|A Carpet Of Floats|
|Cape Porpoise Lobstermen Landing Their Catch|
Estimates put the number of lobster traps in Maine waters at over 3 million, and I figure we've seen and dodged the floats marking half of them.
In fact sailing on this coast is hard work, with constant vigilance needed to steer around the thick carpet of floats that dot the water. In places you could walk across the floats with snow shoes.
On foggy days the navigation work load increases even further. Watching the radar for traffic, dodging floats, managing the navigation and constantly peering into the fog means that even a short four or five hour coastal passage is exhausting - we prefer not to go to sea if it's foggy here.
So how do you deal with this carpet of obstacles ? First, we simply don't navigate at night, but there are other things that help .....
Many local power boats use metal cages around the propeller to prevent the floats from tangling in the running gear, while yachts and pleasure cruisers use rotating line cutters attached to the shaft to (hopefully) cut the float line if it does tangle.
|Two Piece Line Cutter|
Of course hooking up with a pot is always going to happen where it's most inconvenient - entering harbor, close to reefs, or even when anchoring. Some floats are submerged at high tide, which gives us no chance of avoiding them.
Under sail the risk is reduced, as our propeller is folded and not rotating. However this summer has been strangely lacking in decent wind, and we've done an enormous amount of motoring as we move along the New England coast.
We've taken to keeping watch and conning the boat from well forward, at the mast or even occasionally at the bow, using the autopilot remote control to steer. That cordless remote has done an enormous amount of work over the past month!
|The Admiral On Trap Watch, Steering With The Remote|