Propspeed Gets the Thumbs up from Seasoned Sailors

Patrick and Rebecca Childress offer their expert insights into what works and what doesn't on their Valiant 40, Brick House.


Twelve years into their circumnavigation, Patrick and Rebecca Childress offer their expert view of the products they have been using aboard their Valiant 40, Brick House. One of these products is Propspeed, in which Patrick and Rebecca only had positive feedback. 


"I have never been able to keep antifouling on any propeller that was installed on Brick House no matter what material the prop was made of. Antifouling quickly disappeared, which meant the beginning again of the biweekly chore to scrub the marine growth from the prop and drive shaft. In the 85-degree tropical water to which we are accustomed, the work was not terribly uncomfortable. However, there are frigid South American waters in our future, so I want the prop and shaft cleaning to be a quick “in and out” operation. We have had Propspeed, which is a silicone coating, on our propulsion system in the past and it did what the advertising said it would do. We were very satisfied. The application is a very precise process of sanding, cleaning, etching, applying primer and then the final application of the clear silicone coating. The clear coating is not antifouling but an ultra-smooth surface that marine organisms have a very difficult time attaching to. If organisms do settle in the first year of application, I have been able to easily brush them off with a soft rag, and I would do this every two to three weeks to be on the safe side. As the Propspeed ages, a little more agitation is needed to brush the critters away. 

Photo: Patrick and Rebecca Childress

The manufacturer of our Kiwiprop suggested that it is not necessary to prime the Zytel blades before applying traditional antifouling or Propspeed. I have learned to ignore that advice. With a Kiwiprop, however, an applicator must be careful not to build up any material in the area of swing of the blades’ trailing edge, as this could inhibit their forward-to-reverse function. I can’t imagine a young-kid boatyard worker doing the application of Propspeed, correctly. Proper progression and timing of the application process is a fluid motion which leaves no room for taking a lunch or smoke break. Having a countdown timer during the application is useful to make sure one stays within the narrow window for proper adhesion between cleaning, priming and applying the finish coat. Propspeed is another great product made in New Zealand by Oceanmax."


By Patrick and Rebecca Childress


Blog post published 18 September 2019