S/M-38 Tayana Surprise


Tayana Surprise

46' x 13 Tons, Fin Keel

18-Ft. Dia. Para-Anchor

Force 12 Conditions

File S/M-39, obtained from Stephen Edwards & Deborah Schutz, Henley Beach, South Australia - Vessel name Prisana II, hailing port Adelaide, Tayana Surprise ketch, designed by Pieter Beeldsnidser, LOA 46' x LWL 40' x Beam 13' 4" x Draft 6' 10" x 13 Tons - Fin keel - Sea anchor: 18-ft. Diameter para-anchor (Para-Anchors Australia) on 410' x 3/4" nylon three strand rode with 3/4" stainless steel swivel - Partial trip-line - Deployed in a storm in deep water about 75 miles west of Cape Bouvard (Western Australia), with winds of 65-80 knots and seas of 40-60 feet, with microbursts evident - Vessel's bow yawed 20-30° during 59 hours at sea anchor. Drift was affected by a southerly current.

This important file was initially forwarded by Alby McCracken of Para-Anchors Australia, to whom we are indebted. The sea anchor used was 18 feet in diameter, manufactured by Para-Anchors Australia. Stephen Edwards and Deborah Schutz are quite certain that it saved the boat. The winter storm that they ran into may have been reinforced by microbursts, judging by the thunderstorm activity, and by the tornado that left a 2-mile long swath of destruction through South Perth.

Deborah Schutz was kind enough to send a clipping from the July 17, 1996 edition of The West Australian. The headline reads "South Perth Hit by Rare Tornado." Accompanying photographs show the twister's fury as it rampaged through South Perth, taking roofs off of houses and uprooting trees. The Australian Weather Bureau's severe weather meteorologist, Tony Bannister, said the tornado probably originated west of Rottnest Island, traveling at about 80 km/h at sea, increasing in intensity and sporting 200 km/h winds when touching down at Perth.

Prisana II is heavy, with a lot of windage - two equal height masts, both with in-mast furling. She was en route to Dampier, Western Australia, from her home port of Adelaide, South Australia, when she ran into this freak storm.

Perhaps we have a recurrence of the same sort of freak events that Gold Eagle ran into in File S/T-15, where we find Dr. Andrew Cserny writing, "Sometime during the night we were hit by an immensely strong burst of wind which I presumed must have been a twister, because the pressure inside the pilot house fluctuated rapidly, the windows rattled, the doors to the pilot house rattled, and the sliding hatches tried to come off the top of the boat.... The wind shrieked horribly with pitch and intensity I have never heard before." Gold Eagle was later struck by a rogue wave. So was Prisana II, leading your authors to believe that these may have been microburst-generated ESWs - extreme storm waves. Transcript:

Sunday July 14th, 1996: By nightfall we were almost abeam Cape Naturaliste. Our weather fax showed a complex low was fast approaching. Due to our position, the unfamiliar coastline and the wind direction (40 knots NNE) there were no safe anchorage along the coast here in these conditions. Our motor was playing up and the option of using our sea anchor already considered, but due to the number of ships in the vicinity, we decided to keep going. We reduced sails, expecting the winds to swing SW with the approaching front, which we'd use to get us to Fremantle. We were wrong! Throughout the night Mother Nature unleashed a storm of unrelenting fury, NNE to 50 knots with large seas - our only choice to head out to sea [starboard tack].

Monday July 15th: At first light we came about [port tack]. Perth Radio issued another gale force warning. The barometer read 996 and was rapidly falling. By evening strong west winds were in force, the barometer now at 990, though seas had moderated. As the night progressed, squalls reached 60 knots and lightning could be seen behind us as we traveled in a northerly direction [parallel to the coast of Western Australia]. The ferocity of the storm was intensifying. The needle on our wind indicator went beyond the last notch (65 knots) and the seas were dramatically increasing in height. At approximately 0500 hrs a huge wall of water knocked us down. The helmsman stood chest-high in water (thankfully harnessed) and our masts leaned to starboard, touching the surface of the ocean. We deployed the sea anchor, then all crew below and hatches battened. At this point we were 30 nautical miles off Rottnest Island.

Tuesday July 16th: During the morning I ventured above to the cockpit and was immediately awestruck. The seas were incredibly huge. I soon retreated below. I later found out the seas were reported to be 11 meters on top of a 9 meter swell - the faces of the waves around 60 feet. We currently had plenty of sea room and were drifting in a southerly direction at 1 knot. The parachute anchor held us steady, as the winds, sounding cyclonic, whirled over 70 knots. Waves drenched the deck as we rolled from side to side. For 24 hours we drifted in this direction, towards Naturaliste Reef.

"Tuesday July 16th: During the morning I ventured above to the cockpit and was immediately awestruck. The seas were incredibly huge. I soon retreated below.... The parachute anchor held us steady, as the winds, sounding cyclonic, whirled over 70 knots." (Photo credit: Deborah Schutz).
"Tuesday July 16th: During the morning I ventured above to the cockpit and was immediately awestruck. The seas were incredibly huge. I soon retreated below.... The parachute anchor held us steady, as the winds, sounding cyclonic, whirled over 70 knots." (Photo credit: Deborah Schutz).

Wednesday July 17th: We were drifting east and we now know that we were in the Leeuwin Current. The Leeuwin Current runs southward down the continental shelf from Indonesia, bringing masses of warm water. It begins flowing around April each year, through October, seldom moving faster than 1 knot in a band approximately 50 kilometers wide. The weather remained unchanged. All day long the winds continued to blow over 70 knots and we were now down almost as far as Bunbury, having crossed over, above the Naturaliste Reef. A large cargo ship had just lost 30 containers off Cape Leeuwin. The Adelaide media reported that a cyclone had hit Perth.

