How to protect bronze parts on your sailboat

On occasion, YachtPals will come up with an article regarding a maintenance issue on sailboats that hits the nail right on the head. The latest one has to do with caring for bronze parts on boats. Bronze is used in a variety of ways on older classic sailboats and still remains in use on modern sailboats, such as propellers.

An auxiliary engine propeller spends months at a time in salt water, if not all year, and is a critical component of a sailboat’s propulsion when entering or leaving port, going through narrow channels, etc.  The simplest bronze propeller is typically a fixed-pitch two-blade propeller and replaceable at a reasonable cost. However, some of the more advanced propellers used on sailing pleasure craft are more sophisticated and costly, such as a folding three-blade propeller. The issue with bronze propellers is not simply a cosmetic one. They should be kept clean to allow maximum design efficiency and to remain vibration-free by ensuring the that the blades are free of underwater living growth such as barnacles. Speaking of barnacles, if these settle on a propeller’s opening and closing mechanism, the blades could fail to operate swiftly and properly, or to operate at all.

Folding three-blade bronze proppeler

Folding three-blade bronze proppeler by Flexofold

The higher the cost of a new propeller, the more attention it should obviously receive. YachtPals’ latest article addresses precisely that sort of concern by presenting the appropriate tips and tricks on how to maintain valued bronze parts on a sailboat.

For classic sailboats buffs, the article is even more useful in that classic sailboats usually include numerous bronze parts both immersed and above the waterline.

YachtPals’ additional links included at the end of the article on polishing bronze parts, such as Cleaning sails, Advanced anchoring techniques and Electrolysis 101 are well worth reading also.

As a final word, polishing submerged bronze parts such as propeller blades is not the end all. In fact, proper greasing of the mechanism designed to allow all propeller blades to fold and unfold when desired is even more critical. Reading the above-linked article by YachtPals should be complemented by researching the right way to keep folding props operating smoothly, taking into account the environment in which they are used.

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