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kelp cutter for my Hot Foot 20


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Our Sylvan Lake Marinas (2) have both developed a severe weed problem. Every time a sail or power boat leaves the Marinas a clump of weed gets dragged out into the lake. If the wind is lite the weed clumps just float around waiting for my Hot Foot 20 ( and other keel boats of course) . Early in September we had a 4 race regatta and I ended up with weeds attached to my keel 3 of the 4 races. This is despite backing up before each start. Not Good for boat speed.

My keel needs a little work anyway so thinking about installing a kelp cutter. Wondering about the pros and cons of doing this. Where would I even get the blade? Hoping some of you coastal guys may have some advice.

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Proper cutters are tough to make. I mean the knife in the leading edge of the foils. And have dubious effect on foil flows. We are in NorCal, so it is kelp. It cuts quite easily. The weed I have experienced does not cut so easily. Some boats use a pole with a rope. Tennis ball at the end. Flip it around the bow, fuss around...etc. Seems to kinda work but I never liked it. We made a stick that could be used from the rail for either keel or rudder. About 6 feet (as appropriate) of straight fiberglass pole tipped with a curved section made with two battens epoxied together to fit the hull. Requires careful design. Forward rail person would stick it under the hull, forward. When it hit the keel at the hull it would be quickly pushed down. Worked great. Took just seconds. A pain to store. however.

Some boats have a 'C' shaped pusher attached to a thru-hull stick, just ahead of the mast, that can sweep the leading edge of the keel. Useless for the rudder, of course. Some tiny drag when raised.

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Cutters (that really work) are technical to make - but in SoCal, you can't have a vertical keel without one. Sticks/flossing work, but slow & difficult. With a cutter, anytime you even suspect weed, you just cycle the blade & you're good to go, no peering over the side/checking windows/etc.

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  • 2 months later...

the pusher and blade aren’t the tricky part... length of ss rod, tap the top for a ball, file a flat surface at the bottom and drill/tap to accept the blade which could be fabricated from a variety of materials... the melges style needs to have a slot cut in the leading edge of the foil and be drilled out for the rod down the whole length. seems like it would be a difficult retrofit...

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