4b FeatherStream

Kings Legend 41

4-Blade FeatherStream Prop for Kings Legend 41 Yacht

It was time for Flapdoodle to get a makeover. We installed a lot of shiny new things at our last refit including a re-power. After discussions with Nick our new engine and transmission were chosen to allow us to turn a bigger propeller more slowly which is great for efficiency.

In the boatyard where I was doing the work there was lots of ribbing when I added our underwater “bling” as our 4 bladed, 20 inch FeatherStream was called by the boatyard boys. They figured we would never want to get that shiny jewel wet let alone use it.

But use it we have.

My one big concern about the FeatherStream was that the prop walk would be reduced to such an extent that close quarters manoeuvring would become more difficult. I am happy to report that while less, there is still enough prop walk to help out in a tight spot.

Motoring is more difficult to determine the benefits as we changed everything not just the propeller. The one big plus is that astern is just as responsive as ahead now. Fuel consumption is clearly better even though the new engine is the same horse power as the old engine. Is that the slower turning, bigger propeller? Just a better engine? Hard for me to pick that one apart and say definitively.

Paradoxically, sailing is where the FeatherStream does its most important work. Light air sailing is measurably faster on all points of sail. Boisterous weather sailing is clearly quieter and vibration free. No more madly spinning machinery under the hull. Life is just better.

As we sail a lot in Mexican coastal waters kelp and rope are a constant worry. So far it has been less of a problem than we suspected it might be. When motoring the rope cutter we installed has either not been needed or has quietly done its job. When sailing, those big feathered propeller blades have picked up occasional kelp but because it is not spinning we do not end up with a giant, tangled ball of kelp under the boat. Typically it finds its own way off the propeller within a few minutes.

From the engineering perspective, is there anything that I would like to see changed? Two things come to mind. As full time cruisers we have no off season. That means the annual lubrication happens in the water. That 3mm screw that has to come out and the grease nipple that has to go in is a little daunting in cold, murky water. The other item would ab R & D effort into getting rid of the dissimilar metals. So hard to Loctite those screws for the zinc under water.

When I look at the upgrade which is now 2 years old would I say it was worth the money…a big yes. Would I say good things about the FeatherStream over a quiet beer at a cruisers pot luck…you bet I do.

Kings Legend 41 fitted with 4-blade FeatherStream 

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