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…