E38 new feathering prop yes or no?

kiwisailor

Member III
Blogs Author
This weekend was the end of another short 5 month season here in New England with the mast unstepped, boat hauled and covered for the winter. So I'm thinking about next season already and if I should swap by fixed two blade prop for one of those shiny new 3 blade feathering props. Has anybody installed a Max Prop on their E38 and was it worth it? How much extra speed did you gain sailing and was there any improvement reversing?
 
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
As a cruiser (no club racing), this question recurs to me yearly (I currently have a Michigan three-blade sailor prop, with the drag equivalent of 200 feet of Kelp).

I so far conclude that a folding or feathering prop is not worth it for me for a simple reason:

I don't care about increasing sailing speed from 2 knots to 3 knots, even though that is in fact a very large increase. If daysailing with friends, speed doesn't matter. If trying to get somewhere, in light air, I turn on the engine. That's what an engine is for, it is a $15,000 system, I maintain it, and I'm not shy about using it.

As a displacement boat approaches hull speed in a decent breeze, the drag of a propeller approaches zero factor.
 

Mark David

Member I
Mike,

It is nearly impossible for someone to spend the $$$ needed for a feathering prop and not feel any improvement in boat speed. Quantifying it might be more difficult....

I installed a 3 blade feathering Max Prop on my 32-2. While it 'seems' to have less prop walk leaving the slip. The emergency stopping distance has been greatly reduced. There is a slight delay shifting into reverse, but once the blades rotate the boat parks itself.

I realize we are talking two different boats, but I thought the stopping improvement was worth mentioning.

Mark
 

debonAir

Member III
Even if you're going close to hull speed your fixed prop will a) cause more leeway.. so if you are going up wind you go... less upwind, b) still be reaching out to catch lines and kelp and logs, etc.

Of course if you're just day-sailing with friends you're probably off the wind anyway and if you get a feathering (vs. folding) prop you're not solving the rope catching issue.

Sailing in Maine where the lobster pots aren't even a full boat length apart meant a folder for me. Not having getting the boat hook, knife, etc. out to detangle your prop just once is worth the prop upgrade price
 

ddoles

Member II
On a former boat (Pearson 31) I had a three blade feathering Maxprop, and on my current E38-200 I have a two blade folding Martec. Aside from the differences in the two boats I can compare the relative prop differences. The Maxprop reverses better (less prop walk) and stops faster. However, the feathering Maxprop did snag stuff, fishing line, seaweed, etc. I've never had anything snag on the Martec. Both are good for sailing in light air, and although I'm not a racer, when out for a day sail in light air its nice to get an extra 0.5-1.0 knot and pass another boat here and there. If you're sailing on LI Sound, you have your share of light air days. All that said, I'm thinking of switching to a 3 blade Flexofold at some point. I think the 3 blade will give me more power than the 2 blade, while keeping the advantage of a folding prop.
 

Geoff W.

Makes Up For It With Enthusiasm
Blogs Author
I just swapped from a 2 blade fixed to a 3 blade maxprop. The other day in a consistent 8 knot breeze, I went from 3.1 to 4 knots by turning off the engine and engaging the feathering prop. Pretty sweet, but that is very anecdotal evidence and I need more experience with it.

I think Christian's got a good point there - in the beer cans it'll be good to have, but on the day I mentioned above, the wind ended up dying anyways and we motored to the anchorage at 6 knots, same as on the 2 blade fixed.
 

kiwisailor

Member III
Blogs Author
I just swapped from a 2 blade fixed to a 3 blade maxprop. The other day in a consistent 8 knot breeze, I went from 3.1 to 4 knots by turning off the engine and engaging the feathering prop. Pretty sweet, but that is very anecdotal evidence and I need more experience with it.

I think Christian's got a good point there - in the beer cans it'll be good to have, but on the day I mentioned above, the wind ended up dying anyways and we motored to the anchorage at 6 knots, same as on the 2 blade fixed.
Thanks for the feedback Geoff! I'm still weighing up the pros and cons but leaning towards just leaving the 2 blade on the boat.
 

frick

Member III
I race a few times a season.... But I like the feel of the acceleration when undersail with my two bladed Martek Elliptic 3 prop.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
If you use the site 'search' box, enter 'prop options' and then my name. Quite a few past threads covering fixed, folding, and feathering props. You can use other similar words also, and no name. If you put in Christian's name or any of the primary site writers, it does narrow the search somewhat.
There has been much information posted about real-world experiences .
 

vbenn

Member III
This weekend was the end of another short 5 month season here in New England with the mast unstepped, boat hauled and covered for the winter. So I'm thinking about next season already and if I should swap by fixed two blade prop for one of those shiny new 3 blade feathering props. Has anybody installed a Max Prop on their E38 and was it worth it? How much extra speed did you gain sailing and was there any improvement reversing?
I installed a 3-blade Variprop on my E-380. A bit pricy but a good investment. Under sail, I get 1/2 to 3/4 more knots. There is less propwalk compared to my old 3-blade fixed prop when motoring in reverse, but I consider this a disadvantage because I learned how to use it to my advantage. E-38's are difficult to steer in reverse which is why I pull into my slip bow first.
 

