Engine Transmission While Sailing- Fixed and Special Props – Mainsheet February 2005

Engine Transmission While Sailing- Fixed and Special Props
Warren Elliott
Mainsheet Date: 2/1/2005
Hull #: 44 

There had been a lot of discussion, and some confusion, on this topic occurring on our Sailnet email group a couple of years ago. The major issue was what gear should be used while sailing, in order to minimize wear on transmission parts, particularly with an Autoprop. This is an unusual prop, so different rules may apply. A secondary problem is the special transmission clutch used on our Yanmar engines, which are found on the newer C380’s and on all C387’s and C390’s. With additional knowledge and experience gathered over time, a report on this subject seems appropriate.

To start things off on the engine side of the issue, I contacted Joe Joyce at Westerbeke for info on this issue with regard to their 42B engine. Those of us with older 380’s [up to

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One thought on “Engine Transmission While Sailing- Fixed and Special Props – Mainsheet February 2005”

  1. Looking for opinions – I have a 2008 Catalina 387, with a Yanmar 3JH4E diesel engine, Kanzaki “TuffTorq” KM35A transmission, and fixed prop (likely original equipment).

    I’ve been taught that one should always sail with transmission in “REVERSE” to avoid excessive spinning through drivetrain without engine running (and lube flowing). On my 387 – when sailing with transmission in “REVERSE”, I cannot shift back into “NEUTRAL” without starting the engine (while in “REVERSE”, then shifting). From the article above, it looks like this is accepted behavior.

    Does anyone else sail with their Yanmar/Kanzaki in “REVERSE”? Do you have difficulty shifting out of “REVERSE” unless you start the engine? Does anyone have problems (or have concerns) with starting the engine while the transmission is in “REVERSE”, then shifting?

    Thanks, in advance, for your input!

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