Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24

Thread: Line Cutter opinions?

  1. #1
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Portland, OR. Columbia River
    Posts
    5,259
    Blog Entries
    32

    Question Line Cutter opinions?

    We are about to haul out for a bottom job, and some maint. work on the shaft / replace the PSS bellows.
    Anyone have an experience with the disk-shaped Shaft Shark or perhaps the Spurs line cutters?


    Those crab pot floats are mighty hard to see anytime and invisible at night when we are transiting the Washington coast.

    Luck has gotten me by for a couple decades, but a friend got towed in last summer with a piece of line/netting caught in his prop. And, he's not the only victim over the years that I know of.

    Since our boat will be out of the water for a week anyway, this would be a good time to address this concern.

    Your experiences?

    Thanks,
    Loren in Portland, OR
    Olson 34 Fresh Air
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 11-08-2006 at 07:11 PM.

  2. #2
    Principal Partner Shadowfax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Rock Hall, MD Home, New Hope, PA
    Posts
    409
    A friend of mine gave me one because when he changed his prop to a Flex O Fold, it would no longer fit on the shaft. I looked at installling it on my 34 but did not when I found that I had to drill holes in the strut to mount half of it.

    I am still dodging the crab pots

    Paul Raywood
    s/v Shadowfax
    1988 E34 #257
    Rock Hall, Maryland, Home Port
    New Hope, Pennsylvania, Home

  3. #3
    Principal Partner CoryBolton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    417

    Shaft Shark

    Loren,

    We put a Shaft Shark on our boat this last summer for wherever we decide to go next summer (leave Columbia River, turn right? turn left?). I liked the design of Spurs better, but it required drilling into the cutlass, which I didn't really want to do. The Shark just bolts onto the shaft.

    A few years ago heading North we had way too many close calls with crab pots. Not that we'll not try any less in the future to avoid them, but if we fail maybe the consequences won't be quite as bad.

    - Cory

  4. #4
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ellsworth, ME
    Posts
    770
    My philosophy is that it's not ethical to put line cutters on the shaft of a pleasure craft. There are no waters more tightly constricted with fishing buoys than the inshore waters of downeast Maine, so I can see the temptation, but each one of those buoys (around here) represents about $100 of gear to the lobsterman that set it. He's out there making a living, and I'm out to have some fun, so I just don't think it's right to have a cutter on my shaft. If I get tangled (and I have) I'll pull up the warp, try to counter rotate the prop shaft from inside the boat, and if necessary cut the warp and reattach it to the float. Then if necessary dive to get any more wraps off.

  5. #5
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Portland, OR. Columbia River
    Posts
    5,259
    Blog Entries
    32

    Lightbulb

    Nate is absolutely right, in the general sense.
    Our gripe is with crabbers that deliberately set their pot line down a charted channel, in violation of the Regs.

    Second problem is that we find the pot lines in well over 300 feet of water, in open ocean. These waters are really really cold and even in summer are rough. It is normal to "fight" our way north, up the Washington coast, against 7 feet seas and winds of 20 to 25 kts in the summer, impeded also by an adverse surface current of 0.5 up to 2 kts. Combine that with the usual 3 foot cross sea, and no one is about to go over the side in their skivies with a knife in their teeth... expecially not us geezer vikings in our 60's.
    (It's a risky-to-near-suicide move even at half that age... and I personally know guys that have done it and got back aboard.)


    No one that I know wants to deliberately "try out" any line cutter device, but it is one small way to bring the odds back slightly into your favor, during night passages and in seas too rough to see those little toggles.
    After all, there is only a maybe 50-50 chance that the offending line will actually get neatly severed, just like in the ad!
    And even then, you will be lucky if you do not break a coupler, mount, strut, etc, etc.

    Some years ago I wound up with a long underwater piece of poly line in my prop on our Yamaha 10 hp Hi Thrust (25 inch leg) on our former Niagara 26. It killed the engine, anchored us to the bottom of the Columbia river in the middle of the barge channel up near Beacon Rock, and caused the transom to make some interesting creaking noises as it halted our 4K # boat in a couple of lengths! I later reinforced that side of the transom.

    At the time, I was just thankful that, once the motor was tilted up, I could juuust baaarrrly reach the tight-as-iron mass of line and saw it off in chunks with a serated galley knife. We got lucky, and had only an "adventure" rather than a tragedy.


    So, yup, we plan to keep on avoiding all of these that we possibly can.

    Loren in PDX

  6. #6
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ellsworth, ME
    Posts
    770
    Well, you're right that even a yachtie's life is probably worth more than $100 of fishing gear. (well, maybe not ALL fishermen would agree, but probably enough to make it a safe bet that one will be on your jury.)

