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  #11  
Old 11-04-2011
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Got it, fallard... thanks. I was wondering if you'd had an issue with the prop itself when towing and couldn't quite envision what it might be...

I do think, though, that that might depend on the dinghy package that you tow, and how you tow it, as to how insignificant the 'improvement' might be...
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  #12  
Old 11-04-2011
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Generally agree with what has been posted previously - I would consider carefully before buying a folding prop - I don't have first hand experience, but have heard lots of horror stories.

After much comparison, we bought a Variprop 3-blade. Very robust hub assembly, excellent thrust ahead (especially considering the relative flat blade profile), seemingly reduced drag under sail, but no specific data on our boat to prove that. Much better astern thrust than the previous 2-blade fixed prop. Unique "clutch" function in the hub prevents the "bang" that happens when some other feathering props hit the stop at full pitch. Variprop is German made, USA distributor in Thomaston, Maine. Ahead and astern pitch can be easily adjusted - even underwater.

At the time we got our Variprop (about 4 years ago), the Maxprop could not be adjusted for pitch without disassembling the hub - maybe that has changed.

It was expensive, but worth it in my opinion - very well engineered and manufactured piece of machinery. Variprop now has a new line of less-expensive props - the Variprofile. I have no experience with those.
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Old 11-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BELLATRIX1965 View Post
At the time we got our Variprop (about 4 years ago), the Maxprop could not be adjusted for pitch without disassembling the hub - maybe that has changed.
I don't believe it has... still requires re-aligning the internal bits... an experienced diver may be able to do this afloat but it would certainly be more straightforward on a hoist.
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Old 11-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
I don't believe it has... still requires re-aligning the internal bits... an experienced diver may be able to do this afloat but it would certainly be more straightforward on a hoist.
Max Prop has had a variable pitch model model for years. Can be easily adjusted underwater without disassembly. That being said, an experienced diver can repitch any Max Prop model underwater. Frequently cheaper than a haulout and certainly more convenient and less time consuming for the boat owner. PYI can recommend a diver near you.
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Old 11-05-2011
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Does anybody here have direct experience of changing between fixed, folding and variable / feathering props on the same boat? I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who has instrumented documentation of exactly how much difference the folders etc. improve sailing performance over a fixed prop.

This subject is a bit like anchors - "everybody" knows that fixed props "kill" sailing speed, but it's all seat of the pants opinion as far as I've been able to determine. I've never seen any sort of documented info on speed differences between different types of props on the same boat.

The reason I ask is that I have learned that there is a wide variation in what sailors regard as significant. In a conversation with the previous owner of my old race boat, he spoke of a change he had done that made a "Huge difference, Huge" - I later discovered it was 1/10th of a second a mile. I guess it mattered at the Worlds but it sure wasn't something I'd spend money on.

Is that the sort of thing we are speaking of here or is it more like a knot on a 33 footer?
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Old 11-05-2011
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Thanks for all the advice and information.
I have learning towards a feathering prop so I think I will stay in that direction.
I will price up both, Max prop and Variprop.

It's good to get some user input as any product literature, everything sounds great until you use it and realize that it is not exactly what you thought.

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Old 11-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
Does anybody here have direct experience of changing between fixed, folding and variable / feathering props on the same boat? .......

Is that the sort of thing we are speaking of here or is it more like a knot on a 33 footer?
On our 40 footer we went from a 2 blade Martec folder to a 3 blade Campbell fixed prop.. this was an early 80s IOR 2tonner.. we lost a good .5 knot overall under some conditions, none noticeable once the breeze was up. The improvement in smoothness and reversing power was very noticeable.

On our current 35 footer we recently went from a 2 blade michigan to a 3 blade Max. The gain in smoothness and quiet is worth it alone.. I reckon that in light to average average conditions we're up the better part of a full knot. Again the difference is less noticeable once fully powered up. In light air it's 'huge' .. And while we've always been able to maneouver in reverse OK the boat gains steerageway much sooner with the max, with less (but still useable) propwalk.

I don't have spreadsheets to back all this up, but these were our observations.
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  #18  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
I later discovered it was 1/10th of a second a mile.
I'm relatively certain the difference between a fixed-blade prop and a folding or feathering prop is more than a tenth of a second per mile on any boat.
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Old 11-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fstbttms View Post
I'm relatively certain the difference between a fixed-blade prop and a folding or feathering prop is more than a tenth of a second per mile on any boat.
This was probably a "10th of a knot" The previous owner of my boat mentions something similar for speed gains under sail as Faster did, about 1/2 knot. A few folks that have "OTHER" props that have been on my boat comment about how smooth, lack of prop walk etc, the max prop is in reverse.

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On my Tartan 27 I had a two blade fixed and went to the three blade fixed from Indigo and saw a very small loss of seed, but a great improvement under power - my yacht club's channel has nearly a 4 knot current on a moon tide. I then switched to a 2 blade feather. It maintained the boats performance under power and I probably gained .3 kts under sail.
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