Autoprop Sailboat propellers sail the world – literally!
The headline alone tells a story, but it’s when you get to hear just where this Autoprop has spent a very large part of its life that you realise just what a story it is.
(This article is from Bruntons main newsletter). Autoprops are revered by many owners as being the very best propeller that you can fit to cruising sailing yachts. They work! However one point that has not perhaps been discussed before in any detail is just how reliable and well-made they are.
Sir Chay Blythe had Autoprops fitted to his Round the World yachts and he was full of praise for both their performance and their reliability but, even his yachts only spent a small percentage of their time in the Southern Ocean and almost no time at all within range of ice. This is not the case with the yacht ‘Xplore’. Originally one of Sir Chay’s ‘Round the World’ boats she is now owned by Xplore Expeditions who use her almost totally in the Southern Ocean and are regularly in ice packed waters. To date her Autoprop has racked up an astonishing 262,000 nautical miles, much of it in conditions that are the most testing on the planet, for humans and Autoprops!
Stephen Wilkins, who owns Xplore Exhibitions, takes up the story. “Even before we bought Xplore, a Challenge 67, at the end of 2006 I had already been around the globe with an Autoprop in the BT Global Challenge as the skipper on Spirit of Hong Kong; that was 33,000 nautical miles of tough sailing. When we looked at what we wanted to do with high latitude and polar expeditions I knew that our engine and drive system was very important, you can’t get stuck in ice and remote locations with machinery failure. We stuck with Bruntons, and have now done 92,000 nautical miles with Xplore. Xplore being Challenge hull number 21 has now on record done 262,000 nautical miles, and yes it’s still the same propeller. Of course we do the normal maintenance and recommended checks, in the water and out, with Bruntons both are so simple. There are many stories and wild conditions that we have taken the boat into; too many to start talking of here, but when it comes to simple and reliable, give me an Autoprop any day.”
To see more about the boat or to find out about the expeditions please visit Xplore Expeditions.