Parachute Anchors, Para-Anchor, Sea Anchor

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by brian eiland, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Parachute Anchors, Para-Anchor, Sea Anchor

    I have been for a long time an advocate for the parachute type sea anchor, deployed from the bow of the vessel, for use as the ultimate survivability tool in really extreme sea conditions:
    ....from my website…
    “Storm survivability should be considered at the design stage for any vessel making offshore passages. It's generally acknowledged that this is best accomplished by facing into a truly strong storm (a big headsea). As mechanical things go, its not hard to imagine some lost of power at a most inopportune time during an extended storm. This could put the solely powered vessel in a perilous position in short order. The motor/sailer and in particular one with our ketch style rig would have several sail configurations which would hold her into the wind. However, I would strongly recommend installing a dedicated sea anchor system that not only takes care of you in those extreme heavy weather situations, but can be utilized in a variety of other less threatening conditions. With a backup sea anchor system aboard, I would ride out a hurricane in this vessel.”

    This conclusion on my part was reached was as a result of 3 occasions of actual experiences at sea in storms, but never with a sea anchor onboard. It was following these experiences, and upon reading of others’ experiences with heavy weather tactics that I ran across one of the original books dedicated to the subject, “The Parachute Anchoring System” by John & Joan Casanova, Victor Shane, Daniel Shewmon. I also reviewed Victor’s original “Drag Device Data Base”. These books, and others on heavy weather sailing, combined with my previous practical experiences convinced me that in the ultimate situation the ‘anchor-at-sea’ approach was the best approach as long as it could be attained.

    To quote Victor Shane;
    “Every form of warfare involves a defense as well as an offense. There are times when the mariner can fight the elements and, with good seamanship, prevail. But there are also times when he must, in all wisdom, cease all offense and place his vessel in a defensive mode. Going with Mother Nature, and trying to keep up with Mother Nature are two different things!”

    In a similar vein I wrote about a fight with the sea, “Heavy boats carry their momentum into each trough and crest in a battle with the sea, while relatively lt-weight boats with slender hulls slice through with less battering. "You can out-think the ocean, but you can't out-slug the ocean," quoting a sign posted at the U.S. Naval Academy.

    A recent incident (Jan 06) involving a multihull designer Richard Woods, who had to abandon his vessel in a bad storm in the infamous Gulf of Tehuantepec, has prompted me to revisit my thoughts on the subject of parachute sea anchors. Richard deployed a parachute anchor for a period of time, but experienced problems with it, and ultimately expressed dissatisfaction with this survival tool, at least initially. I’m going to post here his initial report as was posted on another multihull forum.

    I am hoping that once Richard gets a bit more settled (and hopefully recovers his vessel), that we can attempt to evaluate what failures in system or usage led to his less-than-successful deployment of this survival tool. It should be a learning experience, and a time to more fully explore this very important subject.
     
  2. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Richard Wood's initial report

    As some of you probably now know, we are no longer on board Eclipse but on navy frigate USS Ford where, apart from saving our lives, everyone has been really friendly and welcoming.

    We left Nicaragua on Friday 13th, which probably didn’t help matters, and had a very frustrating sail along the coast of El Salvador and then Guatemala. Frustrating, as the weather was really changeable. For example we went from motoring to sailing under reefed genoa alone in under 2 minutes. But we did have some nice sailing for a couple of hours each day – then followed by several hours of motoring. So it was taking longer than we wanted to get to Mexico and we were both getting tired, but Jetti, as always, was preparing good food. There was a time constraint as we knew there would be a bad gale coming through the Gulf of Tehuantepec on Wednesday afternoon, and we had wanted to get past that area by then. Sadly we didn’t quite make it.

    The wind got up very quickly from south 7-10 knots to north west 30. As we got away from land the wind increased more. There are several proven, accepted, techniques for handling bad weather in a catamaran. If the wave and wind are not too severe, one can just heave to or take down all sail and lie ahull. But as the wind increases and especially as the wave height increases, this is no longer a safe option. So the next stage is either to run before a gale towing warps, or to lie to a sea anchor. The problems with the former are that a) you are going with the weather system so you stay in it longer b) if the wind increases you eventually cannot go slowly enough so you begin to surf and overtake the waves ahead c) you end up a long way downwind, at say 50 miles a day d) it would mean that I would be hand
    steering all the time, as Jetti is not experienced (or in the event as we found later, strong enough) to steer in big seas. So I have always preferred the sea anchor streamed from the bows. However, in 45 years of sailing and around 70,000 of offshore sailing, I have never had to stop sailing because of bad weather. So it had all been theory for me, until now.