Thursday July 18th: Conditions were moderating, winds now down to 50 knots and the barometer slowly began to rise - seas still large but easing. Late in the afternoon we retrieved the para-anchor (which wasn't easy), and she came up with a hole in her. Our 130 meters of rope had stretched an extra 20 meters. The wind now blowing 30-40 knots - felt like a mere breeze as we set course for Rottnest Island. Friday July 19th, around 1030 hrs we motored into the Fremantle Sailing Club, grateful that we had decided to purchase a parachute anchor. With it we were able to ride out and survive the conditions - our bow held into the seas. The Weather Bureau in Perth described the freak weather as a rare winter tornado. It struck the coast with 200 km/h winds.

In the face of this important file, Victor Shane contacted Deborah Schutz & Stephen Edwards regarding a few more questions, and received additional answers as follows:

Was the deployment fairly easy? We preformed a "Flying Set" and deployment was relatively easy. The anchor rode was fixed to a strong point at our bow, led aft and held in position by plastic cable ties at 6-inch intervals along the port side toe rail to a deployment bag containing 125 meters of 18mm 3-strand nylon anchor rode. This was set up prior to our departure from Adelaide to cross the Great Australian Bight. Deployment simply involved reaching from the safety of the cockpit to the rode deployment bag, unlacing the top - removing the end of the rode and shackling it to the parachute anchor. Trip line floats were then fed overboard, followed by para-anchor in deployment bag. Within approximately 30 seconds, we had taken up all the rode and the vessel was gently pulled into the wind, allowing us to lower the sails.

How did the boat behave at sea anchor? Generally it appeared to be falling off 20 to 30 degrees, though it's difficult to be precise as we were below deck for nearly the whole duration of the storm. Occasionally we fell back on the rode and fell away to somewhere near 45°, approx. once every half hour, maybe due to rogue waves coming in on a different angle - hard to tell from down below.

What about the disposition of the rudder? The rudder was lashed to center at the quadrant, which broke twice - 6mm pre-stretched cord broke first, then 16mm nylon braid also didn't hold. We managed to make it hold on 18mm nylon anchor rode. Small twist, 10-15° in 2-inch 316 stainless steel rudder shaft at the point where quadrant is fixed.

What about chafe? Due to the set up of 1 meter of chain at the bow we had no chafing.

Any green water come on deck? Yes, Steve said there was a small amount, compared to the 2-3 foot of white water that washed over the deck.

General impressions of strains involved? We've realized the attachment point on bow needs to be extremely strong. Parachute anchor was shackled to 1/2 inch chain link welded to ship's anchor. Our ship's anchor was stored below deck level via custom bow fitting [as with large ships, the forward part of the anchor left protruding out of the bow, and the para-anchor rode shackled directly to the ship's anchor by a 1 meter length of chain], then secured aft by 3/8 inch Ronstan rigging screws, secured to a 10mm stainless steel plate, bolted under the anchor winch. Winch and plate fastened by 6 x 3/8 inch stainless steel studs. Both the fixing point to the ship's anchor and to the plate were backed up by secondary systems. Ronstan rigging screw had 10mm chain back-up. Fixing to anchor was backed up by 5/8 inch stainless steel bolt, through anchor cheeks. Both systems failed! Ronstan rigging screw had 8 turns of thread removed. Back-up held, but ship's anchor smashed around, causing damage to our stainless steel bow fitting. Chain-link welded to ship's anchor was torn off and secondary chain from nylon rode took up the weight on 5/8 inch stainless steel bolt through anchor cheeks.

Did you use a full trip line? No, partial trip line - 2 floats and 2 x 15 meter lines with swivels.

Was retrieval easy? Not really. Wind was still strong (40-45 knots) and seas were still huge and getting steeper due to the shallowing depths as we got close to the coast - running out of sea room. Due to the noise from the wind and seas it was difficult to hear skipper's instructions from the bow to the helm and we fouled the rode on the propeller.

How big was the tear in the para-anchor? Two large, well frayed holes in two separate panels, between the venthole and the skirt.

Did the para-anchor save the boat? Absolutely!!! In the conditions we were caught in, we believe having our para-anchor set up, ready for deployment prior to leaving port, was crucial in the safe and easy deployment. Seas were huge - by far the biggest we had ever seen. Parachute rode was spanning one swell, being ripped out of the troughs and pulled taut. There was much white water being swept from the swell tops - large rolling loads of white water. Prisana II took many loads of white water across the deck, (maybe 2-3 feet of white water coming over the bow). The conditions were so bad that it was impossible to be anywhere on deck. We used a harness just to visit the cockpit - almost all of our time was spent below deck. The noise of the wind whirling outside was incredible.

We had a close encounter with a container ship slowly jogging into the storm, headed our way on the dawn of day two. Our radio contact was first answered by another ship, Australian, six miles away, and they informed us that this container ship was a foreign vessel, also mentioning that they didn't envy us one bit. After ten long minutes the container ship finally answered our call and his broken English caused us a minor panic - he didn't seem eager to alter his course! He told us he had no ballast and that he couldn't even see us! After persuading him to alter course by 10-15 degrees he passed us by only 0.4 nautical miles away - confirmed by our radar. The seas were so big that we were totally losing sight of this container ship (approx 400 foot long with an extensive bridge structure) behind the swells.


S/M-34 Tahitian Ketch


Tahitian Ketch

55' x 40 Tons, Full Keel

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 12 + Conditions


File S/M-34, obtained from Robin and Maggi Ansell, Campbell River, B.C. - Vessel name ORCA, hailing port George Town (Cayman Islands) - Tahitian Ketch, designed by R. Hartley, LOA 55' x LWL 47' x Beam 13' 6" x Draft 7' x 40 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 500' x 1" nylon braid rode with 5/8" stainless steel swivel - No trip line - Deployed in cyclone Justin in deep water about 200 miles off the coast of Queensland, with winds of 65-85 knots and seas of 33-40 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 25°- Drift was 80 n.m. during 53 hours at sea anchor.

