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sailphoto 07-29-2006 12:36 AM

Problem picking up Lobster pots with rudder
Does anyone else have a problem picking up lobster pots with their rudder. I sail a Dockrell 27 Cutter, which has a full keel with the rudder hung off the end. Over the last several years I have picked up four pots on three different days. None of them a good time to go for a swim. What happens each time is that the line catches in the little notch between the keel and rudder, then the buoy gets pulled down to the bottom of the rudder (4'8" draft). Of course I watch for and avoid the pots, it seems to happen when I am checking the chart or focused elsewhere for a moment. Of course the black floats last time weren't real visible to begin with.
Any ideas on clearing a pot from a keel? Last time it happened was in light fog as we were in rough water and 4 knot current at the Race off Long Island. Not a good time for a swim and the boat hook sank as I tried to clear the jam.
Last time I actually picked up a second buoy as I was trying to clear the first(exactly the kind of time that expletives exist for).
I was thinking of making an fiber glass block and glassing it over the notch. Can anyone think of a reason not to do this? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

camaraderie 07-29-2006 12:50 AM

Couldn't you simply add a 1" wide strip of galvanized steel bar to the stern end of your kell and extending past the rudder "gap" to prevent such snags?
A pole saw can help with the line!

Sasha_V 07-29-2006 03:36 AM

what did you do with the actual lobsters?

hellosailor 07-29-2006 06:22 PM

Ditto on the pole saw, or a tree branch "lopping shear" on a pole. Go for a good strong one and keep the business end greased so it doesn't rust up on you. The fiberglass block might work, or some steel rod stock bent down to force the line past the gap. But in practical terms, the lopping shear may be the fastest way to deal with it.

sailingdog 07-30-2006 05:40 PM

I picked one up two weeks ago on my tri. Didn't believe I had at first, since we were still doing five knots...but finally slowed down and had to cut the line. However, my rudder is pretty easy to reach, being right off the transom of the boat, which is a swim platform. :D

CBinRI 07-30-2006 07:45 PM

You may have to givre them higher priority and watch even harder. Maybe asign a member of your crew to keep a watch for them. I was just up in Maine where they are everywhere and we actually had someone on the bow giving handsignals until we were in blue water.

TrueBlue 07-30-2006 08:27 PM

The best remedy to your knack for picking up lobster trap warps, is not to devise some invention for cutting the lines . . . sure to raise hell with our beloved lobstermen, but to avoid them before the snag.

In the waters in and around Narragansett Bay and southern New England, these obstacles are everywhere. After snagging a couple, early in my boating life (longer ago than I care to divulge) . . . we've never become complacent while navigating the waters.

If I need to take my eyes off the waters before me, my wife, or other crew member, will keep a sharp watch out ahead. They're not hard to spot, especially with our maximum SOG at 9 knots . . . leaving adequate time to respond and change the bearing.

Come on sailboaters . . . think how little time powerboaters have to respond..

sailingdog 07-30-2006 10:04 PM

Well, in the case of the one I snagged, we had already dodged about fifteen or sixteen of them, and they were in a channel, between the damn buoys. I'm pretty sure that the guy who placed the pots was aware of their location, as the buoys were completely unmarked and unidentifiable.

Also, the top speed on the tri is over 15 knots....and the boat is 18+' wide...which makes dodging a bit challenging. :D

sailphoto 08-04-2006 08:51 PM

Well I apreciate all the comments, well most of them at least. I'll be mounting a stainless bar on the bottom of the keel to block the notch over the winter. As far as the comments about dodging the pots- I often sail single handed so posting a crewmember at the bow is impractical- seeing them is not always easy in my area where some logic challenged lobstermen have chosen black and green buoys which are nearly impossible to see in nasty conditions. Also in my experience a lot of power boaters don't really try to avoid the pots, leaving buoys bobbing in their wake ( at least those of my friends with big enough boats not to worry about tangling their prop).
Anyway thanks for the replies.

camaraderie 08-05-2006 11:14 AM

sailphoto...STAINLESS is NOT suitable for underwater use..suggest using galvaniized or bronze.

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