to relocate the water tank or is there a way around this ? Thanks
Any particular reason you feel a bow thruster is needed on a 10m vessel?
 

RogS

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23 Aug 2020
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Sandy, thanks for your reply. Do you have any designs or suggestions? It’s a tight marina berth, very tricky in certain winds.
 

Concerto

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16 Jul 2014
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Sail on the Medway, Kent from Chatham Maritime Mar
Cheaper option than a bow thruster would be to change berth or marina. Perhaps even some onboard training in boat handling under power might be worthwhile. I have an older 9.8m yacht and I manage to sail and moor singlehanded, yet I have never considered fitting a bow thruster. My advice is practice, practice and more practice. You will soon learn how to control your boat in all sorts of conditions.

I remember a few years ago going to Hamble Point Marina on a Wednesday. The berth I was allocated was almost at the end of a long pontoon and close to the shore. As I chugged slowly along towards the berth only one yacht I passed had 4 people in the cockpit, one man got up and started walking along the pontoon to the shore. As I edged into the berth he was ready to take my lines. As I stepped on to the finger, I stopped the boat with a spring from the midship cleat and controlled the twist using a stern breast rope. Walking forward I fixed the forward spring and breast rope. The man was puzzled at how I had done it as he said he always used lots of forward and reverse along with bow thruster, yet I had done it singlehanded using none of them. His comment was it was like watching a master class in berthing. I explained it is important to position the boat in the right place first time at a very low speed. Then my mooring lines were different to his, he used 4 separate lines. I only use one line that is 3 times the length of the boat. The middle of the line is marked and cleated just forward of the midship cleat. Then each end is fixed at the bow and stern. This means you have two long loops that can be laid over the lifelines. Each loop becomes the breast and spring. So taking the aft loop is what I did first and then moving forward I picked up the other loop from the maximum beam point. Once he realised how simple this system was he said he was going to try the same for his boat.

For my home berth I like to have one long line on the pontoon finger that is slightly longer by about 2 metres than the distance between the pontoon finger cleats. To this I splice two tails with loops that fit over the midship cleat. The two loops have a light line loosely connecting them so I can easily pick them both up - these are my springs to stop the boat moving forward or back. Then I pick up the 3 breast ropes, 1 aft and 2 for the bow as I almost always berth bow in.

Hope this might be helpful to you.
 

Neeves

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20 Nov 2011
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Sydney, Australia.
As is implied berthing a yacht, in cross winds and adverse tides is all about preparation. I'd advocate setting up mooring lines and fenders on both sides, in case you want to change your mind. I'd attach the mooring lines to the cleats on the yacht and then laying the lines 'outside' the lifelines and bringing them to a 'central' point, the place most convenient for you step ashore, which will probably be aft near the throttle and helm. If you want to swap to attaching to the pontoon cleats - you can do that later.

I think my procedure, 10m yacht, was similar to that of Concerto. We had cleats bow and stern and one amidships. I'd attach the bow and stern lines and have them terminating (the shore ends) at the same place (so bring the bow one aft and the stern one forward) - then I can step ashore picking up both ends at the same time - I now have the bow and stern lines in my hand and I'm on the pontoon. If the bow is falling off preferentially over the stern - deal with the bow. But as you are probably stepping off nearer the stern simply take a loose turn with the stern rope round the appropriate pontoon cleat and whilst still holding the stern line walk forward and do the same with the bow line - you can now control both bow and stern.

Later as my technique developed I did what I think Concertyo describes. I had a long mooring line with a bowline in the middle. I attached the loop of the bowline to the amidships cleat. I ran both ends of the rope to the stern, where i was going to step ashore. As soon as the 'stepping ashore' position passed the end of the pontoon I'd step ashore taking both lines with me - and the yacht still inching slowly forward. I'd take one line and wrap round the outward cleat on the pontoon and then move to the bow and secure the other loose end of the rope. I could now move the yacht into the pontoon buy tensioning either or both ropes and could move the yacht fore and aft by tensioning one or other rope.

The advantage of using the amid ships cleat is you have only one attachment point but it allows you to control distance off the pontoon and fore and aft location.

Funny story

I was using the amidships cleat arrangement. I raced the yacht and had dropped all the crew off at another location. The club house was on a little promontory at the entrance to the marina and ours was the only yacht seriously raced. After 2 years of atrocious results we, me and the crew, were becoming a serious threat as a slick yacht and the marina staff used to come out to find out our result for that race - this meant lots of attention. I'd set up my mooring lines (or so I thought) and was being careful to do this all by the book. I nudged into an empty berth (the yacht was dry sailed and I could use any empty berth as she was lifted the following day) took both ends of the mooring line and stepped ashore. I took in the loose line to find I had not actually secured the middle to, anything, and the yacht was drifting over to the other side of the pontoon. My immediate thought was I'd have to swim over - until I realised I could simply walk round - as if this was all intentional.

Don't become complacent.

Installation of a bow thruster is going to be expensive - you need to slip, employ a shipwright, employ an electrician, maybe need a bigger battery. It sounds as if the installation is not straight forward, moving water tanks!! You will have ongoing concerns about maintenance, even if only antifouling. I'm not convinced that a bow thruster will increase the re-sale value. A couple of new shore lines and some good fenders are much cheaper! Or -as suggested - move location.