    Anyway, at 8pm we decided to stop sailing and use our parachute sea anchor. I had first got this when we did the Azores race in Banshee in 1987, but had only ever used it for practice. This was the first time for real. It took sometime to sort out the bridle so that the boat would stay head to waves. It tended to swing 40 degrees each way and was scary (or so I thought at the time) when we got near-abeam of the waves. Also, from time to time the parachute would collapse, and we’d drift backwards until it reset, which was even more worrying.

    We spent the night like that, with no sleep of course. Next morning the wind and sea was much worse. Certainly a full gale, but not so bad that I thought the Eclipse was in real danger. Tests, theory and practice have shown that a catamaran can only capsize if it beam onto waves that are as high as the beam of the boat. So we are 100% OK in waves under 20 feet high, and these were 10 feet.

    I kept checking the warps and bridles but as the boat swung, the loads on the bridles were very high and eventually first one and then the other 12mm anchor warp bridle broke. Apart from holding the boat into waves the bridle also spreads the load onto 3 wear points. Now, all the load was on one bow roller and the parachute warp was beginning to chafe. I rigged up a second line with rolling hitches, which was rather wet to do on the foredeck. At some stage the forward trampoline started to tear but was still useable with care. (I had planned to get a new one this year as they have about a 5 year life). The wind and sea state had been steadily increasing. Every hour we said, “It can’t get windier can it?” By now it was probably a steady 40 knots and 10-15 foot seas breaking over the boat every 10 minutes or so. Our safety depended on our parachute sea anchor holding. But in case it failed, I set up the 2 main anchors to be used as drogues behind the boat.

    Surprisingly it was not the warp that broke, but the parachute. This was a 10ft cargo-style parachute specially made for use as a yacht sea anchor. I pulled it on board, the boat drifting beam on at this stage, and on quick inspection found it had shredded and that several parachute lines had pulled out. As I said earlier, I had only used the sea anchor in calmer conditions for an hour or so, just to practice. It seemed an excellent idea, the boat would just bob up and down, just like being on a conventional anchor, but in a real gale the loads were much worse, and the boat was being pulled and jerked as the waves passed. I didn’t like it, and I don’t think I would recommend a sea anchor again.

    We threw the anchors over the stern and also added the shredded sea anchor. It was very difficult to steer, but eventually I got the boat moving downwind. We were sailing at 5-6 knots despite the drogues. We let out more warp which helped slow us to 3-4. I think that might have still meant surfing down some of the bigger waves which would have the potential for a disastrous broach. However the real problem was now the following waves could catch us up and break into the cockpit. For the first time ever on any catamaran I’ve sailed we had to close the companionway door. The first wave broke into the cockpit. The second wave was much bigger and swamped the cockpit. Even worse it filled the dinghy which we keep in davits. The water weight broke some of the straps, and we had to cut the dinghy loose and so lost it. Clearly running downwind was not an option.

    So we now decided to try towing the anchors from one stern. This would allow the boat to lie at a 45 degree angle to the waves. Despite this temporary arrangement it actually seemed to work better than the sea anchor had done. Of course all the time the wind was increasing. We went below again to recover and see how the boat was handling the conditions. An hour later the wind suddenly got up even more. It was now screeching and the rig began vibrating which I had only noticed once before, when tied up in a marina during a 70 knot gale. The waves were now often over 20 feet so it was definitely getting to the dangerous, life threatening stage. We began to discuss the option of abandoning ship. Unfortunately our Raymarine wind speed indicator was obviously only designed for inshore sailing because it was still reading 32 knots. So I don’t know how windy it really was.

