Vancouver 27 Cutter
27' x 5 Tons, Full Keel & Cutaway Forefoot
9-Ft. Dia. BUORD Parachute
Force 7 Conditions
File S/M-8, obtained from Anthony Gibb, Victoria, B.C. - Vessel name Hejira, hailing port Victoria, Vancouver cutter, designed by Robert Harris, LOA 27' x LWL 22' x Beam 8' 6" x Draft 4' x 5 Tons - Full keel & cutaway forefoot - Sea anchor: 9-ft. diameter BUORD on 275' x 1/2" nylon three strand rode with 1/2" galvanized swivel - No trip line - Deployed during passage of frontal trough In deep water in the Tasman Sea with winds of 35 knots and confused seas of 12 feet - Vessel's bow yawed as much as 90° off to each side.
Hejira, a Harris-designed Vancouver 27 on a world cruise, crossed from Nelson, New Zealand, to Sydney, Australia in 15 days, a distance of 1,265 miles.
As with most other crossings of the Tasman this one was not a pleasant one. The crew was harassed by a confusion of waves and swells from both southwest and northeast, which harassment did not end until the last two days of the crossing.
During a period of 30-35 knot south-westerly winds and 12-foot seas the crew deployed a 9-ft. diameter BUORD. As in the previous file, the parachute did not do a satisfactory job. Transcript:
The BUORD never set straight forward off the bow. It remained directly off the beam. It gave one the feeling of lying a-hull. It was only when a particularly large wave approached and took up the slack in the rope that the BUORD brought the bow through the wave....
The only other time that the BUORD brought the bow into the waves was when, after 4 hours, I decided to pull it in. When the line was pulled in so that there was only 50 feet out, then it seemed that the bow wanted to stay pointed upwind. I did not leave it there long enough to test it, so I don't know what the BUORD would do in the long run....
Again it might be asked why the same parachute that pulled the bow of a fin-keeled J-30 into the seas (File S/M-6) would not do the same thing for a Vancouver 27. And again, the answer has to do with the amount of wind, the keel configuration, the rig, and the relative positions of the CLR and CE on the different boats. The J-30 has a small, centrally located fin keel. The Vancouver 27 has a full keel with a cutaway forefoot. The J-30 had sustained winds of 60 knots. The Vancouver had winds of 35 knots.
A larger parachute sea anchor might have made a difference as well. We would like to emphasize that the canopies of these BUORDs are made of coarsely woven mesh material, "the sort of thing you would use to strain plankton out of the sea with" as one sailor described it. Although they have a nominal diameter of about 9 feet, they do not have the holding power of a 9-ft. diameter, zero-porosity sea anchor. Remember, they are designed for dropping torpedoes into the sea and need to have a great deal of "give" built into their canopies.
By coincidence, the Pardeys ran into Anthony Gibb in Australia, and had this to say to Victor Shane in another letter: "Later discussions make us wonder if he had enough wind, or possibly her laying so far off the wind might have been caused by her high bow, the tanks stowed on her foredeck and a very high deck house, combined with a cutaway forefoot."