patrscoe

Member II
Has anyone considered a Campbell prop? I contacted them last year but based on some comments from others on this site from old threads, they felt that the prop was not sized right. Per my conversation with Campbell, they recommended a 14" dia x 8 P, which does seem small. My 2 blade is a 15" dia x 14p. Costs based on last year price was $655.
I changed to a Campbell prop on my previous sailboat and really liked the performance, better than the Michigan prop. They are designed to have less drag.
I am re-considering it before I splash in the Spring.
 

patrscoe

Member II
Size of the Campbell that was recommend was 13x9.
The 14x8 was recommended to someone else with a Ericson 34-2, which I had them double check the size and they confirm the smaller prop size.
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
One caveat about assessing drag under sail. The cross sections of all the blades "is what it is". When you look at our present narrow-blade 'sailor' prop, it does have less metal in cross section than a conventional three blade, but only a limited %.
Our factory two blade had less yet, but... also less power when in gear.
Blade area is not the only determinate of efficiency, but is a major part of the formula, as one might say.
I see it as a long scale of trade offs of sailing speed vs motoring efficiency, with major breaks in the curve when introducing folding and feathering props.
i.e. at the "most drag" end of the line you would get most powering performance... like having a spendy 4 blade fixed prop. And at the other end of the chart there would be a folding two blade.
Do not misunderstand; we love the motoring performance with our 'narrow blade' fixed three blade, but there is a noticeable tradeoff in drag under sail.
 

Saverio

Member II
On a former boat (Pearson 31) I had a three blade feathering Maxprop, and on my current E38-200 I have a two blade folding Martec. Aside from the differences in the two boats I can compare the relative prop differences. The Maxprop reverses better (less prop walk) and stops faster. However, the feathering Maxprop did snag stuff, fishing line, seaweed, etc. I've never had anything snag on the Martec. Both are good for sailing in light air, and although I'm not a racer, when out for a day sail in light air its nice to get an extra 0.5-1.0 knot and pass another boat here and there. If you're sailing on LI Sound, you have your share of light air days. All that said, I'm thinking of switching to a 3 blade Flexofold at some point. I think the 3 blade will give me more power than the 2 blade, while keeping the advantage of a folding prop.
Hi, I have a boat like yours, a courtesy, you can give me the diameter and the pitch of the Martec and Flexofold propellers, they proposed me an Ewol diameter 17 adjustable pitch for my boat www.ewol-propellers.com
thank you so much. Xavier
 

RMX

Member I
One of the best additions to our E36RH was the 3 blade feathering Maxprop. The power and handling improved significantly especially noticeable in close quarters. Smoother acceleration under sail as well when feathered. The extra speed also transplanted into less hours of travel on a long route. Means more arrivals when the sun is still up. No doubt it was worth it.
 

ddoles

Member II
Hi, I have a boat like yours, a courtesy, you can give me the diameter and the pitch of the Martec and Flexofold propellers, they proposed me an Ewol diameter 17 adjustable pitch for my boat www.ewol-propellers.com
thank you so much. Xavier
My current Martec 2 blade is 16", I'm not sure of the pitch. I got a quote from Flexofold and they recommend a 16x12 three blade.
 

Pete the Cat

Member I
I am new to my Ericson 32-200, but have a Tartan 37 on the other coast with an Autostream feathering prop. It gave me 3/4 of a kt increased boat speed, but the biggest advantage is really the external adjustment of pitch. Your diesel should be able to meet full hull speed in calm water at full RPM--according to most diesel and prop folks. Otherwise you are either lugging the engine or not having the full power available in an emergency. Guessing the proper pitch on a given boat is a crap shoot and could get expensive if you actually had to take the prop off and take it in for repitching. On my Autostream I have actually been able to free dive and adjust it because it is externally adjustable. It took a few adjustments to get it perfect.
Ray Durkee
How do you sign this?
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Hi Ray,

Click on Username (top of page), then Signature in the field that appears. Anything you type in Signature there will appear automatically under all your posts.
 

CTOlsen

Member III
Loki has a feathering prop and I love it. The original owner (who I bought the boat from 12 years ago) installed it shortly before I bought the boat. I would have been hesitant to invest $2500.00 in a prop, but now that I've got one, I'll never look back.
Mine is a Kiwi design by Autostream! It's a bit dated design, with a fairly large hub. The hub and blades (3) are all stainless, and it's indestructible. The prop needs antifouling, easily done with Zinc outboard paint. Since I've been in New England, I've never experienced significant fouling or barnacles. I've had it apart twice in the last 12 years for inspection and greasing- no apparent wear can be seen. I owe that to the routine greasing and purge I do when the boat is hauled, as well as engaging/disengaging only when at low idle.
I normally see about a ~0.5 kt kick once the prop is in feather mode. Thrust in reverse is the same as thrust in forward; it makes it easy to dock the boat in reverse, slowly, with no crabbing.
 
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