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Old 22-11-2014, 19:58   #16
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

Sailing in the Pacific 1,000 miles from any land, we snagged a flotsam fishing net piece, One of us had to go over the side in swells and windy conditions to cut at the net around the prop. It took some time and lots of effort. Being under the boat in conditions like that is dangerous. It convinced me that I would not want to do that if it could be avoided. Consequently, I want line cutters on my prop.
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Old 22-11-2014, 20:09   #17
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Sailing in the Pacific 1,000 miles from any land, we snagged a flotsam fishing net piece, One of us had to go over the side in swells and windy conditions to cut at the net around the prop. It took some time and lots of effort. Being under the boat in conditions like that is dangerous. It convinced me that I would not want to do that if it could be avoided. Consequently, I want line cutters on my prop.
I think we must be talking about a different type of technology.
The Line cutters I'm familiar with require the shaft turning at decent speeds to cut the line.
I'm not familiar with an effective line cutter that works while sailing offshore. Were you sailing or motoring?
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Old 23-11-2014, 06:12   #18
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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But the line cutter has so many more friction surfaces the stop to the shaft is more acute. I could imagine it resulting in shaft or engine damage.
For me it's always just resulted in embarrassment, and in one instance dry docking expenses.
I have certainly heard mixed views, but I guess if the line cutter does its job, then you'll never actually know precisely becasue it did it's job. You'll only ever know if something is sufficiently bad to defeat the cutter, but unless any evidence is left that you find at the next haul-out, you'll otherwise not know that the cutter saved you numerous other incidents when you carried on blissfully unaware.
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Old 23-11-2014, 06:47   #19
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
I think we must be talking about a different type of technology.
The Line cutters I'm familiar with require the shaft turning at decent speeds to cut the line.
I'm not familiar with an effective line cutter that works while sailing offshore. Were you sailing or motoring?
Hello.

I don't expect any cutter to work if the prop is not turning.

My point about wanting cutters on my boat, and why I want them still stands.

Most sailboats spend time motoring or motor sailing.

I recommend that everyone watch the following video showing line cutter tests performed by Yachting monthly magazine. Their full report is found in the April 2009 issue. The video shows how each of the tested cutters work when various commonly encountered items are sucked into the prop vortex and wound around the shaft. This includes rope, wires and nets.

Yachting Monthly Test of Line Cutters
Rope cutters YM - YouTube

The net that our boat caught was the 4mm polypropylene fishing net and large enough to look like a 50 foot green dragon following or boat. That kind of net quickly stops a prop and creates significant drag. I was impressed by the Spurs test in the video.
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Old 23-11-2014, 07:40   #20
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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They work, but are used in my area to mainly cut through lobster pots when one is too lazy to keep a good watch. Not a very good idea, and very inconsiderate to the people fishing for a living.

As others said above - I have never fouled a prop on a line.

Please come try to navigate the Florida keys. It is impossible to steer a strait line South of Largo for more than a minute or two in any water that is under 100 feet deep including the channels. There are miles upon miles of lobster pots floats spaced closely together in all directions as far as the eye can see. As mentioned earlier many of the floats are black with growth and tiny i.e.(invisible). Those that have never picked up a lobster pot must either be in areas where there are very few fisherman or have full keels and shrouded folding props. During our two week trip to Key West from West Palm Beach last month we got tangled at least 4 times requiring someone going over the side to cut the mess free and that is with more than one person trying to maintain a pot watch at all times while underway. As mentioned before if there is any kind of chop many of the floats will be submerged. Our boat has two sail drives and 2 spade rudders so admittedly not the best design for not getting fouled easily.
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Old 23-11-2014, 08:29   #21
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

I had Spurs brand cutters installed on my boat when it was built more than 25 years ago. I would never deliberately hit a pot warp, but I've hit at least one by accident. With the Spurs, I've never had to clear the prop. I did once find a 12" piece of 3/8" polypro caught on the rudder.
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Old 23-11-2014, 08:32   #22
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

I had a set of Spurs on my boat when I bought it. When I hauled the boat it was clear that the unit was toasted...cracked castings...and upon researching the cost of a replacement I elected to forgo putting one back on. That said, at the next haul I will likely put one on.

