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Old 08-05-2016, 01:15 PM   #1
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Spare Props, who needs em?

My recently purchased Ocean Alexander 456 Classico came with two new pare props. Both of these 29-inch props are stored in the V berth, under a bunk within a couple inches of the anchor locker.

My boat is out of trim, bow to stern by 4 - 6 inches - the bow is too low. OA tells me all their boats were built to sit properly with all tanks full and that no additional ballast should be required. The previous owner installed a bow thruster, which does not add so much weight as it reduces buoyancy. Along with the props, which I recon weigh 80 pounds each (or perhaps more) I have another 100 pounds of spares. With bow thrusters and batteries/charger I probably have an additional 350 pounds forward.

Because this is so far forward, in the narrowest part of the boat, I figure the additional weight is contributing to my bad attitude. Other contributory things include an additional genset installed just forward of mid ship and two ACs in the fly bridge under the helm, along with a second Ice maker.

So finally to my question: how many of you carry spare props and of how many of you have ever needed the spares? Given that I have a protective keel between the two shafts, the extra props seem a bit of overkill and I am thinking of putting them in the garage. There are no other good locations for the props, but if I thought they were that important, I would try to find a home astern.

Of course, I did not notice the boat imbalance when I bought...the forward fuel tank, some 230 gallons worth, was empty. The forward tank is just forward of midship.

Thanks in advance for insights/experiences.

Gordon
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Old 08-05-2016, 01:39 PM   #2
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If you don't stray far from home I'd say ok. My first thought would be to play with your trim tabs if the situation is causing performance issues.
The keel offers some protection but far from complete.
As full-time cruisers we were very grateful to have a set of spare props and a spare shaft to boot though we never needed the latter.
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:02 PM   #3
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I have a set of spare props at home, and only because I have a spares, not because I actually need them.

If I hit something and need to switch to the spare set of props, its going to take a diver, or a haulout anyway.

In that case what good does it do me to carry the spare props around anyway. Might as well have them shipped to me, or go get them.

I frankly find the same issue with folks that carry spare shafts around. If I can get a part air freighted in a couple of days, why carry a spare, if I cant fix ther problem myself at sea.
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:05 PM   #4
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Our last boat was an OA it had about about 350 lbs of lead ingots setting in various areas to level the boat... Spare props shouldn't impact the trim that much, The 1500 lbs of fuel probably has more affect...
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:09 PM   #5
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Be honest with yourself, George was a hardcore cruiser and I was not. I'd stick them in the garage at home. Funny thing is we are both right as it all depends upon use.

Now if I ever did leave for a multi day to week cruise I'd stick them back under that vberth before I left.
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:23 PM   #6
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My boat came with a spare prop. I in eight years and I have been up and down the AICW and Chesapeake Bay a couple times. Not much to some folks, impressive to others. I haven't used the spare prop. I couldn't swap them myself anyway, it would take a diver or a haulout and special tools to do it. I carry it "just in case".


Can you find a place to store your spares near the stern of the boat? That should help your weight problem. If not, take them off the boat and see if this helps.

You have to judge the risk of not having spares yourself. Somebody mentioned having them shipped to you if you are away but that only works if someone has access to them and is willing to go to the trouble of shipping them.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:16 PM   #7
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I think it is very rare for cruisers to actually benefit from spare props. If you hit hard enough to where it can't be fixed, you probably have shaft damage too, and are going for a haul.

I'd get them out.

Most boats can get screwed up trim with various tank loads. I know mine does when both are full full. So I trim the boat with fuel. Rarely keep over half in the tanks, and need a bit more in port to get boat level. I only fill the tanks if I need to for travel plans.

So empty your fwd tank, and take the props off.
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:57 PM   #8
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We don't carry spare props for the reasons others have mentioned. Space is at a premium and there are just things more important to us. We keep them at home and at any time we can have them sent to us overnight.
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Old 08-06-2016, 07:20 AM   #9
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Bow down trim on a displacement boat usually does not raise the fuel bill.
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:19 AM   #10
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Likely a dumb question: Why have a spare prop? Seems a significant investment gathering dust. As others have noted a haul may well be needed in any case.

Is the whole point to save time by not having to wait to have the prop reworked or a new one acquired? How much time would either of those actions take?
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:34 AM   #11
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Likely a dumb question: Why have a spare prop? Seems a significant investment gathering dust. As others have noted a haul may well be needed in any case.