    By 1pm the waves were now consistently over 20 feet, maybe occasionally 30 feet. I know I tend to underestimate wave heights, partly because everyone normally over estimates. For example when sailing in Alaska in the summer I thought we were in 2-3 ft waves, but our skipper wrote 6ft waves in the log. It was getting more and more serious as there didn’t seem to be any limit to how high the wind and waves could get. By 1.30pm the wind really got up. The sea state changed and the whole surface was covered in flying spume, all the wave tops were blown off. It was much the worse conditions I have ever seen, even when standing on a beach looking out at 100 knot winter gales. When I went outside I couldn’t stand up except by holding to a tether line. I could feel the skin on my face distorting in the wind. I guess there is a known wind speed when that happens, but I’d never felt it before.

    That was when we decided to send out a Mayday, as we knew it would be several hours before any chance of rescue. Of course it was particularly hard for me as Eclipse is not insured. And of course no one likes the idea of abandoning a boat – usually boats are picked up later undamaged. I can always build another boat, and I had earlier said to Jetti that we might not survive. Accordingly we set off our EPIRB but also called Pip using our satellite phone. He gave us the UK’s Falmouth Coastguard phone number, and we called the Coastguard direct. We called back every hour to check on progress and to give a weather update and position check. We heard that Mexico was sending out a launch to stand by.

    By 6pm it was dark so we could no longer see the waves. We could still hear them crashing onto the boat, but so far, apart from the lost dinghy and torn but useable trampoline there was no other damage. The inside was beginning to become a mess. Normally on a catamaran one can leave cups on the table; there is no need for fiddle rails, etc. Now everything was being thrown around. There seemed little point in putting everything back in place, so most just stayed on the floor or was put on the bunks. The inside stayed dry though, no water had got below except for the one wave when we were running downwind and lost the dinghy. So it was dry and warm below.

    But all the time a wave/wind squall could have our name on it. We wouldn’t survive a capsize. We were still expecting the Mexican coastguard to call up on the VHF to say they were enroute. So it was a great surprise to hear a female American voice at 11pm saying she was in a helicopter and 10 miles from us. This was the first we knew that the US was involved. We kept in radio contact as they flew in and then set off a flare and made visual contact, although I suspect the pilot had seen us long before through their night vision equipment.

    The last book I had read was Perfect Storm, so I knew all about the skills and training of naval rescue personnel. We had earlier prepared some dry bags which we filled with passports, money, ship papers. All those can be replaced, so what else? What I really wanted to take was my computer with all my work on it. But I felt it was too big. So Jetti took her makeup bag, I took our CD’s. In hindsight we could have taken more. We tied the bags to each other and put on shoes and inflated our lifejackets.

    The US navy helicopters have a SAR (search and rescue) swimmer who jumps out of the helicopter and swims to the stricken vessel with a lifting strop. It looked very scary to me. A brave man. Eclipse was still moving around quite violently in the seas, but the conditions were fortunately not nearly as bad as they had been when we put out the Mayday. Ironically we probably were over the worst of the gale. Jetti was the first to jump into the sea and into the swimmer’s waiting arms. Five minutes later it was my turn. As I was hoisted out, I looked down and back at Eclipse and hoped I would see it again.

    I had not flown in a helicopter before. They look big on the outside, but are cramped inside and very noisy. Our flight back to the USS Ford lasted about 10 minutes. We watched the in-flight movie: the night vision viewer of the frigate as we approached was fantastic. Jetti was shown the weather radar and saw that Eclipse was right in the centre of the storm.

    We landed on the ship and faced a welcoming party of apparently the whole ship’s company, despite it now being 3 in the morning. A quick debrief, medical check, shower, and then into a set of navy issue jumpsuits. Next, a massive breakfast. We are not sure if it was put in front of us as a test, but it was the biggest meal I’ve ever eaten. Jetti finished her plates as well. But then neither of us had eaten anything for 36 hours except a few slices of bread. Then a 3 hour sleep.

    In the morning we had discussions with the crew. The helicopter pilot said she had great difficulty controlling her helicopter as she was flying at 50 knots to stay in position and going up and down 20ft to stay with the waves. Independent confirmation that it was still a full gale, if not F9. Even so, it was far less severe than earlier in the day. She also said it was her first real sea rescue. She, like the swimmer, had only done simulations in weather this severe. She also admitted that her helicopter had not been airworthy the day before as the rotor blades were being changed. We met the captain who said he had been steaming his frigate away from the area to keep away from the bad weather. He considers this area worse than sailing round Cape Horn.

