S/M-24 Roberts Motor Sailing Ketch


Roberts Motor Sailing Ketch

39' x 14 Tons, Full Keel

7-Ft. Dia. Conical Sea Anchor

Force 10+ Conditions


File S/M-24, obtained from Tim Kelly, Tralee, Ireland - Vessel name Kerry Dancer, hailing port Brisbane, Australia, motor sailing ketch, designed by Bruce Roberts, LOA 39' x LWL 33' x Beam 12' 6" x Draft 5' x 14 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 7-ft. Diameter custom-made cone on 300' x 1" nylon three strand rode with 5/8" stainless steel swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a storm in deep water about 1000 miles WSW of Cocos (Keeling) Islands with winds of 65-75 knots and breaking seas of undetermined size - Vessel's bow was kept at a slight angle to the seas by the sea anchor and mizzen.

Kerry Dancer was en route to Cape Town from Cocos-Keeling in September 1992 when she ran into a storm. Might it have been a cyclone? Although tropical cyclones are rare this time of year in the Indian Ocean, they are common in the Bay of Bengal fifteen hundred miles north of Cocos. At any rate, Kerry Dancer's owner, Tim Kelly, had designed and made a sea anchor for just such an occasion. It was a large, heavy canvas cone, seven feet in diameter at the mouth, with a one-foot diameter opening at the other end. Kelly used a stainless steel wire hoop arrangement to keep the mouth of the cone open - similar to the arrangement found on the Galerider drogue. Kelly's hand-written note:

I kept the mizzen up whilst the sea anchor was in use. This kept the bow into the wind, (actually at a slight angle off it). But it worked well and I was able to sleep in peace whilst the storm blew itself out.