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Old 25-04-2010, 14:31   #1
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Who Uses Prop Shaft Line Cutters ?

I am considering fitting a line cutter to the 1.5 inch shaft of a new boat with an Autostream prop due to the number of weekend crab pots lurking around my mooring on Lake Macquarie. The other night I found about 500m of them all linked together just outside the moorings. Sometimes they are amongst the moorings, but I have never seen them linked before. What does everyone else do? None of my friends have them fitted to their boats. Am I just being paranoid ?

Greg
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Old 25-04-2010, 15:03   #2
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I have used the spur branded ones and they work extremely well. The two problems that we had were related to getting too much line on the prop before engaging them and once, the stationary side broke off. This was on a 2" shaft driving a 32/22 luke feathering prop so a significantly more powerful setup than any normal sized cruising boat would have. I have heard much better reviews of spurs than the pizza cutter ones but I have no personal experience with the pizza cutter ones.

Have you ever hooked anything? To me, the danger of wrapping up a line would be to disable your engine in an area that you could not sail or safely anchor. This could be an area like going between two jetties or in a crowded mooring field. If that is a situation you run into, it might not be a bad idea.

Different hull shapes do better or worse with buoys and lines. Boats with full keels and well hidden props seem to do much better than something like a saildrive on a fin keel boat. Exposed shafts with a downward angle seem to be particularly bad. If there is a line between two buoys close to the surface (going to a toggle for lobster pots), it makes it much worse. When you describe 500m of floating line, that sounds more like a net than a bunch of crab buoys.

If you don't get a set of cutters, you have a few different options. If there isn't much strain on the line and you hooked it while sailing, if you grapple the line from under the stern and walk it up the correct side of the boat, you can usually pull the buoy out. Most boathooks are not beefy enough to do this so you need an actual grapple (the solution that I use for my personal boat). You can also tape a bread knife to the end of a boathook and cut the line or use the boathook/grapple to bring it to the surface to cut it. Sometime the buoy will float free but other time, you won't be able to use your engine. Diving works if the weather is calm and the water is warm but it doesn't work in exposed waters. I know a few people who have sustained serious injuries from diving by either cutting themselves or being hit by the boat because of a wave. If you are under power and wrap one up, you are pretty much out of luck and hope that it is either calm enough to dive or there is wind to sail.
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Old 25-04-2010, 15:05   #3
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Down at the bottom of this page there are several links to threads on the subject.
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Old 25-04-2010, 15:07   #4
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My boat has a cutter for ther lobster pots in the area. Far as I know never needed, but I'm not going to take it off.
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Old 25-04-2010, 15:31   #5
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I have the circular saw type (Shaft Shark) on my propshaft. I have been through a good bit of crabtrap infested waters. Never had a line wrap but who knows if was because the cutter took care of them or if due to my brilliant piloting?
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Old 25-04-2010, 16:54   #6
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I have a set of spurs - they don't cut chain - long story!
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Old 25-04-2010, 17:13   #7
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With spurs, you will certainly know if you have just cut anything, especially on smaller engines.

I would add to what speciald@ocens. said and say that spurs won't cut cable either, don't ask how I know that one.
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Old 25-04-2010, 18:08   #8
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If they are a danger to navigation, have a chat with your local BSO from Waterways and see what his angle is. Regards, Richard.
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Old 25-04-2010, 22:17   #9
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I use Shaft Shark (pizza cutter type with serrated edges) and I know of only one incident where I caught a lobster trap warp since I started using it. The Shaft Shark did it's job. (3/8" line). It's possible there were other incidents and I didn't know.

Another issue to consider is if you wrap monofilament fishing line. It could ruin a cutlass bearing if it works it way inside, as I know of someone who found that out the hard way. A a line cutter on the shaft would have saved him a major expense.

I'm not in favor of cutting fish trap lines (I try to keep watch and avoid them) but I am in favor of keeping my boat and crew safe, so that's why I use a line cutter on the shaft.

Note: you must keep it free of growth so a sharp edge is exposed, and it will not cut wire.
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Old 30-04-2010, 17:50   #10
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I live in Maine and have an Evolution cutter (like Shaft shark only it is in two pieces for easier installation). I try to avoid the traps, but the damn lobstermen put them in the middle of the channel and sometimes underwater (there are some beginners out there) and I have no sympathy when I cut those. The local boatyards recommended the serrated pizza type over the Spur type here. It has worked a couple times and I have not had a wrap in several years and that saves some dives in very cold water. Before I had one, I picked up a poly line in Miami that ripped my coupling apart and tore my strut loose. I would not travel without one now.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:02   #11
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Originally Posted by Eleebana View Post
None of my friends have them fitted to their boats. Am I just being paranoid ?

Greg
We dragged along line 3,000nms from Galapagos to marquesas and got stuck on a net line off Aden... and have a milion, zillion near misses. If I had the chance I would get one. No doubt about it (if they work!)


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Old 01-05-2010, 10:44   #12
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I have an Evolution cutter too and cruise Maine. It's been said that you could walk across some Maine harbors on the buoys. I try really hard to never cut a line but about once a year the odds catch up with me.

Fortunately, in almost all areas now the lobstermen (and a few lobsterwomen) use strings of pots with a buoy at each end. If one buoy is lost, they don't lose the traps. I've been told by one lobsterman that he'd rather have the line cut than the the traps dragged while tangled on a boat. This can damage the traps or tangle them with other traps on the bottom. He also keeps a GPS location of each trap.

What you really don't want to do is to hang around a buoy and look like your pulling up a lobster dinner.

Carl
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Old 02-05-2010, 13:46   #13
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i figger if i catch one the contents are mine--they didnt do the work to free it from my prop--they placed it there and i have the right to use the contents to offset the cost of replacement of anything that may break as a result......hasnt happened yet--but so many are difficult at best to see, especially in rough waters....i have a full keel and attached rudder--shouldnt be as much of a problem as with a fin/spade combo.....
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Old 03-05-2010, 20:18   #14
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Is the Evolution similar to Shaft Shark?

Could you post a link?

Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2010, 21:35   #15
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i figger if i catch one the contents are mine--they didnt do the work to free it from my prop--they placed it there and i have the right to use the contents to offset the cost of replacement of anything that may break as a result......hasnt happened yet--but so many are difficult at best to see, especially in rough waters....i have a full keel and attached rudder--shouldnt be as much of a problem as with a fin/spade combo.....
If a lobsterman catches you pulling his trap it won't be a good day. You'll be dealt with as a thief.
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