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Old 21-10-2021, 09:36   #1
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Seaweed on propellor

We recently brought our Sabre 30 with a fixed off-center two-bladed propeller to Maine. We seem to accumulate seaweed in basketball sized masses on the prop quite easily. These require awkward removal from the dinghy. Available protection devices do not seem as though they would work. Any suggestions based on experience?
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Old 21-10-2021, 09:45   #2
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

We carry a hookknife like this one w/a 6' extension handle to remove fouled lines from the prop. Should work on seaweed fairly easily.
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Old 21-10-2021, 11:03   #3
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

That's been our solution so far. I was looking for possible preventive measures, not sure there are any...
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Old 21-10-2021, 11:17   #4
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

We rarely foul but our prop is well below the surface. Often, a short reverse burst Will throw off weed.

Get a folding prop.
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Old 21-10-2021, 15:39   #5
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We rarely foul but our prop is well below the surface. Often, a short reverse burst Will throw off weed.

Get a folding prop.
Both of the above. We have found that, since the blades close when you are "coasting", you can give a short power burst, then glide quite a long way, till the next open spot (hopefully), but the next burst. The folded blades present a shape that is easy for the weed to slither along and fall off. The folder will also give you better sailing performance in light air..

The burst and glide (with the transmission in neutral and the prop not turning) gives you the best chance of having the weed fall off. I'd say going to a folding prop would be the most reliable prophylaxis you're going to get...but maybe someone else has a better idea. Let's wait and see.

Ann

On edit: Seaweed has a hard time attatching to the rock substrate below 60 ft. depth. If your cruising grounds have areas of greater than 60 ft. depth, you should be okay there.

The hook knife is a good idea. We have used both a pruning hook and a filleting knife lashed to a boat hook, at different times because we didn't have a hook knife. One time we caught some weed, motoring in the daytime, and Jim had to jump overboard and cut it with a pocket knife, and tried a bread knife, as well. Kinda scary that far offshore.

A long time back we knew a pair of British sailors, who got those shaft cutters after having snagged some cable on their 3 blade prop. They are supposed to work on wire, don't know how they are for seaweed.

Good luck with it.

Ann
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Old 21-10-2021, 17:00   #6
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

Shift to neutral & coast thru large patches of seaweed.


Run a length of 300 lb test mono fishing line from a ss screw at rear lower corner of keel & back to a ss screw inserted into bottom of rudder at pivot point. The mono will break easily when you hoist out of water.


Beware the tidal streaks of seaweed off Maine-they often contain hidden rope & other cultch. Coast thru these & do not reverse while in a patch.


Install a cutter.


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Old 21-10-2021, 19:11   #7
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

Iíve cruised in Maine on and off for decades with fixed and folding props. But not for the past 3 years or so.
This is a problem that I have not had.
I am honestly wondering why not.
What do you and I do differently? NOT looking for a blame the victim here.
Perhaps it is as simple as neutral when hitting a big patch. Iím sure Iíve done that but also sure not too often.
Maybe water temps have shifted the seaweed growth. Dunno.
My Dad has cruised that coast since the 1950s. Iíll ask him for his thoughts tomorrow.
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Old 22-10-2021, 03:20   #8
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

The most common "seaweed" that can foul you on the NE coast is bladder wrack. Due to our extreme tide range,thousands of miles of it become exposed twice per day. Storms beat it off the rocks.It has little air bladders that cause it to float & drift for ?months?. It tends to assemble in miles long floating strips that are several yards wide.It will also bank up in coves or anywhere there is a tidal current eddy.
These huge floating strips tend to collect all other floating trash- logs,balls of discarded fishing rope & gear,plastic bags,sheets,bottles,etc.

Rockweed is also harvested by cutting it from the rocks by hand raking from small boats,& this causes some to be lost to drifting.
This mess floats at or within a couple feet of surface,& most deep hulls/props will slide over/thru it with little to no problem. Outboards are notorious for regular fouling with this weed mess,I presume because the prop is at or near surface.
This suggests to me that a long ,exposed,shallow inboard prop & shaft/strut on a shallow hull (fin keel?) would be more susceptible to catching floating cultch,but I have no proof of this.
The weed itself cuts fairly easily but it requires some HP-something that many sailboats lack.
It is best to avoid the stuff if possible & use any techniques you can to reduce your exposure. / Len


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Old 22-10-2021, 07:18   #9
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Re: Seaweed on propellor

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfelsent View Post
Iíve cruised in Maine on and off for decades with fixed and folding props. But not for the past 3 years or so.
This is a problem that I have not had.
I am honestly wondering why not.
What do you and I do differently? NOT looking for a blame the victim here.
Perhaps it is as simple as neutral when hitting a big patch. Iím sure Iíve done that but also sure not too often.
Maybe water temps have shifted the seaweed growth. Dunno.
My Dad has cruised that coast since the 1950s. Iíll ask him for his thoughts tomorrow.
I think the difference is his prop is off-centered so seaweed flowing alongside the keel can catch on it. I also have props that are off center and suffer the same problem when in Maine and Nova Scotia. I wonder if your boat doesn't have a prop on center, maybe even in an aperture, and therefore is less prone to this.
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