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Old 28-11-2006, 08:57   #1
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Prop Rope Cutter

I am thinking of installing a Spurs prop cutter on my Pacific Seacraft 34 which we are going to be taking down to the Caribbean. What do people think about prop line cutters? Has anyone used the Spurs? Any problems? Thanks Phil Littman
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Old 28-11-2006, 10:34   #2
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Really not necessary on a sailboats unless one plans to do a lot of fishing, crabbing or motoring thru kelp.

The props on most sailboats can be reached with a telescoping boat hook. In 26 years I've only had one situation where I had to go in the water to untangle a line and that was on the power boat.........................._/)
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Old 28-11-2006, 10:44   #3
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Aloha Plittman,
The only time I've tangled a line in my prop was late at night after too many drinks and it was my own jib sheet. I'm very glad the sheet was undamaged. It would be a shame to cut up an expensive dock line or sheet.
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Old 28-11-2006, 11:33   #4
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Do rope cutters actually work???
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Old 28-11-2006, 11:37   #5
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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.
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Old 28-11-2006, 13:19   #6
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I find it very difficult to get tangled in line. You could get tangled in a lot of things and my guess is only a small number of them would be cut but the installed cutter. I'm with Gord, people working on the water deserve a break. You still need to work hard to avoid this stuff even if you had a cutter.
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Old 28-11-2006, 21:31   #7
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I friend that had sailed alot of the world told me much of the Sea up around Thailand etc is a mess with nets and lines etc and that a good prop cutter would be a good investment, or that I get a wet suit and dive under. So OK, a net may cut, but I find it hard to bleive a cutter is going to handle any lines made from spectra or equiv. That stuff takes some seriouse cutting.
We had a big mussel Barge here get caught up in a freinds mooring line. The line is attached to a 5ton block, so you can imagine the line size and that the block ain't going nowhere. It bent the shaft and damaged the prop on a twin screw work boat and the boat ain't small. And I lost my mooring for the time being, till my friends can get it lifted and fixed. So I have to hook up to another one further out and now have to row further. Oh what an inconveniance ;-)
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Old 29-11-2006, 07:33   #8
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I have installed Spurs on my boat - install is pretty straight forward and it has not presented any issues yet. Have not hit anything to my knowledge so I do not have personal experience but they do work.

A while back Yachting World [I think] did a test and they will cut some pretty serious line including spectra. The fixed blade type cutters [i.e Spurs] worked better than just a knife type cutter on the shaft as I recall.

I installed then as a just in case, either for a pot I pick up [cause I goofed] [and the water is real cold in Maine] or a drifting net remnant [which is my bigger concern]. Had a friend offshore in the Caribbean who twice picked up pieces of net between islands at night.
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Old 29-11-2006, 08:58   #9
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If you sail in the Solent in Uk or in the Channel you can seem to expect at least one 'incident' per season with a discarded fisherman's net or similar.

The good cutters work very well by all accounts.
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Old 12-12-2008, 18:41   #10
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A little off the boat subject............

but lets hope you never find a floating mattress.

Driveline Vibration Issue - Possible Root Cause

This guy ran over a mattress and decided to keep going. The ensuing jumble finally whipped around enough to put a tear in the gas tank, the subsequent lack of fuel is what finally brought this truck to its knees.

It had still managed to drive 30 more miles decently with a 60lb tangle wrapped around the driveshaft.

This genius complained that the truck had a "shimmy" when driving it high speeds.


This is what the dealership found..............
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Old 12-12-2008, 20:17   #11
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I find myself disagreeing with some of the responses. I do have spurs on my prop shaft and they do come in useful. I would agree with the idea of not messing with someone's living if they had the same respect for me. When I start finding crab pots in the river channels and the ICW, they've lost any sympathy from me.

