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Old 05-25-2014
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Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

Hi

Have a 2009 Beneteau 40 with Yanmar 4JH4AE engine. Sorry ... don't know which transmission.

Was told when bought boat in 2011 not to put it in reverse when sailing (to stop prop turning). If I put in reverse then have to almost stop boat to get into neutral.

I have now read that leaving shaft turning while sailing leads to much quicker wear so should engage reverse.

Any comment?

I will try and find transmission type but info plate on engine leaves this space empty!!

Thanks, JohnB40
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Old 05-25-2014
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

John,

It depends on the transmission. Some need it locked some can handle free spinning. Either way it is faster to keep the prop from spinning so neutral is generally the worst option unless your folding/feathering prop prefers it.
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Old 05-25-2014
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
. Either way it is faster to keep the prop from spinning so neutral is generally the worst option unless your folding/feathering prop prefers it.
Completely untrue.... Old wives tales die hard...

Yanmar adamantly and strongly advises their gears be locked only with a shaft brake or allowed to free spin...
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Old 05-26-2014
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

The spinning prop will drive you crazy. I put it in reverse while sailing, then put the boat in irons to slow it down and get it into to neutral before I crank the engine. It slides right in if there's no pressure. I think the problem comes when trying to force it out of gear. I have a Yanmar 3GM30. Anyway, as you'll see,the advice on this seems to be all over board....
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
The spinning prop will drive you crazy. I put it in reverse while sailing, then put the boat in irons to slow it down and get it into to neutral before I crank the engine. It slides right in if there's no pressure. I think the problem comes when trying to force it out of gear. I have a Yanmar 3GM30. Anyway, as you'll see,the advice on this seems to be all over board....
The problem comes because water movement over the prop wears the cones over time and eventually causes slipping of the gear necessitating a rebuild. Yanmar had so many issues they issues an MSA on the topic to all dealers. Folks have also broken gear linkages etc..

Yanmar MSA - Gear Position While Sailing


Advisory Number: MSA08-003:

DATE February 8, 2008 Dealers and OEMs
TO: All Marine Distributors
SUBJECT: Gear in Neutral While Sailing All MODELS:

All Sailboat Engines

We continue to get questions regarding the correct gear position while sailing with the engine OFF. This advisory is issued as a reminder; Yanmar requires that if sailing with the engine OFF (not running) the transmission shifter must be in the neutral position or internal damage to the gear or sail-drive will result. This damage will not be covered by Yanmar’s Limited Warranty. Please instruct customers and dealers who deliver the sailboat to the customer, of the correct (Neutral) position for the marine gear while sailing.

If the customer desires that the propeller shaft not spin while sailing, either a folding propeller, shaft break, or other suitable device may be used. However, Yanmar accepts no responsibility for the selection, installation, or operation of such devices. Please also refer to Marine service advisory “MSA07-001_Yanmar Sail Drive Propeller Selection” for additional information.

If you have any questions regarding this advisory please contact a Customer Support representative.
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

As I said it depends on your transmission. But allowing the prop to spin, ie neutral without a shaft break, is slow.
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

This is incorrect. Their is no reason a spinning prop would create more drag than a fixed one (except folding props of course). The opposite is almost certainly true.

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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

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Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
As I said it depends on your transmission. But allowing the prop to spin, ie neutral without a shaft break, is slow.
Sorry you have it backwards. A freewheeling sailboat prop has LESS DRAG not more..
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

See study results (link below) from 2008, which stated the following in its findings, though I still contend that a rotating propeller will Drive_You_Crazy: "The experimental results confirm that a locked propeller produces greater drag than does a freewheeling screw (up to 100% more drag was observed, this being at higher speeds). Furthermore, for the freewheeling case, the magnitude of the hydrodynamic resistance is significantly affected by the amount of frictional torque on the shaft, low torque being accompanied by low drag."

Sailboat propeller drag
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Re: Sailing ... transmission in reverse?

Note that Yanmar does allow you to shift into reverse while sailing if you have a folding or feathering prop. That's good since some props won't fold or feather without locking the shaft. Even so I usually put it into reverse for a few seconds, then back into neutral when the prop feathers.

When I had a non-feathering prop I did confirm on my own boat that freewheeling was faster than locking the prop shaft.

Putting on a feathering prop last winter was the best performance upgrade that I've made to the boat.
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