I am sure this might ruffle a few feathers so I will apologize to anyone who feels ‘ruffled’ up front. Sorry, but this is necessary.
I was working for Amel when the bow thruster was designed, prototyped, tested and improved. I was still with Amel during the evolutions of the bow thruster, owned two Super Maramu’s myself, privately, with the original and the ‘improved’ bow thrusters, have sold over 300 Amel boats with the bow thruster installed ( the majority of which were used boats and had to stand up to, most of the time, the scrutiny of surveyors I have personally trained on what to look for when surveying Amel boats ), and have performed all the maintenance, repair and upgrade/improvement modifications more times than I can remember. I feel I am qualified to have an opinion on these bow thrusters, though those of you who know me personally know I never have much of an opinion about anything. Smiley Face here.
All this talk of watery bilges is much ado about nothing. I can state unequivocally that if your bow thruster is in the proper state of repair and is adjusted correctly, it will provide excellent service and remain leak free. A complete top to bottom service and adjustment at the annual or there-about haul out takes maybe four hours the first time and about half of that thereafter. All this brouhaha about these simple and reliable units being a diabolical constant maintenance opportunity is just not true.
I think most of these ‘problems’ come from well-intentioned new owners of second hand boats not getting an adequate ‘check out’ and deep instruction on the things found on Amel boats that are different from other cruising yachts from the people they bought them from. It takes me at least two full days and usually more to impart these things to every new owner of an Amel that I resell and gives them the confidence to be sure the maintenance procedures are done correctly if this new owner chooses to have someone else do them. As with all specialized machinery, it is of utmost importance that any hands on be accomplished by someone with experience or the willingness to learn. If someone ever tells you something on your Amel is ‘Stupid/dumb/wrong/misguided/foolish… it is usually the NOT INVENTED HERE SYNDROME in full bloom. Because they either have never seen something like the bow thruster or Amel drive or… Worse is when they have never laid hands on the system but are sure it is junk because they are infallible ‘Rhodes Scholars of Marine Maintenance’. In thirty five years of doing Amel business, I have seen so much equipment ruined by those who are unfamiliar with the things they attempt to repair or, worse yet again, try to ‘improve’ it. Be very careful who you let work on your boat least they molest it.
The basic things all ‘new to them’ Amel owners need to get checked out on are the thruster, Amel C Drive/transmission/subframe system, furling motors and gearbox care and maintenance, the Amel ‘full floating/full earth return’ DC electrical system, the engine and generator electrical isolation system, the stray current/galvanic dissipation system, the location of all the electrical components/switches/circuit breakers/power and ground junctions and access panels that allow quick inspections of all electrical services. Of course there are more but this is the minimum.
So my friends, if your bow thruster leaks, it needs adjustment and/or repairs/maintenance. Be kind to it in operation. Let it rest for at least three seconds before changing prop direction rotation. Don’t ever make it do more work than is necessary as there is a finite amount of work it can do before an overhaul is needed. You can take this amount of available work e out quickly, or more slowly, the choice is yours. The bow thruster is not fused for good reasons discussed here before. It will catch fire if you abuse it severely. Really.
The bow thruster is one of the reasons our gals sail with us. No more, “Jump Honey!” dockside.
My main purpose for this diatribe is to be helpful to Amel owners. My secondary purpose is more selfish. Remember, people who are investigating Amel ownership READ EVERY WORD WRITTEN IN THIS FORUM. I have had people refuse to look at boats with an owner who always complains about things they don’t yet understand or fully relate the often self created calamities they have endured. At best, a very small but not inconsiderable ammount of the stuff written here just scares potential buyers away and, perhaps, reduces resale values.
Above all, have fun with your Amel, Joel
Joel F. Potter/Cruising Yacht Specialist LLC
THE EXPERIENCED AMEL GUY
954 462 5869 office
954 812 2485 cell