All about props

Greetings Fleet,

I am considering purchasing a folding prop for Solimar and am interested in the fleets input based on experience. The context of the question is long ocean passages - how much time will I really save with a folding prop vs loss propulsion performance or other issues.

Currently, Solimar has a 3 bladed fixed prop. It performs well, in my limited experience, propelling the boat under all conditions. If I was only costal cruising out of Santa Barbara I probably wouldn’t touch it. But with several long crossings planned for 2016 I am wondering what if?

I also have a brand new two bladed prop. It has never been installed to my knowledge - I don’t believe Richard Roberts, the original owner ever used it. I have been told to install it for long voyages because it can be manually rotated to a vertical where there would be no effective drag.

So my questions are as follows:

How much difference will a folding prop really make with respect to time saved? Save all the math and theory - in practical terms.

How would you rate installing the 2 bladed prop for a long voyage. Is it practical to think I could manually align the shaft/prop and it would stay in that position? What a pain crawling in and out of the engine compartment all the time while at sea. I am 6’ 4”…

Does a folding prop easily foul with marine growth or other debris so as to not unfold?

Is a folding prop any less efficient? It must be right? So how much?

If a folding prop is the way to go, what brand and how do I figure out the proper pitch settings?

What else? Did I miss anything?

Thank you,
Kendal Banks
Solimar BCC 114

have you thought about a feathering prop. My investigation into props tells me that the right prop could make an enormous difference. Not just in drag but also in fuel use and propulsion. I have a 16in maxprop 3 blade at 18 degrees and it seems to work quite well. Hope this helps.

Shaula has always had a fixed 2 bladed prop, so I can’t say how much better a feathering or folding prop would have been.

I did mark the coupling so I could align the prop vertically. The few times I bothered to crawl back to check (in light winds), it was close to aligning itself. Maybe this depends on how fast you’re sailing? I don’t know.

In any case, I decided that I wasn’t all that interested in what I think is such a small difference in boat speed. BCC’s are great off-shore boats that are known to make relatively comfortable, safe passages, much faster than many expect, considering their size. They are usually loaded down with an amazing amount of supplies. But they are not designed to compete with racing designs, so a boat speed difference of.1k or less is not a major consideration for most BCC owners.

We stayed with the 2 bladed fix prop for over 50k miles (lots of it offshore) and 34 yrs. I think it fits our boats–solid, strong, simple, and dependable. I guess it comes down to personal choice?