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LaLeLu 04-15-2006 09:59 PM

The Sailing Gods looked down on us today...
and pulled out the rug. Bastards! The short version goes something like this...

Today we were motoring down the ICW on the Indian River - no wind, but a beautiful sunny day just the same. We were in between two other boats from our sailing club, middle of the channel, headed to an island to anchor for an overnight. I was at the helm, thinking more about hanging the hammock upon arrival than anything going on in the cockpit at the time. I was jolted back to reality by the sound of metal on metal. "Holy ****" as she puts tranmission in nutral then throttle down. Still coasting from our 7 knots forward momentum, we pulled off the channel and dropped anchor. Engine still running in idle, my husband now has the engine access opened up, yells up "shut `er down, there's black oil all over down here."

There's more to the story, but it is too depressing to go on. Fortunately, we were able to get towed and hauled - which was no easy thing on an Easter weekend. Culprit appears to have been a bad prop - a very expensive 1 year old $4,500 prop with a blade that failed (and nearly holed the boat before flying off, unbalancing the prop under load and causing the strut to break in half, cutless bearing failure, drive shaft seals to blow, so on and so forth).... oh yeah, Happy Easter!

SailorMitch 04-15-2006 11:09 PM


Sorry for the mayhem. It never comes at a good time. And naturally, the first question is -- which prop did this to you?????????

Good luck with the repairs.

sailingdog 04-15-2006 11:28 PM

Ouch... at least the boat didn't get holed... It could have been much worse. I too would really like to know which prop it was that failed so dramatically.

eryka 04-16-2006 05:48 AM

ugh, Susan. Hope you're back in the water soonest!

PBzeer 04-16-2006 07:11 AM

That is a major league bummer, for sure. At least you were able to recover (so to speak). Not only which prop, but I'd like to see a transcript of what gets said to the manufacter.

haffiman37 04-16-2006 10:03 AM

Are You sure the strut did not brake first and then the blade when hitting the bottom of the boat?

timetasell 04-16-2006 12:35 PM

happy easter susan...:) sorry
but it will get better,....hope you guys get back up and running asap!!!!!! Better weather ahead for sure! ciao Mark&bodie

LaLeLu 04-16-2006 02:11 PM

Photos of the damage
Here's some pictures. It's an Autoprop. After Marine Pro confirms that it was indeed prop failure, I am going to post everything I know about the dealer, manufacturer, etc.

In the last photo you can tell that it was not the strut that broke first. There is about two inches clearance between top of prop and the slice in the boat. The slice had to have occurred when the blade was pulling loose.

LaLeLu 04-16-2006 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by haffiman37
Are You sure the strut did not brake first and then the blade when hitting the bottom of the boat?

That's what we thought at first. But you cannot make the prop contact the boat where the slice is out - there is 2" clearance. Also, the strut is not under load and there is no reason that a 1/2 thick peice of bronze that is not under load - w/no impact would fail. There was no vibration prior to the metal to metal noise. I know what it feels/sounds like when cutless goes out. More info: We just had the boat hauled and surveyed 2 months ago. I have pictures of the strut and cutlass and there is no problem at all. In fact, cutless bearing was only year old - previous owner changed it when he last bottom painted. We have spent a lot of time thinking of all possibilities. The yard mechanic looked at it and said in his opinion, it had to be prop failure. There is no impact to rudder or keel. There is no indication of wrapping line or anything around the prop. At this point, all signs point to prop failure.

haffiman37 04-16-2006 11:22 PM

Sad but interesting pics. Sorry to tell you that I have seen it before and that was one of the main reasons I went for a folding prop.
To me it looks that you have a H5BB prop?
However your strut seems to be of a dubious design and from dimensions and material you mentioned I am not surprised it broke. I would seriously considder to have it replaced with a one-piece casted strut glassfibered to the hull, not bolted!
Do not forget to have your gear box dismantled and checked. The thrust bearings may have got quite some beating and the shaft flange is probably dammaged (bent).Check it out with a dial gauge!

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