This post is about a remarkable range of sailboats built by Bruckmann in Canada.  Bruntons Varifold were asked to re-prop the vessel from a Maxprop which was proving to be noisy to a folding Varifold Propeller.  The resulting journey in switching over the propulsion was a good one for all concerned with the skipper being especially please with the results!

The Bruckmann family has been building quality sail and motor yachts for over 40 years. Today, Mark Bruckmann continues the tradition of building the highest caliber classic sailing and motor yachts. Bruckmann’s Yachts are among the finest and most sophisticated on the water combining their old-world skills with todays most modern materials, techniques and equipment. Bruckmann’s product line consists of timelessly designed purpose built yachts. All share a common respect for the sea, lasting quality and value. Bruckmann Yachts is located approximately 20 miles west of Toronto.


The boat the work took place on is called the S/Y Bonaventure, owned by Dan Betty, who  is a serial boat owner and has enjoyed both sailboats—a Mason 44 and a Northeast 400 motorsailer—and powerboats—a Hatteras 41, a Mathews 46 and an Atlantic 47.  The 50 combined the best qualities of all of the great boats that he’d already owned and he wanted to make it better by fitting a quiet and efficient propeller – the Varifold!


One of the qualities in the boats that sets the Bruckmanns apart is the classic Bristol or Herreshoff styling in the finish work below decks. Mark Bruckmann creates interiors that have white bulkheads that are trimmed and detailed with brightly varnished mahogany or teak. Drawer handles, hinges and latches are sturdy classic designs. Ports and hatches are all top of the line. The engine room under the raised pilothouse is a joy to look at and work in, with good access to all engineering systems.

The Bruckmann 50 MkII is a lovely and capable cruising boat, and with the addition of the stern platform and the optional 200 HP engine, this great design has only gotten better. It has earned the reputation of being one of the best-designed, best built cruising motor sailers available anywhere. The hull was designed from the keel up to combine the best qualities of a displacement sailboat with the load carrying ability and buoyancy aft of a displacement powerboat. This was no easy task, but Canadian yacht designer Mark Ellis got it right. The 50 is a true 10 knot boat that can achieve top speed under power, under sail with 15 knots of breeze or more, and when motor sailing.


The selection of the right propeller is also important on a motorsailer. It has to provide solid thrust when under power, both forward and reverse, but there will be long periods of time when the boat will be under sail. The prop may be asked to only provide a small assist, turning five knots under sail alone into eight knots motor-sailing. This is something a Varifold Folding Sailboat Propeller can achieve very well.

So with this in mind, Bruntons Propellers were asked to replace the existing Maxprop propeller on Dan’s Bruckmann 50. Careful sea trial with  the existing Maxprop were conducted in a calm cove with 0 knots wind or current, 200 gallons of fuel on board, a clean prop and clean hull bottom – perfect. The trials also tested various RPM’s in conditions ranging up to 30 knots of apparent head winds and 12 foot seas over extended periods of time. The achievable speeds were faster than indicated over long periods in choppy conditions using time and GPS fix for measurements. The engines were quiet, smooth and very pleasant below 2150 RPM.  The John Deere technician reported that the engine was easily capable of 2450 RPM continuous duty.


The red line on the engine was just 2,600 rpm, and in practice it was found that around 1,800 RPM would deliver decent speed, 8.4 knots, with a fuel burn rate of 2.6 gallons per hour. If absolute range under power was the goal, throttling back to 1,000 RPM still produced 5.1 knots, burning 0.6 GPH. Dan pushed the throttle all the way forward and watched the tach rev up to 2,575 rpm, giving us 9.7 knots with a fuel burn rate of 7.8 gph.

Dan Betty has done a lot of fairly serious research on the prop for “Bonaventure.” He has tried fixed, feathering and folding props, discovering the benefits of each and has settled on a four-blade Varifold Folding Sailboat Propellers. “It’s the smoothest, quietest prop I’ve used,” he says.


Bruckmann Yachts is one of the most highly respected builders of custom and semi custom yachts in North America and has fitted Varifold Folding Sailboat Propellers to their Bruckmann 50.  This review was also published in Blue Water Sailing.

The contact details for Bruckmann Yachts are as follows:
Bruckmann Yachts
2265 Royal Windsor Drive
Mississauga, Ontario
Canada L5J 1K5