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Comparison of Differences between Surface Drives on the Market

Comparison Table 0713

There are many makes of surface drives currently available in the marine market. Though all use surface piercing propellers as their means of propulsion, all drives are not created equal, nor do they provide the same levels of performance. Of the manufacturers, France Helices and Arneson are the two largest in terms of market share. [...]

Comparisons of Propulsion by Performance

prop eff graph

                      Last article, we compared different types of vessel propulsion by cost. Though costs are an important part of the decision on equipping a vessel, each type of propulsion has its’ strengths and weaknesses. Though France Helices manufactures the SDS, we are the first to [...]

Comparisons of costs


Upon a recent browse of some online naval architecture forums, several discussions related to surface drives repeated a common myth:   Surface drives are expensive   This belief is false. Surface drives could, perhaps, be considered expensive when compared to conventional fixed pitched propeller systems. However, on a performance basis, a surface drive will always [...]

Two New Patrol Boat Designs from France Helices


We have just made the following designs available for sale: A 22m Patrol Boat and a 28m Patrol Boat. Take a look below and feel free to contact us with any interest. 22m Patrol Boat                                         [...]

Vibration: Surface Drive vs Conventional Propellers


We recently encountered a customer who had severe vibration issues on their vessel. We prepared the graphic below to help explain the causes and differences in vibration between surface drives and conventional propellers. The earliest surface drives occasionally had vibration issues, and the customer had “heard” some incorrect, or grossly out of date, information. The [...]

A Rational Approach to Engine and Propeller Matching for High Speed Boats


The following paper was prepared by our President, Mr. Paul Bezzi, several years ago. We hope you find it interesting and useful.   Introduction.   I am writing this paper with the aim to help those deciding on which propulsion system to select for their particular application. The majority of yachts and fast boats are targeting [...]

New Naval Architects Directory


Speed Afloat was started not only to discuss high speed propulsion, surface drives, and propellers. We always intended this site to be an information source related to high speed vessels. Since naval architecture is so intertwined with propulsion and the ability to achieve high speeds and performance, we felt that it might be useful to [...]

Calculation information… and why we need it (Part III)

engine gb

This posting is related to engines and gearboxes, and how they impact vessel speed and performance. It is a common misconception that if you simply add more power to a vessel, that speed will increase. Though, on one level this supposition is true, on a different level it is misleading. Oftentimes, a higher power engine [...]

Calculation information… and why we need it (Part II)

calcs hull

Continuing on with this brief series, France Helices asks for information related to the hulls. Additionally, before any orders are processed, we review a diagram or drawing of the hull, looking for things that might influence the hydrodynamics of the vessel, and hence resistance, performance, and speed. Hull characteristics, such as steps, can impact vessel [...]

Calculation information… and why we need it (Part I)

calc climate

When a shipyard or naval architect contacts France Helices for the purpose of equipping a vessel with SDS, we ask for a fairly substantial amount of information, some may say excessive, about the vessel and its’ mission. Why? Well, because in order to obtain and information that has any real meaning, we simply MUST know this [...]