Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Intermittent bow thruster - Maramu


Graham, The Bison/Buffle series Amel bow thrusters were the very first generation of what was used later until the end of Super Maramu production. The thruster on the 54 and onwards is very different with little commonality. The thruster on your "last of the series Maramu"is very similar to what is used on the SM 53. The main differences are it is 12 volt so not nearly as powerful and the retraction mechanism. Similar but not the same. That said, if you have a diagram of either, you can understand the basic design and discover the serviceable components which are mainly the shafts lip seals and compression neoprene gaskets. So, the bad news is your thruster isn't real strong/powerful. The good news is your Maramu maneuvers in reverse (and forward for that matter as the prop is just in front of the rudder) MUCH better than the SM 53. Seriously, once you have some weigh on in reverse in a Maramu, you can claw your way port or starboard. As a pilot, think of your boat as a taildragger. Don't quit "flying" it until it's tied down! You will love your Maramu. It is a sweet design.

Joel F. Potter

On Jan 3, 2016, at 6:17 AM, Graham Cresswell grahamjcresswell@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:


Thanks Eric,

Mine is a Maramu and I'm given to understand that the bow thruster is different to the one on a SM and may be something called a BISON/BUFFLE.  However, if there is a useful exploded diagram, I'd be grateful if someone can point me to it. 

Kind regards
SV Jamesby

On 02/01/2016 18:23, sailormon kimberlite@... [amelyachtowners] wrote:


I believe I posted a exploded diagram of the bow thruster mechanism if not it was posted by Bill on BeBe.

There is really nothing to fix inside the thruster.

Basically if the motor turns, unless there is a broken gear inside, the thruster will work.

The electrical connections and the electric jack are another issue.



My suggestion is to take the boat out of the marina to open water and try making loop de loops in reverse with the bow thruster, it is very easy.

Fair Winds


Kimberlite Amel Super Maramu #376



From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...]
Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2016 11:02 AM
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Intermittent bow thruster - Maramu



Dear Joel,

Many thanks for your thoughts.  As a retired airline pilot and aviation medicine specialist physician, I'm acutely aware that I may have had brain failure so I certainly don't feel scolded!  In particular, owing to my current inexperience with the boat, the limited space in the marina where I'm berthed and the unnerving proximity of various million dollar yachts, my mental capacity was dramatically reduced by this event and I cannot now be absolutely sure that the bow thruster motor was turning when I diagnosed the failure.  Plainly, if the motor was not turning, then there is a completely different set of possibilities, including the possibility that I'd inadvertently switched it off.  The marina where I'm berthed has virtually no current and is very sheltered so that there is almost no wind so I doubt that they are factors. 

I did have some manoeuvring practice with the previous owner although it was not extensive and all the sternward manoeuvring was accomplished with the aid of the bow thruster.  I agree with you that it makes sense to try to use the standard handling techniques employing prop kick and prop wash rather than resorting to the bow thruster in the first instance and I'm trying to acquire the necessary skills.  However, I've been warned by a friend, who is a very experienced SM owner, to expect it to be very difficult to manage when it is making sternway so I'm currently developing a plan for managing my berthing in the event of another bow thruster failure.  I'm also planning to take the boat out tomorrow and to dive to observe the bow thruster functioning. 

Finally, I wonder if there exists an exploded diagram of the bow thruster that would help me to understand its mechanisms and how technical problems might be addressed.  My Maramu is the 1989 model launched in 1988 and is hull number 240.  Maude has been unable to supply more than a very rudimentary owners manual. 

With many thanks and kind regards


On 31/12/2015 18:58, 'Joel Potter' jfpottercys@... [amelyachtowners] wrote:


Graham, as odd as it might sound, Trevor’s suggestion of ‘heat of the moment brain fade’ could be the likely culprit. I have sold hundreds of used Amel’s and offer clients a training period of several days to get them up to speed. On more occasions than you would believe, when things get tense the first few times with the new owner on the helm ( after I demonstrate that “THIS IS EASY”), they lower the thruster and then turn off the power switch the first time they reach for the toggle/joy stick. Especially with short timers, panic ensues and the helmsperson goes into save the boat mode and neglects to turn the power on. Just to make an indelible impression, I wait until the helmsperson gulps, loudly , before restoring power.

If this is the case, don’t feel bad. I’ve had many folks much brighter than I, which is just about everybody, do this. Some have even turned the power back on in their panic without realizing they had turned it off! Go easy on yourself.

Were you fortunate to have the seller/other knowledgeable person spend time with you familiarizing you with your-new-to-you Amel? I sure hope so, If not, find an Amel owner close to you and buy them dinner with many adult beverages if they will get you on the path. Lots of little secrets, all of which add to the greatness and enjoyment of these very cleverly conceived and mostly well engineered cruisers.

Some misconceptions that have been inadvertently offered here…

Your bow thruster is an early Amel BISSON/BUFFLE type, more than likely. Lots of evolution since. It is a 12 volt unit, not 24 volts as on the Super Maramu and subsequent Amel models. It is better than nothing certainly but not a game changer/life saver like the much more powerful 24 volt units that followed. The bow thruster on the Amel 54 is a completely different animal, dual props, counter-rotating, very powerful. Your installed bow thruster won’t allow you to dock your Amel Maramu with impunity in 20 plus knots of wind until you practice and really learn the capabilities and limitations and even then... Practice makes perfect and I try to use the bow thruster as little as possible to keep my boat handling skills alive but do not hesitate to employ it before it is needed.

There is no fuse/thermal limiter on the electric motor on any Amel installed bow thruster on a Sharki, Maramu, Mango, Santorin, Super Maramu, or Amel 54 so don’t go looking for that as there is none

Anybody close to Graham in Barbados? I think you will be getting a dinner invite.

I waited to chime in as I make my living selling experienced Amels and I wanted someone else to make the suggestion that Trevor did. I can’t afford to have anyone feel I have scolded them and I sure hope you don’t. You will love and appreciate this owners group.

Have Fun With Your Amel, Joel

Joel F. Potter/Cruising Yacht Specialist LLC


954 462 5869 office

954 812 2485 cell

From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...]
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2015 12:24 PM
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Intermittent bow thruster - Maramu


The motor (15hp) has so much torque it will either throw off weed or light plastic immediately, or break the nylon shear bolts.

This is a really lame suggestion, but as it is all a bit new to you, is it possible you turned off the switch beside the toggle switch in the heat of the moment?

The good news is the more that you practice the easier it will become, you will quickly be able to wander through a marina in 25kts+ of winds stern too, without a thought.

Happy new year.


Seafever of Cuan

SM 425 Redline 2004

For Sale



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