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!