Looking for input on how to determine a good midrange priced feathering prop. Max Prop always comes up as the best, but is steep in price. Any advice on other manufacturers that anyone would recommend. 13,000 disp.Thanks in advance.
On my previous boat, I had a MaxProp 2 blade propeller installed by the Maxprop rep. I found it a bit stiff but the rep insisted that this was Ok. Few days latter, comming to a dock after motoring for hours It failled to flip in reverse,got stuck in the middle(no forward or reverse thrust) and I hit an other boat. With my boat out of the water, I discovered that the shaft end was too long and not installed as per manufacturer''s specs. I know. I should not have trusted blindly the ''expert'' rep.
I have first hand experience with the Martec prop Jeff suggested. These are beautifully machined, stainless steel works of art but, they are VERY heavy. I suggest that you make sure that your entire driveline i.e., motor mounts, transmission, cutlass bearing, stuffing box, coupling and strut are in excellent condition. These props look like they could be "gear busters" if everything is not in top condition.
Also check the material of your shaft, it is most likely bronze. Periodic removal of the propeller will be easier if the prop and shaft are made from similar materials. If your shaft is bronze, go for the MaxProp.
We have a three-blade Classic MaxProp installed on our Hinckley B-40. Last year, following a move that cut into my normal annual haulout we left the boat in the water for about 6 months longer than we normally do and without our monthly bottom wipe-down. When we finally got around to taking the boat to our favorite yard for annual maintenance, a trip of around 10 miles, the bottom was showing signs of hard growth forming along the waterline. As we pulled into the slip at the yard where we were to be hauled I put the transmission into reverse and found I had no reverse propulsion. We were only ghosting along so the yardman at hand had no trouble catching a line and stopping our forward motion. When we hauled the boat we found the prop and shaft completely covered in hard growth and found the prop jammed in a flat position - producing no thrust either forward or reverse. We had just motored over to the yard at a speed close to our normal boat speed under power and had backed and filled in the small channel leading into the yard turning the boat to align ourselves with the lift slip and the prop had functioned AOK. Just goes to show you that a MaxProp will jam if covered with sufficient hard growth and, as is said, at the most inappropriate time.
We installed the three-blade MaxProp in place of a two-blade fixed prop. The reason we did so was that we seem to do a lot of motoring and in any seastate where we were punching through 2-4 foot waves with a few larger ones we were constantly brought to a stop or greatly slowed. I know, I know, one shouldn''t be in a position to HAVE to punch through such sloppy seas but the "kids have to get back to college" or some such excuse always arises and so there you are. Anyway, the three-blade prop, while not giving us as much speed at top end (we lost about a half knot) seems to keep the speed up when we are faced with motoring through sloppy seas. The best feature of course is that when we do get to raise our sails the prop fairs itself with the slipstream and offers virtually no resistance to the passing water. We haven''t determined how much speed we''ve gained under sail but we think it is in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 knots. Interestingly, the previous owner had a device installed that, using pressure from the transmission (or lack thereof when the engine was shut down) to activate a braking cylinder, would stop the prop perfectly aligned vertically behind the deadwood to "hide" the two-blade prop in the aperture, but that didn''t seem to be as effective in reducing parasitic or flow drag as the MaxProp.
I would attribute the one failure we''ve experienced to my lack of diligence in keeping the bottom and prop clean certainly not a fault of the prop. Now that we''re settling down once again following the move we''ve established a monthly cleaning regimen that seems to be serving us well. At least the diver says he''s keeping the growth under control and so far this year we haven''t noticed any hesitancy in the MaxProp working as advertized.
A close friend of ours also has a MaxProp installed on his Phil Rhodes 58 and loves it.
We have used two Max-props on our cat for 8 years. They are great props, work, but require expensive anodes (I guess this is where all the mfgrs make their money).
That said, if I were in the market today, I''d try an Auto-prop first. This is a self-pitching design (i.e. pitch is adjusted to perfect thrust automatically). I think it''s the future but haven''t tried it on the cats PJs.
Typically, owner reports show 10+% speed increases for the same RPM on their engines. Depending on where the current (fixed pitch) prop is optimized, the gains can even be greater. Cheers!
My standard answer on this one is that over the years, I have seen mostly very pleased owners with Maxprops and while most Autoprop owners are pleased with their props, I have seen some extremely disappointed owners of Autoprops. From the kinds of commenst that I have read, there seems to be more hype than reality to Autoprops claims.