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clsimkins
08-21-2014, 09:05 AM
Hello All,
I am looking to add thrusters to my 66' Sumerset and am seeking advice on type. Have spoken to several friends and the general consensus is to go with the stern. There are so many different types out there I was hoping for your input.

easttnboater
08-21-2014, 09:09 AM
Stern thrusters run hydraulically from a PTO that is added to your generator are probably the easiest to retrofit. They are definitely the most common retrofit.

I have electric Vetus tunnel bow thrusters. They were not part of the original design, but were added as the boat was being built.

What are you trying to accomplish with the addition of thrusters? I use mine, but could easily get along without them.

clsimkins
08-21-2014, 09:26 AM
strictly for docking in the wind. My take on thrusters for the last three years has always been, if god wanted you to have them, they'd have come standard. However, I now feel it would be a nice upgrade. Someone recently mentioned a new thruster out there that uses jets rather than props?

easttnboater
08-22-2014, 04:57 AM
Like I said, i use mine because they are there. I also use the steering wheel and both throttles. I have tried it all different ways - steering wheel and shifting in and out of forward only, steering wheel centered and using throttles only, one engine only. These days, I use the wheel, the throttles - forward and reverse, and the thrusters for fine adjustments. Practice is worth more than thrusters.

Jets are just props in a tube - aka. impellers.

GoVols
08-22-2014, 06:45 AM
A guy on my dock spent $15K to retrofit bow and stern thrusters on his 80' Summerset this Spring.

I don't particularly like his set up because they're essentially props mounted to a rod that's bolted to the side of the boat right above the waterline. The rods stick straight down under the boat to get the props somewhat below the hull, so they're effectively moving water when activated. Like EastTN already described, his are powered by a PTO on the generator - think something like an alternator run by a pulley, except this is hydrolic. So, the gen must be running at all times while you're maneuvering the boat in order for the thrusters to work.

2nd thing I don't like about his setup is the fact that these 4 props stick down into the water on either side of the hull at all times. These add drag to the boat as you're motoring and I imagine it would affect your boat's straight-line tracking. If you boat on a river where logs are a frequent hazard, I can't imagine those thrusters would fare well when you finally smack one - or the shore for that matter. Lastly, these concerns were affirmed last month when he ripped one of the new thrusters off the bow when his boat rotated around the anchor rode while anchored out for a weekend. This occurrence is something I'm paranoid about myself with just my outdrives, which is why I prop my motors up each time I anchor out.

clsimkins
08-22-2014, 07:43 AM
Appreciate the responses. Have never had a day that we couldn't get her back in as we certainly don't mind hanging where we're at if the winds are high. Since buying the old girl three years ago we have made many upgrades and were kicking that around since we just finished the party top.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
08-22-2014, 11:26 AM
Is your boat single engined? We have always had twins and I would want the thruster in the front if I had a choice. Or do you tie off the front and snuggle the back in with the thruster?

clsimkins
08-24-2014, 12:12 PM
We've twin screws. Never have an issue getting the nose in, but the back can get away from you in the breeze. That's why we were thinking the stern, I have a friend that was talked into bow thrusters by the gentleman selling them, says it's the worst decision he's ever made as again its the back that gets hung out in the wind. We're in a 55' slip so all the boats on our dock stick out.

OLD HOUSEBOATER
08-24-2014, 01:28 PM
Hmm you cant spring off and push the back end to whatever side?

easttnboater
08-25-2014, 06:30 AM
I would talk to the guy about the stern thrusters to see how much they can really move the back of your boat. My bow thrusters are mainly for fine tuning - they are not that effective in a good wind.

This may not describe you, but a lot of people do not use their throttles enough around the dock. It took a while for me, but I have my engines tuned to where I like them and I am not at all afraid to goose the throttles around the dock. With the Bravo II outdrives and almost 20' diameter props, I can push the back of my boat around at will. Swirling winds still get to me though.

SinOrSwim
10-03-2014, 06:34 PM
I would talk to the guy about the stern thrusters to see how much they can really move the back of your boat. My bow thrusters are mainly for fine tuning - they are not that effective in a good wind.

This may not describe you, but a lot of people do not use their throttles enough around the dock. It took a while for me, but I have my engines tuned to where I like them and I am not at all afraid to goose the throttles around the dock. With the Bravo II outdrives and almost 20' diameter props, I can push the back of my boat around at will. Swirling winds still get to me though.

How do you move the back of the boat with ease?

easttnboater
10-06-2014, 05:39 AM
Depends on what I want to do. Using the throttles and/or steering, I can move the back of the boat around however I want. Most people never really drive their houseboats and get all up tight around the dock.

SinOrSwim
10-21-2014, 03:23 PM
Agreed. I told myself this year I was going to get it out more. I did but not as much as I'd like. But, when I dock I typically use the throttles vs the wheel. The wheel takes too long to react. But, if I use the throttles the the front moves left or right.

So, are you turning the wheel all the way one way and hitting reverse one one or both motors to get the rear to move? I don't have a huge boat. It's 58' but we have a very windy marina.

GoVols
10-22-2014, 07:14 AM
One of the most helpful tools to use when learning how to maneuver a twin engine boat are the videos on www.youtube.com. Do a search and you'll be surprised how many help videos pop up.

Bamby
10-22-2014, 10:06 AM
One of the most helpful tools to use when learning how to maneuver a twin engine boat are the videos on www.youtube.com. Do a search and you'll be surprised how many help videos pop up.

He's right there is a lot of useful information available on YouTube. Here's what appears to a good one to me at least.

Quick Tips with Captain Frank-docking a twin engine (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2TNpfvn6QA)

easttnboater
10-23-2014, 06:22 AM
I turn the wheel, use the throttles, and use the thrusters. You have to know where the pivot point of your boat is. My boat is 80' long, the pivot point is not dead in the center it is closer to 30' back from the front. When I move the back of the boat around, the front also moves, but not as much as the back - depends on what combination of throttles, wheel, and thruster I use.

If I am looking forward and want to move the back of the boat to the right without the front moving, then I will either:

1. Spin the wheel clockwise, put the throttles in reverse, and push the thrusters to the right
2. Spin the wheel counterclockwise, put the throttles in forward, and push the thrusters to the right
3. Center the wheel, right throttle forward, left throttle reverse, and push the thrusters to the right

(And, yes I know port vs. starboard, but left and right works better with most people)

Again, the best teacher is experience. You can watch videos and read stuff from other people on boards, but until you do it enough on your own boat to where you just do it without thinking about it too much, you will always hesitate.

The best advice I can give you is - Never go faster when docking than you are will to hit something.

Fork-lift-king
10-23-2014, 12:01 PM
Find a calm bay, big enough to turn the boat. Place 4 or 6 milk jug, with anchors, as wide as your slip. Practice, practice, practice turning into them. Calm days work best in the beginning. Later you can try the windy days. About 6 months of this and you will become fairly good without beating the boat to death.