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This little fellow came waltzing down our port quarter the other day…a real beauty.  He stayed a while before casually sauntering down our stern line and on down the dock.


We had our bottom job and are back in the slip.  It went smoothly, really.  Not the easiest or most forgiving slip to back into, but not really all that difficult either; there were six of us horsing it in and we had plenty of fenders out.  Still, it was nice to get the boat in the slings, always is.  We hauled out and were in the blocks by noon…three days later, Friday, we splashed.


We were warned about this haul out slip by a local friend .  Our mast is so high we always have to back in so the crane can make the lift without nailing the forestay.  Even at that, the crane here could just barely get us out of the water (without hitting our backstay…had about four inches under the keel while moving the boat to the blocks.



We had fenders out everywhere…concrete always wins over gelcoat.


We were anxious to see the bottom after our last haul out.  There was significant growth hydro blasted away before the painters did their thing.  But, in the big scheme of things, it went well.  We are fortunate that as big as our boat is we have not one blister, not even a previously repaired one.

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The hull being hydro blasted prior to being blocked up.  Two years of marine growth…it was time.  If we’d have waited any longer they might have declared us a marine sanctuary.



Was a wonder the boat even moved…


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The bow thruster tunnel seemed to fair a bit better though the sacrificials were toast.  Not so much for the starboard bow.


The work to be done was quite routine, actually:  sand and recoat the bottom, inspect the prop, shaft, cutlass bearings, bow thruster and shaft spurs, replace the zincs, have three small dings in the topsides repaired, and then have the entire topsides cleaned and waxed.  This was done by two contractors, one for the painting and ding repair and the other who handled the waxing.


There were six workers, three on the bottom painting and three on the cleaning and waxing.  They did a superb job.


The shaft, bearings, bow thruster, and spurs were in good shape and repairing the topside dings was uneventful, as was replacing the sacrificial zinc/aluminum…the cleaning and waxing was nothing short of superb.  However, not so much with the prop.


This is the aft end of the Max Prop.  As you can see, the zincs were on their last leg.  However, the issue was that space that appears as a black curved line in the upper right quadrant of this photo.  That is where the prop blade enters the gear housing…that space was out of tolerance, though just barely.  As shown in the photo, the blades are in the neutral position.  The yellow one sees in this photo is the remnants of the Prop Speed that was applied two years ago.


One of the things required in inspecting the prop was to purge the interior gears with grease, a semi special kind of grease, for in our case, we carry a 3-blade, 20” PYI Max Prop on our 1.5” shaft.  Without getting into the rather complicated mechanism that is a folding propeller (and as the pix shows it is a complexly engineered gizmo), greasing the interior of our Max Prop is not something the inexperienced just wants to jump into.  Certainly not something either Chuck or I wanted to tackle.  We brought in a professional to do that job.


Part of the aft portion of the internal gears of the Max Prop.  All of those letters that one sees stamped correspond to a specific prop pitch.


Upon inspecting our prop and before he disassembled it, the pro called to our attention that there was a bit of play where the prop blades joined up with the gear box.  We called PYI, the Washington state manufacturer of Max Props and a firm known for their customer service and explained the play.  They gave us the tolerances for the allowable play.  When we checked these tolerances we were just on the edge of what was acceptable.  As we anticipate going down island in a few months and didn’t want to have what could be less than acceptable work done down there on what is an insanely expensive  propeller, the decision was made to remove the foldable prop and send it to PYI to be refurbished.  They estimated a seven to ten day turnaround.  Of course, we had a spare fixed prop on the boat which the pro then popped on for us.


The boat after completion and as it is being moved to the haul out slip.


This was not our preferred way to go, we’d have rather the foldable prop be the primary, the fixed as the back-up.  We’d have liked it that way because the fixed prop can be installed with the boat in the water way more easily; the Max Prop, theoretically, could be installed with the boat in the water, but nowhere near as easily as the fixed.  But, we didn’t want to keep the boat out of the water for a couple of weeks or so waiting for the Max Prop to be returned from Washington.  As well, our Max Prop is way more efficient when motoring than the fixed.  The prop walk (tendency of the boat to turn in the direction the propeller is spinning, most noticeable when the boat is in reverse and backing up) is also significantly less with the Max Prop than the fixed, though with the bow thruster that is somewhat less of a concern.


After completion and just prior to being splashed.

For those not in the know, a foldable prop’s blades pitch in different directions depending on the direction the shaft is turning, i.e., whether the boat is in forward or reverse.  When the shaft is not turning, as when under sail power alone, the blades straighten out with no pitch, essentially acting as three fins…the propeller drag is significantly reduced when in that position.  Though the prop mechanism is complex, it is very dependable and quite proven.

And, lastly, we were most interested in how our Max Prop had held up these past two years regarding marine growth, for on our last haul out in 2014 we opted to use Prop Speed  on it.  After inspecting the prop before it was hydro blasted we did see somewhat of a difference/improvement on marine growth, but not enough to justify the expense of recoating it.  Using Prop Speed on the Max Prop cost us just under $300 when we had it done on the last haul out…just wasn’t worth it to us this time.



  1. Always enjoy your adventures. Thank you.

    • My pleasure…and thank you.

  2. I’m a fan. I keep checking. I will continue to chech on your musings!

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