Outremer Cup – Day 3

Day 3 of the Outremer cup was a mixed affair for us, we did really well with our sail handling and maneuvers, and didn’t make any mistakes on the racecourse, but our propeller issues took us completely out of contention for any prizes, which is a real disappointment.

The weather was a lot nicer, sunny, warmer, and winds between 15 and 20 knots, we were sailing with full main and jib, and used the Code-D gennaker on each of our downwind legs. Lindsay and Gavin came along today and we had our same crew from yesterday (François, Bobby, Kent and Belinda), plus Riley and Elayna from Australia, and François’ girlfriend Sara also joined us. Having extra experienced people really helped, and we pulled off all our sail changes, tacks and jibes perfectly! Bravo team Wildling!!!

All in all we had a very nice day on the water, but this propeller issue is really bothering me. What we’re finding with the EWOL propellers that we had installed, is that they are not feathering correctly when the engines are turned off. They are supposed to feather to a flat position that offers very little drag, but this isn’t happening. We had to try several times on each engine to get them to feather at all, and even when they did, they were still spinning under sail. You can feel the vibration of the gears turning slowly in the engine rooms, and there’s a rotating stream of bubbles in the wake of the boat that clearly show the propellers are dragging. The result is like driving a car with the handbrake half on, and it cost us a lot of boat speed.

It’s disappointing, as I know a lot of people are using EWOL propellers and they are working very well, but they are certainly not working on our boat. I’m going to switch back the the Volvos and ask Outremer to fully test to see why the boat speed under motors is so slow with the Volvos. I’m also afraid that the saildrives have been  damaged by the EWOL propellers, the grinding and vibration noises that we get when running the EWOL props are pretty alarming! Hopefully it’s a water turbulence noise, and not a gearbox mechanical noise, but in any case I’m sure Outremer can find out where things stand and get my 5X back to her former speedy self!

Here are some photos Robin took of our day…

IMG_9385 IMG_9389 IMG_9390 IMG_9392 IMG_9397 IMG_9399 IMG_9403 IMG_9423 IMG_9428 IMG_9443 IMG_9446 IMG_9450 IMG_9464 IMG_9491 IMG_9514

4 thoughts on “Outremer Cup – Day 3

  1. Hello Doug

    Do you know wich propellers are the others 5X equipped with ?
    Did they encounter same problems ?


  2. Hi Jean,

    The standard propellers on the 5X are Volvo 4 blade folding propellers. I don’t know if other 5X owners are having any concerns with their Volvo props, but we found it difficult to get above 8 knots under engines, which is why I wanted to try a higher performance propeller. For example, my Catana 471 would comfortably motor at 10 knots with our 50hp Volvo engines. I don’t understand why a 5X, which weighs less than our Catana and has 75hp engines can’t do the same.

    In any case, Xavier from Outremer has been really supportive and is working closely with me to find a solution. I’m sure we will figure it out soon, but it’s a bit of a frustrating process, particularly in an event like the Outremer Cup, when we couldn’t get our boat to sail like we know she can.


  3. Doug, try putting it in gear with the engine off. Even feathered, there will be some hydro lift on the propeller. On the boats I raced on, we had a mark on the shaft that we would align to get the least drag when the prop folded or feathered. Once aligned by hand, we would the put the transmission in gear to lock it. Once locked, the water flow would fold or feather the prop. If we didn’t lock it, we ended up with the same issues you described.

    • Hi James, very interesting what you say about finding the best position to feather. Now that I think about it, it makes sense that you would probably not want any of the blades positioned completely horizontally, since that would create more turbulence as the hulls move up and down in waves. It’s (yet another) drawback of having saildrives though that you can’t tell where the shaft is positioned, but we are going to take a lot of underwater video as we explore this prop issue further, so we can find out how they behave in forward, reverse and blocked, and I will try and correlate that with shaft/blade position. Without the video, we are guessing at too many things.

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