    Even now as I write on board USS Ford, it’s hard to keep in my chair as the ship is rolling and pitching. Yet, looking outside, the sea state looks relatively flat compared to what we had been in yesterday.

    We have 24 hours before getting to port. We are desperate to see if we can salvage Eclipse. It is undamaged and will probably float for ever. Currently it is only 50 miles from a big fishing harbour, and we hope to find a salvage operator there to tow Eclipse in.

    Despite all that happened, I was very impressed with the seaworthiness of Eclipse. No real damage (we didn’t like our dinghy anyway), and the boat had survived a major storm without capsizing. Certainly life would have been much more uncomfortable on a monohull, and ultimately I think had we been on one, we would still have put out a Mayday, as did the yacht in the Perfect Storm.

    I’ll finish this by thanking all the crew on USS Ford. There will be more about them later.

    We don’t know what the future holds now. In a few days we will know about Eclipse. If it is salvaged, clearly we have to sort that out. If not, we will fly home.

    That’s it for now.

    Richard and Jetti, no longer on board Eclipse

    Edit Note by Brian: I've underlined a few of the items that may prove important in evaluating this incident
     
  3. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

  4. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    I am a firm believer in the use of a series drogue rather than a single para type sea anchor. Partially from some small experience and partially from the US Coastguards tests - wait for it - which I have great respect for; these guys have and do really put anything they test through its paces!

    I cannot claim to have experience in the use of a series drogue (nor these days would I wish to experiance the weather which would make this a relavant test!) however I do have some small experience from the streaming of long warps astern to slow down the vessel to combat the conditions better this does work! without it I firmly believe that I wouldn't be here to annoy you all - enough said! the Only difference between a long rope and a series drogue is of course the 'nobbly' (drogues!) on the warp which add extra slowing area to the warp! The Only difference I would advocate is that bows are designed to take on seas not sterns as advocated by the coastguard! Also of course if streaming from the bows you can utilise the engine to good effect to ride to the warp thus easing the strain by gunning the engine in the 'hairy bits'.

    Further to the pictures in the seriesdrogue.com site as advocated by Gilly the red supply vessel (possibly Smit by the funnel markings - Dutch) This is I believe a little erronious as this vessel in heavy weather would be running on engines alone 'dodging' into the weather at slow speed (just enough to maintain steerage way, under autopilot) because they have the power to do this ! Despite the apparant look of the vessel she's probably quite comfortable below - it is after all only a little blow!

    As to Richard Wood's report; as usual his gear is far too light for the storm he encountered, but this is the normal standard of the catarmarans in the area he comes from (and they ARE some of the best cats in the world, he's told me so! Actually he's a very quite unassumming sort of chap who in his own sphere is very knowlegeable, unfortunately this sphere is not Heavy Weather - whats going to happen when he encounters some? Hey I actually like the boy!)
     
  5. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    Richard and jetty ;not to take away anything from your story but we fished in small 31 ft boats ,if we had to we would use 3or 4 five gallon buckets tied together they could also double as bailing buckets or porto potties. but that was a nessesity of space on board,,,,,the parachut probably works better .also so sorry about you bad expiriance ,but I can tell you will bounce back,,,,,,longliner
     
  6. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    hey longliner - never bad experiences just steeper learning curves! Some bloody near vertical!
     
  7. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Questions arising from Richard's report

    I've gone back and underlined some items in Richard's report that I feel need closer scrutiny.
    The intermittent collapsing of the chute might well have accounted for the swinging of the vessel...in the lulls of tension on the bow, a sloop rigged vessel (bare-masted has aero center forward of CLR) will have a tendency to 'sail around its anchor line', and particularly if it is a single bow line rather than a bridle arrangement. The bridle configuration and length might also contribute to the swinging.

    The intermittent collapsing of the chute could have been caused by an insufficient total length of rode, an insufficient chute size, a defective chute (hinted at here), a twisting rode line.

