SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Load Bearing Member
Joined
·
644 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I seem to be averaging twice a year for tangling with lobster pot lines.

This latest incident resulted in my boat being hauled for repairs.

Are line cutters effective? :confused:

The ads say they are, but I wasn't born yesterday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I've had a set of Spurs on my boat for about twenty five years now. I once found a few strands of polypro rope tangled in my running gear when I hauled the boat. I've never been stopped or even slowed by getting tangled up with pot lines or any other line. Maybe I'm just really good at avoiding pot lines?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
712 Posts
That's a bummer! Out here it's "crab pots" in less than 75 feet of water. The good thing I guess is Puget Sound is so deep the crabbers have to stay close in to shore. But sometimes it can be like a mine field getting out. Never heard of a "cutter".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,825 Posts
I'm on my second boat with a cutter and can recommend them. My worst "catch" was a heavy fish pot where the cutter did the job but the line was wrapped and melted around the prop shaft, but the cutter kept things from getting worse.

They aren't expensive additions (as far as boat parts go) and I've seen enough lines get wrapped with damage to the boat to make this a worthwhile investment. Last year a Sunsail charter boat almost sunk after wrapping the dinghy line, it took 9 of us bailing and then a bit of diving and creative use of plastic garbage bags to stuff the long rip to keep her afloat. A line cutter would have kept the boat from getting damaged in this case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
I'm on my second boat with a cutter and can recommend them. My worst "catch" was a heavy fish pot where the cutter did the job but the line was wrapped and melted around the prop shaft, but the cutter kept things from getting worse.

They aren't expensive additions (as far as boat parts go) and I've seen enough lines get wrapped with damage to the boat to make this a worthwhile investment. Last year a Sunsail charter boat almost sunk after wrapping the dinghy line, it took 9 of us bailing and then a bit of diving and creative use of plastic garbage bags to stuff the long rip to keep her afloat. A line cutter would have kept the boat from getting damaged in this case.
I am sure they work sometimes but by no means always. I sucked in a crab pot line and the cutter did not cut it -- literally. Fortunately, it happened actually _in_ the marina so I could do a short haul and hack off the line.

Having said that, I would still put it on. As Zanshin is saying, compared to potential damage to the boat a cutter is still cheap. Actually, it costs less than hauling the boat only once!

Just be careful when cleaning your prop!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Note that "Spurs" is a brand name for a particular line cutter. There are many different brands of line cutters available. Some may not work as well as others. My experience is with the Spurs brand cutters.
 

·
Load Bearing Member
Joined
·
644 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The two types I've seen so far are:

"Spurs" which have a set of blades on the prop (spinning) and another set 1/8" upshaft (not spinning). When a line gets tangled, some sort of lever/wedge action moves the 'not spinning' set out to meet the other set. Once the line is cut, a spring separates them again. This looks wicked cool and also seems like it would need a professional install. I do not have a quote.

"Shaft Shark" seems to be a glorified radial saw blade a few mm larger than the hub of the prop. The smaller ones can be separated so they can be installed without pulling the prop. This is a $350 DIY job, but I wonder about the effectiveness. If the blade is moving with the prop and the line is moving with the prop, where's the cutting action? I can imagine the line just wrapping around the blade as the prop becomes a windlass. Then again, it's better than nothing.

My boat comes out today, I'll post pics of the damage.

Ken
 

·
Asleep at the wheel
Joined
·
3,016 Posts
Ken, I looked at the Shaft Shark-style cutters. I think the theory is that at least one end of the line will be semi-fixed (e.g., attached to a crab pot or the float) while the other end is trapped in the prop. Eventually the spinning of the prop will cause the line to wrap around the shaft and get cut by the saw blade.

I saw videos somewhere of different styles being tested. I think the Spurs were the ones that looked most effective, but even the saw blade style cutters seemed to do OK for at least the kinds of issues I'd likely face.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
690 Posts
I have Spurs and love them. Never been stopped and never seen a piece of line left on the shaft when I dive on the boat.
I looked at Shaft Shark. I didn't like how far out the cutting disc extended in front of the prop blades.
Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,262 Posts
We had spurs, and frankly they were worthless. Before Lousiana did a crap trap pickup we were averaging snagging a pot a week for a while, and I would have to dive on them to cut them free. The worst was when a pot wrapped the spurs and got wrapped around them pulling the crab trap into the hull. By the time it was all over and done with the pot had been spun around the shaft and torn up the glass, as well as bent the shaft, and destroyed the cutlass bearing.

I certainly wasn't impressed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,310 Posts

Fun watching. Some sort or 'cutter' seems to be a lot better than nothing...

We have a disc type -- have not tested it at sea, and would prefer not to do so!
:)

Loren
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,092 Posts
"Spurs" which have a set of blades on the prop (spinning) and another set 1/8" upshaft (not spinning). When a line gets tangled, some sort of lever/wedge action moves the 'not spinning' set out to meet the other set. Once the line is cut, a spring separates them again.
We have a set of Spurs cutters installed, but they don't resemble your description exactly. No springs or lever/wedge action. There is a fixed set of blades and a rotating set, as you describe, but they just pass each other like multiple sets of scissors.