  7. #7
    Sustaining Partner
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    291
    I agree with all the posts. I have the type that is a single blade and extremely sharp. (not sure of the brand). It requires no maintenance and is less costly. As to the ethics... In NC inland estuarine waters one can find crab pots about anywhere at anytime even though most crabbers do their best. What is worst are those ghosts pots, black from algae and impossible to see. In the Albemarle - except for the N-S intercoastal run way, they can be anywhere and can be 10 to 20' apart. Night sailing is very risky - expecially is one is sailing and these cutters need for the prop to be turning to work. One of the issues I have been told are the immigrants who are flooding the waters with pots... not that I have a problem with immigrants.

    Having experience the problems of a wrapped pot line three times from three different sources, and at my age, I have no desire to have a fourth event. It becomes a major and dangeorus event to go overboard.

    One major consideration with this cutter: make sure you apply the warning label on the waterline and make sure divers know of the cutter. In murky waters this is a big problem.

  8. #8
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Annapolis, MD
    Posts
    1,294
    I have been following this thread for a while now and I am still waiting to hear from someone difinitively whether or not these things actually work? Seen the displays at the boat shows but I have yet to hear a story of them actually working, or better yet not working. Something like: "well we were motoring through a sea of pots in fog and caught one but the line cutter worked and we spit the float out with a cut line so I know it did the job...""Or We got fouled and the line cutter did not work and I still had to go over the side..." I sail a lot a night on the Chesapeake and just make the sign of the cross and hope for the best every time. I try to avoid motoring through the mine fields at night and have not had a problem. I have a feathering prop that I lock in reverse once the engine is shut down. I think these things are a little harder to snag than many may believe because I have run them down so many times and not caught one. Got one on my rudder on my Columbia 28 years ago and hopped over the side and freed it in 2 minutes. Granted the water here is bearable most times of the year and your worst enemy is the jellies. I have never sailed with the line cutters but would really like to hear some testimony to their effectiveness before I shelled out the $$.

  9. #9
    Sustaining Partner
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    291
    I definitely share your doubts but I installed one anyway. The only positive the sellor can provide is something like we have never heard of one that did not work.... which does not indicate how many actually cut the line.

    And I don't think any of the brands say the line is cut while sailing... You have to be motoring as I understand it. I've wondered if I pick one up while sailing, am I going to brave enough to start the engine and hope it gets cut.

    At my age, I really do not want to go overboard in anything less than near flat calm. I once picked up a dingy line and it took a hacksaw to remove the line. I picked up a loose genoa sheet (yes, genoa sheet) in a rough Pamlico Sound. I wound so tight the shaft would not turn even with a pipe wrench. Had to limp into a non protected anchorage for a hellaciouis night. Eventuall the hacksaw overboard. And one final nightmare of an anchor rode wrap. Took a diver for that at night, bent the engine mount bolts! Since then I have mostly chain for the rode, fully floating dinghy painters, and never in gear when furling the genoa (well hardly ever). The one time I picked up a crab pot was in calm water and a quick overboard dive. But I dread the thought of wrapping a grab pot in a big chop motoring... I should also say of course that the Ericson is a fin keel. If a full keel I doubt crab pots would be a concern motoring and especially not sailing.

    So in my case the couple hundred bucks is worthy insurance.

  10. #10
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ellsworth, ME
    Posts
    770
    Will these things cut a 1/2" genoa sheet or 5/8" anchor rode? I'd think a 5/16" pot warp would be much easier to cut.

    I too am doubtful about how much of a threat pots pose to keel-ed displacement boats. With the prop up under the hull, and behind the keel, the floats tend to get pushed out of the way before the prop can grab the warp. Otherwise, I think we'd snag them sailing all the time (I try to sail through lobster grounds at night, rather than motor), and they occasionally bounce off the hull before they're seen.

    I've wrapped a prop twice. Once was on a planing v-hull inboard powerboat, and we hit a raft of abandoned line that was floating under the surface in a mat of seaweed. No shaft cutter would have avoided the resulting 12" ball of assorted line around the shaft and prop. The other time I've snagged line was on a 49 foot full-keel sailboat under power in a 2 knot current. The person at the helm was not accounting for how quickly the current was setting the boat sideways, and drove it right over a pot float. In that circumstance I bet a cutter would have avoided the problem.

  11. #11
    Principal Partner footrope's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    705

    taut line loose line

    This is a good thread - very "safety related." I just wish we had more experiences to share. Have you tried visiting some line cutter websites? Would you trust any "testimonials" you find there? Or, maybe sailinganarchy has a thread or two. Aren't there are a lot of variables involved in the performance of these devices?

    I would guess that a line cutter, to be effective, would require either a certain RPM or a certain level of tautness or tension in the line. I bet some line cutter designer/tester could plot a curve of those two values with a bunch of assumptions and line diameters and types of line. You could probably still get enough line wrapped around to stop the shaft and be forced to dive anyway, even if you could sail away.

    Bottom line: if the design of it won't interfere with your sailing enjoyment and probably won't create new maintenance headaches or operational problems, then install it. If it keeps you underway and dry just once, or once in three incidents, then it's reducing your exposure to cold, inconvenience, and other dangers. It would be a bummer to find out that the thing had to be taken right back off again after the shakedown cruise around the marina, though.

