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?
Author:
Updated:
Original:

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.

NigelCalder

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

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Take no chances  This is my stern with the engine running slowly in gear against the lines. We all know that when we’re charging batteries this lets the engine warm up thoroughly. However, I have a ...read more

ZK-Seaboot-900

Gear: Zhik’s Seaboot 900

A Better Sea Boot Following up on its successful ZK Seaboot 800, Zhik’s Seaboot 900 was created in partnership with team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng Race Team, the latter the overall winner of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Designed for serious, long-distance offshore racers and ...read more

01-LEAD-FP-Astrea-42-Gilles-martin-rajet---Navigation

Switching to Solar Offshore

No sensible bluewater sailor would consider setting off on a long cruise these days without some means of generating power other than by burning fossil fuels. The good news is that solar energy is becoming less expensive by the day, making it an obvious answer for providing the ...read more

190812-Tiwal-Video-600x

Video: Tiwal Cup 2019

Who says you need a superyacht to have fun? It would be hard to imagine having a better time on the water than these sailors recently did racing aboard a fleet of Tiwal inflatable sloops. ...read more

GEMINI-BATTERY-PASSAGE

Experience: No Batteries, Big Problems

After sailing on Puget Sound and in British Columbia for over 30 years, my wife, Jeri, and I retired to Florida, bought a house on Punta Gorda and worked hard to get it straight. The walls had been painted, furniture bought and assembled, belongings packed, transported and ...read more