    At any rate this swinging action contributed to an unsafe feeling, excessive wear on the bridle lines, and a pulling and jerking action on the vessel.



    I wonder what type of line was utilized here, and the lenghts of the bridle lines.



    Was this 3 strand rope rather than the recommended 2 strand? And what of the reference to "3 wear points" and "one bow roller"? Did his bridle consist of 3 lines rather than 2, and was there a line from the center bow roller in the bridle configuration?



    Size might have been insufficient, and certainly the condition of the chute was questionable.


    Definitely my experiences on several occassions. Fast surfing is only fun as long as you have the stamina to keep up with the situation, but one gets real tired after a while.
     
  8. riggertroy
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    riggertroy Senior Member

    One time -Ran with a drogue on a sloop (36foot), F9, not comfortable, got pooped several times but we managed to keep on track, yes Brian I have to agree - surfing is only fun as long as you have the energy, we all were knackered after that one. Would rather avoid doing that again.

    Next time - Sea Anchor - sloop (34foot), F9, better, though experienced some of the problems that Richard mentioned, yawing / lying beam on / getting laid over, as well as an encounter with a log on the port bow, luckily no damage.
    After much discussion we decided that the sea anchor was too small and not enough line out (about 100foot), Can not remember how much we added but possibly doubled the length out, lay to it for over a day until we could start sailing again, we made it into port under sail.
    The yacht now has a much larger sea anchor with another attached on a short length, getting into series drogue style.
    Comparing the two experiences I would rather lay to a sea anchor than run with a drogue now, with the sea anchor out the strongest part of the vessel was pointed in the "best" direction, also with aft opening hatches being protected. Also just felt more comfortable.
    Different boats different solutions
     
  9. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Brian

    For what it's worth the 'Cat community' in Richards home village (it's quite a large one - well known throughout Cornwall in fact) tends to be full of 'lightweight' guys in more ways than one! Whilst I would not insult Richard in ths class - he is after all a professional designer with quite a string of sucessful boats to his credit; if you live in a sea of mediocrity you tend to end up like them and this use of undersized gear is a standard procedure! Fine for the normal style of sailing most of em do but if you venture further afield you can be found wanting at times. I believe this happened here! The gear just wasn't man enough for the job.

    Also, whilst not attempting to pose as an expert in catamaran build Richard's cats tend to be boxy square caravans, fine for their intended use! Heavy weather sailing is not their intended use! For my further comments on the advisability of use of these vessels you'll need to read elsewhere in these forums!
     
  10. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Also 'slow' surfing is not nice and it's not only a matter of stamina, but survival. I've done that 30 years ago aboard a 40 years old 33' double ender ketch in the coast of Portugal. Got caught in strong north winds the same day the Fastnet race disaster took place. Main exploded when trying to motorsail into Figueira da Foz harbour and we had to run all night under storm sail from Figueira da Foz to Peniche. Waves were quite high and steep, many of them breaking over the cockpit. With every wave that broke over us the boat sat stern down from a while till the scuppers did their work. The tiller was almost impossible to handle and barely controlled the long keeled boat as the boat tried to broach with every wave. We were three aboard, steering for a couple of hours each and then going down to bail out the water from the bilges with a bucket, before 'splashing' into the bunk for some minutes rest.
    Not a nice night at all...
     
  11. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Generalization, Ultilzing Drogues or Towed devices

    The towing of warps, drogues, etc, etc from the stern of a vessel in order to slow its surfing progress down to some acceptable degree, has been a storm survival technique for probably as long as there have been ocean going vessels, certainly much longer than there have been bow-deployed parachute type devices. And there is no end to the list of items placed into service as towed devices to accomplish the basic task….slow down.

    So we have this very considerable history of towed devices, and towing techniques, and ship varieties, to research through for those best possible solutions for a particular situation. A basic problem is the huge variety contained in these different incidents, and reaching some sort of ‘standard utilization technique’ from these many incidents and tests. Another problem was the lack of a centralized ‘library’ of these incidents to record this history, that is, until Victor Shane originated the “Drag Device Data Base”. If I remember correctly he originated this ‘database’ about the same time as he was founding the original Para-Anchors International, or in other words, near to the time that the idea of para-anchoring from the bow was getting started. So you might say this database contains bow deployed para-anchoring techniques and ‘modern’ stern-towed techniques.

