This morning we accidentally nudged a reef here in Maldives. Fortunately we were only doiing 2.5kts so no hull damage, but in getting off we sheered the bowthruster unit completely off! By this I mean it snapped at the base of the shaft where the shaft gear meets the rotary gear.
I dived and we fortunately have absolutely no damage, other than needing a full new Bowthruster unit from the shaft top down - ie just the removable unit. Just some paint scratches at bottom of keel which are no problem.
All in all, we were fortunate to be going slowly, and to get off quickly as the tide was dropping, or we would be high and dry right now, with real potential for hull damage as the water dropped and the boat rested on the rocks.
I am waiting to get in touch with Maud at Amel when they open today, however have two quick questions for the group in the interim:
1) Anyone know what the bowthruster unit costs new and if Amel have them in stock?
2) We just have the shaft in the water, no cover plate as that is sheered off. In current flat water at 3 - 7kts boat speed tested, we have no water coming in through the bowthruster unit at all. Has anyone had experience sailing without the cover plate in big seas? Did you take on water?
Having departed from Australia almost a year ago, and enjoyed cruising all of Indonesia and SE Asia with absolute trouble free cruising in this boat, we are now half way across the North Indian Ocean, and next about to cross the Southern Indian Ocean, so have every chance of big wild seas ahead. From here in the Maldives we head to Chagos next mid April till mid May, then head south to Rodriguez (June), Mauritius (July), then Reunion (July/Aug), and back up and around the top of Madagascar (NosyB - Aug/Sept) and down to Cape Town.
Our current intentions are to return to Male, the capital of Maldives, to have a new bowthruster shipped here from Amel. Depending on how long that may take Amel, and the levels of import duty in the various Indian Ocean countries, we may need to attempt the balance of Indian Ocean crossing without it, but that worries me a lot.
This is the reason I seek the wisdom of this group, from those of you who know best, and possibly even some who may have even experienced the same issue of cruising on without the bowthruster foot and cover plate in place?
SV Island Pearl II, Amel 53 #332
Bad news indeed.
I would think that given you have no shaft, the if you put what remains of the bow thruster in the down position, the seal around the shaft and the foam seal on the motor side would probably keep most of the water out.