ORCA was on the Pacific leg of her planned circumnavigation when she was caught in the web of cyclone Justin 200 miles off the Queensland coast. The largest cyclone in 20 years, Justin caused millions of dollars in damage, capsized barges, left two people dead, twenty three missing and many homeless. Scores of RAAF and US fighter aircraft and fifty warships had to be evacuated from Townsville as Justin tore into a massive joint military exercise - Operation Tandem Thrust.

ORCA might have emerged intact had the cyclone moved on, instead of stalling overhead. Finding themselves boxed in against the Great Barrier Reef, ORCA's skipper and first mate decided to put down the sea anchor.

"Without the sea anchor, they would have found us on the reef," said owner Robin Ansell in a telephone conversation with Victor Shane.

Deployment of the large sea anchor and 500' of 1-inch line was difficult and further exacerbated by some sort of toxic, chemical mist emanating from the wet rope itself. All told ORCA remained tethered to the sea anchor for 53 hours, lying about 50° to the wind (no bridle).

One can only imagine what the conditions must have been like. In an interview with the Townsville Bulletin, Robin and Maggi said "It was like the water was boiling... it didn't have a pattern to the swell. It just hit us from all sides."

The yacht was eventually holed by a rogue wave. "We were hit by a wave which put a hole in the galley and a similar rogue wave tore two ventilator boxes off the deck. We tried to stuff them to stop the water coming in but we realized we couldn't keep up with it."

The couple had to put out a Mayday. Senior Queensland Emergency Services helicopter pilot Peter Hope said it was the worst weather he had ever flown in. He said, "The majority of the swells were 10m but the mast of the yacht was 18m and there were times when you couldn't see it over the top of the waves." Here is a transcript of the DDDB file Shane obtained from Robin and Maggi Ansell:

We were already in very rough sea conditions when we deployed the para-anchor, because for as long as was viable, we motored across the seas to give us as much distance from the Great Barrier Reef as possible. We deployed it through our starboard side bow roller, and once the parachute had opened up, gradually let out the line by having it wound round the mooring bits. The scariest part of the whole thing was being temporarily blinded, which appeared to be caused by the acrid-tasting spray emanating from the rope, which was wet from the rain and salt spray, and squeezed out as a fine mist when it was pulled extremely tight as it was being run out round the mooring bits when we were struggling to let out the line with some control.... In any case, it is a potentially lethal situation, when one can only see vague shapes, and it is impossible to read instruments, etc. for 24-36 hours. (I couldn't even read the bright green of the radar screen). The absolute agony of the burning feeling under the eyelids, and the constant running of the eyes trying to rid themselves of the foreign matter was unbelievable, similar to a severe case of "arc eye." Fortunately we just stayed on the para-anchor, and vision started improving after 24 hours. There was absolutely no possibility in our weather conditions of being able to go forward each hour to check for chafe, also the load on the anchor line made the line like a steel rod, and one could never have got any slack to be able to replace a chafe guard. Realizing this from the start, Robin attached a ten foot length of half-inch section anchor chain to the eye of the line, which ran through the starboard bow roller. This took care of the chafe, as it was impossible to go forward again as far as the bow during the rest of the 53 hours at anchor before our rescue. The next day, only by peering through the window by the internal steering station, when the vessel was at the bottom or top of a trough, could we sometimes catch sight of the white line leading away from the boat. Then as vision improved we could watch the drift on the GPS, which seemed to average out at about 1.5 knots.

We had deployed the whole 500 feet of line, which probably was not enough in those conditions, but once deployed, it was too dangerous to consider adding further line (of which we actually had another 800 feet). Also we did not employ chain for catenary, on this our first use of the anchor. We would guess that the wave length was probably about 150 feet. The rescue pilot said that the yacht was coming off the waves at 12 knots, since he had to reverse at 12 knots to maintain distance from the top of the mast as we rolled up the waves. He was probably hovering at about 100 feet from the water, and the top of our mast was 70 feet from the water.

There were occasional maverick waves, which were double-crested. The result of which was that we rolled over the first crest straight into the advancing front of the second crest, instantly halting the vessel's roll. Roll rate was up to something like 60 degrees per second, so not only were tons of green water dumped over the vessel but the impact on the hull and superstructure was phenomenal. This is what lifted sealed and battened-down hatches pouring in gallons of water and later broke the galley portlight, and subsequently ripped off the starboard dorades and smashed the safety line stanchions. We probably had about 6 [rogue waves] during the 53 hours before being rescued, each sounding and feeling as if one had been hit by an express train. Each increased in severity until the last two were responsible for the physical damage to the vessel.

Once we had issued the Mayday, we spoke via Townsville Radio and subsequently Sydney Radio to the rescue operations center at Canberra, and were informed that a rescue operation was being put in hand. Within an hour we heard that there was a US Hercules in the area to locate us, that a Rescue Helicopter had departed Townsville with an ETA at our position in 50 minutes, and that a Flying Doctor Service Beechcraft King Air with life rafts would be on station if the helicopter had to abort. We activated our Class 1, Type 406 Satellite EPIRB when instructed. Later we were told by our rescuers that without the EPIRB there was no way they could have located us in such atrocious conditions. We then followed their instructions to the letter, to enable the rescue to take place.

We were rescued on 9th March. We have subsequently heard that Townsville took a double hit from Cyclone Justin on 22nd March and suffered significant damage. For a couple of days following our rescue, Townsville Radio issued the position of ORCA as a hazard to shipping. Then the bulletins stopped, and she is assumed sunk.

