The following Article appeared in the Fall 1993 Performance Boat Club of Canada (PBCC) Newsletter, called "PERFspective". If you would like to view or receive more information and articles like this, please contact PBCC, at 705-735-0069 or fax us at 705-735-0070. Memberships cost $50.00 / $35. 00 (U.S.) / year. We can also be viewed at our NEW web site Coming Soon (Nov. 1, 1999)
Have you ever wondered what connects (or holds) your boat to the water ? Well it is obviously your propeller. This is an area that I feel deserves a lot of attention. Sure we are all familiar with the high performance types such as Chopper, Cleaver (not Beaver), Raker, etc., most of us are familiar with their claims, and most of us use these props.
My advice is: Don't just bolt it on and expect years of trouble free high performance operation. Think of all the other components that your prop effects especially at transom heights of 27" or more (on 20" shaft outboards); bearing carrier, seals, prop shaft, boat handling etc. Seek the advice of a propeller expert.
My personal accounts have shown me that investment up front will impair problems further on. You would probably spend good money on tires for your tow vehicle, why not your prop?
Recently I visited John Beer (now deceased) at the PROPeller Shop in Agincourt, Ontario. I brought in my prop for just an inspection. I thought this prop was already worked to the max. After further investigation, John noticed that it wasn't tracking straight, one blade was heavy, and two blades had cup and the third didn't ? Perhaps these variable were contributing to my severe CRABBING, and funny skip (sideways) upon decelerating. (Boat is C.E. Vision with Merc XR2).
When I returned to pick-up my prop, it looked better than new. Upon Sea Trial, the modifications were noticeable in boat handling, crab angle, and even top end. The PROP has also kept me from going for a swim a few times because the extra cup refuses to let go. Thanks John.
SOME MORE ADVICE... I think one of my goals in life, is to see (at least) all HydroStream, Charger, Allison etc., that are used for top end performance, be equipped with a FOOT THROTTLE. Foot throttles are not the answer for all boats, but for these small, single operator, rockets, they sure help.
HERE'S THE SCENARIO... It's a beautiful day and conditions are favoring for showing your buddy what the excitement is about performance boating. You've left the dock, hopefully wearing a PFD, kill cord attached and you've just entered a safe, undisturbed area. You reach for your hand throttle and mash it too it's extreme forward limit. The engine winds up, but the boat is too sticky. Once again you reach for the hand throttle and start trimming out (YET ANOTHER STORY). The Boat becomes unstuck, a Speedo check indicates acceleration, and the steering torque is getting very hard to the right. With the trim set you now have two hands on the wheel, Your grinning and your buddies lips are flapping against his ear lobes. You’re now traveling at 100 feet per second (70 MPH). THEN YOU HIT IT... THE MYSTERY WAVE... because you have no idea where it came from, or you didn't think it was that big. Your bow is now pointing to the sky ......(see FOOT THROTTLE below)...... and your starboard side is pointing down at the water. Your prop is still in the water and you now realize you’re OUT OF CONTROL. You flounder to find the HAND THROTTLE. By the time you've found it, your condition has not improved. Finally you pull back on the HAND THROTTLE hard and that became your next mistake. Suddenly the chop in throttle has transferred your torque pulling you hard left and now you’re really OUT OF CONTROL because you expected to slow down and you didn't. Just when you think there is no end to this hysteria, you come to rest. It felt like forever but it all happened in seconds. You’re in a cold sweat and your buddy is lying flat on his back under the front deck.
FOOT THROTTLE... YOUR BOW IS NOW POINTING TO THE SKY... with your two hands firmly gripping the wheel, you gracefully feather the foot throttle to reduce your speed and lift, and gently your bow returns to it's proper attitude. Your buddy looks over at you and tells you he was a bit nervous and compliments you on your great control and driving skills. You go up in your head and thank your FOOT THROTTLE and some proper rigging advice.
Once again if you are new at our recreation and you have a lot of questions or concerns, give me a call. If I can't help you I will direct you to someone who can.
Anthony S. Santocono,