In addition to its propeller testing program that lets boaters try before they buy performance propellers, BBlades, a custom propeller fabricator in Wisconsin, now offers the same program with drive spacer plates for Bravo and Bravo Sport Master sterndrives and the Mercury Racing Dry Sump Six drive.
Spacer plates allow boaters to change the depth of the propeller in the water, which many people refer to as a boat’s X-dimension. Lowering the propeller deeper into the water can improve a boat’s handling and attitude, while raising it will free up the boat to increase speed. Spacer plates lower the drive’s gearcase or lower unit deeper into the water without having to change the drive height on the boat. If you were to try to do it without the benefit of the spacer plate, you’d have to remove the drive, fill in the transom and cut a new hole, which is expensive and might not work because you can’t test it first.
BBlades offers plates for Bravo and Bravo Sport Master drives in 1-inch, 1.5-inch and 2-inch depths. Boaters can test them for 15 days for a price of $100 per plate. The deposit and test fee are applied to the purchase price if the spacer plates produce the desired results. If additional testing is required, the plates can be traded for a different set for an additional fee until the boat is properly dialed in. The customer pays all shipping costs.
For serious high-performance boaters, BBlades is the only manufacturer offering Dry Sump Six drive spacer plates in ¼-inch increments, ranging from ¼-inch to 3-inch. Other manufacturers offer ½-inch increments, but some high-performance boats are so sensitive to propeller height that ¼-inch can make a big difference. The Dry Sump Six program works the same as the Bravo plates, but with a $200-per-plate testing fee. BBlades also offers riggers a complete line of Dry Sump Six Stud Spacers, which let the rigger decrease the size of the plates without changing the stud length. This saves time and labor.
To see if either spacer plate program would be worthwhile for your boat, contact BBlades at www.bblades.com.