I've been in many areas, from Maine to the Caribbean, that have fields of pots, and it can indeed be difficult to effectively spot all of them given their condition and the sea state. I figure I've just been lucky that I haven't picked something up yet and that I'm living on borrowed time.

I'm less concerned with the hassle of going over the side to clear a fouled prop than I am by damage that certain lines and fouls can cause. I know more than a couple of people who've suffered ruined props, bent shafts, and even damaged transmissions from fouling a line. I suppose a line cutter is cheap insurance in the larger scheme of things.

However, I was not impressed with the design and construction of the Spurs unit I took off and it does not look like the design has changed from my older example. I just don't see how it could deal with any larger sized line. The disc design cutters appear to me like they would be more effective as they have continuous cutting action on anything fouled in that area, at least enough to cause the sort of binding that would cause damage to the boat.

I agree of course that it is the skipper's responsibility to avoid pots as best as possible, and I don't think (or at least I hope) that there are not a lot of boaters out there that think of having cutters as license to steam through fields of traps. I consider cutters as a last line of defense, as a means to avoid damage, when you've done everything possible to avoid getting fouled.
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Old 23-11-2014, 15:38   #23
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Being under the boat in conditions like that is dangerous. It convinced me that I would not want to do that if it could be avoided. Consequently, I want line cutters on my prop.
I think this a VERY valid point. We are not talking about ideal sailing conditions, being able to avoid pots and it being little problem to go in and clear a line, but the likelyhood that the engine is being used due to the seastate to help make headway. These are not conditions in which to get in the water.

In my experience of the English channel, there was also the issue of strong tide and darkness plus a pitching boat. We have been motorsailing trying to make against wind and tide which is why the engine was on. Once we became entangled it became impossible to get the mainsail down as we had no steerage and couldn't go head-to-wind, and the wind then simply filled the partially collapsed sail and nothing would pull it down.

So had I gone into the water and surived the tide rip and the dark and been able to see what I was doing (I do always carry a small dive torch), it has to be remembered the the moment the boat was free it would likely try and sail away from me even witout any tide or darkness. Going in the water with a line attached would be a recipe for me to become trapped under the water so also not a good idea.

I also scuba dive and have been in the water in some pretty poor conditions. This means I've returned to a dive boat in rough weather and even with large dive ladders...easier to use than a typical yacht swim ladder...getting back on board is difficult as the boat pitches up and down and when moored, swings from side to side.

It's hard to approach, be close enough to grab the ladder as it swings past, but not be so close as to have you head cut open as the tansom pitched down, quite possibly rendering you unconscious in the water.

I shall watch the video with interest :-)
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Old 23-11-2014, 16:02   #24
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Originally Posted by ShaktisBoy View Post
Please come try to navigate the Florida keys. It is impossible to steer a strait line South of Largo for more than a minute or two in any water that is under 100 feet deep including the channels. There are miles upon miles of lobster pots floats spaced closely together in all directions as far as the eye can see. As mentioned earlier many of the floats are black with growth and tiny i.e.(invisible). Those that have never picked up a lobster pot must either be in areas where there are very few fisherman or have full keels and shrouded folding props. During our two week trip to Key West from West Palm Beach last month we got tangled at least 4 times requiring someone going over the side to cut the mess free and that is with more than one person trying to maintain a pot watch at all times while underway. As mentioned before if there is any kind of chop many of the floats will be submerged. Our boat has two sail drives and 2 spade rudders so admittedly not the best design for not getting fouled easily.
Agreed, that the Gulf side of Florida is horrible. I came from Ft. Meyers to St. Pete's this spring, and got caught by one of the crab pot ropes. Why it was in the middle of the channel, who knows. At any rate, I got very lucky, as I was able to extract myself by putting the boat into reverse. I was about to go over the side (I was single handing at the time), and contemplating how to ensure me and the boat stay together.
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Old 23-11-2014, 19:41   #25
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

