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Old 21-05-2008, 09:12   #1
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Sensed something wrong when I woke up

I was solo sailing down the SW coast of Florida, towing my inflatible, heading over to the Keys. I use a spring wound, long ring, kitchen timer, to wake me up every 15 - 20 minutes. The timer went off, and I dragged my tired body up the companionway and took a look around, and checked the sails, The sails were full, and I didn't see any other boats, so I started back down the steps. But something just didn't seem right.
I went back up, and realized the dink was next to the boat! I checked the GPS and realized the boat wasn't moving. I checked the depth sounder, and saw I had 40 feet of water.
I had picked up a lobster or crab pot! Actually stopped us.
So I grabbed my knife and was about to jump in, when I woke up enough to realize that when I cut the line, the boat would sail away!!
I rolled up the jib and fought getting the main down, as it had wind holding it. Then tied a line to me and boat and jumped in, and cut us free.
This was the 2nd out of 3 or so times the boat (Bristol 35, full keel) ever picked up a pot, and we have ran over hundreds of them. In season, some areas around the Keys are like a mine field with them. fin keelers beware!
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Old 21-05-2008, 09:29   #2
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Now I'm not being facetious or anything confrontational, not a lobster fisher, but wouldn't you try to untangle yourself first? I mean, somebody's making (or trying to make) a living from those traps. I don't really know, having never gotten tangled in one of them. I hear they're a real nuisance.
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Old 21-05-2008, 09:54   #3
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Didn't you notice a change in the motion of the boat?
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Old 21-05-2008, 09:55   #4
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I should have been more specific, I always take a knife down in case it's needed. In this case with the wind blowing the boat, even with sails down, it was impossible to get any slack to untangle it.
I do respect Lobster fisherman.
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Old 21-05-2008, 10:04   #5
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Another question. Since its an easy area to "pull over" why not just do that if you are so tired, instead of taking the risk?
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Old 21-05-2008, 10:08   #6
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How in the world would a full keel sailboat snag a lobster pot large enough to stop the boat? What did the line get caught on?
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Old 21-05-2008, 10:21   #7
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Picked up a few pots over the years, in practice very little chance of simply untangling due to the weight on the line.

I dunno about in OP's part of the world, but over here the pots are dropped in a string, with markers each end.....for this very reason! (albeit probably more for Mobos and commercial shipping slicing the line with their props).

My nightmare is tangling with a drift net - I really would not want to jump overboard due to the risk of entanglement (or at least my fear of - having never done that with a net!)....but fortunately not a hazard locally.
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Old 21-05-2008, 11:28   #8
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I once caught a fish trap in the middle of the night off Puerto Rico.
Same thing happened, the boat swung round with the sails full and pulling hard.
The seas were breaking over the stern into the cockpit, but draining out.
I doubt I would ever go overboard for a repair/whatever anyway as I stick with the boat; but the stern was lifting and falling, I could see it would be too dangerous for me underneath, it was difficult just keeping my balance on the after deck.
I duct taped a steak knife to a boat hook, put the prop in neutral and managed to saw the line off right away, it came completely free.
It was a relief. I didn't care if I could run the engine, but it was terrible being anchored stern to the seas, traffic all around.
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Old 21-05-2008, 11:48   #9
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While I'm glad it worked out for you, I can't imagine going over the side until I had tried every other possible alternative. Especially single handing. Freeing yourself from a pot (in otherwise benign conditions) isn't worth risking a life.

The first thing I do is to try to snag the line with the boat hook and pull it up on deck (after getting the sails down). Sometimes just pulling back some slack will cause the buoy to pop free. If conditions are fairly calm, I can save the fisherman's some trouble by cleating off the line before cutting it and then trying to fish the buoy end which is probably visible near the waterline on the other side of the boat. It's then a simple matter to tie the two cut ends together and be on my way -- with the comfort that I did something good for a fellow man.

If I can't pull the line up, I tape a knife to the boat hook and cut it from the deck - as mentioned above.

