PropSpeed in the Field

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Mahina Expeditions' Capt. John Neal PropSpeed coating

We first reported on PropSpeed (www.propspeed.com)-an expensive two-part etching primer with a silicone-based top coat designed to prevent propeller fouling by being super slick-in the November 2006 issue and gave an update on our field tests in the July 2010 issue. A recent field report from PS contributor and bluewater voyager Capt. John Neal of Mahina Expeditions (www.mahina.com) confirmed our past findings: While the coating is intact, PropSpeed works. However, we’ve had mixed reader and tester reviews with regard to the durability and longevity of the PropSpeed coating. It seems that when PropSpeed is professionally applied, it lasts longer than do-it-yourself applications. It’s also important to note that for PropSpeed to keep its slick quality and repel fouling, the prop needs to see regular use.

For our original test, we applied PropSpeed to our test boats prop in March 2008. After six months, the coating was fully intact and clean. However, for the following year, the test boat was used very little and the prop was cleaned only once. A year after application, testers noted some hard growth on the prop, and by October 2009, only about 85 percent of the coating remained and a re-application was necessary.

Our recent report from Neal came about a year after he had his 18-inch MaxProp professionally coated with PropSpeed in 2012.

We are real sticklers for a clean bottom and prop,” Neal explained. As you can see in the photo (above right), there is some erosion of the coating near the prop tips, but overall, I was extremely pleased. The grease from greasing the MaxProp before launching and underwater mid-season didnt seem to hurt the coating. We generally motor at around 2,200-2,400 RPM and have a 1.97-to-1 reduction gear. In 9,000 miles, we motored in-gear for about 300 hours.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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