While I never had a real snag while sailing or motoring, one or two alomost snags don't count, I did caught a line which fell out of fisherman's box which was at the dock. I was docking and either knocked it off the dock or it was perilously close to the edge and fell off. Anyway, this was the first day of the season in early May, the water was freezing and I did not have a wet suit with me. Luckily a friend was going to come with us for a sail so I asked him to bring his wet suit. It took him 1hour, many tries and 3 dulled hunting knives before he cut through the line. It was wound so tightly that he was swearing profusely between each come up for air. I've been meaning to install the cutters ever since. A friend who is a liveaboard and thus has no budget for the chandlery cutters made his own from cut up ss saw, some 2" plastic board and ss bolts and nuts. Very simple and straightforward design. I was helping him paint the bottom and saw it for the first time. He did point out that some of the teeth in the thing already showed signs of having cut a line or two. He says he never noticed when it happened. But his shaft is 1.25" with 75HP Yannie so that could be why.
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Old 23-11-2014, 20:32   #26
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

I do think that it might be easy to dismiss going over the side to unfoul a prop, if one is accustomed to sailing in light wind and warm water with lots of sea room and a crew and scuba gear. Perhaps some have enjoyed jumping over in the Caribbean and thought nothing of it.

However, I think it is more prudent to consider what you might need to do in less favorable conditions such as:

Cold weather
Cold water
Lee shore or hazardous waters
Singlehanding, doublehanding, lack of experienced crew
Swells, waves, strong currents
Night
High winds creating pressure on sails and boat
Pitching boat
Difficulty of coming back aboard

Others above have mentioned some of these conditions they faced, and reading those reminded me of times and places where going over the side to work on freeing the prop would be very risky to even strong swimmers who are in good physical condition. I appreciate those anecdotes, as they led me to imagine how I would feel in those situations. I would prefer to reduce the need to do that emergency swimming by installing some simple gear like the line cutters.

A fouled prop in the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel, or off the Cornish coast, or off a rugged Oregon coast or many other places like a narrow entrance to a lagoon, would make the line cutters a potential boat and life saver. At least that is how I see it.

If you watch the video I linked above, one can see how heavy lines like braided sheets, nets, wires (!), and even blue poly tarps can stop a prop in seconds. But just as impressive is the ability of the best designed cutters to slice through all of those things!
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Old 23-11-2014, 21:50   #27
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Yachting Monthly Test of Line Cutters
Rope cutters YM - YouTube
Is it me, or does it look like all of the prop cutters worked pretty well? The differences seem inconclusive to me: it seemed to matter how the rope or net drifted onto the prop.

For you folks with these cutters, do you think dyneema or kevlar cut resistant gloves would protect your hands if something still gets stuck on it and you have to swim and untangle rope or net from it?
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Old 23-11-2014, 21:53   #28
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Cold weather
Cold water
Lee shore or hazardous waters
Singlehanding, doublehanding, lack of experienced crew
Swells, waves, strong currents
Night
High winds creating pressure on sails and boat
Pitching boat
Difficulty of coming back aboard
Third world harbor water with oil, poop, dead fish, and garbage. One of the most awful things I've had to do is go overboard in that to unwrap a garbage bag from around the prop.
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Old 23-11-2014, 22:21   #29
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

"For you folks with these cutters, do you think dyneema or kevlar cut resistant gloves would protect your hands if something still gets stuck on it and you have to swim and untangle rope or net from it? "


That's not a bad idea. I don't worry too much about the Spurs cutting me, although they would take a whole finger off pretty quick. I worry more about getting cut on the oysters that love to grow where I'm usually docked.


I would think the disc type could cut you pretty badly but are less likely to take off a finger than the bypass type cutters.
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Old 23-11-2014, 22:35   #30
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

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Third world harbor water with oil, poop, dead fish, and garbage. One of the most awful things I've had to do is go overboard in that to unwrap a garbage bag from around the prop.
Yuck! That kind of water could be hazardous to ones health.

So would areas that have crocodiles. I recall reading on this forum of a fisherman partly eaten by a croc, while in the water by his canoe (as I recall in the Philippines).
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