ORCA of George Town. This Tahitian Ketch used a 24-ft. diameter sea anchor to stand off the Great Barrier Reef in cyclone Justin. "There was absolutely no possibility in our weather conditions of being able to go forward each hour to check for chafe.... Realizing this from the start, Robin attached a ten foot length of half-inch section anchor chain to the eye of the line, which ran through the starboard bow roller." (Maggi Ansell photo).
ORCA of George Town. This Tahitian Ketch used a 24-ft. diameter sea anchor to stand off the Great Barrier Reef in cyclone Justin. "There was absolutely no possibility in our weather conditions of being able to go forward each hour to check for chafe.... Realizing this from the start, Robin attached a ten foot length of half-inch section anchor chain to the eye of the line, which ran through the starboard bow roller." (Maggi Ansell photo).

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.

S/M-31 Gauntlet, Bermudan Sloop


Gauntlet, Bermudan Sloop

42' x 14 Tons, Full Keel

18-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 8 Conditions

File S/M-31, obtained from R. Walton, North Gosforth, UK. - Vessel name Lady Emma Hamilton, hailing port Amble - Gauntlet, Bermudan Sloop, LOA 42' x LWL 33' x Beam 9' 6" x Draft 6' x 14 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 18-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 400' x 3/4" nylon braid rode with 5/8" stainless steel swivel - Partial trip line - Deployed in a gale in shallow water (45 fathoms) in the North Sea, about 125 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland, with winds of 40-45 knots and seas of 28 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 20° at the peak of the gale in Force 8, increasing to 45° when the wind moderated to Force 6 - Drift was 7 n.m. upwind during 23 hours at sea anchor.

This file was forwarded to Victor Shane by Mike Seal, proprietor of Cruising Home Ltd. in the United Kingdom, to whom we are indebted.

Lady Emma Hamilton is a double-ended Bermudan Sloop, similar to Bernard Moitessier's Joshua, hailing from the Northumberland harbor of Amble (about 40 miles south of the Scottish border).

In June of '97 her owner, R. Walton, was sailing her back to Amble from Bergen, Norway, when she ran into a gale in the infamous North Sea, about 125 miles offshore, east of Aberdeen, Scotland. Walton describes the sea states as "cycloidal, steep, breaking/unstable" on the form he filled out, which is believable, given that the yacht was in only 45 fathoms of water, and that the northerly wind was blowing contrary to a northwesterly current. The average waves were about 28 feet high at the time, as measured by the crew on a nearby oil rig. Transcript:

Rode led over bow roller and tied to it. Rags were used to wrap around rode at bow fitting to stop chafe. In future I will use a leather "tube." Checked for chafe every two hours - rags wore through, but rode only very slightly scuffed. No bridle used. Once wind moderated the yaw increased, but at the peak of wind boat held almost dead into wind. We hove-to just next to an oil platform, "SANTAFE 135," which relayed a message to our destination advising our delay, etc.

Hove-to at 0600 hrs. Wind moderated by 2300 hrs, but waited till first light to haul in the anchor as this was the first time I had ever used it. Made way at 0500 hrs 28 June in Force 6 still from North. Initially our drift was imperceptible (no noticeable slide or turbulence at all! Just stayed put). But by dawn it was obvious we had drifted upwind past the oil rig, so current was overcoming drift downwind.

Throughout, the tension on the rode seemed very great. Considerable windage from 60 foot mast and [roller] furled genoa. No sail or other windage hoisted at stern. Boat motion was quite extreme, with gunnel to gunnel roll being set up, then dying down again every few minutes.

The Para-Tech sea anchor and Delta Rode were supplied by Cruising Home Ltd. UK as a complete package, with deployment bags for both (rode in Rode Bag) - they worked perfectly. I just undid the straps and the Rode Bag toggles and tossed it overboard - it all sorted itself out and within five minutes we were riding head to wind. I am totally sold on the concept! We had been pooped twice before we hove-to and the seas increased in ferocity somewhat later.



S/M-27 Contessa 26 Cutter


Contessa 26 Cutter

26' x 2.7 Tons, Full Keel

12-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9-10 Conditions

File S/M-28, obtained from Brian Caldwell, Jr., Honolulu, HI - Vessel name Mai Miti Vavau, hailing port Honolulu, Contessa cutter, designed and built by J.J. Taylor and Sons of Toronto, LOA 26' x LWL 21' x Beam 7' 6" x Draft 4' x 2.7 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 12-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 300' x 3/8" nylon braid rode with 1/2" stainless steel swivel - No trip line - Deployed in a gale about 12 miles east of Pt. St. Johns, South Africa, in shallow water (50 fathoms) with winds of 50 knots and seas of 12 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 30° - Drift was about 3 n.m. during 24 hours at sea anchor.

On 1 June 1995, amidst much fanfare, Brian - "BJ" - Caldwell cast off from the Hawaii Yacht Club aboard his Contessa 26 on the first of 13 planned legs, in an attempt to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe before his 21st birthday. On 28 September 1995 a flotilla of sailboats and other vessels welcomed BJ back to Honolulu with double the fanfare, as he accomplished his goal.

Mai Miti Vavau of Honolulu. Posing before, BJ Caldwell, was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest solo circumnavigator at that time. The yacht is a Contessa 26, designed and built by J.J. Taylor & Sons of Toronto. (BJ Caldwell photo).
Mai Miti Vavau of Honolulu. Posing before, BJ Caldwell, was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest solo circumnavigator at that time. The yacht is a Contessa 26, designed and built by J.J. Taylor & Sons of Toronto. (BJ Caldwell photo).


Don Whilldin, president of Para-Tech Engineering, had sponsored the young man's effort with a sea anchor and a drogue. BJ Caldwell ended up using both drag devices on numerous occasions, declaring them to be the most important pieces of equipment on his boat. Here are some excerpts from the interview conducted by Sailing (December 1966, courtesy of Sailing):

I don't know how our family cruised for six years without this. There's no excuse for leaving on a long cruise without a sea anchor and a drogue.... The sea anchor I used for the first time in the Indian Ocean. Eight days out of Cocos winds were blowing 50 knots. The seas were mountains coming in from all directions. I also used it in hurricane-force winds while rounding the Cape. The blow lasted for an hour and then subsided to about 50 knots.

