E38 new feathering prop yes or no?


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
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

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.



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


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.