We're cruisers. 36-ft fin keel
, spade rudder
, 27-hp diesel
with a regular shaft drive (not saildrive). Fractional rig, 12,800 lbs empty, 16,000 lbs fully loaded for cruising.
On our first major cruise
of 6-years, we left England
and eventually crossed the Atlantic with a fixed 3 blade
. We would leave the gearbox
in neutral so the prop could free wheel
. We found free wheeling gave more speed - abt 1/2-kt - than leaving the transmission
. It did make a "rumbling" sound when turning.
Starting the 4th year of the cruise
, we bought a Prowell (German) 3-blade feathering prop. At the time, Prowell was slightly cheaper than a Max-prop. However, you could not adjust the pitch
on a Prowell, while you could on the Max. In the following years, Prowell DID add the external pitch
Prowell is an extremely simple design, built like a tank out of naval bronze, and has a fitting so the prop can be greased underwater.
When we ordered the prop they had a form to fill out about your boat and then ran it through a computer to determine the best diameter and pitch to use, and made the prop to those specs for your boat.
We could still leave the transmission
in neutral and the prop would not turn. Our "top speed" in normal trade wind
passages picked up about 1/2-knot. In extremely light airs, we picked up 1 to 1-1/2 knots - a huge plus!!
Under power, we were able to run about 300 less rpm's and still get 5-knots (5/8 gallon an hour). If we run at 4-knots, our fuel consumation dropped down to 1/2 gal an hour.
It produces more thrust in reverse than forward (110% reverse vs 100% forward) and has gotten us off many a sand bar!
The hub zinc is expensive but we have found another cheaper source. Since we have a naval bronze propshaft, we can just add on an extra zinc to the shaft if we are missing our hub zinc and still get full protection.
Overall, extremely please with the Prowell. Still on the boat, it's 20-years old now and still works just fine. It is the single
BEST piece of equipment
that we ever installed on the boat to increase speed and reduce fuel useage.