Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Stern Thruster: Resolved

We lost use of the boat's stern thruster back on the morning of 19-Jan as we were trying to maneuver Ghost Rider away from the Gasparilla pump-out dock (at a very low tide.)  We had kicked up all sorts of mud, and the back end wasn't responding well to the thruster....pretty sure we were dragging the keel on the muddy bottom, but we finally broke loose & were able to motor out of there using only throttle & rudder....and the stern thruster at that point was non-responsive.

While we don't class the stern thruster as a "safety of flight" issue, it is damned convenient to have in cross-wind / cross-current docking maneuvers on a single screw boat.  Our two dock-ups & departures since then sans thruster have been uneventful, but given what we paid for that thing, we wanted it back.

Debris Removed from Thruster Tunnel
I finally got one of the local SidePower techs to come out to the boat today, and after verifying that the 15HP motor was still in good shape, we decided it was either a shelled gearbox (that would be bad, requiring a haul-out), or something was jammed up inside the thruster tunnel.

I managed to intercept a diver working on a Kadey-Krogen two slips down from us; one dive & 20 minutes later he had extracted about 10 pieces of black poly rope - totaling about 7 feet, with lead weights and parts of a plastic handle - from the thruster tunnel & props.  Best $40 I've ever spent.  After I plopped in a new 500A fuse, the thruster was back to life & sounding healthy.  Yay!

I need to replace that 500A fuse with the prescribed 400A, and then do some stress-testing on the thruster, but it's looking very, very promising.