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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sometimes it seems the lobster buoys in our local area are thick enough to walk across, and it requires constant vigilance and effort to avoid them. The fin keel/spade rudder of our HR-28 seem custom designed to snare them too. When we do inevitably catch one (avg 2-3 per season) it's usually a lot of work to untangle it, and in some conditions can be dangerous as well.

As a result, I've given some thought to how to even the odds a bit, short of trading it for a full keel boat, of course. But since I'm still a bit of a noob to the whole boating thing, and I've not seen anything else written about this, I'm guessing these are probably not very good ideas even though it seems simple enough.

Method 1: Attach some type of rigid guard to the keel, perhaps made of fiberglass, which would help a line slide past the rudder.



Method 2: Attach a cable of some type to the bottom of both the keel and rudder. On the rudder a swivel of some sort would be used, attached to the pivot point.



Any thoughts, criticisms, insults or alternatives will be gladly accepted.
 

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Interesting how much drag even a thin line will produce . They make a simple wedge fitting to put just in front of rudder . Some sharpen leading edge . Personally haven't done it but have cutter on shaft
 

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Your first idea isn't bad you may be on to something there!.How would you work travel lift straps?...Dale
 

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I've been using a light Spectra line between the keel and rudder for years, particularly when I head for Maine... hard to say how effective it's been up there, I generally try to avoid the pots to begin with, but I've never caught one up there when I've had that setup rigged...

However, it's not infallible... I did catch a crab pot once down in Florida Bay... If the float itself winds up on the opposite side of the rudder, it can get hung up on the bottom of the rudder, and then can be an absolute bear to get free, as it's a long reach to the bottom of the rudder... I probably dragged that trap over a mile, and finally resorted to cutting my Spectra line, rather than the crabber's gear... If you do go that route, I'd suggest using rope instead of wire, for that reason...

Your first idea actually might be more effective overall, but could be problematic to figure out depending on how you haul your boat... My line gets attached to the rudder with a tiny snap hook, so I simply dive on the rudder to hook it up after the boat is relaunched...
 

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I was going to install an ss cable like the one in your second idea. A small bail on the rudder to give it the necessary play. Never did it. Will be interested in how it works. The thought that the "toggle" float could get trapped by my solution disuaded me. There would be no escape for something sweeping across the spade.

I have purchased a "back up camera" that I intend to install at the bow. My Garmin chart plotter has a video input. Perhaps a cockpit view of the sea of traps will help. We have turned it into a game when a dense field of lobster floats gets in the way. Especially late in the season when the traps that have been fishing outside are brought into the channels before they get hauled for the season. It can keep you quite busy. If you are in a channel with a tide running and an unfavorable wind it becomes a training exercise in rapid tacking.

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Agree with Jon. Pot lines seem to get sucked in from the side if you have the engine on. Was a product "captain somebody something " that was a super sharp serrated knife on a stick. Appreciate if some one knows what the h-ll I'm talking about. Think on your boat more likely to hang up on shaft or prop. .? Have you gotten a line between hull and rudder in the past ?
 

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Agree with Jon. Pot lines seem to get sucked in from the side if you have the engine on. Was a product "captain somebody something " that was a super sharp serrated knife on a stick. Appreciate if some one knows what the h-ll I'm talking about. Think on your boat more likely to hang up on shaft or prop. .? Have you gotten a line between hull and rudder in the past ?
Here you go... I wouldn't be without one of these, particularly sailing in cold water...

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting how much drag even a thin line will produce . They make a simple wedge fitting to put just in front of rudder . Some sharpen leading edge . Personally haven't done it but have cutter on shaft
Yes, I was wondering about the drag factor. I probably only do 7 kts on the top end anyway, but still, you don't want to lose any more efficiency than you need to.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Your first idea isn't bad you may be on to something there!.How would you work travel lift straps?...Dale
Good point, the solution has to work with whatever method one uses for hauling out. As long as the travel lift crew is apprised of the situation, I think the strap could be snaked through without damaging anything.

Anyway, we usually use a hydraulic trailer for haul out. I think I would want the rod or line to be of a breakaway/disposable type thing, where you wouldn't mind too much if it got destroyed during an underway or haul out incident.
 

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A most common place for trap warps to 'catch' on spade rudders is between the VERY top of the rudder and the hull - the normal 'gap' between the top of the rudder and the hull. The line gets 'pinched' in such places and right 'on top' of the rudder bearing area.
To prevent this 'pinching' on my old spade ruddered boat I installed a stout stainless steel rod from the hull and down about 6-8 inches below and close to the 'gap' between the top of the rudder and the hull. When 'caught', and if I was 'quick', I could 'back down' and release the warp from the rudder .... and did so on quite a few races on the Chesapeake.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've been using a light Spectra line between the keel and rudder for years, particularly when I head for Maine... hard to say how effective it's been up there, I generally try to avoid the pots to begin with, but I've never caught one up there when I've had that setup rigged...

However, it's not infallible... I did catch a crab pot once down in Florida Bay... If the float itself winds up on the opposite side of the rudder, it can get hung up on the bottom of the rudder, and then can be an absolute bear to get free, as it's a long reach to the bottom of the rudder... I probably dragged that trap over a mile, and finally resorted to cutting my Spectra line, rather than the crabber's gear... If you do go that route, I'd suggest using rope instead of wire, for that reason...

