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Fish Traps #291875
12/01/2022 09:39 AM
12/01/2022 09:39 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 243
42.77N 76.14W
jmon Offline OP
Traveler
jmon  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 243
42.77N 76.14W
Back in the early ’80s, chartering was, in many respects, far different than it is today. There were few if any moorings around and neither MoorSecure nor Boaty Ball existed – not to mention GPS was only available to the military. Anegada was off-limits to all but a few of us and even then permission was only granted with a wink and the promise of no insurance or rescue calls should anything go wrong. Fortunately for us, they never did. Most beach bars were honor bars and Foxy and Bert Kilbride were in their prime (as was I). During any given week there were maybe 100 boats making the rounds.

We just returned home right before Thanksgiving after a wonderful and mostly uneventful 11-day sail around the BVI. The weather was perfect with lots of sun and 18k of TWS. Not overly crowded either. Lots of moorings were available everywhere we went. Most restaurants were open and while very expensive, the food and service were, for the most part, outstanding. I suspect the upcoming season will be very busy. We heard the Moorings alone was putting out 600 boats starting around Thanksgiving!!

So the reason I am putting this on TTOL is to remind everyone to watch for fish/lobster traps. For years I have watched for and missed snagging one until this year. We were on a broad reach under full sail coming from Anegada to JVD when all of a sudden the boat yawed to port for no apparent reason. I disengaged the A/P and tried to hand steer back to starboard when I realized I was dragging fishing gear behind the starboard pontoon. Not wanting to make a complete 180 into the wind and possibly foul the port running gear, I started the port engine and got back on course. By then I had alerted the crew and we attempted to snag the trap line with a boat hook in hopes of cutting or unsnagging it. No dice – too much drag.

With Sandy Cay only a few miles ahead, I decided to maintain my course and pull up in the lee of the cay, douse the sails, drop the hook and go over the side. Luckily it wasn’t long before the float which held the pendant for the trap broke free and allowed the snagged line to slip away and free us.

Once we moored at Diamond Cay I was able to go under the boat and determine most importantly there was no damage. I realized in retrospect that the small white float I over ran had been blocked by the white caps and my jib. I must have sailed directly over it and as it slide under the keel, got lodged between the keel and the rudder post forcing the rudder to one side and preventing me from being able to steer. Once the float broke off the end of the line, the line slipped through and we were good to go.

As much as things have changed in the BVI over the years, some things stay the same. There is no replacement for a vigilant eye. I should have seen the hazard despite never expecting it to be out so far in the camouflage of braking waves. In the end, I got lucky and I am grateful no damage was done. The trap was moved a few hundred yards but still had its pendant with 2 balls on it so the fisherman to whom it belongs will be able to recover it.

Stay safe my fellow sailors.


Jeff

Tug William B
BVI Sponsors
Re: Fish Traps [Re: jmon] #291879
12/01/2022 10:39 AM
12/01/2022 10:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,191
St. Lucia
Zanshin Offline
Traveler
Zanshin  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,191
St. Lucia
Fish traps are the bane of my sailing. Click on the image of a fishing line (still wrapped around my prop) to see my page with pictures of fish traps that I've personally caught:

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Zanshin; 12/01/2022 10:40 AM.
Re: Fish Traps [Re: jmon] #291882
12/01/2022 12:52 PM
12/01/2022 12:52 PM
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 766
M
MIDiver Offline
Traveler
MIDiver  Offline
Traveler
M
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 766
Oh crap!

Re: Fish Traps [Re: jmon] #291895
12/01/2022 04:12 PM
12/01/2022 04:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 609
Vail, CO/St. Thomas, USVI
caribbeangirl13 Offline
Traveler
caribbeangirl13  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 609
Vail, CO/St. Thomas, USVI
I know exactly what white balls you are talking about! They come up quickly! If you ever sail in Martinique it is like dodging the land mines on Vieques back in the day! Seriously, they are everywhere and not nice little noticeable balls but sometimes black balls or even coke bottles! It's funny because this prompted me posting a question to Leopard owners on what they do with their transmission when sailing with the engines off. I have always put the gears in neutral per the Yanmar Manual but after trying to dodge fish traps around Martinique, I was rethinking that due to not wanting to have a spinning prop. Luckily with 3 lookouts we managed to dodge them all but it wasn't easy.

On another note, if you sailed in the BVI back in the early 80's I wonder if you ever met my parents, Liz and Willard Hain. Our 42ft. sloop was named Traumerei and we sailed those waters often. We were based in Grenada.


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

[Linked Image]
Re: Fish Traps [Re: Zanshin] #291905
12/01/2022 07:36 PM
12/01/2022 07:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 243
42.77N 76.14W
jmon Offline OP
Traveler
jmon  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 243
42.77N 76.14W
Great article - thanks. Glad you came out with minimal damage..And sorry I don't believe I ever ran across your parents.

Last edited by jmon; 12/01/2022 07:37 PM.

Jeff

Tug William B

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