For those with mixed experiences, let's face it, there is no line cutting solution that can be 100% reliable. Nothing is. However, line cutters are completely worth it, in my opinion. I only once caught a line. The cutter did not instantly sever the line. I immediately went to neutral. Then idle forward, but nothing changed. Then idle reverse and I instantly heard a big clunk and the float came out behind the boat. I was 30nm offshore and very glad to have had it installed!!

In the end, you have to drive the boat as if it didn't have one and remain very diligent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,205 Posts
Down sides?

Reduced prop efficiency? Harder to cut free if it fails? Must get dull at some point? I'm trying to understand why less than 10% have these.

While the Chesapeake certainly has it's share of pots, and I dock in a working fishing town, in 25 years I've never wrapped a pot, and that's with 2 engines. A rudder a few times; sometimes under sail the tide will push me down more than I expected. But under power I go around them. I wound up a floating line once, but since it was not attached, I don't think it would have cut. I've wound up fishing line, but it simply snaps at the forward end--it's the tail that winds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,111 Posts
Pretty unusual to see Spurs fitted to a boat like a Bristol 30, they're most often used on larger yachts, and powerboats primarily. They're more expensive than a simpler cutter like a Shaft Shark, and chances are you'd need to replace your shaft to gain the additional clearance to fit Spurs, and if you're using a heavy prop such as a Max-Prop or Autoprop, you may wind up having to exceed the recommended clearance between the cutless bearing/support bracket, and your prop... And if you do decide to go with a DIY solution like a Shaft Shark, make sure you have a sufficient gap between the cutter and the support bracket to allow for the full flow of water through the cutless bearing. I forget what the recommended percentage of shaft diameter would be, no doubt Maine Sail would know for sure...

I have a Shaft Shark on my boat, can't say for sure how effective it's been, as to the best of my knowledge I've yet to snag a line. But I can't help but think that it's decent insurance...

One thing you might consider is running a 'deflector' of sorts, a length of wire or spectra between the trailing edge of your keel and rudder. I do that whenever I'm headed for Maine, or down into the Keys...

And, while it won't prevent the initial damage that you suffered as a result of snagging a line, every boat sailing in waters like yours would be well advised to be carrying one of these aboard...

LED lighting, soundproof, Sailor's Solutions Inc.

 

·
Load Bearing Member
Joined
·
644 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Damn Ken, sorry to hear this.
Thanks, Bob.

It's not too bad, but it really took the shine off the homecoming. 200 yards into my home port! 4 miles from my mooring after 130 miles at sea. sigh.

I lost some kind of trim ring around the shaft log hub. I think I need to build that back up with fiberglass.

And install a line cutter.

And station a buoy watch on the bow.

And take the channel at no more than 4 knots.

Here's the pic:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,865 Posts
On my previous boat we installed Spurs, my current boat has the Shaft Shark or some equivalent...round blade without the scissors action of Spurs.

Jon's right, when we added the Spurs to the previous boat, we actually had to replace the shaft with a longer one so that there was enough space between the strut and the prop to fit it. I think the Shaft Shark takes up much less room and is likely to fit on an existing shaft.

With the old boat before adding Spurs in just one summer in Maine I hired diver's 3 times to remove birds nests of melted poly from lobsta pots. I asked one of the divers, who was a lobsta man, what he used on his lobsta boat. He said spurs. That took away the guilt factor of cutting cutting someone's gear. In some harbors the spacing between pots is less than your beam, so see and avoid doesn't always work.

After putting them on I never snagged a pot again. Now maybe I got lucky:)

I've had the Shaft Shark for 5 years. My current boat has a skeg hung rudder so the prop is in an aperture, which provides some protection. Last year I managed to tangle a pot, and it didn't cut loose. Luckily we had a hooknife like in Jon's post. From the dingy, hanging over the side, whilst drifting I was able to untangle/cut the birds nest off without getting wet beyond the elbow. Luckily it was relatively calm with light winds.

So I don't know...my guess is the scissors action is better than a round knife, but in either case be ready to swim and/or have a hooknife and a good pole that extends far enough to reach your prop.

I'm always happy when we hit the Canadian border where lobsta fishing is in the winter;)
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
9,220 Posts
If I'm not mistaken, Spurs is the original and has been around for something like 50 years. If they didn't work, I don't believe they would have lasted this long. They have excellent customer service and stand behind their product.
I've had them on many boats, both power and sail, and I always feel more secure on a boat that has them Maybe I've never caught a line or perhaps they work just fine, but in either case, I've never had to deal with any line wrapped around the prop.
 

·
Load Bearing Member
Joined
·
644 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

I've decided to go with the Shaft Shark rotary cutter.

I believe that Spurs is a better system, but the install is more involved and it is more expensive. I'd have to bond an SS plate to my skeg; this plate would be tapped for the screws that hold the actuator. It's not a huge job, but the season is ticking away while I pay rental on a mooring and storage on the wrong side of the high water mark.

Ken
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top