Is the whole point to save time by not having to wait to have the prop reworked or a new one acquired? How much time would either of those actions take?
Ok let me help you see the value.
A few years ago we left for our annual trip to the North Channel of Lake Huron. Day one running the St. Clair River we found the only bar in the river. (our fault long story) Sat on the bar for 6 hours waiting for tow, the props were bent beyond use. Limped into the yard next to bar after we were towed clear (how convenient). Spent the night as it was now dark. By 9am we were on the hard and having our shafts and props serviced. Shafts good. Spare props installed back on the river by 11am. Pulled into Tobermory harbor at 1630. 3 hours later than we originally had scheduled. If we did not have spares we would have been 2 days at best or a week at worst lost while we located and purchased a pair of 24" props.
Total cost at the yard less than $500. Damaged props dealt with when we returned 3 weeks later.
Vacation time priceless.
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Old 08-06-2016, 09:59 AM   #12
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I have another question, how do you know the boat is out trim? are you going by the reveal on the bottom paint? If so the bottom paint may have been put on by the dealer with the boat not fully loaded when the line was established?
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:07 AM   #13
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Likely a dumb question: Why have a spare prop? Seems a significant investment gathering dust. As others have noted a haul may well be needed in any case.

Is the whole point to save time by not having to wait to have the prop reworked or a new one acquired? How much time would either of those actions take?
In some places the wait could be 3-5 days and possible double (even in a boating area).
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:03 PM   #14
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In some places the wait could be 3-5 days and possible double (even in a boating area).
Possibly south Florida and the islands are different than what I found in Alaska.

In 2003 I was bringing a new to me 34' Bayliner up the inside passage from Seattle to Whittier Alaska.

While crossing the Gulf of Alaska I hit a log, and limped into Icy Bay north of Yakutat. This is about as remote a place as you can get in the Norhtern Hemisphere.

I called on the radio and had a float plane bring in a diver to assess the damage. He pulled the props and we determined that we could not fix the props onsite enough to get me the rest of the way home.

I used his satellite phone to call an outfit called "the prop shop" in the Seattle area. The owner had a set of props in stock that would work with a little boring on his part, and he hand carried my new props to Alaska Airlines in Seattle that afternoon.

The next afternoon they had my props in Yakutat Alaska. The next morning they flew back out to the boat which was tied to a log rick in Icy Bay by float plane and the diver installed the new props.

Total time down was I think three days.

Yes a spare set of props would have saved time. Of course it would have. That said if I can manage that situation in 3 days, there is not allot of need in my opinion to carry a set of props onboard. Especially since 99% of peoples cruising grounds are better accessable than mine.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:24 PM   #15
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Likely a dumb question: Why have a spare prop? Seems a significant investment gathering dust. As others have noted a haul may well be needed in any case.

Is the whole point to save time by not having to wait to have the prop reworked or a new one acquired? How much time would either of those actions take?
Some times a new one might not be simple or quick, depending on your propeller. Especially if you want a 100% identical prop.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:38 PM   #16
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Pacific Yellowfin uses its spare prop as a base for the dining table on the fantail.
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:18 PM   #17
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Possibly south Florida and the islands are different than what I found in Alaska.

In 2003 I was bringing a new to me 34' Bayliner up the inside passage from Seattle to Whittier Alaska.

While crossing the Gulf of Alaska I hit a log, and limped into Icy Bay north of Yakutat. This is about as remote a place as you can get in the Norhtern Hemisphere.

I called on the radio and had a float plane bring in a diver to assess the damage. He pulled the props and we determined that we could not fix the props onsite enough to get me the rest of the way home.

I used his satellite phone to call an outfit called "the prop shop" in the Seattle area. The owner had a set of props in stock that would work with a little boring on his part, and he hand carried my new props to Alaska Airlines in Seattle that afternoon.

The next afternoon they had my props in Yakutat Alaska. The next morning they flew back out to the boat which was tied to a log rick in Icy Bay by float plane and the diver installed the new props.

Total time down was I think three days.

Yes a spare set of props would have saved time. Of course it would have. That said if I can manage that situation in 3 days, there is not allot of need in my opinion to carry a set of props onboard. Especially since 99% of peoples cruising grounds are better accessable than mine.

Probably could of had 2 sets of extra props on board for what shipping and handling costs were... We have always carried a spare set on board... Alaska waters have a lot less logs and debris than the San Juans to Rupert... plus most of the villages have a tidal grid... We have even changed props tied to a dock it isn't fun but can be done...
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Old 08-06-2016, 01:40 PM   #18
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Pacific Yellowfin uses its spare prop as a base for the dining table on the fantail.
I'll bet that hurts when you bang your shin on it!
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Old 08-06-2016, 02:48 PM   #19
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Nose down

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I have another question, how do you know the boat is out trim? are you going by the reveal on the bottom paint? If so the bottom paint may have been put on by the dealer with the boat not fully loaded when the line was established?
The front bilge drains to the peak oand not to the rear of that bilge section. To clean the bilge I must take the boat out and get her up to speed so that water reaches bilge pump. Water collects on the side decks, does not drain well.

The boat handles well, but even the ice maker leaks a bit because it does not set level.

Gordon
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Old 08-06-2016, 04:07 PM   #20
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Probably could of had 2 sets of extra props on board for what shipping and handling costs were... We have always carried a spare set on board... Alaska waters have a lot less logs and debris than the San Juans to Rupert... plus most of the villages have a tidal grid... We have even changed props tied to a dock it isn't fun but can be done...
Yes, that is true.

I hit that log in 2003

13 seasons ago.
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