M/V Rhapsody has some new features, and we're celebrating the changes. Capt.Ron has long been a master of gentle docking, using cross-control maneuvering that makes our approaches and departures appear effortless to shoreside observers. My role has been line tender, securing the short lines on stern and midship when we first touch the dock, then placing longer stern, spring, and bow lines while Ron used engines and bow thruster to keep the boat positioned. Crutches have slowed me down lately, but now he can do it all, singlehanding the ship with the assistance of the new stern thruster and a walk-around wifi controller.
I've always been comfortable running the boat while we cruise, but not so much when maneuvering in tight spaces close to other vessels. Will the new equipment tempt me to captain the boat while docking? maybe... maybe not.
Most boat projects begin with a stack of sketches and notes, rough ideas at first leading to more detailed drawings. No doubt it's due to the Capt's engineering gene.
Below is the shiny new thruster minus its blades; deceptively simple in appearance, it required some creative bottom redesign, fiberglass work, and some new hydraulic and electrical wiring runs.
Here's Rhapsody in the Travelift, just after haulout and waiting for a powerwash to clean the bottom. The bottom paint still looked good.
Blue tape marks off the work area for the new thruster installation. A wedge or 'shingle' will be added to the bottom to position the stern thruster at an appropriate underwater depth for optimal effect. (Without a wedge it would just blow a lot of bubbles.)
This green tube, fiberglassed in place, will house the new thruster.
Project completed, the new stern thruster is ready for action.
Shown below, Rhapsody is ready for relaunch and in-the-water testing.
Success! We should have done this years ago.