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The Proper Prop

Phil Herring

Dethroned Admin
Mar 25, 1997
Hunter 450 Bainbridge Island
What factors did you consider when selecting the best propeller for your boat?
Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Economical, high top end motoring speed, good low speed manueverability and low maintenance.
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Jan 4, 2013
Catalina 270 Rochester, NY
Economical, high top end motoring speed, good low speed manueverability and low maintenance.
Every manufacture says the same thing. There should be a data base on this forum to tally what owners think of their prop after a year of use.
Feb 10, 2004
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
I wanted to have the performance of a three blade prop but didn't want to suffer the extra drag when sailing. So I opted for a feathering prop for the overall performance and chose a brand that was the most economical. It has proven to meet all of my expectations and has very low maintenance.
Oct 26, 2008
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
None, it came with the boat. But I'm really not sure I will ever know what to expect. It's not like we can try several out on our own boat in multitudes of conditions in order to make a comparison. I have a 3-blade feathering prop and I think it's fine, except that I'm not sure it really has the potential for top end speed.
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May 17, 2004
Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE Havre de Grace
Economical, high top end motoring speed, good low speed manueverability and low maintenance.
I’d add low sailing drag to the list. It is for a sailboat after all.

For me the best balance of all those is a folding prop. Sailing drag can’t be beat, cost and maintenance are second only to a fixed prop, top end speed is at least a good as fixed, and maneuvering is totally adequate.

It does seem like in these propeller threads there’s a lot of customer loyalty across all types. The testimonials of people saying their type is the best seem to strongly outweigh any with buyers remorse or complaints.


Aug 24, 2005
Nassau 34 Olcott, NY
My boat came with a maxi prop and it is a terrific prop offering good maneuverability, good speed under power, and efficient under sail. Does a great job stopping the boat in reverse. Not sure I would have spent the money for it if there had been something else on the boat when I bought it.
Apr 11, 2010
Hunter 38 Whitehall MI
I wanted a feathering prop
called the Hunter dealer we purchased the boat from and asked the service manager what props they recommended based on all the boats they’ve sold. He said MaxProp and that’s what I bought
Dec 28, 2015
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Economical, high top end motoring speed, good low speed manueverability and low maintenance.
I completely agree especially if all you do is motor but being a sailboat brings about the whole reason for the post…..drag. If there wasn’t a need to minimize drag then “a prop is a prop, is a prop” and id be putting on the same design prop as my wakeboard boat but I’m not sailing my wakeboard boat…….
You need to maximize the performance of the power plant while demishing drag while under sail. The second objective is the one that is debatable.
I put a Brunton Autoprop on my Hunter and cut it down from 16” to 14” and had excellent characteristics of both objectives but the engine was loaded a little bit too much. Took the end surface area of .5” of the tip and removed it from the trailing edge. I got the engine into specs but lost some of my top end speed and some of the notable varyi pitch characteristics.
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Jul 18, 2014
Hunter 34 Sydney
My past Hunter 34, Yanmar 3GMF, came with a standard 2-blade BUT it had a much over-propped 15" pitch. A 'coarse screw thread'.

It would not exceed 2,900 rpm (max. typically was 3,500), like lugging uphill in high gear in a car.

Benefit? 6.25 knots way down at 2,300 rpm, same boat beside me with a hi-tech folding prop was 6.5 knots. BUT, I was at 1.5 litres/hour (0.39 USGPH)! Literally free cruising. Zero maintenance (I touched up a leading edge having met a deadhead, painted with Petit prop paint).

Yanmar specialist said no problem since diesels are better under load (lugging uphill). Longer life.
Apr 8, 2011
Hunter 36 Deale, MD
High quality, reasonable price, low-no maintenance, efficient when sailing with folding being preferable so as not to catch crab pots, well matched to the engine/transmission for cruise speed and backing with sufficient "bite". Pulled off the PO 3-blade and put on a Flex-o-Fold. Can't comment on other makes - no experience. But the factory nailed the right prop, and other than giving it a good pressure wash at haulout there's no maintenance on it or parts to ever replace. It backs well, cruises more efficiently than the 3-blade fixed, and gives back close to a knot at much of the wind range when sailing. One of the few upgrades that pays dividends when sailing, AND when motoring. Totally worth it.
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Feb 14, 2014
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
I had my propeller bent from damage to the boat in Oct 2020.

I went to the SBO Store to get a quote for the OEM propeller for the H430.

The first question from them was, "Which Engine, Yanmar or Volvo Penta?"

Both are 50 HP but I wondered why the difference.
OEM for our Volvo Penta...

18x17 RH Two Blade

Of course, not available.:facepalm:

When we did the Sea Trials in 2013, we discovered a badly pitted shaft and propeller, which the Previous Owner replaced.
[we have them both in the garage]

At that time, the new propeller seemed a "no biggie" , since we were about to get our new boat.:biggrin::)

WOT, with the new propeller, gave us 7.5 knots vs 8.7 Hull speed. No problem for me.
Our new, but now damaged propeller, was not the OEM pitch propeller , put on in Tampa Bay in 2014.

18x14 RH is the damaged one

After discussing options for the new propeller, with Joe Kerr of SBO and trusted friends, I decided on buying the new propeller from SBO Stores.

Guess what arrived yesterday from SBO?

18x16 new prop.jpg

It was re-pitched to 18x16 RH.

Boy how propellers have changed [1998 vs 2021]. Here is the OEM 18x17 comparison.


The butter on Bottom Right will not be used for barnacle prevention.:cowbell:

Inside the box, was the Quality Control sheet from Michigan Propellers. Very nice to see what they check.

We are looking forward to using the New Propeller when our boat gets restored from Hurricane damage.

PS: This is where it was Re-Pitched. General Propeller Company . You should check the Parts these folks supply.
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Oct 22, 2014
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
My boat came with this prop.
The boat had a lot of prop walk. It was manageable. I could spin the boat in it's own length. A lot of vibration and noise while sailing. When I opened the throttle the boat would suck down like a wake board boat. The exhaust hose normally about a foot or so above the water line, would suck down below the water. When I returned from a cruise there was always a diesel line of black across the transom.

After a couple of years I decided to seek a better way of powering the boat. Research lead me to the CampbellSailor. I contacted Kelly at WestByNorth and he asked a ot of questions about my engine, transmission, spacing from the shaft to the hull bottom etc. 3 weeks later this beauty arrived.

Oh what a performance difference. Faster under power. No pull down of the stern. No more black soot line. Faster sailing speed, and no noise/vibration when surfing down wave fronts.
I am a believer. Having a good prop in waters that challenge you with tidal currents of plus 12 knots requires a good engine and matching prop when under auxiliary power.


Dec 20, 2009
Hunter 466 Bremerton
after John's advice, my buddy also re=propped with the campbell on his 40 ftr and is very pleased with the motoring and sailing differences
My son has a Campbell on his H410 and my daughter has on on her H37c. Wonderful performance and handling.
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