Skip to main content

To Freewheel or Not

I sail an S2 8.7 with a Yanmar 2GM engine. When sailing, should the prop be locked or should I let it freewheel? If I should lock it, is it better to put the transmission in forward or reverse?

Edward Simon of Orchard Park, New York asks:

I sail an S2 8.7 with a Yanmar 2GM engine. When sailing, should the prop be locked or should I let it freewheel? If I should lock it, is it better to put the transmission in forward or reverse? I have asked around the boatyard and have received conflicting answers.

Nigel Calder replies:

There are several different issues here: drag, noise and wear. I’ll ignore the controversial question of drag, because I assume you don’t want to listen to the annoying rumble of a freewheeling propeller if you don’t have to. You also won’t want the unnecessary transmission and bearing wear.

Yours is a manual transmission (as is the case on most sailboats), and it should be locked by putting it in reverse. If you put it in forward gear, under certain sailing conditions you can get clutch slip and wear. Some boats have hydraulic transmissions, which should not be allowed to freewheel, since there is no lubrication and failure is a possibility. These, however, cannot be locked by putting them in gear, but rather require the use of a shaft brake.

Have a question you'd like to ask our experts? Email us at sailmail@sailmagazine.com!

Related

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more

bermuda

How to Spectate on the Newport Bermuda

The biannual Newport Bermuda Race starts on Friday with the first warning signal at 1 pm. Whether you’re tracking a loved one’s progress or just spectating an event that draws pros and weekend warriors alike, there are plenty of ways to stay up to watch. The starting line will ...read more

03-Hyeres-220429_SOF2022_SAILINGENERGY_1933_3184-copy

US Sailing Strikes Gold in Hyères

After being skunked or nearly skunked at multiple Olympiads, could the US Sailing Team (USST) now under the direction of Olympic veteran Paul Cayard, be finally turning it around? If its performance at the 53rd French Olympic Week regatta in Hyères, France, where the team posted ...read more

P1480042

New York City’s Newest Fleet

120 children enrolled in Brooklyn Boatworks’ STEM and life skills-focused program launched their hand-built optimist prams on June 14 from Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The launch is the culmination of years of student work, with boats in process before the pandemic caused the ...read more

AdobeStock_197518370

Charter: Off the Beaten Path

So, you like to charter in the Caribbean with its warm waters, swaying palm trees, steady trade winds and strong rum drinks. What’s not to love? It can be easy, though, to get stuck in a rut when chartering year after year in the same place. Sure, the British Virgin Islands are ...read more