Forums General Discussion The Great Propeller Mystery

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  RLeeds 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

  • Author
  • #225190


    Patricia Bess is a 1983 424 ketch with the original Westerbeke 58 engine.
    I have owned her since Oct 2014.
    I have always thought she was a bit sluggish under power, but had no idea how
    much until I buddy boated with a friend. When we motored side by side he was doing
    5 kts at 1800 rpm (Catalina 36) and I was doing 2500 rpm to keep up.
    After reading a number of forum postings on speed vs rpm as well as prop size,
    it’s easy to see I have a problem.
    From what i’ve read, the original prop on the 424 is a 12”x13”LH three blade.
    The prop on the Patricia Bess is a 18”x11”LH three blade.
    I can see from past surveys that the boat has had the smaller prop since at least Sept 2005.

    My questions are:
    Did all 424s come delivered with 20”x13” props on 1.5 shafts?
    What should I expect if I reprop to a 20”x13” prop? (rpm vs speed)
    Why would the PO down size to the 18”x11” prop that’s now on the boat?
    Can I repitch the prop I have to a 18”x13” to get more power?

    I do not want to spend $3000 plus for an adjustable prop.
    Any input is greatly appreciated.
    Ron Feigenbaum
    S/V Patricia Bess

  • #225206


    I recently repowered Discoverie, and when I started to research the power train I found The Propeller Book by Dave Gerr. I think used copies in paperback are available for about $15, shipping included.

    Gerr has written quite a collection of books and articles— you can a list of them here at his site Hopefully others with W58s can give advice based on experience, but my W58was on its last legs so I don’t have good data for you. I stuck with the flexifold the PO had installed and used that as a constant when selecting an engine.

    Understanding the optimum prop for your vessel will include knowing the power at the shaft. Gerr’s Book does a good job of explaining the details.

    Here’s a link to one of his articles on blade area in Sail magazine.

  • #225207


    My 424 came with a 20×13 fixed prop, still on a shelf here in my family room.

    I assume you’ve read my notes, . This has a spreadsheet linked you can download to calculate propeller size.

    The article linked above is interesting but might be a bit more than most folks can chew on. Many newer engines rev at a higher RPM than the old beasts Pearson used when the 424’s were built. As a result, you get a higher shaft speed at power settings with a new engine unless you do something to change the gear ratio. I was replacing the V-drive at the same time I repowered so I changed the gear reduction there, keeping the old 1:1 velvet drive. If you repower to something that runs 30% faster than the old engine, you’ll get a shaft speed 30% higher. I switched to a 2.5:1 gear in the V-drive to get the shaft speed back down closer to what Pearson designed. I would have gone a bit higher but that’s the most Walter had.


  • #225208


    I have been using a Michigan Wheel Sailor prop, 18×13 for quite a while now with good success! I also have the original W-58. I cruise at 6 knots at 2250 RPM. Good control docking.


You must be logged in to reply to this topic.