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post #21 of 23 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: 3 blade prop or two blade folder


IMHO, if it's windy where you sail (and it sounds like it is) then you won't see any significant performance improvement with a folding / feathering prop. Your boat is already sailing about as fast as possible. Changing the prop (or even removing a prop) can't make a boat that is going top speed go any faster.

If you were frequently sailing in light air, then the folding / feathering prop could make a big difference.


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Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #22 of 23 Old 07-09-2013
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Re: 3 blade prop or two blade folder

Accurate prop drag numbers have been around for many years. There is a good reason why every performance oriented boat uses a folding or feathering prop. The most sophisticated high performance boats may even use retracting props. If you don't retract your prop we know that a sail drive has lower drag that a shaft and a P bracket. There is no question that your boat will sail faster with a folding or feathering prop and that's why any rating rule will credit or ding you for the type of prop you use.

If you don't care about efficiency under sail just don't sweat it. But that's a big bucket you are dragging around with a fixed blade prop. I know. I did it for three years. During that time I learned that with a fixed three blade I sailed upwind about the same speed as a Baba 40. Both boats had very good sails ands the Baba had the tall rig. But with a folding or feathering prop I would have had a definite edge. I kept the fixed blade prop because I liked its performance under power and in Puget Sound we motor a lot.

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Last edited by bobperry; 07-09-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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post #23 of 23 Old 07-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: 3 blade prop or two blade folder

Originally Posted by Geoff54 View Post
Let me get this straight.

You are over propped but you are happy with the sailing performance with a fixed prop. You are cruising in an area where fouling is a problem. But instead of getting a smaller or finer pitch fixed prop which is cheap, functional and can't fail (unless it falls off ), you are considering spending a bunch more on a folder (or similar), which requires more care & maintenance.. and introduces another thing that could go wrong. Hmmmmm. What am I missing here?

If sailing performance was an issue I could understand it but....
Well I think I need a new prop. As I am my current prop is over dia or overpitched I think I can drop down to a two bladed prop of the same diameter.

So I can get a folder and go a little faster under sail. I suppose that I won't see the degree of benefit that someone who sails most of the time in light airs would but it should be faster. I like fast. I mean I put up with a full batten main and fly the spi when I can.

But you are the voice of reason on fouling, four weeks in Falmouth Harbour Antigua turns a prop into a flowerpot.
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