Jonathan
 

Sandy

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31 Aug 2011
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Sandy, thanks for your reply. Do you have any designs or suggestions? It’s a tight marina berth, very tricky in certain winds.
I'd suggest a day with an Instructor. It will be a lot cheaper than a bow thruster and it will give you the confidence to put your boat in all sorts of berths.

Another good investment is Stress Free Sailing by Duncan Wells. A book full of simple to follow tips on all sorts of things.
 

wully1

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27 Aug 2002
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2,209
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west coast of Scotland
Can’t you replace the water tank with 2 under the saloon seating (don’t know your boats lay out) 2 smaller tanks in the middle would also surely be better than one in the bow.
 

Ningaloo

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19 Aug 2001
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Northern summers on Ningaloo otherwise Perth WA
I owned an earlier 10m Oceanis and more recently an 11m Hanse. One of the few places I felt a bow thruster would have been useful was on the canal at Copenhagen which has significantly less than 10m width between moored boats on either side.
I agree with the previous advice to get some training which will cost less than a bow thruster and probably give you more confidence mooring up and departing in situations where a bow thruster won't be of assistance.
If you are determined to fit a bow thruster you should look at Extern models which sit outside the hull. I have heard good reports of these being used on Hanse which also has a tank in the bows.
 

fredrussell

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24 Mar 2015
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The YBW Old Salts Brigade strikes again!

To the OP, just ignore them, it’s up to you if you feel you need a bow thruster. My boat is highly manoeuvrable but I would fit one tomorrow if funds allowed. I bet there’s not one of the above nay-sayers that hasn’t clunked their boat into a pontoon/boat/ harbour wall at sometime. God forbid that someone should fit a useful bit of equipment to their boat! It’s like when auxiliary engines were added to boats. What on Earth was wrong with just warping your boat in and out of the marina?
 
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Boathook

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5 Oct 2001
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Surrey & boat in Dorset. Both have pubs
The YBW Old Salts Brigade strikes again!

To the OP, just ignore them, it’s up to you if you feel you need a bow thruster. My boat is highly manoeuvrable but I would fit one tomorrow if funds allowed. I bet there’s not one of the above nay-sayers that hasn’t clunked their boat into a pontoon/boat/ harbour wall at sometime. God forbid that someone should fit a useful bit of equipment to their boat! It’s like when auxiliary engines were added to boats. What on Earth was wrong with just warping your boat in and out of the marina?
Totally agree.
If you are going to do the work don't under estimate the time and money involved. I fitted a vetus model to my boat and it was a mammoth task but well worth it when done.
 

davidej

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17 Nov 2004
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West Mersea. north Essex
Assuming your boat is similar to my 361, you could have the point of the triangular tank cut off and a flat panel welded in. Alternatively get a ready made square tank, which would lose a lot more capacity.
 

anderson1947

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2 Jun 2015
Messages
43
Does anyone have a design for a bow thruster for a 2005 Oceanis 323 Clipper? I’ve been advised that due to the location of the water tank the thruster would be too high up and would cavitate. Would I have to relocate the water tank or is there a way around this ? Thanks
Hi rog
You obviously have own reasons for bow thrusting. It could be for many reason s.
I expect owners association will probably have someone who done it on your boat.
 

Sandy

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31 Aug 2011
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On the Celtic Fringe
The YBW Old Salts Brigade strikes again!

To the OP, just ignore them, it’s up to you if you feel you need a bow thruster. My boat is highly manoeuvrable but I would fit one tomorrow if funds allowed. I bet there’s not one of the above nay-sayers that hasn’t clunked their boat into a pontoon/boat/ harbour wall at sometime. God forbid that someone should fit a useful bit of equipment to their boat! It’s like when auxiliary engines were added to boats. What on Earth was wrong with just warping your boat in and out of the marina?
Utter tosh...

I'm more than happy to admit taking more than one chunk of gelcoat out of the bow. I am currently hold a berth in a marina where Princess Yachts finish off their boats prior to handing them over to the owners. I pass boats with the value of between £50 million and £100 million depending on what is going out this week between my berth and the exit - warping is not really an option.

A bow thruster has limited use, I crew on a 30 meter (100 tonne) boat from time to time and rarely hear the bow thruster being used, it is all about understanding how your boat reacts and that takes practice, practice practise as us naysayers have been saying.
 

RogS

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23 Aug 2020
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7
Jonathan/ Concerto/ Sandy and all
Thanks for all your suggestions. I do seem to have opened up a debate that has lots of different views!
The lack of a central cleat on the 323 is an issue and although there is a central fairlead that I can use with lines tied to bow or stern, it does make the cleats there a bit cluttered. See photo. If there are any suggestions for reversing into a marina berth, in a crosswind, where the pontoon finger is a couple of metres shorter than the boat, I would be really grateful. Otherwise, I shall seek out more advice and, yes maybe some training. Cleats.png
 

doug748

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1 Oct 2002
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9,891
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Plymouth
Does anyone have a design for a bow thruster for a 2005 Oceanis 323 Clipper? I’ve been advised that due to the location of the water tank the thruster would be too high up and would cavitate. Would I have to relocate the water tank or is there a way around this ? Thanks

......further to dunedin's suggestion.

These look a handy option for a cruising boat with your constraints. You might even consider putting one aft of the keel as a stern thruster:

EX55 Singel 12V thruster - Side-Power



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