Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 21 Old 01-14-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

prop vendors will spec a prop for you at no cost. have you gotten any quotes? Might learn something in the discussion.


sorry I missed the 13" thing when talking about flexofold. Does make me wonder if any of the folding guys will make you a special at 12 or 13". email is free!

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post #12 of 21 Old 01-16-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

I had J- Prop. Worst decision I made in 30 years of sailing. J-Prop quit working after one year and Beta Marine nor J-Prop would honor the warranty.

Melissa Renee
SV Moondance
currently in Grenada WI

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post #13 of 21 Old 01-16-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

You are underpowered, but it doesn't look like you are underpropped.

The calculator at vicprop says you could make 5.5 running hard. I also modeled it with a 18hp and 2.62:1 gear ratio (yanmar 2gm) and that would get you 6+ on that prop at cruising RPMs. (of course conditions and boat variables get a vote)

You said the priority is to improve powered performance in poor conditions. If the feathering prop you choose provides 25% more thrust (it wont) does that meet your expectations? Keep in mind that the main advantage of feathering props is reduction of drag under sail and motor sailing, not increased thrust motoring.

You could consider adding some pitch to your existing prop. Fairly inexpensive to do if the prop is in decent shape, and could get you closer to your intended purpose.

It sounds to me like you are getting ready to spend a lot of money on a solution that won't accomplish your intent.

https://www.pyiinc.com/articles/why-...or-my-sailboat
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post #14 of 21 Old 01-17-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

Buddy has the FOF and seems to like it. I've only had MaxProps and have always liked mine. Further, I had to send it back to the manufacturer to repair a ding in the leading edge. Excellent support from MaxProp (PYI, inc) and fast turnaround. The whole unit came back looking brand new.

If you're lucky, you might spec a prop that would work with your current and anticipated larger engine, with just a tweak to blade pitch. Call PYI, no doubt they can help. I'm sure the others can too.


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post #15 of 21 Old 01-17-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

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Originally Posted by Melrna View Post
I had J- Prop. Worst decision I made in 30 years of sailing. J-Prop quit working after one year and Beta Marine nor J-Prop would honor the warranty.

Melissa Renee
SV Moondance
currently in Grenada WI
Welcome bank, Mel. Good to see you posting again.

Have you kept in touch with Gary? He was keeping us informed of his illness, but dropped off the radar a few months back. Fear he's struggling.


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post #16 of 21 Old 01-17-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

NO I haven't keep in touch.. Busy doing what Nay Sayers say cannot be done... taking a Catalina cruising in open water. Having a great time in the Caribbean. In our second year down here.

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post #17 of 21 Old 01-18-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

overbored: Yes, I've talked to all three companies and they each have a 13" prop they feel will provide better forward and reverse thrust. The engine was serviced in fall 2017 and fall 2018 by mechanics who have seen lots of Westerbekes, and they're confident it's running well and should continue to be reliable.
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

PhilCarlson: Yes, 25% thrust increase in forward would make me very happy. Guess that's too much to ask. I'm also looking for better reverse thrust for docking. Certainly the simplest thing to do is nothing, and then wait until I'm ready to repower and think about a prop at that point. The 2 blade pushes the boat pretty much as the vicprop calculator predicts: 5 knots plus in flat calm conditions. And since I can let it freewheel w/ my transmission, it's not creating much drag at all while sailing Mostly I'm looking for the improved performance I can get from moving from a 2 blade to a 3 blade prop, and I'd like to do it w/o adding drag. If I invest in a 13" 3 blade feathering prop now, I'm expecting that, after a pitch adjustment, it'll work fine with whatever shiny new engine I drop in. Thanks!

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post #19 of 21 Old 01-19-2019
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Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop

Be careful with the adjustable prop pitch. If you lower the pitch, you'll get better responsiveness at the low end around the dock, however, you may get a higher wide open rpm than your engine is rated for. I've also heard of some cruisers that will increase the pitch so they get mid-range cruising speed at lower rpms to save fuel and extend range. Both of these are not great for the engine over time. If you have the pitch set correctly, your motor will run at its rated max rpm, when you are underway in calm water with a wide open throttle. It's a test that should be made for a few seconds occasionally. Then, whatever you get for near slip or underway performance just is what it is for that prop. It shouldn't be messed with by changing pitch.

There are other factors, such as blade diameter or blade shape/design that also affect various performance scenarios. For example, if you look at a fixed prop, the blades typically present a different shape going forward or backward through the water, particularly at the leading edge, with forward being more efficient. Your transmission probably has a different gear reduction ratio for reverse too. Feathering props try to accommodate some of this by moving the blades themselves to a new orientation.

As for moving props between engines/transmissions, I'm hopeful that would only require a pitch adjustment to accommodate the new max rpm and hp specs. However, that's not always the case, or they would not need to make different diameters and blade designs. I would want to know this was true, by asking the prop company about the likely motor upgrade, if I thought there was any chance I'd be swapping it out in the future.

In extreme cases, a significant hp increase can require a new shaft diameter too, but sailboats don't pimp their motors that much, unless their original shaft was poorly undersized. Nevertheless, many smaller shafts, like found on sailboats, become slightly out of plumb over time and one could learn this during their drive train upgrade. Or, your new engine/gear combo needs a longer shaft or the new gear doesn't have a shaft coupler for your diameter.

Not trying to be dramatic, I would just look into all of this, if I was hoping to carry it over.


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post #20 of 21 Old 01-22-2019
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Cool Re: Maxprop, J-Prop, Variprop, or "plan B"

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Originally Posted by Green Stripe View Post
I want to replace the 2-blade fixed prop I'm running now with a 3-blade feathering prop. I've read all the reviews and discussion threads I can find, especially on Maine Sail's progress toward the J-Prop. I'm still having trouble narrowing down my choice from these three contenders.

The current prop is 13x8 (RH). The engine is a Westerbeke W13 (13hp) with a Hurth 2:1 trans. Light displacement of the boat is 9100lbs. Prop turns in an aperture, so 13" is about all the diameter we can handle. Folding props are out for the same reason. I considered a Kiwi, but they don't make a 13" model.

This engine is pretty small for the boat, but it runs great and I'm not ready to repower. With the 2-blade prop it struggles to push the boat into wind/waves. Reverse thrust is minimal. All the choices above would improve reverse thrust, so my main priority for a new prop is to increase boat speed and power in poor conditions. Any recommendations?
Nice Boat!
At that weight I would want a lot more HP. I just repowered our 10600# boat last year with a new Betamarine 25.
You might want to add up the cost of a new high-tech prop and the haul out and then at least consider the cost of a repower.
I paid about 10K for the engine in a crate. Love it. Super quiet... it purrs compared to the former diesel.
We power along at 7 kt with a clean bottom.

Since you have a true "modern classic" and presumably will keep it for a long time an engine upgrade might be justified. I figure that I will amortize out the cost in about ten years... in fun alone.

But priorities are different for all of us, for sure.
Best of luck on whatever you decide.
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