The smaller drogue kept the mast above the water for about 10,000 punishing miles. I trailed it about 100 feet behind the boat whenever there was a risk of broaching. In the Indian Ocean I often had about 15 percent mainsail and 6 percent jib with the drogue out. I ended up using it for about a week during my 21-day passage from Cocos Island to Mauritius.

Mai Miti Vavau in the Indian Ocean with Para-Tech Delta Drogue in tow (visible left of center). (BJ Caldwell photo).

Here are transcripts of two reports Victor Shane obtained from BJ Caldwell, one dealing with his use of the sea anchor and the other with his use of the drogue. The two categories have been combined into a single file for ease of comparison:

Para-Tech Sea Anchor (12-ft. diameter)

Unique situation - big seas in the Agulhas current [off lower east coast of Africa], but much smaller inside the 100-fathom line. The axis of the current acted as a type of breakwater. Conditions in the current were utterly unpredictable. The seas very confused and powerful. It was much better inside the current line [meaning the area bounded by the current and the coastline]. Initially drogue was used outside of the continental shelf in Agulhas current and in 100 fathoms of water. As the wind increased I moved out of current and into shallow water for deployment of sea anchor. Both the drogue and sea anchor greatly enhanced safety.

The hardest part in deploying the sea anchor was in handling the 300 feet of rode. Rope gets stiff from saltwater and use. I wouldn't say the ride [at sea anchor] was comfortable. It was like a rodeo or a roadstead anchorage with no barrier to the fetch.

The waves broke down the length of the boat and exploded over the cabin top. Main concern: Chafe was definitely a problem. Before I leave on my next trip, I'm going to put a couple of feet of chain into every hundred feet [of tether] so chafe will be a non-issue. I was also concerned that the wind might switch from Nor'east to Sou'west, which would have created the 20-meter freak waves known for breaking ships in the Agulhas current. Fortunately this did not happen. I was able to sleep between switching chafe guards - let's say every couple of hours. The rudder was lashed to one side.


Para-Tech Delta Drogue (36-inch diameter)

My average speed with drogue in tow was approximately four knots. Without the drogue I would have been hitting seven, while averaging 5½ knots. I used the device on and off for the whole trip. Instead of yawing and broaching, the drogue would keep the stern aligned with the seas and allow me to still make four knots - and boil water for coffee. I never had to steer manually. The drogue helped the windvane steer in large following seas.

I've said from day one that conditions in the south Indian Ocean are unique. Because there's no stationary high pressure cell in the Southern Ocean, the systems are continually racing eastward. So at any given time you've got swells coming together from a variety of directions - a washing machine, if you like.

It was blowing a sustained 40 knots the night I got rolled 180°. Because the reinforced trades weren't that strong I abstained from switching to sea anchor. With the wind just a few degrees above a dead run with the drogue out, nothing but the staysail up and the boat sealed up, I heard a deafening roar approaching around midnight. Then everything hit the ceiling, including me. When I finally made it back to the cockpit and looked at my mast I couldn't believe it was still standing. I know it hit me broadside, so I think this is what happened: just before the freak wave broke over the boat the windvane lost the apparent wind in the trough and corrected for the loss of wind. As the boat veered upwind the monster erupted across the hull, rolling the boat through 180°.

Aside from the torn staysail, bent solar panels and a soaked single-sideband radio, the rollover caused no serious damage to the boat.

Mai Miti Vavau sailing out of Honolulu, with Diamond Head Crater in the background.
Mai Miti Vavau sailing out of Honolulu, with Diamond Head Crater in the background.

S/M-26 Bristol Sloop


Bristol Sloop

27' x 3.5 Tons, Full Keel

9-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 8-9 Conditions

File S/M-26, obtained from Bud Clay, Pensacola, FL. - Vessel name Miracle, hailing port Pensacola, Bristol sloop designed by Carl Alberg, LOA 27' x LWL 22' x Beam 8' x Draft 4' x 3.5 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 9-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 80' x 1/2" nylon three strand rode with 1/2" stainless steel swivel - No trip line - Deployed in a low system in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles NW of Tampa with winds of 35-45 knots and seas of 9 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 30-45° during 14 hours at sea anchor.

Miracle, a full-keeled Bristol 27, was en route to Pensacola from Tarpon Springs (300 miles as the crow flies across the Gulf of Mexico) when she ran into a cold front in the month of June! Bud Clay told Victor Shane that a friend had loaned him the para-anchor, "just in case." At any rate, when the wind switched and started building right on the nose Clay beat into it for a couple of nights and a day.

Being shorthanded, tired and sleep-starved he deployed the para-anchor at three in the afternoon of the next day. He spent the night at sea anchor, managing to get some sleep in between trips forward to check for chafe. He felt somewhat rested up by next morning, at which time the wind and seas subsided and he was able to get underway again. Clay, who is now building a 31-ft. Farriar trimaran, told Shane that he would never go offshore without a sea anchor.

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.

S/M-23 Tayana 42 Cutter


Tayana 42 Cutter

42' x 15 Tons, Full Keel & Cutaway Forefoot

18-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 8-9 Conditions


File S/M-23, obtained from Captain Robert Proulx, Homer, Alaska - Vessel name Even Star, hailing port Homer, Tayana cutter designed by Bob Harris, LOA 42' x LWL 35' x Beam 12' x Draft 6' x 15 Tons - Full keel & cutaway forefoot - Sea anchor: 18-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 400' x 5/8" nylon braid and 200' of chain with 5/8" custom-made bronze ball bearing swivel - Partial trip line - Deployed in a gale in deep water about 60 miles west of Humboldt Bay, California, with winds of 40-45 knots and seas of 15-20 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 20° - Drift was about 12 n.m. during 72 hours at sea anchor.

