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Old 22-01-2021, 10:05   #1
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Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

I'm looking at replacing my prop. Currently its a fixed 3 blade.

What do you guys recommend ???
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Old 22-01-2021, 11:25   #2
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

I can tell you my take from the search i did into it for my own needs.

3 blade is likely to give more power, less vibration than the 2 blade.

folding or feathering is better for sailing, less drag.

Folding is lowest drag i think, but many have reduced reverse performance. Feathering proprs that can rotate blades into correct orientation for reverse movement tend to have the best performance.

Price wise: fixed -> folding->Feathering

Feathering ones are more complicated (typically) and require more maintenance and care.
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Old 22-01-2021, 11:39   #3
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

On this note, I would love to switch to a folding propeller myself. But there's an issue that the OP should consider as well. On this forum I have read horror stories about installing new propellers that don't balance properly and vibrated too much after the boat returned to water. That can't be fixed in the water, so you would need to do another haul out, pay another fee, before fixing it. Back in the water, if it's still wobbly, rinse and repeat. What's the best way of avoiding that scenario?
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Old 22-01-2021, 11:43   #4
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by George_SD View Post
I can tell you my take from the search i did into it for my own needs.

3 blade is likely to give more power, less vibration than the 2 blade.

folding or feathering is better for sailing, less drag.

Folding is lowest drag i think, but many have reduced reverse performance. Feathering proprs that can rotate blades into correct orientation for reverse movement tend to have the best performance.

Price wise: fixed -> folding->Feathering

Feathering ones are more complicated (typically) and require more maintenance and care.
Thats how i see things as well. i am leaning toward a 2 blade Flex o fold
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Old 22-01-2021, 12:02   #5
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

This is a question that came up for me when I replaced my old Yanmar on my 26 foot keel boat.

The Yanmar had left turn rotation whereas the new motor is right. Yet another unexpected (although obvious, with a tad of forethought) cost in the repower. And a prop is a significant expense.

I choose a big 3 blade fixed, even though I do race the boat. I wanted the prop to be maintenance and trouble free. I accept that she doesn't back quite as well and it has some prop walk. But I don't spend my day sailing backwards. And the prop walk is often useful and quite manageable. And it was the cheapest option by a large chunk of money at the time.

And in my experience it was quite common at the hard stand to see boats with folding props having to be lifted because they'd jammed in either forward or backwards position. Out of a fleet of 200 boats at the marina, it seemed perhaps every 2 or 3 months a boat would have issues.

But most of all when the weather caves in and I need to get home with my grand kids is quickly as possible the 3 blade will do the hard work. It also gives good grip in the water, so at a fast idle she sits on 3 knots. It gives me the capacity and confidence to tow boats too. And you never know when someone will need help.

So for me it was economy, reliability and safety.
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Old 22-01-2021, 12:07   #6
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by George_SD View Post
I can tell you my take from the search i did into it for my own needs.

3 blade is likely to give more power, less vibration than the 2 blade.

folding or feathering is better for sailing, less drag.

Folding is lowest drag i think, but many have reduced reverse performance. Feathering proprs that can rotate blades into correct orientation for reverse movement tend to have the best performance.

Price wise: fixed -> folding->Feathering

Feathering ones are more complicated (typically) and require more maintenance and care.
Thanks! Just the info I was looking for.

I've seen 3 bladed props with swivel blades....they dont fold they turn on a series of ball bearings. What are these props for?
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Old 22-01-2021, 12:07   #7
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
This is a question that came up for me when I replaced my old Yanmar on my 26 foot keel boat.

The Yanmar had left turn rotation whereas the new motor is right. Yet another unexpected (although obvious, with a tad of forethought) cost in the repower. And a prop is a significant expense.

I choose a big 3 blade fixed, even though I do race the boat. I wanted the prop to be maintenance and trouble free. I accept that she doesn't back quite as well and it has some prop walk. But I don't spend my day sailing backwards. And the prop walk is often useful and quite manageable. And it was the cheapest option by a large chunk of money at the time.

And in my experience it was quite common at the hard stand to see boats with folding props having to be lifted because they'd jammed in either forward or backwards position. Out of a fleet of 200 boats at the marina, it seemed perhaps every 2 or 3 months a boat would have issues.

But most of all when the weather caves in and I need to get home with my grand kids is quickly as possible the 3 blade will do the hard work. It also gives good grip in the water, so at a fast idle she sits on 3 knots. It gives me the capacity and confidence to tow boats too. And you never know when someone will need help.

So for me it was economy, reliability and safety.
Thanks for your insight. Some very good points there
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Old 22-01-2021, 12:14   #8
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Re: Best propeller ? Fixed or folding? 2,3, or 4 Blade?

If considering fixed look at Campbell Sailor props https://westbynorth.com/campbell-sailer/ Less drag sailing better performance under power, similar price to other fixed blade props.
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