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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-02-2010
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folding to fixed prop

Hi,
Up front I will say I no nothing about props . I am looking to change out my volvo 2 blade folding prop for a 3 blade fixed prop. I have a Niagara 31 with a Yanmar 2GM20FC and SD20 saildrive. I live in Vancouver and I am looking for a reputable business to help me with this. Also, is there anything I should be watching out for ?? Are props like most things where brand can be a factor? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-02-2010
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You want to do this because why? you will lose about .5-.75 knots sailing going back to a fixed vs the folder.

On the other hand, a 3 blade prop will get you more bite out of the water vs a 2 blade. If this is what you are looking for, I would get a 3 blade folder, same diam pitch as you have now, then you get the better of both worlds.

With the light winds we get around here, folders are the way to go, unless you like not going any where in lighter winds!

Marty
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Old 08-02-2010
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I would love to get a folding prop, but they seem to be around $2500-3500. I do not have the budget for that right now. But I am looking for the thrust. With the tidal currents it doesn't take much current to slow me down significantly especially if I am towing my tender with motor.
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Old 08-03-2010
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Lightbulb Blades, and Shapes, and Cupping, oh my...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulfislander View Post
I would love to get a folding prop, but they seem to be around $2500-3500. I do not have the budget for that right now. But I am looking for the thrust. With the tidal currents it doesn't take much current to slow me down significantly especially if I am towing my tender with motor.
Whoa. No way that a folding prop should cost that kind of money. Perhaps you are thinking of a feathering prop. For your size boat a three-blade featherer will run about US$2650. , either from PYI ("Maxprop") or from Martec ("Autostream").

We used a two-blade featherer for over a decade and last year changed to a fixed three blade to see how much more thrust we might get with all that blade area. And, don't forget the added efficiency of the curved and cupped blades on a fixed prop either.
Mostly, what we had heard is all true. We lose about a knot of sailing speed even in heavy air.... OTOH when powering thru a steep chop we have lots more thrust. Waves that used to knock us down to 2 kts from the normal 6, now hardly affect motoring speed at all.
Our trusty feathering two-blade lacked blade area total, and also had no cupping and was not as efficient -- fabulous under sail, though.

It really IS a tradeoff in sailing speed.
IIRC our new "Michigan Sailor" fixed three blade was around US$400.

As soon as we find a winning Lotto ticket, we will move up to a three-blade feathering prop, someday!
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Old 08-03-2010
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Gulfislander
The lowest drag from a fixed 3 blade is the Campbell Sailor. It is sold by West By North Enterprises. They also sell several other props including the Kiwi Prop. For some reason their site is down right now. They are in Vancouver I believe.
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Old 08-03-2010
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Another option, is check with the local distributor of some of the feathering/folding props, they may have used rebuilt ones, at about half the cost of new ones. PYI is just north of me in Lynwood Wa, ie south of Everett a few miles. I'm sure shipping to canada can not be that expensive from here.

I do understand the wanting to go to more blades, as they will help getting a bit more bite when motoring, and yes, I have had issues with the currents upon occasion.

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Kiwi prop

Thank you everyone . I sent off a request for a quote for three of the folding props. Kiwi has answered first. It is $1300, does anyone have comments or experience with this prop?
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Old 08-03-2010
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The Kiwi is a feathering prop, not a folding prop. I have heard nothing but good about them. Also probably the least expensive good feathering prop.
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Old 08-03-2010
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I have a Martec Slipstream 3 blade, it's ok but you need to power pretty aggressively to activate it in reverse. It also has gearing for the folding and gets barnacles so needs to be worked a bit monthly by a diver. It is also Stainless Steel and gets growth on it immediately. Really need a coating on it or frequent diver that doesn't mind removing lots of barnacles.

I have heard good things about Kiwi.

Flexofold has a 2 speed(pitch) feature which is cool.

MaxProp is the one everyone else is compared to. Also the most expensive but I believe it's probably worth it. It will probably be my choice when the Martec dies.

If you don't actually sail much it may not be worth it to get a folding/feathering prop. They will need more care and maintenance. Most people use a Michigan Wheel prop. There is a sailing version with narower blades. The Cambell Sailor has narower yet blades (and less effecient) and I believe there is also a plastic prop with a narrow footprint.

I think feathering is better than folding for all around use unless you have a racing boat.

Gene
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