S/M-33 Gaff Rigged Ketch


Gaff Rigged Ketch

38' x 19 Tons, Full Keel

15-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 5 Conditions

File S/M-33, obtained from Roger and Debi Brown, Port Townsend, WA. - Vessel name Tropic Tramp, hailing port Port Townsend - One-off gaff-rigged ketch, designed by Paul Snow, LOA 38' x LWL 35' x Beam 12' x Draft 6' x 19 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 15-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 400' x 3/4" nylon braid rode and 80' of chain, with 5/8" stainless steel swivel - Partial trip line - Deployed in a low system in deep water in the Tuamotus about 300 miles NE of Tahiti, with winds of 20 knots and seas of 15 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was 16 n.m. during 44 hours at sea anchor.

On her passage to Tahiti, Tropic Tramp ran into a gale in the Tuamotus and hove-to for a night under sails. With 15-20 foot seas still running and the wind contrary, the sea anchor was then deployed to anchor this classic, gaff-rigged ketch to the misnamed Pacific and wait for better conditions. Tropic Tramp stayed "anchored" for two days and two nights. Transcript:

We deployed the sea anchor for several reasons.

1) First time use and sea conditions were right.

2) We hove-to [with sails alone] and found we drifted more than we felt comfortable with.

3) Our jib needed a lot of restitching.

4) We were gaff-rigged and headed west towards Tahiti, the winds were out of the west, and being a perfect gentleman beating into that didn't seem like a lot of fun.

I felt this had all the qualifications for deploying our sea anchor. The storm had been at gale force during the night and our heading to get us past the atoll was not bad. We felt we had sea room by now, and no current. Plus, the worst of the storm had passed. Deployment went easy and as planned. We used 400' of rode and 80' of our 3/8" chain, and a 70 lb. anchor, which gave us a great rest. No jerking. The 50' [partial] trip line let us retrieve effortlessly.

After 44 hours, seas were flat, wind SE at 12 knots. A perfect sail into Tahiti, fully rested. Caught two 42" wahoos! A lot of other boats were very interested in all the "facts" of our experience at sea anchor.