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Old 08-11-2008, 06:41   #1
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Prop Shaft Line Cutters

Does anyone use some kind of spinning line-cutter on their propeller shaft? Is it helpful? What kind should I get? I find it nearly impossible to avoid all of the lobster pots while motoring at night through the long island sound. I figure eventually one will get stuck in the propeller. I would also like to take my boat to Maine sometime and have heard that the problem is even worse there.
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Old 08-11-2008, 07:57   #2
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I have 'spurs' on my shaft. In my area there are quite a few crab traps, unfortunately some yahoos insist on putting them inside channels. While I try to avoid them it is sometimes impossible in the dark. Having said that I can't really say how effective they are since there is no feedback. You could run over a trap, cut the line, and never know it.

I do know that when I inadvertently ran over my own spinnaker sheet the line started to wrap around the prop pulling at the clew of the sail. After stopping I put the boat in reverse and the sheet was immediately cut. I later checked and there was no trace left on the prop or shaft.

I recall that my brother had the same cutters on a 34 ft Wellcraft. He managed to cut several other peoples anchor rodes one afternoon with some careless boat handling. Fortunately, he no longer boats.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:45   #3
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what are some of the more "popular" brands of line cutters or "spurs"?
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:28   #4
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These are the units I see most frequently:

Spurs
Spurs Marine Mfg. Inc.


Shaft Shark
Shaft Shark | AB Marine
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:55   #5
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Practical Sailor and Sailing Today both tested line cutters. You can find the Sailing Today article here. Both sets of test found that Spurs works very well, but the Prop-protector is nearly as good at a lower price. This fall I bought the Shaft Razor, made by Evolution Marine (The Evolution Company Inc. - Home of The Evolution Marine Shaft System), partly because installing Spurs on my boat would have been a lot more complicated, partly because I'm a cheapskate, and partly because it got a favorable recommendation from another sailor. I haven't installed it yet, so no first hand experience. However, if you haven't sailed in Maine, you ain't seen nothin' in the way of lobster pots--the density in some places is unbelievable! Even with shaft cutters I recommend bringing a wetsuit, snorkeling gear, and a sharp knife.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:57   #6
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We have a diver that regularly cleans our bottom. Just in case I made sure that he was aware of the spurs. Wouldn't want him to get cut up.
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Old 08-11-2008, 13:13   #7
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I don't and won't use them again!

Having owned two boats in the past with Spurs and one boat with the shaft razor I will never, ever install them again and I do live and sail in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes..

The one thing I will say is that neither of these products is 100%! During spring tides we get lots of floating debris in the water including floating poly line. On more than one occasion I have picked it up and the Spurs or Evolution failed to cut it totally free..

Here's my main issues SAFETY!!! When, NOT if, you have to dive on your prop, and you have Spurs or a Shaft Razor, you are at huge odds of cutting yourself very badly. Just ask me how I know! We are talking pints of blood & miles and hours to the nearest location that could stitch my hand.

While they work sometimes they give a false sense of security and do nothing to prevent rudder snags so you are still not entirely safe.
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Old 08-11-2008, 13:19   #8
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Old 09-11-2008, 00:35   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic View Post
Here's my main issues SAFETY!!! When, NOT if, you have to dive on your prop, and you have Spurs or a Shaft Razor, you are at huge odds of cutting yourself very badly. Just ask me how I know! We are talking pints of blood & miles and hours to the nearest location that could stitch my hand.
I don't understand how, if you knew the device was installed, you managed to injure yourself. I clean boat bottoms for a living. I'm not going to say I have never been nicked by a line cutter but I certainly have never been anything approaching badly hurt. I think you grossly overstate the danger to a diver that these things impose.
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:18   #10
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Twice

I hooked up twice this year. I have a Morgan OI w the prop between the keel and rudder and a dead rise so I thought I was safe. But when the props turning it sucks in rope. I keep a mask and snorkel on board and cut the wound rope off twice this year. I just have to be extra careful but would consider the spurs if it happens too often...
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:39   #11
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Shaft Shark

I have a Shaft Shark which is a serrated razor ring like the Evolution (except the Shark is in two pieces so that it can be installed without removing your prop). It was recommended to me by a life long Maine resident and boatyard owner here over the more complex units with scissors action (he said they require too much maintenance and are subject to failure themselves). I live in Maine where the less intelligent lobstermen seem to think that laying pots in highly trafficked narrow channels is good business. The one time last summer that I picked up a buoy that I could not remove from the dinghy--it worked beautifully.

I sailed from San Francisco through the Panama Canal to Maine without a cutter and would not do it again. I picked up a loose piece of poly pro line off Miami that ripped out my cutless bearing and sheared the bolts off my coupling when I started the engine--I had no warning anything was down there. There is a lot of floating junk out there--I would recommend to anyone cruising to consider installing a cutter. I dived my bottom regularly and really had no problem or worry about cutting myself--except occasionally with on animals that grew on the bottom of my keel.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic View Post
Here's my main issues SAFETY!!! When, NOT if, you have to dive on your prop, and you have Spurs or a Shaft Razor, you are at huge odds of cutting yourself very badly. Just ask me how I know! We are talking pints of blood & miles and hours to the nearest location that could stitch my hand.
I think wearing kevlar or steel mesh protective gloves would be a very good idea when you have to work near shaft cutters.
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Old 23-11-2008, 20:05   #13
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I bought these gloves from PK Safety Supply. I think they will provide adequate protection against an accidental brushing contact with a rope cutter blade. Thanks to Acoustic for pointing out the risk of injury. However, after several incidents of catching pot warps on my prop, I think they are still worthwhile, even if they are effective only 50% of the time.
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Old 30-11-2008, 09:36   #14
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I do confess I work with these devices, but you need to know what is available to make an informed decision.

There are three types of debris cutting device, they each operate in a different way.

Scissor: Spurs, Stripper, Gator
These have a fixed blade and two or more rotating blades. As the rotating ones pass the fixed one the cut debris that is in the gap with a scissor action.

Disc: Propprotector is one make but there are five ot six makes, these are sharp serated or plane discs eithe single or double.

Shaver: QuicKuter, the one I deal with, this is a fixed blade and a spool.

Shaver has no protruding blades or edges so you don't need gloves. What they do is cut the debris that starts wrapping in front of thr prop as this is what does the damage to the shaft and transmission.

I hope that helps.
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Old 30-04-2009, 23:17   #15
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Wow now I have a professionnel who told me everyting except what to buy

I appreciate that you help us to know all those product but the question still there witch one I need. We are going cruising in south California and west coast of Mexico. We have a Morgan 41 0I with long keel and about 2.5 inch of shaft between the keel and the prop (for the moment the zinc just fit there!).
I am really considering a system for safety reason, we have a baby on board so i try to make my boat as safe as possible

Thank you
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