Firstly, a very happy new year to everyone...hope 2013 brings us a great sailing calendar with lots of adventure...
Saildrives... I am looking at acquiring another boat and recently viewed one but was reticent to look further due to some worrying stories about saildrives that leak..and get knocked about or snagged underwater.... can someone please give me some definitive advice on these compared to the conventional shaftdrives....
Happy New Year All!
Have Yanmar SD20 with folding prop on my 30" sloop, saildrive is 27 years old. No leaks, original seals...wanted to change seals
several times just because, yanmar dealer says not needed and
cited older units still going strong with original seals.
Am coastal sailor and would change seals if going offshore or if
did not know history of older unit.
Have gone bump in the night few times, one time sailing over a
substantial submerged tree with no problem. Saildrive sits somewhat protected behind keel, would rethink if more exposed
as could be on a catamaran.
Makes for very quiet motoring with no vibrations transfered to hull
and bilge is dry as no shaft seal leakage and no critical shaft line up. My install my be somewhat unique as motor is turned 180 degree from normal install and presents easy access for inspection of saildrive seals and gear oil.
Almost forgot, there are actually two robust watertight seals
that have a sensor between them that sounds an alarm if
any water ingress. Alarm has never sounded other than when I
remove and test. There is a 3rd exterior seal/rubber flap not
water tight on the bottom of the hull/ saildrive leg that keeps
One has to be careful about keeping raw water intake open and I have installed a 3 way valve to another thru hull if needed, i don't
need to use but am very careful about keeping bottom/saildrive clean.
All in all am happy with yanmar sd20 saildrive, which are still made today...can not speak to Volvo drives...and certainly aware
that many are not fans.
Maybe some will speak to their personal experiences with their
particular makes and models.
Beware of experts with no first hand experience/knowledge in all things small and large.
Hope this helps,
Hugosalt gives good advice. Leaks are rare but if you are staying in a marina, galvanic and stray current corrosion are bigger issues with saildrives than shaft drives and something to monitor. What engine are you considering ?
Thanks Hugosalt and Boatpoker... your response has given me something to think about... I'll do some more research...especially re the different brands of engines and available drive accessories...
I bought a new boat with a saildrive. I was REALLY hesitant. Make SURE you add in a galvanic isolator, they are cheap. I have an SD50 with a Max-Prop, I like the setup. I am still getting used to the idea of a big hunk of metal down there. I burned through my first set of anodes in four months. I have a meter to check my hull potential that I religiously do on a monthly basis and chart the results.
Corrosion Reference Electrode
You need to keep your hull potential between -950 to -1100 mV.
Additionally, here is a link to the Yanmar Service Advisory regarding their saildrives.
You will also "learn" how to change lube of the drive while in the water, not hard, but an interesting activity.
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