Have you given much thought to your prop lately? Most boaters haven’t, of course. It’s at the stern, underwater while underway, and basically out of sight so out of mind.
“Still,” says Jason Frey, marketing manager for Turning Point Propellers,” your prop is one of the most vital parts of your vessel. In fact, it’s the only part that actually moves your boat. Having the right prop for the boat you skipper is absolutely vital because it affects every aspect of your boat’s performance from speed to responsiveness and even maneuverability.”
For most boaters, the correct prop comes properly matched to the vessel at purchase. But props are inherently consumable since nearly every recreational boater will at some point come in contact with the bottom over the course of a few boating seasons. That means it’s likely you’ll have to replace one eventually, notes Frey, because any noticeable nick, dent, bending of the blade or blade deformity will ultimately translate into lessened performance. You might not even notice small changes in the top speed or handling of your vessel, but the effect of even a few “dings” on fuel economy can be substantial.
That’s where Turning Point comes into play. Launched in 1997, the Jacksonville, FL company immediately brought new tools and new philosophies to the propeller game. Focused on cutting edge design since inception, they created the first two-piece propeller and hub system. A true breakthrough, this pairing allowed dealers to reduce their propeller inventory by 90% while still covering the majority of engines on the market. With this design, the hub fits onto the various prop engines and can match different propellers and different pitch options. Dealers used to have to keep up to 800 propellers on hand to cover all the engines, now they need carry only 100 or so. Their hub kit system also carries a life-time warranty – even if a boater hits something and spins the hub, it’s covered (This applies to non-commercial applications only. Visit http://www.tpprops.com/warranty for terms and conditions).
“Once you buy the hub you never have to buy one again because of the warranty,” says Frey. “That can save you up to 30% when buying a replacement propeller.”
Turning Point also manufactures aluminum propellers which perform similar to stainless steel props. They use the same blade geometry as used in their high-performance stainless models so the two run within a half -mile per hour of each other. Using a method called squeeze casting - similar to injection molding in that the casting is under pressure - their aluminum props reduce blade flex compared to competitive die-cast aluminum props.
“What we are really known most for though,” reveals Frey, “is our four-blade prop. It has two different blade geometries on the same barrel and that gives us some of the fastest four-blade propellers in the country. In fact, we test each new prop against all the major OEM and after-market props and make sure it’s faster than each one before we bring it to market. Our price points are less than an OEM propeller, too.”
Of course a lot of thought can go into choosing the perfect propeller for your vessel. You have to figure out the proper pitch and diameter for the make, model and size vessel, as well as how and where you plan to use it. Props with a higher pitch, for example, offer higher top speeds but slower acceleration while diameter usually increases for propellers fitted to slower boats vs faster boats. Thus, a go-fast boating family might want a high pitch small diameter prop while a fishing crew might prefer the opposite. Often, personal preference will land somewhere in the middle...
Gaining a full understanding of such points is fodder for another article, but Turning Point has actually made it fairly easy to pick the optimum prop for your boat - if you are planning to use one of their products - with a Prop Wizard Configurator on the company’s website. Simply enter your engine, boat model and extra weight on board and the program provides the proper pitch and diameter. Easy drop-down menus and autocomplete functions initiate a search of Prop Wizard’s database of more than 350,000 boat models spanning 35 years, as well as 7,000 engines. The program delivers pin-point accuracy in calculating the ideal Turning Point Hustler aluminum or Express stainless-steel prop for a boat.
In case you haven’t seen it already, Turning Point’s catch phrase is “Pull harder, run faster, handle better.” It may be an advertising slogan, but it does get the basic point across – and it seems spot on. Their props are certainly worth investigating if you find yourself calling your local Sea Tow team because you are spinning your propeller hub.