Folding Propeller for Cruising and Racing Sailboats

The Varifold 3 blade folding sailboat propeller is a design breakthrough in propeller technology.  It is a winning combination of good thrust, improved performance in reverse maneuvers and smooth, quiet running when powered. Developed especially for cruising and racing yachts, its cambered design combined with skewed blade tips ensures that maximum thrust is delivered with minimum noise and vibration.

 Varifold”s feathered position is also unique. The blades fold in with only the slightest of gaps, thereby minimizing drag when sailing. The blades open out against buffer pads fitted in the hub. These buffers cushion the blades when  the propeller opens into drive position. Each Varifold is dynamically finely balanced, and, with its gleaming, matt finish, stands out as a top-quality propeller. Folding propeller in mother-of-pearl finish.

3 Blade Folding Propeller

The Varifold 3 blade folding sailboat propeller is available in diameters from 16″ to 25″ for engines rated up to 350 HP and is a very affordable option for those looking to take advantage of optimizing their propulsion system for sailing.  The folding 3 blade propeller is available in 2 versions, the first can be mounted on a conventional shaft and this model is known as the VF-108.  The hub for this model is tapered to the shaft so as to streamline the flow and allow the blades to be hidden from the flow. The unit is simple to install and the installation guide may be downloaded here – 3 blade propeller installation guide.

3 blade varifold sailboat propeller clear


3 Blade Sail Drive Propeller

The second model, which is becoming very popular is the sail drive option.  For vessels where a long shaft line is not an option a vertical drive shaft and a gearbox type ”leg” hold the propeller.  This saves on space but does require a special hub. The sail drive manufacturers specify a torsional damping system be installed inside the hub to protect the sail drive gears should the propeller foul on any submerged object.  This addition to the design makes the hub a larger diameter, but it is still faired in  with the design of the sail drive.  The fitting for the sail drive is also slightly different from the shaft version and requires the hub to be fitted with a splined bore; we offer Yanmar and Volvo spline inserts for the propeller.

Varifold spline kit for sail drive

In both models of this 3 blade propeller, the blades fold completely together for minimum drag and are a modern blade design with substantial blade area for smooth running and minimum noise, vibration and cavitation.  Finally the design is fitted with rubber bump stops minimize blade opening impact.

Spare Parts – 3 Blade Varifold Propeller

For the 3 blade folding propeller there are also 2 types of propeller available and they again share most of the same parts. For the 3 blade shaft option (VF-108) and the sail drive option (VF-108SD) the zinc anode is fitted onto of the gear system on the propeller boss. There is no difference in the zinc anodes between the 2 models.  The zinc anode for the 3 blade folding propeller is item VF3AN  anode. To see how easy it is to fit a saildrive zinc see our VF3AN zinc anode page. The most common spare parts (with links to the store) for the 3 blade Varifold folding propeller on our online store are Varifold 3 blade anode, Varifold 3 blade buffer pad (old style), Varifold 3 blade buffer pad (new style). In addition we also provide a fastener kit for the 3 blade propellers both propeller options so you can replace any of the fasteners due to wear or fouling as well as a bumper stop kit to ensure smooth opening of the propeller.

Varifold VF3AN zinc anode 1 VF3BP-1 Varifold buffer pad VF3BS

Servicing – Varifold 3 blade Propeller

The 3 blade Varifold folding sailboat propeller is relatively simple to install and simple to service.  As with all the propellers they will be prone to galvanic corrosion and care must be taken to ensure that they are protected using sacrificial zinc anodes. To identify the right zinc anode for a varifold propeller see the anode guide page. In addition buffer pads must be replaced along with the the anodes to provide a cushion when the blade opens. Installation guides can be found below for the 3 blade Varifold folding sailboat propellers and there is a Service reference page for more detailed information and guidance on the parts each propeller requires.