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Old 17-05-2022, 00:41   #1
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fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

my FP Bahia had two blade goris on it but an impact on one prop from a submerged log smashed the prop off the starboard engine, shearing the locking thread off the prop shaft on the way!

I have the yanmar 39hp 3JH series engines with SD31 sail drives and I am pretty keen on putting 3 blade fixed props on it, specifically the Eliche Radice 3 blade aluminium props in 17" x 14". I believe the original 2 blade props were supplied by Eliche Radice for the FP's.

My thoughts are that living in a remote tropical part of Australia, simple is better for a start, secondly nearly all our voyages are roughly downwind one direction and upwind home for the entire dry season and vice versa for the wet season due to the prevailing winds and angle of coastline. So we inevitably end up doing a fair bit of motoring, or motor sailing at best, and when we sail its often in more than 10k breeze where I suspect the extra drag wont make much difference.

I realise I will sacrifice a bit of sailing speed in light conditions but it feels like a fair trade off for optimum motoring performance, simplicity and price.

I was tempted by the Flexofolds, but they are over $6k for a set, i also looked at the Seahawk Slipstreams as they are cheaper, but they are shutting down next year so spares may become an issue.

I also often tow a 4.75m tinny for all my fishing and exploring once we arrive somewhere, so two ways of looking at that - already adding a fair bit of drag when sailing so it doesnt matter, or already adding a fair bit of drag and i cant afford to add any more!

I feel pretty close to going with the fixed props, and save myself $4k to spend on something else, but remain open minded if I am missing something that should persuade me otherwise.
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Old 17-05-2022, 02:37   #2
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Have you looked at kiwi props ,verry simple ,easily repaired ,low drag ,⛵️⚓️��
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Old 17-05-2022, 03:09   #3
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Thanks Searles, I have looked at the Kiwi props but the relatively poor motoring performance put me off.
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Old 17-05-2022, 04:23   #4
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

we fitted kiwiprops to our cat (4JH2TE yanmars) and did not notice any drop in motoring performance...although there was some annoying vibration between about 2000 - 2400rpm

on the other hand there was a significant improvement in sailing performance !

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Old 17-05-2022, 15:20   #5
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

I like 3-blade fixed propellers....... low cost, great performance (maneuverability and speed) under motor, no noticeable loss in speed under sail AND no maintenance. I have installed them on all my sailboats, including my current Hunter 46.
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Old 17-05-2022, 15:38   #6
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Thanks chrisr & sail_sfbay, your replies sort of compound the dilemma for me! Having read most of the existing threads on props there is always someone who found the folding/feathering props had no negative impact on motoring and improved sailing performance significantly, and then someone else who prefers fixed props because they find they give better motoring performance and limited or no impact on sailing performance!
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Old 17-05-2022, 15:38   #7
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

If your motor often, maybe it’s worth considering. We only burn about 50 gallons of fuel a year, and sail around 2000 nautical miles. I think the folding prop is one of the best purchases we ever made. But if you’re in an area that requires you to motor often, maybe it’s worth saving the cash.
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Old 17-05-2022, 15:54   #8
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Yes, cdcorl, thats really at the heart of the decision. As i said, we usually have fresh trade winds so difference in sailing performance with folding props will be less that somewhere with lighter winds. Due to the prevailing wind direction and lay of the coastline most trips mean motoring or motor sailing at least one direction.

Its really a question of what real world impact we would see on sailing performance going to fixed props and whether we could live with that for saving $4k. My sneaking suspicion is the perceived improvement in sailing performance is partly coloured by the cost of folding props! I realise the impact in light conditions will be noticeable, but at sailing speeds 6k and above not so sure.

Of course the same thing is probably happening with the perceptions of fixed prop users, coloured by the huge cost saving - better motoring performance and minimal impact on sailing performance - again my sneaking suspicion is motoring performance not really much different and at times maybe more impact on sail performance than believed!

We tend to see and believe what we want to and the incentives at play here are very strong!
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Old 17-05-2022, 17:03   #9
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Just remember to sail with your fixed props in N, not in gear as for folding props.
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Old 17-05-2022, 20:31   #10
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Yes, PineyWoodsPete, I guess thats another consideration, the noise from the sail drives in neutral with fixed props.
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Old 18-05-2022, 09:16   #11
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

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Originally Posted by Galumay View Post
Yes, PineyWoodsPete, I guess thats another consideration, the noise from the sail drives in neutral with fixed props.
We experienced that in spades taking our new-to-us FP Antigua 37 south from Seattle, running some 200nm before a gale after rounding Cape Mendocino - under small Solent jib only, surfing down the big swells at 10-18 knots. Inside, there was an unearthly howl from the fixed props, along with the bow waves combining and pummeling the under-wing.

"NO MAS," Louise said, and in SF we found a pair of lightly used 3-blade MaxProps. Once off Costa Rica in a rough sea patch sailing 7-8 knots, one side "un-feathered" in gear with the rump, rump, rump sound of the little Yanmar 18 turning over. Thought at first we had run over something...
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Old 18-05-2022, 15:48   #12
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

Aghh...is that how you jump start a yacht?!
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Old 18-05-2022, 16:33   #13
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Re: fixed props or not on yanmar sd31's

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Aghh...is that how you jump start a yacht?!
Yep, just shove the throttle open and she either starts or blows up!
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