bow thruster

After once spending 6 hours trying to prevent damage to a quay and the boat by dampening the movement of 10 tons of boat by hand, we decided to get a bow thruster just so we can get away from a harbour with a gale on the beam.


The finished installation


The installation below the bed in the forecastle, the water tank is behind the plywood bulkhead.

Placement of the thruster was limited because of the water tank in the bow.

Two factors are important:

As far as possible up front to get maximum arm of lever.

As deep as possible to avoid cavitation.


Here is the placement of the control for the bow thruster.

I selected a joystick for easy operation.

Normally a joystick is not recommended on a sailboat because of the danger of being snapped of by a sheet, but as the main sheet is in front of the spray hood I saw no problem.


In gusty wind and a lot of sail up, the boat had a tendency to spin-out when strong gusts hit, and after consulting with the producer I got a description on how to extend the rudder with 25 cm.


It is actually not difficult; strip 10-15cm of the topcoat on the tip of the rudder.

Make a form out of plywood on one side of the rudder and lay down glass fibre mats in epoxy from the stripped rudder and into the form.

Fill the form with hard Divinyl cell and shape the other side of the extension gluing together all the layers of Divinyl cell.

Reinforce the outer part of the the extension with glass fibre and epoxy. Sand , prime and antifoul it.

folding prop


Being an avid sailor in light winds I was not impressed by the light wind performance of the boat.

Well no wonder; the propeller was a fixed 3 blade propeller with blades so wide that they almost touched each other. so the propeller was exchanged with a 3 blade folding propeller from Flex-O-Fold.

Needless to say, the boats performance changed drastically!

extra ballast

In gale force wind it was hard to find a good balance of sail area and speed. The ideal sail area was usable in only a narrow band of wind force. I wished I had bought the lead keel! Exchanging the iron keel with a lead keel was no option according the producer, because of the layout of the keel bolts. The second possibility was extra ballast on top of the keel. Half a ton of lead was procured and put on top of the keel glued in place with expanding PU foam.

To sum it all up: the extension of the rudder, the folding prop and the extra ballast made her a new boat, that outperforms all other boats we meet up to 50 foot! Only once in 12 years we have been out sailed.