    For some older techniques we probably would do best to visit the legendary masterpiece “Heavy Weather Sailing” by Adlard Coles What is so remarkable about Heavy Weather Sailing is that in it Coles laid down a foundation for the methodical comparisons of different tactics used by small craft. Coles was an enterprising seaman who knew sailboats inside and out, but the ingredient that set his work apart was the systematic way in which he compiled, documented, and analyzed case histories. Coles avoided dogmatism. He stayed away from secondhand accounts, unsubstantiated claims and idle speculation. He relied on real life observations, evidence and data. He let the facts speak for themselves, searched for compelling logic, and was quick to nail it down when he found some. And yet he was slow to speak from a posture of certainty. He kept his mind open, avoided overcompensation, and was willing to learn new lessons. He understood the subject of heavy weather tactics to be complex and did not wish to draw false inferences or jump to premature conclusions. He purposely left many questions, in particular the one relating to sea anchors and drogues, open to future resolution.

    I am probably less disposed to the concept of towed devices than to bow deployed sea anchors. I’ll relate two incidents of mine:

    1) I’m sailing from the Chesapeake Bay down to St.Thomas, USVI on Christmas eve in a heavy full-keel 47 wood cutter staysail ketch. I know there is a storm approaching, but I figure if I can get out past the Gulf stream (avoid the northerly wind against the north flowing current) before it hits, then I will ‘run’ with the wind and waves in the open ocean. It turns out to be a much more intense storm than predicted with a very intense center that moves just north of Bermuda. I experience 60-70 knots of wind for two and a half days. I am surfing BIG but organized seas using a hankerchief-size staysail. It’s reported that two other vessels nearer the center of the low pressure are sunk in the same storm. I have two other inexperienced crew onboard and we are doing 3 hour shifts, as that is as long as you can concentrate on avoiding a broach. I decide the wind is high enough to run under bare poles and save the staysail from gibing itself to death, and maybe keep my bowsprit out of the backface of the wave at the bottom of the trough. We slow down all right, but now the crest of the waves are breaking over my stern and completely filling my cockpit. Tons of water is captured in the cockpit floor space and spills thru the engine hatch seams located there. It’s drowning my brand new diesel engine, and the slower surfing speed has aggravated our broaching tendency. Bilges getting full of water. Back up with the staysail until we are all so tired, I decided to heave to with a rudder forcing her to windward and a backed staysail forcing her off wind. Finally some much needed rest for all of us. I cannot think of a drogue arrangement that I could have left UNATTENDED in this situation, either in reference to broaching tendencies caused by the opposite rotation of the surface waters at the crest of the wave as opposed to that in the trough, nor with reference to the amounts of water I was collecting in the bilges.

    2) I’m in the Gulf stream at its intensified narrow point between Fla and the Bahamas in a 60’ Chris Craft power yacht with a big broad stern and 1300 gal of fuel in that stern area. It’s blowing from the north against the northerly flow of current with produces a short very-steep chop of peaky waves. Powering into this chop is ridiculously rough with this underpowered slug. Beam-to is scary. Running with it seems to be the option. The big broad (very buoyant) stern gets picked up by the waves and tries to bury the bow. Steering is practically non-existent with those little tiny rudders in ineffective water. Not a fun time. Thank goodness it only latest a matter of hours. I feel as though I would rather have set to a bow anchor.

    3) Delivering a 38’ yacht fisherman from Florida to Venezuela. Had a very rough crossing from Turks & Cacaos to Porto Plata. So rough I had to cut speed way back and arrived well after dark. Lighthouse at Porto Plata is not lit (under repair). Channel markers are not lighted. Range lights are totally obscured with new vehicle road lights leading to the new tram to the top of the mountain. There are coral reefs on either side of this channel. I’m seasick (or something), tired, and low on fuel. Sure wish I’d had a sea-anchor to throw out for the night. Instead I had to run up and down the coast till I could find this big ‘rock’ in the dark, and then estimate the location of the channel from there. Luckily I made it. (next morning revealed a big new Ocean 71 ketch aground on one of those channel reefs…..didn’t make it several weeks earlier….very expensive mistake).

