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Need recommendations for a spotlight and rod cutter


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Hi All, I'm looking for recommendations on two items for an offshore trip:

1 - Spotlight. Ideally battery powered, very bright, with a good battery life, for use in spotting buoys and finding overboard crew members. Reading reviews on Amazon I see that the 6,000 lumens ones seem to have poor battery life or are not IP67 or better rated. I'm thinking battery powered is better so it can be carried to the bow if needed. Shopping around I didn't see something that looked great.

2 - How big a wire cutter is needed to cut rod on a 37 foot boat? Of course I want the smallest and lightest that will do the job.

Thanks!

 

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  • George Dewey changed the title to Need recommendations for a spotlight and rod cutter

Can't help with the spotlight but someone here mentioned a cordless angle grinder with a cut off wheel. I think that's a good idea.

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Holmatro used to make a great little unit for cutting rod. doesn’t look like Reckmann carried that on though. 
 

I’d second the cordless grinder as long as it would be used for something else as well. 
 

hacksaw and fresh blades would certainly work as long as you didn’t need it done quickly, which is doubtful given the possible circumstances. 
 

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6 minutes ago, mgs said:


I’d second the cordless grinder as long as it would be used for something else as well.
 

My cordless grinder is the handiest tool I have. It usually is loaded with a 4 1/2" cut off wheel. Also have a 4" roloc adapter if you need to do a  bit of glass grinding, or 4" grinding wheel for knocking down steel.

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3 hours ago, Raz'r said:

And don't cut the rod, cut the turnbuckle (Assuming they're bronze)

If I need to cut the rig away, I think cutting whatever I can access quickly will make the most sense. I was thinking something like a bolt cutter, but those can be big and bulky. 

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10 hours ago, F_L said:

My cordless grinder is the handiest tool I have. It usually is loaded with a 4 1/2" cut off wheel. Also have a 4" roloc adapter if you need to do a  bit of glass grinding, or 4" grinding wheel for knocking down steel.

That’s a bonus for sure, But do you take that cruising with you?

 

@George Deweytake a look at Huskie Tools S-Series handheld hydraulic cutters. That’s close to what Holmatro offered. 

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might be easier to remove the pins if you can rather than cut the rod....a hammer and some 10-12 inch long cut off rod pieces to use as punches in the toolbox

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Those who have “been there” say that hacksaws and fussing with pins are not acceptable given the typical conditions. Huge bolt cutters for rod and huge cable cutters for wire. They cannot be too big. My bolt cutters are 30” ... I kinda suspect they would not work on my biggest 3/8 rod. I could only barely cut 5/16 chain out on the hard. 
 

The lithium battery angle grinder seems like a great option if one can figure out how to make sure it will work when the crisis comes. Some hydraulic tool would be best. 

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In the Offshore Safety course - that you are obviously going to have to do before this adventure - they will tell you that hacksaws are useless (take too long to cut thru rod), bolt cutters are good for one cut thru rod but are dulled by it such that cut number 2 becomes impossible, and that a battery angle grinder is the only reliable solution.

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2 hours ago, Dacron said:

In the Offshore Safety course - that you are obviously going to have to do before this adventure - they will tell you that hacksaws are useless (take too long to cut thru rod), bolt cutters are good for one cut thru rod but are dulled by it such that cut number 2 becomes impossible, and that a battery angle grinder is the only reliable solution.

I did the safety at sea course some time ago and I don't recall specifically what they recommended for cutting the rig away. Certainly if the mast is broken and we need to cut the rig away quick, a hacksaw or messing with pins or turnbuckles in not a great option. I'm surprised to hear that bolt cutter don't do the job, I was thinking I would get answers telling me which size bolt cutter to get.   

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11 hours ago, IStream said:

I've been intrigued by this spotlight for a while but haven't taken the plunge yet:

https://store.marinebeam.com/marinebeam-ultra-long-range-led-illuminator-flashlight/

 

That's pretty cool, but yeah, spendy! Then again I have used Marine Beam stuff for years and have never been disappointed. Thanks for pointing that one out!

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2 hours ago, Dacron said:

In the Offshore Safety course... they will tell you that .. bolt cutters are good for one cut thru rod but are dulled by it such that cut number 2 becomes impossible...

Cutters with blades intended for Cu or Al wire, perhaps?  I haven't tried them but hydraulic rebar cutters look interesting.

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2 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

I got a 48” bolt cutter. I am not buying that a battery operated anything is more dependable than a simple mechanical tool in a violent sea condition.

Safety is not the place to lose excess weight aboard

Yes, while the battery angle grinder may seem like a reasonable solution someone needs to test one while having buckets of saltwater poured on it. Only needs to last a few minutes. Maybe it could be waterproofed by filling all the cooling ports with 5200? 

Storage is an issue too. My boltcutters are coated with lanolin inside a sealed plastic bag because nothing rusts quite like hardened steel. 

 

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^^^ I'd be willing to chip a few bucks in for that test.

My WAG is that the BLDC would be fine but I dunno about the control electronics. The user might get a buzz. Adding some extra conformal coating to the electronics might help. It'd be interesting to test anyway. 