    I unwrapped a line (cored polypropylene braid) from my prop shaft one summer day. Used a combination of manual prop shaft rotation (thanks to my friend for reminding me of the option) and then dove on it with no gear. After a couple deep breaths the line was off. I have a fairly sharp 3-blade featherer. There was a significant override that was near-impossible to overcome without the dive. I'm watching Jaws and I don't feel like diving right now, though.

    One end of that floating line was attached to my fiberglass dinghy (which had became a half-submerged fiberglass dinghy) and the other to the cleat on the stern. We forgot to shorten the line before we began to back down on our anchor to set it. It stopped the engine while we were reversing.

    No question in my mind why a float in the middle of a dinghy tow line is useful. Not sure about the prospect of hauling up the anchor to chase after the dinghy, but it would be a dry experience, if not less embarrassing.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide to do, Loren.
    Craig Davis & Ellen Le Vita

    1980 E38 "Pilot Project"
    Hull #20
    Seattle, WA



    "You can't run forever, but there's nothing wrong with getting a good head start"
    -- Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through, Jim Steinman

  12. #12
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ellsworth, ME
    Posts
    770
    How much of a danger are these devices to a divers hands? If you DO need to dive to cut a line off, because the cutter's work was incomplete, will you be able to do so without injuring yourself?

  13. #13
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Portland, OR. Columbia River
    Posts
    5,259
    Blog Entries
    32

    Exclamation Shark on duty

    Getting very close to launch...
    The recent snow and freezing temps for several weeks really slowed down the bottom painting.
    Here is a picture of the prop back on. The Shaft Shark cutter is on. New cutlass bearing. The tail cone zinc still needs to go on the prop.

    Plan is to splash by mid week.

    The "shark" is a sharp little item. I hope it works if we wander into a pot warp. There are no plans to "test" it!

    Sunshine has finally returned to PDX, altho nights are still in the low 30's. Days are in the high-40's now. Sunblock time!

    Cheers,
    Loren
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	smallFile cutter closeup.jpg 
Views:	169 
Size:	39.0 KB 
ID:	2431   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	LoRezLineCutterInstalled.jpg 
Views:	146 
Size:	70.5 KB 
ID:	3661  
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 02-03-2008 at 11:37 AM. Reason: another view of the Shark

  14. #14
    Sustaining Partner
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    291
    I have exactly the same prop and cutter. So far so good. Always warn any diver about it. It is very, very sharp.

  15. 05-23-2007, 10:34 AM


  16. #15
    Principal Partner
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ellsworth, ME
    Posts
    770
    I don't think the fact that the lobsterman is making a living, and we're out there a few weekends each summer to enjoy a sail, means that we're the bad guy, or that we shouldn't be out there. I just think it is generally crappy to damage someone else's property. All the more so if it is done to people who have a lot less money than we do.

    I think the market is dictating the distribution of lobster pot warps pretty darn well. Millions of americans want to eat lobster, so lobstermen put out the number of traps they can afford to keep.

    I really don't understand the argument that it's you're right to sail with absolute safety, and that requires slicing the occasional pot warp. I've sailed up here for decades, and yes, there are A LOT of pot warps. It makes sailing more challenging, and I suppose incrementally more dangerous. But so does the rocky coast, the cold water, the fall storms, etc etc etc. I consider it my right to be on the water if I choose, but I don't consider it my right to be completely protected by someone or something from all of the dangers involved with being on the water. If I want to be 100% safe, warm, and dry, I'll stay on land. When I have a prop running, I practice extreme vigilance to avoid pot warps. Usually the best practice is just to shut down the engine and sail when that's possible. At night, when the engine must be run, and where there are lobster pots about, I usually put a spotter on the bow, with a light if necessary. I have gotten lines wrapped around my prop twice, and it's not very pleasant, but it's fixable, and it's part of sailing up here. That's my opinion on it anyways. I do my best not to damage other mariners' gear, and I appreciate that they do the same for my boat/mooring/equipment.

    Finally, in the interest of full-disclosure, I'll confess that I enjoy lobster dinners from time to time. I guess I have an interest in keeping lobster prices reasonable, so that's my bias in the issue.
    Last edited by NateHanson; 05-23-2007 at 11:52 AM.

Similar Threads

  1. To cutter-rig or not
    By Sven in forum Design & Function
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 02-08-2010, 11:37 AM
  2. FS: 1978 E31 Independence Cutter: $25K OBO
    By dscolaro in forum For Sale & Wanted
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-29-2008, 11:46 PM
  3. FS: 1978 E31 Independence Cutter
    By dscolaro in forum For Sale & Wanted
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-27-2007, 10:01 AM
  4. cutter rig
    By msc1212 in forum Maintenance & Mechanical
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 10-25-2005, 07:41 AM
  5. 35-2 Cutter rigged
    By Brisdon in forum Design & Function
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-11-2001, 09:47 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •