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Old 28-01-2006, 18:54   #1
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Line Cutters

I have a Fountaine Pajot 38' Cat. On Sunday I picked up a floating line attached to a Lobster trap (not the square wire traps, this was a non commercial "net" type) that caught on one blade of my 2 blade folding prop. I was unaware of the line, and shortly shut down the engines to sail.
Fortunately, I don't believe I suffered any damage, but I have yet to test. Just untangleing the line in 57 degree water was enough for one day!
I am interested in others who might be concerned about the same problem and how they solved it. With the large hubs on my Sail Drive I am not sure I can get a line cutter in place as the hub fits close to the drive body (Volvo). The props are very exposed on this boat.
Suggestions welcomed and appreciated.

Regards,
Bill
San Diego
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Old 28-01-2006, 20:04   #2
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No offense intended Bill, but commercial fishing equipment is part of life. Where I'm from, we were taught to respect the livelyhood of these people and not use prop based line cutters.

I'll agree that on occasion, they encroach the channel to a harbor, but for the most part they are located in slightly out of the way places, in terms of navigation. Usually, they are marked, and in the case of netting, come with several markers in a group to warn you - sometimes with night beacons.

Did you catch this line in the daytime, or the evening? Do you do overnights in your area in zones where you will find commercial fishing equipment?

I think these factors are very important in deciding if you want to have a line cutting prop.

Maybe this snag was a fluke?

I can safely say in the 15 yrs of sailing time in NH and Maine's coast (think Maine lobsters), I never snagged a single line.

Sure, I've had to run a slalom course into a harbor or two (Cape Porpoise! RRR!), but never felt I needed somethig to destroy the commercial fishing equipment.

I'm not trying to say you shouldn't get a line cutter, just raising a point about the reason.

Respectfully...
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Old 28-01-2006, 21:36   #3
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NOT use prop based shaft cutters? Mate, you obviousely haven't had a line or net really wraped up tight around the prop and shaft. If that happens, you often have no choice but to cut it free anyway, and even if you didn't cut it, I doubt the net/line would be anygood afterwards anyway. I do agree with your comment that it is a rare thing to happen in most parts. I too have never had a problem. But in a few other parts like Indonesian waters, the rubbish in the water is unbelievable and you will most likely get something wraped up eventually. I have seen the odd one around here that had a line wrapped around. I really don't want to try going down and unwrapping the prop myself. I am allurgic to water. It seems the colder it is, the more allurgic to it I am.
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Old 29-01-2006, 15:12   #4
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Hi Bill,

I have Volvo saildrives on my boat and they came with line cutters. The type I have are "Strippers" and can be seen here:

http://www.bestmarineimports.com/saildrive.html

You do have to cut a small recess out of the zinc to accommodate them, but it is easy to do.

Mark
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Old 29-01-2006, 21:10   #5
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Sean, if I understood the original post this was non-commercial. We have a big problem with this in our area. The commercial guys do put traps in the middle of our yacht club's established race course, but we deal with them. The restrictions on the commercial guys make it less of an issue, as they have to pull them within 48 hours. The real problem is the sport guys. They put the traps wherever they want to, and do not have restrictions as to how long they can be down, so they are often left for over a week. It is not uncommon to see non commercial traps surrounding, within 100 yards of a buoy. It is also not uncommon to see the floats painted in colors that can not be seen until you are ontop of them. No commercial fisherman wants to lose his gear, so they tend to make a real effort to keep them visible, and out of the way, but this same level of common sense does not seem to exist in the sport fishing community.
As for a solution, a good watch, and a line cutter is the best I could suggest. While sailing at night, I have no suggestions. Keep in mind that if there is one trap, there will probably be more.
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Old 30-01-2006, 20:24   #6
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Mark - Perfect! Many thanks. These will go on my list. Unfotunately, I just hauled, so it will be a bit yet. My folding props require replacement out of the water.
These are not a big problem around here, but they can be in other areas.
Sean - Since this is a "Cruisers Forum" I think the issue is a bit larger, let me explain....
My brother left San Diego in December going down the Baja coast. About 1/2 way down during the day, he snagged a lobster pot - the kind with a big cage and weights on the bottom. He was sailing at the time between two islands - daytime, actually. After dropping sails, the pot acted as a drogue and turned the stern into the seas, which were washing over the stern and into the cockpit. Fortunately, some Mexican lobster fishermen were close by and came over to help. Using a boat hook, they were able to pull it free - a minor miracle in itself.
I have the utmost respect for fishermen and thier difficult job - However, I would not want to be trying to get a line off the shaft at night (or day) while at sea. Nor, do I think anyone would.
Certainly if you can see the floats dodging them is the best course, but what do you do at night with, say, a 6' sea and 18 kts? I would much prefer not to get in the water.
In any event, many thanks for your comments - this is a great forum and I do appreciate all the comments.
Best Regards,
Bill
San Diego
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Old 30-01-2006, 20:47   #7
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F&%$ the lobster pot lines. Cut'em!!

If I were in the middle of nowhere. And no fisherman in sight. And one of them damn lines got caught up on my shaft. You'll be damned straight, I'll be over the side with my knife.

With a life line attached to me, during rough weather. And I would go down under the boat and cut that line.

I have respect for fisherman. But, if you're in a certain situation. As a skipper of a boat. You have to make a very important decision. As in saving your prop shaft, being one of your top priorites?
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Old 30-01-2006, 21:08   #8
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Easier said than done K. Maybe you swabbies got to spend enough time banging against a hull in 50 degree water that you can function, but for me it is a major operation to get the wet suit on, and jump down there in rough water. Fortunately, the one time I did snag one, I was also able to pull it within reach with a boat hook, and cut the line, but I still had to sail on because there was no way I was going to try to unfoul the wheel. When I used to do that for a living here in the harbor, I have spent as much as an hour trying to work all the mess off the shaft. Especially when it is fishing line that is slippery, and hard to cut. It is a real problem, and has no simple solution.
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Old 30-01-2006, 21:15   #9
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I never mentioned where in the world in my story, that where that took place at.

Of course, if it's along the California coast. Say where you're at Kai. Yes. I'd don a wetsuit first. But, I'd also have a razor sharp knife, to help out in cutting the fishing line/rope off.

It's nice to know how to sharpen your own knife collection!!
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Old 31-01-2006, 15:12   #10
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So there I was weaving through the field of floats across the entrance to Ladysmith - there was a fair amount of glare on the water, so this was difficult enough. I almost didn't see the bleach bottle, but I did and I turned to leave it 15-20 feet off the beam, which should have been sufficient if it wasn't tied to a polypropylene rope! To make a long story short, went to anchor on the remaining engine, then spent about 45 mins in chilly water with two others, taking turns cutting, unwinding and yanking that rope which had wrapped itself tightly around the shaft and into the bracket - oh how I wished we had a linecutter.

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Old 31-01-2006, 16:33   #11
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This all seems pretty silly to me. Here on the Chesapeake we have millions of crab pots and down here on the south end a lot of gill nets, pound nets and other assorted nets. They are in practical terms most anywhere the water is less than about 30 feet deep. The nets are maybe the hardest as they only have an orange flag on either end under Virgina law. Seeing only one end can be a nervous moment until you find the other one. With more than one net sorting out which end is which can also be nervous too. Black markers on crab pots are the other difficult flot to spot when the weather is less than perfect.

Line cutters - if there is a funny joke this would be the punch line. They don't really help. A line in the prop wraps so fast the line cutter can't do the job. You'll still have a huge ball of stuff on the prop to get off. You have to cut it off, though I have known people to use reverse and un wrap the line, but it will never happen on a regualr basis.

Once in a while as community dockmaster I have to pull a crab pot out of a boat slip. There are limits to what you have to put up with.

As Sean says these folks make a living doing this and frankly many are my neighbors and I have to live here as well as sail here. So for you that are just sailing through it is easy being a jerk when you don't have to live here. It makes a difference when you know the people you insult.

Most folks around here just leran how to pilot the boat and avoid them. You get better at spotting them when you try. You would tend to learn faster after you go over the side enough times. It seems to work for me.
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Old 31-01-2006, 17:37   #12
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Pot buoys

are as plentiful in New England as anywhere. We maintain a constant lookout when sailing during the day time and expend a great deal of energy avoiding the warps. At night the buoys can't be seen and I have never hooked a warp. Strange isn't it. My sailing buddies and I constantly remark on this phenomenon. We only hook a pot warp during daylight hours. It therefore make sense to only sail at night.
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Old 31-01-2006, 18:15   #13
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Pblais, Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the commercial boats. I live in a commercial harbor, and call a number of these guys friends. As I mentioned before, in our area the sport crabbers are the big problem, and there is no possibility of "learning to navigate around them", as they are not in consistant locations, and not well marked. I know most of the commercial guys, and can recognize their buoys, so if I were to snag one, I would make a point of informing the owner, but the only one I have snagged was a sport pot, and there was no way to determine whose it was . I highly doubt I would snag one of the commercial pots in our area because they have the common sense not to put them in the middle of the channel. The pot I snagged was placed in a straight line between the mile buoy, and the channel markers. This is a serious problem. Consider approaching an unfamiliars harbor at night on a lee shore with light wind. I know I often do not approach from 5 miles out, but follow the coastline. Were I to catch a line, it could be a major tragedy. If the pots are marked with dark colored buoys, or even small white floats, and as mentioned, are let down with an extra 50' or 100' of line, missing them will be luck, not skill. While I do not share CaptainK's feelings about this, I do feel that the idiots that create aformentioned hazard to navigation should be dealt with. Maybe padlock their boats to the dock
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Old 31-01-2006, 20:51   #14
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Old 01-02-2006, 00:01   #15
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Well.

Looks like I found something. That Kai disagrees with me!!
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