Towards the end of our trip I was setting up several interviews with various boat work contractors around Kemah. The ship yards like Seabrook were incredibly expensive for basic work like bottom jobs. No, that’s not something dirty, but where they paint the bottom of the boat with really nasty paint that keep critters from growing on the bottom of the boat. Otherwise it starts to turn into a floating coral reef. Anyways, I got hooked up with a guy named Ben Miller who doesn’t seem to have been thrown out of normal society to chase the Grateful Dead for 15 years before he started working on boats like most the guys down here. Ben is retired military and was a pleasure to work with. He’ll be hauling the boat at the end of the month to knock out several of the more critical projects like the above mentioned bottom job and the installation of those cool new sailing instruments. All at a fraction of the cost of the bigger boat yards.
I know cruisers are not supposed to mingle with those racer types, but our razorback neighbors have talked me into doing some club racing with them on Wednesday nights this summer. Let’s face it, I’ve bought a big heavy boat and I can’t think of a better way to increase the performance of Romance than learning how to race a little bit. Only going a knot faster may not seem like much, but when you are talking about a two week passage that equates to 168 nautical miles. Plus they are a cool couple that Kris and I have really enjoyed getting to know. We even spent our New Years Eve with them on Forty Love, their hunter 420.
Speaking of a knot faster sailing performance I’ve been looking at something called a feathering propeller. I’ve got a huge 21 inch 3 blade bronze prop on the back of Romance that is perfect for motoring, but creates a whole lot of drag under sail. Not to mention the forward velocity induces the prop to spin or “windmill” under sail which can ruin the transmission since it doesn’t lubricate without the engine running. So, I can either rebuild/install a the proplock I have, or I can eliminate the need for one by installing a prop with blades that lays flat when the engine is off and I am running unders sail. Only problem is they are a little steep at $3,800 for one that will fit Romance. Have to think on this one a bit. Let me know if you have any experience with the various feathering props out there. This is a picture of the Max-prop. Probably the most common on the market.