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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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Fitting a Stern Thruster

Dual controls for bow and stern thrusters
click to enlarge

We always thought that having a bow thruster was an admission of inability to drive a boat properly. I mean, you should be able to use a combination of props and rudder, and/or a combination of this with your warps, shouldn’t you?

But it didn’t take too long before we realised the bow thruster was a total boon when there’s little room to manoeuvre in a marina, especially if the wind is really strong.

As time passed, we began to wonder about a stern thruster as well. Would it really be useful?

When we anti-fouled Play d’eau in March 2010, we bit the bullet and decided to have a stern thruster fitted. We chose the same make (American Bow Thruster, Side Power) but because it was for the stern it could be slightly less powerful (less windage).

Seeing it came with the upgraded propeller design we upgraded the bow thruster’s propeller at the same time given it would increase power by 15%.

Before the hole could be cut in the transom, the main anodes had to be re-sited.

Watching the hole being cut was unnerving to say the least! Once cut, the thruster was mounted, secured, and the tunnel added. Overhead flaps were added to the tunnel to help prevent cavitation, and dual controls were installed. With the tunnel epoxied and anti-fouled, Play d’eau was ready to be launched.

Were there any water leaks? No. Was it really a good idea to have a stern thruster? Yes, Was it really necessary to have a stern thruster fitted? No. Are we glad we have it? Yes – just in case. Have we used it? Yes….

Piers and Lin
from the Engine Room of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

The hole is cut for the stern thruster
click to enlarge

The hole, ready for the thruster
click to enlarge

The thruster installed and the tunnel epoxied
click to enlarge

Overhead flaps added, and anti-fouled
click to enlarge

The old (left) and new style propeller (right)
click to enlarge

1 comment to Fitting a Stern Thruster

  • Reading the boat related comments is fun. Engineering type elements are mentioned which many boat owners would not think to convey. It’s also enjoyable to read between the lines and sense the great fun you are having, yet with a humility of thankfulness that you can do it.

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