Captain Bob Proulx is a veteran of the Alaskan fisheries - the owner of a 105-ft. fishing vessel working the Bering Sea. He is also a marine safety instructor and an avid sailor. In this file he provides a sobering tale of what one might be getting oneself into when one asks the Coast Guard for assistance in marginal situations. Forewarned is forearmed!

My family and I decided to put commercial fishing "on hold" and go sailing. The early part of our voyage was great as we cruised the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Our story begins as we set sail southbound from Newport, Oregon on July 12. Winds were light, 10-15 NW, but began to build by evening, reaching sustained 30 from NW. By 2300 hrs. it didn't look like conditions would improve, so we shortened sail and decided to try out our new parachute sea anchor. Better try it out now, than have to sort out glitches when we absolutely have to use it. Deployed the sea anchor on 400' of rode, the bitter end secured to the 66 lb. Bruce anchor on the bow roller. It stabilized the boat and we were pretty comfortable, despite the 30+ winds and 15 foot seas. I lashed the helm, took the pendulum off the windvane and secured it to the rail.

Overnight the weather worsened. The barometer hadn't dropped and the weatherfax wasn't showing anything, so I though it would all be over in a few hours. I had all the hatches dogged down and all the vents capped off, just in case. The seas and swell built to 18-20 ft. and the wind was on the increase.

At first light I checked the rode and damn if it wasn't chafed at the thimble by the anchor on the bow roller. So I let out the anchor and 50 feet of chain. This eased the motion of the boat noticeably. The wind increased to 40 knots and higher. This was beginning to remind me of Bering Sea weather, having the earmarks of a good blow. But at least it was warm and everyone on board was in good spirits. The swells and the seas were getting farther apart and the boat more uncomfortable, so I let out more chain - now about 200 feet. The boat then began to yaw noticeably [too much chain out - review page 3.14].

We experienced some waves breaking forward of mid-ships, port and starboard, and on our stern quarter. Next, our rudder cable parted with a loud crack. I got the emergency tiller, put it on the shaft and lashed it secure. A wave broke over the starboard side at about a 30° angle and knocked the wind vane mast down. Before I could get a line on it another wave carried it away....

We had been on the sea anchor for better than 48 hours with not much to eat. My family wasn't sea sick, but my friend Joe was having a time of it. I decided to call the Coast guard and let them know our situation. I stressed that we had NO emergency, and requested the forecast for the next 48 hours. Due to worsening conditions, Humboldt Bay Coast Guard then decided to dispatch the 110-ft. cutter Edistow to the scene. The cutter arrived around 1600 hours. After circling around us for a while they called us on the VHF, saying that it was too rough to do anything. They said they would standby the rest of the night, advised us to get in our survival suits and said they would call every hour, which they did....

By morning the sea anchor was still holding well. I checked our drift. It was about half a knot. The wind had dropped to 30, but the seas and swell were now 20-30 feet. I have a great picture of the 110-ft. cutter with her bow and two thirds of her bottom out of the water. At this time the CG skipper decided that he would tow us to Humboldt Bay. I said NO. A little later he called back and said he would tow us south instead. This made a little more sense, though I was still not sure why I needed a tow. I thought, maybe he knew something about the weather or our situation that I didn't. Anyway, he asked if I had a drogue [to stabilize the tow]. It took them two attempts to pass us a drogue. I then asked the skipper of the cutter to pick up our trip line on the sea anchor, to retrieve the sea anchor and its nylon rode - attached to our Bruce anchor - and attach his own tow line to that. This way the CG cutter's bow would be into the oncoming seas, so would ours, and this would be the safest for both boats. He said 'NO', he said that would be too dangerous for his crew. This started me worrying. I explained again how the sea anchor was laid out, and that there was no chance of him getting the rig in his props. He came back and suggested that I retrieve the sea anchor and rig - 400' of rode, 66-lb. Bruce and 250' of 3/8" chain, in 20-ft. seas, with a hand windlass!

I have the greatest regard for the Coast Guard in Alaska. They have performed many amazing rescues and I have the greatest confidence in their ability to make the right decision at the right time. I assumed that all Coast Guard units along the coast would be the same. But now I was beginning to have my doubts.

Second mistake coming up: The cutter's skipper called me back, saying I should cut everything loose. I called him back saying I didn't like the idea of losing my last-ditch survival gear - meaning my sea anchor rig. And I told him I didn't like the idea of lying in the trough, sliding down the faces of 20-25 ft. seas. I asked him what the forecast for the next 48 hours was - he said "more of the same." I asked how he was going to approach us. I thought he said he would come in at our windward side, and then across our bow with the heaving line and 4" tow line.

Like an idiot I cut the chain loose from the boat. We swung around instantly in the trough and I knew in that moment that in all my years at sea I had never done anything so stupid. I told the CG skipper he would have ONE PASS, and ONE PASS only. My friend Joe and I crawled to the bow with our safety harness on, grabbing what we could to hang on. I was on the starboard bow, about two stanchions back, Joe being forward on the port side. I looked for the cutter and, Oh my God, it was downwind from us and coming at the wrong angle. And fast. I was hanging on for dear life, waving and screaming for him to abort. He rammed us about ten feet aft of the bow with his port stern quarter. I felt the cutter hit me, at the same time that it hit the boat, sending me flying forward through the air. The harness held - I felt a jolt at my shoulder. I had a death grip on the inner stay and looked up to see our bow pulpit and running lights hanging by the wires, the big double bow rollers twisted and mangled, the stanchions flattened on the deck. I yelled at Joe that we had to get below to see if she had holed us. Luck was with us: no hole.

