For as long as any of us have been alive, the fundamentals of propeller technology have remained unchanged. And another thing that’s remained unchanged is the efficiency loss all propellers experience due to tip cavitation. All propellers create vortices at the tips of the blades, and the resulting cavitation not only cuts into the propeller’s efficiency but also cause turbulence that results in noise and vibration. Enter: the Sharrow Propeller.
At the 2020 Miami International Boat Show, there was a ton of buzz over this new invention—and the Sharrow won an NMMA Innovation Award. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell: by using loops rather than blades, it basically eliminates the blade tips entirely. Tip vortices and cavitation doesn’t form (because it doesn’t have anywhere to do so) and efficiency shoots up by between nine and 15-percent.
Just imaging burning nine to 15-percent less fuel, while going faster than your boat ever could by spinning that regular old prop. And on top of that, the overall noise and vibrations felt on the boat go down significantly. Added bonus: since the loops present two surface areas as compared to a blade’s single area, the prop has a much better bite on the water. Handling is improved, handling in reverse is improved even more, the boat can get on plane at lower RPM, and hole shot is reduced.
Nifty stuff, but one question remains: just how much will you have to pay to swap that prop for a Sharrow? Truth be told, we can’t yet say exactly. What we do know is that Sharrow has already custom made props for some larger commercial boats via milling, and aluminum models were going for around $5,000 while stainless-steel ones cost around twice that amount. Ouch. At the Miami show, however, Sharrow had their first cast-built prop on display. And although they hadn’t set pricing for the MX-1 as of yet, they said its cost would likely be slightly higher than—but competitive with—regular modern propeller pricing. Stay tuned folks, because many of us are going to want to start spinning a Sharrow asap.