30' x 3.75 Tons, Fin Keel Sloop
9-Ft. Dia. BUORD Parachute
Force 11 Conditions
File S/M-6, obtained from Paul C. Brindley, Houston TX. - Vessel name Heaven & Hell, hailing port Houston, J-30 sloop, designed by Rod Johnstone, LOA 30' x LWL 25' x Beam 11' 6" x Draft 6' 6" x 3.75 Tons - Fin keel - Sea anchor: 9-ft. diameter BUORD on 300' x 3/4" nylon three strand rode with no swivel used - No trip line - Deployed during a storm in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, about 120 miles Southeast of Galveston, with winds of 60 knots and combined seas of about 30' - Vessel's bow yawed about 10° - Drift was .5 -.7 knots during 4 hours at sea anchor.
This is the first file that Victor Shane documented after starting Para-Anchors International in 1981.He comments that it tends to stick in the mind, like that first high school date. It is an important file in other respects as well. The boat, a fin-keeled J-30, rode very well to the 9-ft. BUORD parachute. Up to that time conventional wisdom had it that sea anchors were useless on board so-called "modern fin-keeled sailboats." This was a turning point of sorts.
In a letter to Victor, dated 2 November 1986, Donald J. Jordan, author of widely publicized articles on capsize prevention and inventor of the series drogue wrote the following (reproduced by permission): "Dr. Brindley called and gave me a comprehensive description of his experience.... As you say, the J-30 rode very well in that type of wind and sea. This is the first well-documented instance of a modern sloop riding properly with a sea anchor from the bow."
The 9-ft. diameter BUORD pulled the bow of this yacht into 60-knot winds and 30-ft. seas in a satisfactory way. It kept it there for four hours. However, the crew had inadvertently omitted to use a swivel on the parachute terminal, and the canopy's rotation resulted in a fouled-up useless mess of parachute and kinked-up rode.
After retrieving the mess and stowing it the best they could the crew then used the boat's inboard engine to jog into the seas. Apart from a few near knock-downs, Heaven & Hell emerged from the ordeal intact. From Dr. Brindley's handwritten feedback:
The drogue [meaning sea anchor] worked well. We could have eaten soup below until it twisted shut as we had inadvertently left off the swivel. We made about .5-.7 knots sternway, checked by the Loran. It went to 4-5 knots when the chute twisted shut. I much preferred the bow into the waves.