Boat Propellers & Hardware

Propellers

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Apart from a powerful engine, your boat’s propellers also add to the outstanding performance of your vessel. If you are satisfied with the performance your boat delivers currently, then all you need to do is maintain propellers in top operating condition, servicing them in case malfunctions occur. However, if you want to improve your boat’s performance, purchasing a brand new propeller with an appropriate pitch will be a smart decision.

A properly chosen and well-fitted boat propeller can improve your boat’s performance, enhance its fuel economy and let it always easily hit the top speed. When picking the right propeller, a few factors have to be taken into consideration. These include size, number of blades and their rake and the material the propeller is constructed of. As for the latter, buyers typically have to choose between aluminum, stainless steel and composite propellers. Aluminum props are rather widespread thanks to their reasonable price, though stainless steel propellers have much stiffer and thinner blades for higher performance.

As for the size of propellers, it is typically described by the diameter and the pitch. Propeller diameter refers to twice the distance from the center of the propeller to the tip of the blade. Smaller propellers are compatible with either small-size boats or with fast high-performance boats. Large diameter propellers are engineered for bigger boats. The pitch of your boat's propeller refers to the forward distance that the propeller covers in one revolution and is measured in inches. When the pitch is lowered, pulling power and acceleration are increased. Higher pitch allows the boat to go faster if your engine is powerful enough to keep the rpms in the optimal range.

Sterndrives and outboards typically use either a 3- or a 4-blade propeller. Three-blade units have a great advantage on top end speed, while four-blade ones are opted for when the top end speed is not crucial and the boat is less dynamic. That is why 3-blade props are generally used for recreational vessels fitted with 3-/4- or 6-cylinder engines. Apart from the number of blades, the blade rake is of great importance. The rake describes the degree to which the blades are slanted forward or backward in relation to the hub. This seemingly unimportant factor can considerably influence your vessel’s performance.

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