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On the Spotlight . . . . we have tried several . . . . in 'test conditions' you expect they might be very helpful . . . . . but in more 'real' conditions they dont work very well.  There is usually spray, or raid, or fog (or all three) and you get a ton of back scatter and they often create basically just a bright haze bubble, and they also wreck your night vision adaption.  We still carried one, used it a few times to light up our mainsail when in crossing situations with ships and were not sure they had seen us, and occasional things like that.  But I did not have much confidence it would be useful in any 'emergency' situation.

On cutting the rig - offshore you should have a hack saw in any case - light and easy to stow with multiple possible uses.  Get assorted blades. And as mentioned above, plan to cut the turnbuckles rather than the rod.  For cutting the wires/rod - it depends on boat/rig size.  For boats on the smaller size good bolt cutters will work - if you have any question it is not hard to try them out on spare/scrap pieces of wire/rod - just get some pieces and see if you can cut them; for boats on the bigger size you need hydraulic cutters - which work brilliantly but are pretty expensive.  The battery grinders - yea they cut real well and yea there are salt water concerns - they need air flow to stay cool. If you bag them or cover the cooling slots they will burn up - but idk how long they take to over heat - would be easy for someone here to test - cover the vents with duct tape and start cutting and let us know how long it lasts - would be valuable knowledge.  My guess is long enough to cut away a rig, but that's just a pure guess.  Like a hack saw - you should have a mallet and drift punch on board in any case - so hammering out the pins is a possibility but would depend on if you can get to them safely. 

At least some of the wires are likely to be loaded, and will spring out when you cut them, that can kill you if they hit you - be real careful you know where to stand while you are doing this.  It would be nice in the safety at sea courses if they gave hands on experience with these methods - would give you some idea what to expect 'in the real world'.

 

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28 minutes ago, estarzinger said:

battery grinders -... If you bag them or cover the cooling slots they will burn up

I'm not sure that sealing them up is required to keep them working. Even flooded with salt water if the motors are brushless and the electronics have adequate insulation then the electrical bits ~should~ work. I'm not laying money on it or anything but in a perfect world they would.

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6 minutes ago, weightless said:

I'm not sure that sealing them up is required to keep them working. Even flooded with salt water if the motors are BLCD and the electronics have adequate insulation then the electrical bits ~should~ work. I'm not laying money on it or anything but in a perfect world they would.

Could well be - someone should test this, sealed and unsealed - and then we would know and not have to guess.  Would just cost like $100 to get the answer (editor perhaps a couple hundred to test multiple brands).  I'm a bit surprised that either/both of practical sailor and USSailing safety at sea dont have published tests on it already.

I'd prefer it if one of those 'authorities' did the testing, but if they dont step up - I could certainly do a 'preliminary/lite' test to give a high level answer.

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Underwater angle grinder 

Apparently for polishing the drains of your swimming pool. A bargain at $3550.50

Probably not too tough to make a regular workshop angle grinder sufficiently splashproof. It would likely work for the required ten minutes then corrode to worthless.

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45 minutes ago, estarzinger said:

I could certainly do a 'preliminary/lite' test to give a high level answer.

 

^^^ That would be very cool but please don't drop a lot of coin on it just on my thinking.

They might work out of the box and it'd be neat to know. I presume some consideration will have been given to protecting them against conductive dust and contaminants. However, since they aren't designed or rated for marine use I expect the insulation on the electronics will be imperfect. To marinize it them I'd plan on taking the battery and to tool apart and coating the electronics. The DIY possibility is interesting but might lead to overheating or other issues. I dunno. It'd be very experimental and there may well be a fatal flaw in my theory. Hence the tildes around ~should~ work.

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https://huskietools.com/product/pl-s20/

 

The PL-S20 is a saltwater resistant|nickel-plated cutter for use in underwater environments. Its recommended uses include: marine nautical cutting|emergency cutting of stainless steel wire rope rigging and hardware|underwater rebar and cable cutting|and yacht mast rod cutting up to 1/2".

PL-S20-4-1024x1024.jpg

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There are a bunch of cheap hydraulic rebar cutters on Amazon that might fit the bill for under a C note. They're not nickel plated or rated for use underwater but if you just need something to cut the rig away once, spray them with Boeshield and seal them up in a plastic bag. 

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2 hours ago, See Level said:

https://huskietools.com/product/pl-s20/

 

The PL-S20 is a saltwater resistant|nickel-plated cutter for use in underwater environments. Its recommended uses include: marine nautical cutting|emergency cutting of stainless steel wire rope rigging and hardware|underwater rebar and cable cutting|and yacht mast rod cutting up to 1/2".

PL-S20-4-1024x1024.jpg

$1,544.95 !!!!!

 

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$1500 buys you 1 angle grinder for each rod and lots of $$ left over.  I suspect most dismasting don't happen in the worst storms with waves crashing over the boat either.

I'd carry 1 disc for each rod. More than you need but then you don't need to worry. Don't buy the thinnest cutoff wheels. They break a bit too easily 

And totally agree that a punch + hammer (2, 4, or 5 lb not a 16 oz claw hammer) is a good idea

 

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