2 Blade vs 3 Blade prop - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-12-2006
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2 Blade vs 3 Blade prop

Currently have a well chewed up 3 Blade fixed prop on my boat. Am thinking about replacing it. Was interested in others experiences with 2 or 3 blade fixed props.

Thanks,
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The knock on three blade props is that they present more "frontal area" to water flow. The same is said of two blade fixed props to a lesser degree.

Being a basically cheap person, I tend to defend fixed propellers by citing the following points:

1. They cost a lot less.
2. They never fail to "open"
3. They have the absolute minimum parts count.

Absolute performance sailing may dictate a folding or feathering prop, but I take special comfort in my fixed blades when it is dark, foggy or raining and I am in close with the shore.

That said, I have a three blade prop on my powerboat and a two blade one on my 30' sailboat. If properly sized, I don't think you would be able to tell the difference, except that a two blade sailing prop probably yields a little less drag.
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Old 12-12-2006
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Although some water drag exists when purely sailing with my 22" three-blade prop, when the wind dies and there are places to go, I sure appreciate the thrust it provides when coupled with my turbo 90hp iron genny. Another benefit is increased maneuverabilty in reverse - a godsend when backing down in tight quarters.
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Old 12-12-2006
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Two blades offer less drag, three makes for smoother operation and more thrust.

I've posted this before, but if you're interested in low drag fixed props, check out:
http://www.westbynorth.com/CampbellSailer/

We used a 3 blade version, worked well with much less drag than the conventional "michigan wheel". It replaced a worn out folder.
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Seen the westbynorth site and the campbell sailer props, though wasn't much in the way of prices to go by. Current prop is a 12" 3 blade fixed, and I've had some say just get it refurbished over buying new. Haven't seen much in the way of prices though, except for folding props (way out of my price range, not to mention overkill for my sailing). So any info in the ballpark on prices would be a big help.
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Old 12-12-2006
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If you have the means to get it refurbished and it has served you well so far then that would be the logical and most affordable option. I took a 4 blade prop from a powerboat engine to be repitched and it only cost me $45.00 and I saw props there waiting to be refurbished that looked way beyond repair but the guy said they were all doable and cheaper than replacement cost.
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I had a new blade welded onto one broken off the prop from my old boat, plus the other two blades straightened. A specialty shop in RI did the work 6 years ago and charged me 130.00, far less than replacement value. They ground the welds smooth, computer balanced and polished the entire prop. Looked and performed like brand new when completed.
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Thanks folks, that's helpful information.
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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Hi,

I have a two bladed folding prop on my O32. It's coming off this winter and going to be replaced by a 3 bladed campbell. The problem with our O32s and folding props is that because we are offset to the side and close to the hull the hydrodynamic forces on the prop cause the blades on a folding prop to move, causing lots of vibration. This is true even of the the geared flex-o-fold prop that I have. It's a great prop, it just doesn't work on my boat. I have toyed with a feathering prop, but as I have already dumped $2K into a folding prop that didn't meet my needs, dropping $4K on something that I can't vouch for doesn't seem like a good idea. I believe the campbell for our size is about $500.

Cheers,

Todd
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Hey PB,

Folks often dissagree with this, but: Buy a three bladed (in my opinion) for reason stated above. Some cruisers go with a folding, but most of the ones I know do not. The barnacles in the warmer waters are killers (especially Florida) Who wants something else to have to worry about?

Besides, PB, with the 454 Chevy block you got in that boat of yours, you will want maximum thrust to outrun those barges!!
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