Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 28 Old 07-23-2012 Thread Starter
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Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

I will be sailing a lot in Maine, where there are a TON of lobster pots and lines. One sailor said they snagged the prop twice a year on them, another said itís happened twice in ten years.

I saw a boat with a tight, thin wire running from the aft end of the keel to the forward edge of the skeg, kind of creating a protected prop, in regards to underwater lines. I thought this was a good idea for sailing through lobster pot minefields, so that run over lines would not go along the keel and then float up to snag on the prop. Otherwise you would have to zig and zag like crazy in some areas. I realize the wire will give little protection while motoring, because lines will be sucked into the prop.

The boat I am sailing [Pearson 365] has a line cutter on the shaft, but I would like to avoid getting to that point, for several reasons [lobstermenís livelihoods, tougher to cut lines, etc].

Anyways, what does everyone think? Any experience or knowledge about this? Would it help, or just be a waste of my time to set up?

Also, I was thinking that instead of screwing more holes into the boat [to attach the wire] I would epoxy on some kind of tabs [like a square inch or two of plastic or rubber with a small eye hook], onto which I could tightly string thick fishing line. So, any ideas about this, what to use for pads, and would I need to sand through the ablative paint to make them stick?

Have at it everyone!

Thanks for all the great advice so far,

John
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post #2 of 28 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

I've been doing this for years...

Light spectra line from the aft tip of my keel bulb, to the bottom leading edge of the rudder. I use a small caribiner hook to clip onto a small padeye on the bottom of the rudder, because of course if launching with a Travelift, you have to dive on it to hook it up after the boat is back in the water...

It's worked fine for me so far, though of course I have no idea how many potential foulings it has averted... Nevertheless, I'd recommend doing it, I'm always a bit surprised I don't see it done more often...

I'd suggest using spectra instead of wire, however - in the event you need to get hauled in very cold water, you can simply cut it with a hooknife, rather than having to dive on it to release it...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 07-23-2012 at 10:38 PM.
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post #3 of 28 Old 07-24-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

Jon

Thank you for that good info. Are the padeyes screwed or glued onto the keel and skeg?
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post #4 of 28 Old 07-24-2012
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

I just wonder how much weed, kelp and sea grass that wire/rope would collect.

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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

I have to think about this for a second. If the theory is to use this set up while sailing, I am trying to picture it while heeled over. You run over a pot, with your keel deflected to the side. Haven't you just created a hole to catch the pot, that didn't exist before? Its going to slide down your hull, not your keel.


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post #6 of 28 Old 07-24-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

Simon

Good point, I hadnt really thought of that. But maybe we wouldnt be sailing through kelp beds, ect. Then again, maybe there is a lot of seaweed floating around free, that you dont really notice until you have a nice place to catch it on.
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post #7 of 28 Old 07-24-2012
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

Don't bother. Just be careful and understand how to pass buoys properly. Especially the ones with toggles.

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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

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Originally Posted by JohnZion View Post
Jon

Thank you for that good info. Are the padeyes screwed or glued onto the keel and skeg?
They're fixed in place with machine screws... If you look closely, you can just make out the padeye on the top of the bulb at the trailing edge of my keel...




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I just wonder how much weed, kelp and sea grass that wire/rope would collect.
I've never noticed a problem, but I don't sail much in areas of heavy kelp or other bottom grass. Most of the weed I encounter is floating on the water surface, chances are it's simply gonna be pushed aside by the forefoot, rather than riding down the centerline of the hull, and beneath the full length of the keel...

treilley is right, avoidance of pots to begin with is certainly the best strategy... Actually, dealing with lobster or crab traps is not my primary reason for using the sort of protection I do...

My greater concern, and primary reason for stringing such a wire, is with encountering floating rope or net in open water, the sort of thing you'd never see while underway at night, under power... We tend to forget how much crap is floating around out there... One of the worst experiences I've ever had was wrapping a large piece of fishing net around the prop about halfway between Hatteras and Tortola, while motoring through a period of calm. It took several hours, and the efforts of all three crew aboard, to finally cut free the rat's nest of polypropylene we had acquired... An extremely dangerous operation, I'm terrified of going over the side in the open ocean to begin with, and I think that particular circumstance just MIGHT possibly have been averted if that boat had been equipped with such a stringer between the keel and rudder...

So, for me, so far this set up seems worth the minimal effort required, I've yet to experience any noticeable downside to it...

Last edited by JonEisberg; 07-24-2012 at 09:22 AM.
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post #9 of 28 Old 07-24-2012
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

I've been sailing in Maine for 25+ years although it was not a lot during a given year early on, mostly on charter boats for 7-14 days per season. For the last 6-7 years with my own boat the number of days on the water has increased greatly. I have caught a line maybe 3-4 times and it was mostly due to inattention. Having a full keel boat is also a help.

It's not as bad as it may sound. But whether you do the wire thing or not, keep a wet suit on board (the water is cold) and a line cutter with the extention:

LED lighting, soundproof, Sailor's Solutions Inc.

Learn to pass the pot bouys on the down wind/current side. You can get very close. You'll see the line is leading away from the boat as you pass.

From the Penobscott Bay and further down east the pots will often have the extra hassel of having a toggel attached to the line floating further down current of the bouy without the advantage of the stick up the middle making them harder to see.

Try to avoid traveling west in the late afternoon and evening. Having the sun low on the horizon in you face make the pots tougher to see. On the flip side when going east in the late afternoon they light up neon, especially with polarized glasses.

What kind of dink do you have? Having a RIB with an outboard is a big help getting to a mooring if you do grab a line. Sail as close as you feel comfortable with to a harbor then use the dink tied along side fore and aft as a mini-tug. Dont tow. Someone can be in the dink operating the outboard right next to the helmsman, making it easy to communicate. Use the steering of the mother ship not the dink. The dink is only for power.
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?

The thin spectra line would have an advantage over wire cable, in that it would tend to saw through any kelp, etc. that fouled on it. And a spool is easy to carry.

A wet suit makes a great aid, but expect to also need a 10-20# weight belt with it, the bouyancy from the wet suit alone can make it impossible to submerge. You'd want to tweak that to neutral bouyancy before you set off. And cheap wetsuits actually DO shrink if the first 5 years, caveat emptor.

I guess that if the prospect of sharp blades is foreign, you could also buy a cordless reciprocating saw, pack grease around the battery contacts, and take that underwater to cut lines free. Cheap tool, freshwater wash, WD40...but having one knife reserved for special purposes, with a really sharp blade, professionally ground if you can't put an edge on it, really is the best defense.
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