    Back to the subject at hand. I’ve read thru those websites and reference materials that Guillermo sited for the Jordan Drogue devices. There is some interesting material here, and particularly some distinctions between the reactions of monohulls verses multihulls in storm/drag situations, whether from the bow or stern. However I generally found quite a number of contradictory statements right within his own documents. I will more thoroughly address these under a separate posting in this subject thread after I return from the Miami boat show.

    I was also a bit put off by the fact that much of his material is based upon theory and model testing rather than real ocean experiences. Per the Drag Device Data Base observation, “Science depends on a large number of observations from which reliable patterns can be extracted. However in trying to compile a database such as this, one runs into a paradox: Those who use drag devices for the first time and run into problems will tend to send back comprehensive reports; the veterans who use them routinely and don’t run into problems, won’t. To avoid a possible distortion, we need a broader sample….a more balanced base of participants. If you use a sea anchor or a drogue in heavy weather, please participate in the DDDB, even if it is a routine event." I would be more trusting of real-life, full-scale, accountings as might be found in the DDDB document than the conjectures of Mr Jordan who sights very few such real incidents.
     
  12. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    The Jordan drogue was tested full scale by the Coast Guard at the NMLB school. I have also read accounts in Ocean Navigator with users reporting that it was fine and worked as advertised when they deployed the drogue in bad conditions.
     
  13. safewalrus
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    Location: Cornwall, England

    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    The main problem with 'heavy weather sailing' is the fact that every situation and boat is different! There are times when an experienced sailor has about as much knowledge as the first timer - just more options that he has tried and got away with! To blindly state that such and such a system IS the only one to use is both stupid and dangerous! On approaching heavy weather the experienced person adopts certain procedures that have worked before! If they go wrong he adapts to suit if they work he stays with them! this is where the experienced person has the advantage, he has more options!

    If he gets away with it he tells everybody (as much in relief as anything else!) and it is discussed around the 'camp fires' by all and sundry! The wise man takes that information and stows it away for future possible use - not to say HE will use it but it's a new option worthy of interest!

    If he don't get away with it, it don't matter - he's dead!

    And that gentlemen is what it's all about! No good the accreditted 'expert' with all the letters under the sun telling you how IT MUST BE DONE, true he is giving you a possible solution, but it ain't set in stone! If he thinks it is he ain't the expert he sez he is, and should be treated with a little bit of apprehension!

    Good luck to everybody who gets stuck out there in bad weather, you WILL need it!
     
  14. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
    Posts: 4,956
    Likes: 181, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1903
    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    I haven't had time to get back to this subject of sea anchoring, however they did find the vessel.

    Abandoned Catamaran Eclipse Found in Mid-Pacific
    April 7 - Pacific Ocean

    English catamaran designer Richard Woods and his Oakland-based girlfriend Jetti Matzke have some good news - Eclipse, the 32-ft cat Woods designed and built, and which they had to abandon because of severe weather in the Gulf of Tehuantepec 10 weeks ago - has been found. According to Woods, the bad news comes in two parts:

    "The first is obvious from the photo attached, as Eclipse is a bit of a mess! It's incredible what 10 weeks at sea can do. The second part is that when she was found by tuna fishermen, she was 1,000 miles from Acapulco, the nearest land, 1,800 miles from Ecuador, where the fishermen are based, 2,200 miles from Panama, and over 1,100 miles from where we abandoned her. In other words, Eclipse is in the middle of the Pacific!

    "Currently we are in negotiations with the fishing agent over a suitable salvage fee. But we already know that it is going to be expensive to refit Eclipse, because as we feared, the tuna fishermen were not the first to find my cat. The first salvors took all the electronics, mainsail, boom and who knows what else. So it will cost thousands in materials alone to get her back into sailing condition. But at least she's still upright and appears to be floating on her marks, so she can't be leaking."
     

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  15. Guillermo
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 3,644
    Likes: 188, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2247
    Location: Pontevedra, Spain

    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Mark Fry (IYTD) said:
    "The time to get into a life raft, is when your right foot is already wet, and you have to step up into the raft with your left."
    Could it be applied to this case?
     
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