Story By John Wooldridge, editor in chief, Passagemaker
Yacht Thruster is a relatively easy-to-install external thruster offered in single- and twin-propeller models that attach on the outside of a hull, either bow or stern. The product is offered by the same firm that has sold thousands of wireless Yacht Controllers. The company asserts that the Yacht Thruster usually takes only about one to two hours to install the thruster itself (without cable connections). It requires the owner or captain to drill a hole of two inches in diameter through the hull for the threaded bolt, which is a hollow sealed shaft and contains the electrical and control cables. The mounting kit is provided with bolts and pressure-tight rings which seal the hole. Once the cable is laid inside the boat and the control panel is attached and fastened, the installation is complete.
When positioned correctly, Yacht Thruster has minimal effect on boat speed due to its hydrodynamically optimized shape, and its positioning Yacht Thruster has less drag than conventional bow thrusters using a tunnel inside the hull. According to the company’s own lab testing, depending on proper placement, the loss of speed is between 0.1 and 0.2 knots at a reference speed of 9 knots. When correctly positioned as a bow thruster on semi-planing hulls, Yacht Thruster is lifted above the water and has no effect on speed.
The housing is made of seawater-resistant, specially treated aluminum, so users will need to regularly inspect their sacrificial anodes. It is a closed system, watertight and maintenance-free, but the company specifies that in order to avoid fouling, it needs a regular coating of aluminum primer and bottom paint, preferably one that is copper-free. Yacht Thruster can be used on boat hulls made out of steel or aluminum, and there is detailed information in the owner’s manual to provide proper insulation between dissimilar metals.
The placement of the motor and the cooling provided by the surrounding water combine to give Yacht Thruster a much longer runtime per hour than conventional thruster systems. Depending on water temperature, the manufacturer says that continuous runtime is up to 5 minutes, with an automated shutdown to prevent overheating. After a short cooling period the combined runtime is up to 25 minutes per hour.
Yacht Thruster carries a three-year warranty and, when correctly installed, should remain fully functional for more than 15 years.
For more information, visit yachtthruster.com.