The CG skipper called us to see if anyone was injured. We were all OK but I was furious! My wife Linda grabbed the mike before I could say what I was going to say. She told me to calm down. She said at least we were all OK. I unlashed the emergency tiller and brought our stern to the seas. The CG skipper then called back and said he KNEW he could heave us the tow line on the next pass! I said "no thanks!" I felt I had made enough mistakes in 72 hours to last a whole life. It was time for me to take command of the situation again. The CG asked what my intentions were. I said my intentions were to sail bare-poled out of there. He said that was not advisable and called Humboldt Bay CG to find out what to do next. Finally he came on the radio and told us that he would have to leave the area.

As the cutter pulled away I began to feel safe again. We were now running downwind, and our canoe stern was handling the 20-32 ft. seas superbly. The wind and seas let down in about six hours and we repaired the steering cables. The CG called us nearly every hour, wanting to know our ETA. The next day things calmed down and we motored into Bodega Bay.

The CG gave us a day to rest, before coming to take pictures of the damage the cutter had inflicted. They assured us it would all be taken care of. All we had to do was to fill out the claim report and find a yard to do the work - we needed to get two bids. A month after delivering the paperwork to the Alameda Coast Guard Station we have yet to hear anything about our claim.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don't call the Coast Guard unless it is an absolute emergency, life or death situation. Call other vessels in the area first.
  2. Evaluate carefully any advice given by anyone - Coast Guard or any other vessels - trying to help you.
  3. If you accept a tow from the Coast Guard you have given them the command of your vessel - in our case our home.
  4. Never forget that you are the one in command of your boat and the responsibility is your's.


S/M-22 Bristol Channel Cutter


Bristol Channel Cutter

26' x 7 Tons, Full Keel

12-Ft. Dia. BUORD Parachute

Force 11 Conditions


File S/M-22, obtained from Roger Olson, Costa Mesa, CA - Vessel name Xiphias, hailing port Los Angeles, Bristol Channel Cutter, designed by Lyle Hess, LOA 37' (with bowsprit) x LWL 26' x Beam 10' x Draft 5' x 7 Tons - Full keel - Sea anchor: 12-ft. Diameter BUORD on 300' x 5/8" nylon three strand rode and 20' of chain with 5/8" galvanized swivel - No trip line - Deployed in hurricane Tia in deep water approx. 25 miles off the Queensland coast near Bundaberg with winds sustained at 60 knots and seas of 30-40 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 45° - Drift was estimated to be about 5 n.m. during three days at sea anchor.


Roger Olson is an experienced offshore sailor and a partner in the firm of Sam L. Morse Co., builders of the Bristol Channel Cutter. Here are the transcripts of two files obtained from Roger:

Hurricane "Claudia" Near American Samoa (1980)

I was lucky to only catch the edge. There were two hurricanes at the same time. On WWV I heard that a hurricane was approaching our location but there was too much interference to hear the exact coordinates. I used the ham radio to call New Zealand. A ham operator informed me that it was north of us and heading away. I wasn't aware that this was a different storm and that we were heading into the original one.

As the weather deteriorated I ran off with storm jib and storm trysail. I considered dropping the trysail but wanted it up in just case I decided to heave-to. Deployed two "MINI" tires [makeshift drogue] off the stern for better control. Wind and seas not too bad (40 to 50 knots) and it was going in my direction. A huge wave broke next to us, depositing ample amounts of water on me and filling the cockpit. It doesn't take a genius to realize that if the wave had been over the stern I would have been rammed against the flat aft side of the cabin. Also, I could easily imagine this wave carrying me to the end of my harness tether. If the tether didn't break it would surely break my ribs. So I decided to come about and heave-to. I had to cut the drogue loose to come about. The boat set well for several hours but as the wind and seas increased it was apparent there was too much sail area up. So I dropped the storm jib onto the staysail stay and remained hove-to on storm trysail.

Never expected it to get this bad or I would have used the parachute anchor. It was in the lazarette and my rope was still shackled to the anchor chain and anchor, all lashed forward. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that I was going forward in those winds and seas to unlash it, undo the shackle, etc. I went below to get out of it. My hand-held wind indicator could only register 60 knots and it was at the maximum. During the night I knew my storm trysail was too much because the boat would heel severely on the crest of the wave. As the boat entered the trough she would change her set so when she got the full force of the wind on the crest the sail would flog and it seemed like it would rip the boat apart. Then it would fill and we would heel to the extreme.

There was only one knockdown, which was when everything came out of the lockers and drawers, burying me under cans and boxes. So much for the "slick!!" During the night it began to improve until I was able to sail by late the next afternoon.

Hurricane "Tia" Off Queensland, Australia (1981)

Australian radio stated that the Tropical Storm was strengthening to cyclone strength in the South Coral Sea and was heading south. This time I was better prepared. I had disconnected my anchor from my 5/8" nylon rope and pulled it all on deck. I tied the bitter end to the sampson post, leaving about 10 feet for freshening the nip. I had already run the rope through a fairlead on the bottom of the Cranse Iron (this is how I anchor anyway) and led the rest aft to the cockpit. Where the rope led through the fairlead I had sewn on a meter of leather for chafe. This was set so the leather just passed through the fairlead so I could let rope out to "freshen the nip" if necessary. (Later I never checked for chafe because I was too frightened to go forward).

I led the rope along the top of the life line and lashed it in place with fine nylon thread (dental floss would work) and to the cockpit where I coiled it and used stops to hold the coil in place. The parachute anchor was kept in the lazarette. I already had added about 25 feet of 5/16" chain to the end of the swivel attached to the parachute. I removed the parachute anchor, chain and swivel as a unit in a bag. Using a bowline with a double wrap, I attached the rope in the cockpit to the swivel. I deployed the parachute early while I was hove-to. From the cockpit I deployed the float (enough buoyancy to float the chain and anchor on 20 feet of rope attached to the center of the crown of the parachute) over the windward side. This was followed by the parachute anchor, chain and rope. The boat was making slow leeway so I was able to maintain complete control of the rope until all (300' + 20' chain) was out. As I let go of the rope it broke the thread along the life line until the boat was riding bow to the wind and seas. I dropped all sails and went below.