Your first idea actually might be more effective overall, but could be problematic to figure out depending on how you haul your boat... My line gets attached to the rudder with a tiny snap hook, so I simply dive on the rudder to hook it up after the boat is relaunched...
This is really great information, thanks. It's good to know that someone has actually used this method, and really good to know about the gotcha. Good point about rope vs cable too. I think then that the line should be designed to break free automatically under a relatively light load. I don't want it to cause more problems than it solves.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I was going to install an ss cable like the one in your second idea. A small bail on the rudder to give it the necessary play. Never did it. Will be interested in how it works. The thought that the "toggle" float could get trapped by my solution disuaded me. There would be no escape for something sweeping across the spade.

I have purchased a "back up camera" that I intend to install at the bow. My Garmin chart plotter has a video input. Perhaps a cockpit view of the sea of traps will help. We have turned it into a game when a dense field of lobster floats gets in the way. Especially late in the season when the traps that have been fishing outside are brought into the channels before they get hauled for the season. It can keep you quite busy. If you are in a channel with a tide running and an unfavorable wind it becomes a training exercise in rapid tacking.

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Well since no one has pointed to any potentially fatal flaw in trying something like this, I do think I'll give it a try this year, and post back here on the results. Not sure yet on the actual implementation, but I'm encouraged that it might work.

The camera idea might be good on a bigger boat, but given the field of view from our cockpit, combined with our relatively slow cruising speed, I have no trouble seeing them coming. It's just that you can't take your eyes off the course for more than a few seconds. If I want to grab a drink or use the head while single-handing, I've got to make it REALLY quick or suffer the consequences (or heave-to).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Agree with Jon. Pot lines seem to get sucked in from the side if you have the engine on. Was a product "captain somebody something " that was a super sharp serrated knife on a stick. Appreciate if some one knows what the h-ll I'm talking about. Think on your boat more likely to hang up on shaft or prop. .? Have you gotten a line between hull and rudder in the past ?
Great tip, I've put the knife-on-a-stick on this year's shopping list. But as I said, cutting someone's gear is an absolute last resort. I have a blade on the prop shaft, but I cut the motor the second I detect a line, and then try to push it down and past the rudder with a long boat hook.

The narrow gap between the hull and rudder is exactly where the line likes to go, and sometimes you can't tell if it's taken a turn around the post or not. It's a real hassle.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A most common place for trap warps to 'catch' on spade rudders is between the VERY top of the rudder and the hull - the normal 'gap' between the top of the rudder and the hull. The line gets 'pinched' in such places and right 'on top' of the rudder bearing area.
To prevent this 'pinching' on my old spade ruddered boat I installed a stout stainless steel rod from the hull and down about 6-8 inches below and close to the 'gap' between the top of the rudder and the hull. When 'caught', and if I was 'quick', I could 'back down' and release the warp from the rudder .... and did so on quite a few races on the Chesapeake.
Yup, exactly what happens to our boat. This rod idea could be a good alternative. Will have noodle around with some designs. Thanks!
 

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A thin but strong rod wouldn't cause more drag than having a dockline hanging over the side: shouldn't be too bad for performance. If it works, it's worth a try. You might be able to simply put a screweye into the rudder bottom at the pivot point, run the rod through it, and attach the rod at the keel end. Try it on land to see if the rudder will move freely and far enough. We've been up that way and the pots ARE really thick. Despite keeping our eyes open we managed to snag one that had been dragged under by the current while powersailing to Frenchboro (wanting to get in before dark). Luckily the prop cut it after a couple of heart-stopping thumps.
 

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My C&C came standard with a 1/4"? rod about 3" long just in front of the spade rudder, sticking down from the hull. Effectively shuts out access to the rudder/hull gap. Just as RichH describes.
I think it was fairly common on C&C's in the '70's and 80's.
However, as I sail on a lake that's glacier fed from the Rockies, we don't get much weed, and certainly no crab pots.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
A thin but strong rod wouldn't cause more drag than having a dockline hanging over the side: shouldn't be too bad for performance. If it works, it's worth a try. You might be able to simply put a screweye into the rudder bottom at the pivot point, run the rod through it, and attach the rod at the keel end. Try it on land to see if the rudder will move freely and far enough. We've been up that way and the pots ARE really thick. Despite keeping our eyes open we managed to snag one that had been dragged under by the current while powersailing to Frenchboro (wanting to get in before dark). Luckily the prop cut it after a couple of heart-stopping thumps.
Hmm. I hadn't considered attaching a rod to the rudder, but this could work. I'm thinking I would try to orient the rod parallel to the waterline to eliminate any extra drag.
 

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Here you go... I wouldn't be without one of these, particularly sailing in cold water...

LED lighting, soundproof, Sailor's Solutions Inc.

Awesome John. Thanks! I definitely need one of these. Not only good for snagged lines, but if a pirate comes aboard, you just tell them "That's not a knife, this is a knife" ;)



To the OP if you go with idea one, I'd suggest solid copper bar stock or tubing. Copper will help keep the growth down. I once had an electrical wire under the water line going to an external transducer and it grew several FEET of kelp. Don't underestimate bottom growth.

John, the spectra line you mention, any issues with growth on it? Is it too slick to grow stuff?

MedSailor
 
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