Friday, December 30, 2011
It is essential to have the correct amount of tip clearance between the end of the propeller blades and the hull. The recognised minimum clearance should be between one sixth and one fifth of the total prop diameter. Therefore with a 16 inch blade like the one in the picture we should be looking for about a 2 and half inch clearance at least What there is in fact is so little room that it was impossible to get even the end of my pen between the underside of the hull and the blade tip. The way that a prop works is fairly complex and it creates lift and thus drives the boat forward. When the tip clearance is compromised two things happen; the first is that the water flow is interrupted and the blade will not be anything like as efficient and secondly the water is 'trapped' between the rotating prop and the hull. With each revolution this slap will be felt inside the boat as added vibration. The only way around this problem in this particular case would be to either have a slightly longer shaft to move the prop away from the boat a little but even that I doubt would not be enough or secondly would be to go for a different prop of perhaps a smaller diameter but with a slightly increased pitch.
As a footnote the generally accepted practice is that the shaft should project no more than one and a half times it's diameter past the end of the cutless bearing.