Most lobstermen (not sure about crab) do have pots in strings with two buoys so they won't loose any pots if one end is cut. I've also been told by a lobsterman that most now mark all of their pots with GPS. It's usually a simple matter to recover lost gear with a grapnel as long as the pot wasn't dragged a long distance.

The best thing, of course, is not to snag a pot in the first case. Instead of running over them, it's usually a simple matter to steer so as to pass just to leeward/down-current of the buoy (just look which way the buoy is pointing) Any line extends to windward/up- current. If you are sailing with children or non-sailing guests, watching for pots is a great way to involve them in sailing (and ward off sea sickness).

Of course this isn't practical if you are asleep or at night - then you just have to hope for the best.

Carl
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Old 21-05-2008, 17:50   #10
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charming is becoming alarming

When I first started to formulate this dream of buying a small boat to live on and see some of the world in I was charmed with the idea and aware I have alot of work to do in preparation neophyte that I am.
I plan on leaving Canada in 2010 finding an 30 foot or under out of Texas Calif. Florida wherever she my be, she has to have been around and kinda inexpensive, maybe I should call her wayward woman....nope bad idea.
I am new into the Tania Aebi book looking into various aspects of sailing and still feeling I am cruiser material .....but these traps and pots that grab ahold thats a new one I'm wondering if anyone out there would take a minute to list some other unexpecteds that I could expect. Lightning was first on my list of investigations.
To All You Brave Souls....my hats off
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Old 21-05-2008, 21:07   #11
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First, I didn't notice and difference in motion. Of course I was asleep. When I stuck my head out the companionway, the boat was heeled slightly and I could feel the wind, and the sails were full.

Second, "just pull over" LOL it's not like there was an off ramp out there. If I "pulled over" every time I needed a little sleep, over the years, I wouldn't have made much progress.

Third, There is no way on my boat to be able to reach down to the keel/rudder/prop area with a pole. If the seas are fairly flat, as they were and with only maybe 8 kts of wind, there isn't much problem going over the side to clear a line.

I can't remember whether it snagged the prop or rudder. It was about 15 years ago.

Another time motoring down the Jersey coast, the motor droped rpm and boat speed dropped in half= something snagged prop. I limped in to The Donalds marina's fuel dock. As soon as I got a few lines ties off, I told the attendant, I had to clear the prop, and and jumped in, and cut the ball of fish net off. Climbed back on and said thanks, untied and was off. All problens should be as fast and easy to fix!!
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Old 21-05-2008, 22:50   #12
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Many years ago, I purchased my dream - a Westsail 32 - in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and spent the day sailing back to my marina on the east coast of Puerto Rico. It was a long slow trip, and the Westsail came about very slowly when tacking, sometimes going into irons. I couldn't understand why the boat was behaving in such a sluggish manner. When I finally arrived at my marina and got off the boat, I saw that the barndoor rudder had snagged a fish trap and we had dragged it for more than twenty miles without knowing it was there. From the deck, you couldn't see the line snagged on the rudder. But from the dock it was obvious that we were dragging something.

I used a boathook to untangle the line and pulled up the fish trap which contained a red snapper.
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Old 22-05-2008, 08:52   #13
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12 or so years ago, I was captioning a Boy Scouts charter in the Fl Keys.
It was lobster season, but the Lobstermen were on strike, because of low prices. Another of the boats in the fleet, snagged a pot, and then they pulled it up, there were 12 Bugs in it! The captain on that boat told me later that the only humane (Lobstermain?) thing to do was to eat them, as they would have died in the trap.
i didn't think it was a good example to set for the scouts, but I didn't have a say in the matter.
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Old 22-05-2008, 09:49   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over40pirate View Post
12 or so years ago, I was captioning a Boy Scouts charter in the Fl Keys.
It was lobster season, but the Lobstermen were on strike, because of low prices. Another of the boats in the fleet, snagged a pot, and then they pulled it up, there were 12 Bugs in it! The captain on that boat told me later that the only humane (Lobstermain?) thing to do was to eat them, as they would have died in the trap.
i didn't think it was a good example to set for the scouts, but I didn't have a say in the matter.
Hah...you couldn't let them go? I wouldn't have either.
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