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Bowthruster remote control

matt1

Active member
Joined
11 Feb 2005
Messages
662
Moving my boat about singlehanded I'm contemplating a remote control for the bowthruster. Does anyone (who actually uses one) have any feedback on their use in the real world?

The problem I am trying to fix is;

I come alongside, with just enough time to get one line ashore (normally from a mid cleat) but with a high sided AWB the bow will have drifted off before I can get either the bow or stern line on, necessitating me going back to the cockpit (& normally the other side of the cockpit) to give a burst of thrust - but then by the time I'm ready to leap off with a line the bow is back on the move again ;-) It's akin to watching a kid chasing after a crisp packet in the wind.

With a remote I reckon I could get that mid cleat (or even a stern line on), bring the bow in on the remote with the thruster whilst stood on the side deck, or even walking up the foredeck, and then drop the bow line over the cleat.
 

Catalina36

Well-known member
Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
641
I solved it by fitting proportional control so that I can leave the thruster on at whatever reduced power is needed just to hold it against the wind, replacing the toggle with a switch and pot.
 

Skylark

Well-known member
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Messages
4,380
Location
Home: North West, Boat: The Clyde
I have a bow thruster with cockpit control (only on port side wheel, same as engine control). I wouldn't use it in the circumstances that you describe, instead I'd use the mid ship cleat on a spring to hold the boat alongside by engaging gear at engine idle. Assuming bow-in, port side to, steer hard to starboard and the boat will sit nicely alongside the pontoon, held by the centre cleat spring. Plenty of time then to get the other lines on, then kill the engine and adjust the lines. Kettle on.
 

Bluetack42

Member
Joined
7 Apr 2020
Messages
31
I have had a Max Power bowthruster remote for the past 8 years, I sail a 40‘ AWB solo much of the time, its an absolute godsend in windy conditions. The control unit is on a lanyard which goes around my neck when I come in to berth, it connects wirelessly to a receiver mounted in the middle of the boat.

The great advantage is when the wind is blowing the bow off & potentially into another boat you can get the mid ships line on & hold the bow in at the same time. When I come into mu home finger berth I reverse in then step off the back of the boat & secure the stern cleat, whilst holding in the bow using the thruster remote.

Things to look out for; I always do a test fire on the remote whilst still onboard just to make sure its working, the buttons can easily be accidentally held down if something is put on top of the unit, discharging the battery, the WiFi is battery hungry so spares are carried.
 

James_Calvert

Well-known member
Joined
6 Oct 2001
Messages
1,764
I watched a demo of how to do it (well not quite) once.

Alongside pontoon berth, mid river. Wind blowing off the pontoon. Guy gets onto the pontoon with stern warp and remote for bow thruster. Stern attached, then bow is brought into and kept in place with thruster, ready for the guy to pick up the bow warp neatly placed over the pulpit...

which he's not tall enough to reach!
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
39,804
Location
UK East Coast
Moving my boat about singlehanded I'm contemplating a remote control for the bowthruster. Does anyone (who actually uses one) have any feedback on their use in the real world?
Yes, I fitted a cheap and cheerful remote to my bowthruster. I chose one with a very small keyfob-type control, which I have on a lanyard. It works fine. If I have a quibble, it's that there's a split-second delay when you let go of the button before the thruster turns off. Otherwise, for less than a tenner it's not bad. Here's a link to the type of remote I bought...

SI Wireless Electric Winch Remote Control Keyring for Truck Jeep ATV DC 12V New | eBay
 

matt1

Active member
Joined
11 Feb 2005
Messages
662
Thanks Everyone, and WOW PVB that is certainly cheaper than the quote from Sidepower. Unfortunately with a canbus system and all manner of warnings about invalidating warranty I may reluctantly take the side power option...but your example goes to show what can be done ;-)

My boat handling is normally impeccable but the move up to a high sided 40' AWB on my own is probably going against physics without some assistance. Not helped that my pile mooring pontoon has an absolutely evil and random eddy that defies logic, so normal springing and other techniques aren't working. Am seeing why my mooring neighbour hot footed it round the other side before I arrived ;-)
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
39,804
Location
UK East Coast
Thanks Everyone, and WOW PVB that is certainly cheaper than the quote from Sidepower. Unfortunately with a canbus system and all manner of warnings about invalidating warranty I may reluctantly take the side power option...but your example goes to show what can be done ;-)
Ah, your mention of canbus suggests you have a PRO-series thruster. The cheap winch remote won't work with that.
 

jtwebb

Member
Joined
15 Jan 2002
Messages
221
Location
Hampshire, UK
I also have an Ebay device plus a couple of relays which I am going to fit to the LM32 I have just bought. They were destined for the previous boat but was not done as not too easy, the controller on the new boat looks much easier. One point that I was told about by the yard staff where I live, dont have the dongle hanging round your neck as you lean in to change the anode on the bow thruster! He did get back just in time!
 

Solent Sailor

Active member
Joined
9 Feb 2018
Messages
158
I have the Sidepower stern and bow thruster remote. Works brilliantly. I find it very useful for tweaking lines if its blowing and I'm on my own as well as more conventional uses when trying to leave or come alongside alone. 50ft/17tonne mobo.
 

matt1

Active member
Joined
11 Feb 2005
Messages
662
Ah, your mention of canbus suggests you have a PRO-series thruster. The cheap winch remote won't work with that.
Yes, that's what I thought....I guess that's "Progress" apparently :(
 

pvb

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
39,804
Location
UK East Coast
One point that I was told about by the yard staff where I live, dont have the dongle hanging round your neck as you lean in to change the anode on the bow thruster! He did get back just in time!
It's vital to isolate the thruster's power supply before doing anything to the anodes, prop(s) or tunnel.
 

matt1

Active member
Joined
11 Feb 2005
Messages
662
The PRO-series is a great idea, I'd love to convert mine but the upgrade kit is a fortune!
Hmm. Forgive my ignorance but what’s such a great idea? It just pushes left or right doesn’t it? Don’t they all do that? Or am I missing something?
 

Catalina36

Well-known member
Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
641
Hmm. Forgive my ignorance but what’s such a great idea? It just pushes left or right doesn’t it? Don’t they all do that? Or am I missing something?
Apparently it has proportional control. You might want to revisit my post at #2.
 

matt1

Active member
Joined
11 Feb 2005
Messages
662
Apparently it has proportional control. You might want to revisit my post at #2.
Ah, thx. Yes I guess it is compatible with proportional control if you upgrade the controller with the £600+ version ;)
 
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