Folding vs Feathering Prop - views requested - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 59 Old 01-05-2010 Thread Starter
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Folding vs Feathering Prop - views requested

I am looking for your views, pros/cons, experiences and recommendations for selecting a type and model of prop.

My Celestial 48' is powered by a 72hp Merecedes Diesel with a fixed 3 blade 18" 18RH12 prop.

I am considering changeing this to either a folding or feathering prop -leaning more towards Gori's 3 blade at this point.

It would be much appreciated as well if you could include your sales and service experience with the dealer who sold you the prop.

Thanks and look forward to views.

Dan, Celestial 48'
Toronto, sailing Lake Ontario & Thousand Islands
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post #2 of 59 Old 01-06-2010
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47 ft Moody 3 blade max prop sold by PYI bought two of them over the years for different boats. Not cheap but well worth it, ours have been bullet proof.

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post #3 of 59 Old 01-06-2010
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Why are you looking at a prop change? Are you racing and want to get maximum performance or are you cruising and want a good compromise of sailing and powering?

For all out racing, a folding prop is best generally. However, the propeller will not do a very good job trying to power into rough weather and will make the boat hard to control in reverse. The units do also have wear parts which means they will need rebuilding from time to time.

For cruising, a compromise prop would be a feathering one. They have significantly less drag than a conventional fixed blade unit but still provide good motoring performance. One drawback that I have run into is that they cost a lot and need to be rebuilt from time to time. The max props seem to hold up for a while before needing rebuilding but my experience with a luke prop was that it needed rebuilding quite often. The luke wheel is not a common unit but it did actually fail a couple of times (it is a 32X20 so the smaller ones might be better). These feathering units also have the tendency to hook on lines so if you sail in places like Maine, you have to be careful.

Another option if you are looking for improved cruising performance is the campbell sailor. I have no experience with this propeller but it gets good reviews and may fit your circumstances well.
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post #4 of 59 Old 01-06-2010
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I'll also vouch for the Max Prop; you should be able to find a lot of information on it and the Auto Prop by searching older posts here at Sailnet (I find doing a Google search with " site:www.sailnet.com/forums" appended works well --- eg. MaxProp or Autoprop? ).

One thing I like about the Max Prop is that it's quite effective when backing the boat out of the slip (its blades reverse direction so it has a good bite on the water) and has significantly reduced prop walk compared to the same boat with fixed 2 or 3 blade props. This can be very helpful if there's a good crosswind at your slip or for other tricky situations. I've read that folding props are poor in this regard.
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post #5 of 59 Old 01-06-2010
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I changed out to an Autostream 3-blade feathering prop and have been very happy with it. Prop walk is almost completly gone; I have just a split second of it when I put the engine into reverse.
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post #6 of 59 Old 01-07-2010
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Some months ago I have read a very complete test on sailboat propellers. I believe it was a French magazine (Voile or Voile et voilliers). Autoprop come as one of the best, if not the best.

Autoprop

I have used for 5 years an autoprop on my sailboat with excellent results.

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post #7 of 59 Old 01-07-2010
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I have an autostream on the Lazy Lightning II a Kauffman 47 for 5 years. It is stainless one less dissimilar metal to worry about. Then it digs in when you put in rev. I did do a fair amount of research at the time, great product and a good price. I have been happy with it.

Last edited by LazylighningII; 01-07-2010 at 09:33 AM.
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post #8 of 59 Old 01-07-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks for your experience. I'd like to keep discussion open for more advise on these and other models.

Autostream - first I have never heard of these guys but there product looks interesting. The folding props looks very similar to Gori's. What was your experinece dealing these guys during the sale and delivery and have you experience there service yet - is it global.

Autoprop - always been curious about this prop. Can you advise your experience with fwd/reverse prop walk and if you found the blades move and noisey under sail. As well, any trouble with blades not opening under fwd/rev. And as above your sales & service experience, how was it ?

Please forgive the interogating questions, but I'm a little more cautious with this than normal boat stuff since it is far more costly to change a second time.

Can you advise if the your new prop was sized right the first time ?

Thanks for your comments and I look forward to more.

Dan, Celestial 48'
Toronto, sailing Lake Ontario & Thousand Islands
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post #9 of 59 Old 01-07-2010
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I bought my Autostream prop directly from the USA distributor, which is Martec. Gary, who I believe is the son of the original Martec designer, spent about two hours going over both the Martec folding and the Autosteam feathering. Customer service was outstanding.

Autostream is made to order in Australia by Skyhawk Ltd. They have a really good website which goes over their product. I like mine.
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post #10 of 59 Old 01-07-2010
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I have had good experience with Maxprop. I had a two blade design on my previous boat and have a three bladed for my current boat. In both cases the boat is was easy to control in reverse while giving good performance overall. The folding props, as someone mentioned earlier, are really only of interest to racers.

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