Beyond that, during daylight I will try to avoid the dang things but after dark all bets are off. Most of the floats are so coated in algae and grunge they are hard enough to see by daylight, by night they are invisible. In the areas around me, SW Florida, if I have to move my anchorage at night, its because conditions are deteriorating. Put yourself in the position of changing your anchorage while the winds are increasing and then finding your engine snafued on a crab pot. Assuming no irreperable damage to the engine then all one has to do is figure out what to salvage first after being driven hard aground.

Consider also that many folks are like myself in that we aren't spring chickens.
Going over the side to cut off crab pot lines in cold water is not an option. Yep, we could call for a tow and then pay a diver to go down and cut the lines.

Finally, even without spurs or their equivalent. If you wrap a crab pot line around your prop that line and crab pot are toast. The only difference is whether or not your engine is toast also, IMO.

In summary, I will avoid them if I can but if not I will not let them jeopardize my boat and to that end I will keep spurs or their equivalent.

Let the sparks fly,
Rich
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Old 12-12-2008, 21:00   #12
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Cabo_sailor, I find it hard to argue with your logic. When I buy my boat, I will install a spur system when the zinc gets changed out.
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Old 19-11-2014, 07:21   #13
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
I find myself disagreeing with some of the responses. I do have spurs on my prop shaft and they do come in useful.
Well let me tell you two little stories...

In the first, we were crossing the English Channel under power as it was a dead calm and at precisely mid-point - yes, 35 miles one way and 35 mile back the other - we had a huge, and I do mean huge - vibration. Sadly there was no mask on the boat and we tried driving in reverse, but in the end were obliged to turn back, keeping the engine below 900rpm. Turned out to be discarded fishing net that floats just below the surface and so little chance of avoiding. Had a huge ball removed by a diver in Poole and I'm pretty sure we had lost some of it while being able to sail on part of the return.

In the second story, coincidently returning from Alderney (the other trip was an outward leg to Alderney), we were puching the tide and wind around Ventor on the south of the Isle of Wight. It was dark, head to wind, choppy and so little chance of seeing anything. Suddently the engine cut. Restarted fine, into gear, cut. Bear away, get the jib out but what's going on, we don't appear to be going anywhere?

The chartplotter and it's 'tracks' then came to the fore showing us simply swinging on an arc clearly attached to the bottom, helpful on a moonless black night. No, we could not enter the water as there was a stiff tide running, that is why we were motorsailing, there was a stiff wind F5 or 6 and it was dark. Entering the water would have been a recipe for being swept away to the SE.

The conclusion was the Bembridge lifeboard coming out in response to our Pan-Pan and after becoming entangled itself, managing the trawl underneath us with a grappling hook and free us. A quite wonderful job and so many thanks to those that came to assist us.

But the point is, the idea you can simply avoid what was believed to be lobster spots "by keeping a good lookout" is only relevant if you're talking daylight and reasonably smooth conditions. We had neither and had it not been for the Bembridge 'boat', I guess our only option would have been to sit out the night and then try and enter the water at the first slack tide after daybreak. It would have been a long night.

Guess what will be being added to the boat for the 2015 season?!
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Old 19-11-2014, 11:50   #14
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

I want a line cutter! Some of the floats in Guadeloupe are just clear plastic water bottles. I wrapped a line around one of those -- they are quite difficult to see, especially if there's a swell running. Sawing it off was hard, with the boat half anchored from the stern and pitching, stern to, into the swell. I nearly got bonked on the head a few times when I came up for air.

I never caught a line on my previous boat, a 70's design where the shaft came out of the back of the long fin keel.

My current boat is a more modern design with a fin keel, and the shaft exits from the bottom of the hull. I feel it's much more prone to snagging lines.
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Old 22-11-2014, 19:32   #15
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Re: Prop Rope Cutter

My experience with line cutters is not from sailboats (never had a badly fouled shaft with a sailboat, might be something to do with the keel?).
However, I've had some real messes with line cutter equipped props, the line/ net hooks into all the little barb like saw blades.
Not only that, but the load on your engine seems to be worse. I find a line may catch on a blade then kind of wrap around the shaft, almost like surging a line on a drum, causing a gradual stall of the shaft. 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.
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