I remained below for the better part of three days. I still don't know the strength of the winds as my hand-held indicator wasn't working properly - it was stuck at 60 knots. The boat did tack in this position. In the trough there was little pull on the parachute anchor and the boat would set up to 50° from center. As she neared the crest more tension would be put on the rode, pulling the vessel straight. I had substantial water overboard because I was making little or no sternway. This was proven by feeling the pressure on the tiller, which I had lashed amidships. I was concerned about damage to the rudder if I made too much sternway. I don't know the amount of drift in those three days, nor do I know the current.

After the worst was over I finally got permission to put into an illegal port of entry (Mooloolaba, Qld). I set my course based on my last known position and allowed about five miles for drift. I was sailing entirely on celestial navigation and didn't have GPS or SatNav. I used my RDF to take a rough bearing and set a course for Mooloolaba. As I approached land I found my DR wasn't far off.

Comments: With the parachute anchor I never really felt in danger. Deploying it from cockpit worked great. I can't believe anyone would go forward in storm conditions to work anything on the foredeck. There was some chafe on the leather but it never wore through to the rope. I never adjusted it in the three days, but it was apparent that there was about one foot of stretch on the leather. I spent all my time inside during this and other storms. Only when conditions were not life-threatening would I go forward to inspect for chafe or damage. I had everything strongly lashed down, including my dinghy on the foredeck. The only things I lost were two 5-gallon fuel containers which were lashed with old 1/4" rope. Roller furling jib remained on the headstay - not recommended as it creates considerable windage. I had rolled it up tightly and pulled the sheets as tight as I could so the headstay wouldn't flog. It still shook the boat more than I thought it would. I don't know what I would have done had it unrolled.

I should never have been sailing in those waters during the hurricane season. However, in both cases I was rushing to meet my girlfriend... wasn't worth it!

Xiphias of Los Angeles.  This Bristol Channel Cutter rode out two hurricanes in the South Pacific, one to a sea anchor,  "I remained below for the better part of three days... with the parachute anchor I never really felt in danger." (Roger Olson photo)
Xiphias of Los Angeles. This Bristol Channel Cutter rode out two hurricanes in the South Pacific, one to a sea anchor, "I remained below for the better part of three days... with the parachute anchor I never really felt in danger." (Roger Olson photo)

S/M-21 Hinckley Sou’wester 51 Yawl


Hinckley Sou'wester 51 Yawl

51' x 24 Tons, Full Keel & CB

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9 Conditions


File S/M-21, obtained from Captain Eric F. Roos, Mt. Desert, ME. - Vessel name Windcrest, hailing port Bar Harbor, Hinckley Sou'wester yawl, designed by McCurdy and Rhodes, LOA 51' x LWL 37' 6" x Beam 14' x Draft 6' (11' with CB down) x 24 Tons - Full keel & auxiliary centerboard - Sea anchor: 24-ft. diameter Para-Tech on 400' x 3/4" nylon braid and 100' of 5/16" chain with 3/4" stainless steel swivel - Deployed in deep water about 120 miles south of Nantucket Island in a whole gale with winds of 40-50 knots and seas of 20 feet - Vessel's bow yawed 15° - Drift was 14 n.m. during 23 hours at sea anchor.

Windcrest was en route to Bermuda from Bar Harbor when she ran into bad weather. Transcript of feedback obtained from Captain Eric F. Roos:

Para-Anchor was deployed due to deteriorating weather conditions close to the North wall of the Gulf Stream. Our weather forecast indicated that if we continued on our present course a large frontal system would pass over us just as we entered the Gulf Stream. We chose to sail away from the building seas near the stream and set our para-anchor while conditions were still tolerable and we still had daylight.

There was no sudden wind change, but rather a consistent increase in wind speed and building seas (max 50 knots with max 25-30' seas.) Since we deployed our para-anchor before conditions were too bad, the deployment was fairly straightforward. We chose to attach the shackle of the rode directly to our 60# plow anchor's welded cross-bar (v). After seizing the shackles we let out the 400' rode, anchor and 100' of 5/16" chain over the stainless steel bow roller. The weight of the anchor and chain provided an excellent catenary to absorb the shocks we experienced during the worst conditions. Our biggest concern the whole time we sat on the para-anchor was the strength of the cross-bar on the plow anchor. Though it held just fine, I wonder if I should have used a different attachment point.

Windcrest performed very well while on the sea anchor. She yawed from side to side a total of 30° [total arc]. At one point the anchor chain jumped out of the stainless steel roller (we forgot to put pin through top of roller) and found its way down the starboard side and into the stainless steel chock causing only cosmetic damage. Due to the rugged nature of our chocks, we would intentionally place the chain in the chock in the future.

After 23 hours the seas subsided to 15-20' and the winds moderated to less than 25 knots and began coming from a different direction than the seas. At this point Windcrest insisted on pointing into the wind rather than the seas. This caused considerable rolling and was the ultimate reason we retrieved the para-anchor when we did. The smashing/crashing sounds below were enough to make a man go mad. The retrieval was straightforward but more difficult than the deployment. We felt it was next to impossible to retrieve the tackle in an orderly fashion. We ended up with a heaping mess of rode and para-anchor lines. However, when we repacked the gear at a later date it was not as bad as we had anticipated. In summary, I have nothing but good things to say about the para-anchor equipment and would not go offshore without one.

(CAUTION: The steel anchor should be taken off in storms lest a breaking wave smash it against the boat.)


CAUTION: A big, heavy steel anchor may provide added catenary shock absorption hanging on the rode, but in a Fastnet type storm it may also get turned into a lethal object if it gets smashed against the boat by a breaking wave. It should be taken off, and the rode attached the chain itself.