The Bow Thruster Project - Part 8: Further Maintenance

Today progress has been slow. We had hoped to have the bow thruster in and fitted by now but we have been delayed slightly due to fiberglass issues inside the boat. The tunnel has been glassed over inside the boat and we can no longer find the center line of the tunnel, horizontally or vertically. We've let the boatyard know and they will see to it tomorrow. We await further info.
Glassed in tunnel and cable from control switch at helm

The first job we've done today is clean the waterline using Grunt boat cleaner. We applied the gel using a paint brush, left it on for 30 minutes and then hosed it off. It worked quite well first time round but will need doing another couple of times to really get rid of that horrid orange/brown oily waterline mark.

Dad also went along the whole hull of the boat, including the transom, using our big electric polisher. He cut the whole thing back and then put the first coat of polish on the hull. Where we removed the stripes yesterday, there was quite a clear white mark where they had been. The polisher and cutting compound didn't get rid of all of this white line so we will leave it to naturally bleach to match the colour of the rest of the hull. You can't see it from a distance but it is there.

Thirdly, I read the manual for the Stowe Navigator equipment fitted to Bandit to find a solution for our faulty speed readout. Since purchasing the boat, this piece of equipment never read the speed. I found that you are able to remove the transducer from inside the boat by simply unscrewing it from the hull skin fitting. It came out easily and I quickly found that it was fouled up with growth. I cleaned out the visible growth, disassembled the whole thing to ensure nothing else was blocking the paddlewheel from spinning and put it all back together to test it. I simply blew on the wheel and the Stowe instrument read the speed in knots. Perfect. We're very glad it isn't a faulty unit or transducer. Now to wait until we're back in the water to compare it to the Garmin's speed to see how accurate it is. Another thing we realized is that you are able to remove the transducer while the boat is floating, providing you are able to use a blanking cap or wooden bung to plug up the hole in the bottom of the boat. Scary stuff and the manual advises that you remove this transducer and fit a blanking cap when you are not using the Stowe equipment!? Not something I would feel confident doing to be very honest...
Stowe Navigator speed transducer and paddlewheel
All cleaned up and working
This photo gives me anxiety...
The transducer hull skin fitting

Another reason we are out of the water at the moment is to have some maintenance carried out of the outdrive after picking up a 1 foot Ensign flag between the duo-props on the starboard outdrive while cruising at 4000rmp in late October. We had thought that the flag had destroyed the shaft oil seals but we had a call from the mechanic at the marina who said that the shaft seals are actually fine. He went on to say that the gear shift seals are actually the ones that are badly leaking and will need replacing. We're a little stumped at this point. The two rear propellers on both drives are slightly bent and will need sending off to be put back into shape. The seals on both drives for the gear selector will need replacing now too. We await further information so we can decide what we do.

I'll be heading down to the boat again tomorrow to complete a couple of jobs and talk to someone about the thruster tunnel. Not sure quite what I plan to do tomorrow but I'm sure I'll find jobs. There's plenty to choose from.


  1. Compound and polished the hull using electric polisher
  2. Fixed Stowe Navigator speed transducer


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