D/M-20 SPARKMAN & STEPHENS 34 (Swarbrick)

S&S 34 monohullD/M 20

Monohull, Sparkman & Stephens

33' x 6 Tons, Fin Keel

Seasquid

Force 9+ Conditions

File D/M-19, obtained from Ben Tucker, Australia - Vessel name Gypsy2, hailing port Hobart, monohull sloop designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built by Swarbrick, LOA 33' x LWL 25' x Beam 10' x Draft 5' 10" x 6 Tons - Fin keel - Drogue: Seasquid on 150' (45m) x 7/16" (11mm) kermantle dynamic nylon double braid rode plus 6ft (2m) of 8mm chain - Deployed in  deep water midway on passage from Hobart, Australia to Bluff, New Zealand in winds of 45 knots gusting to 60kt and breaking seas of 20 - 30 ft. (6 - 10m) - Surfing down waves was inhibited, and speed was reduced to about 4 knots during 18 hours of deployment

Ben Tucker has over 70,000 miles of sailing experience, plus a million miles as an officer on a container ship. On this occasion he was sailing from Australia to New Zealand in early summer when he get caught in a strong gale:

On passage from Hobart to Bluff in early summer we got caught in a nasty low with strong westerly winds. Over the day the wind and seas built and quite suddenly it went from fun fast downwind sailing to dangerous just on dusk. We dropped the deep reefed main, and eventually ran with just a scrap of the roller reefing headsail set. As the seas built up we started surfing too fast for comfort down the front of the seas and deployed a sea squid on about 45 meters of 11mm kernmantle dynamic nylon rope that had previously been used for climbing.  About 2 meters of 8 mm chain was shackled between the drogue and the warp. 

The drogue immediately slowed us down and controlled the surfing. 

But a big problem with our setup was soon revealed, the stretch in the drogue warp, coupled with the short line and only a short length of lightweight chain caused the drogue to break free of the approaching wave and fly forward towards us through the air about 10 meters and then re-engage, this would allow the boat to accelerate quickly to 7 or 8 knots until the drogue reengaged and with a brutal jerk it then slowed us down again to around 4 knots, this would often rip the drogue back out of the water again, repeating the cycle.

It was clear that the wavelength was around 100 meters or so, as the drogue was visible behind us on the approaching crest when we were near the trough.

It was deployed off the port quarter with no bridle to keep it clear of the windvane. We added a length of 19mm polypropylene line approximately 100 meters long in parallel with the drogue. This slowed us down enough that the drogue remained in the water with a more steady pull. 

We rode out the night hand steering with a small scrap of jib sheeted tight amidships and the drogue and warp behind.  Many times the cockpit filled with water, and were buffeted badly by the bigger crests, bouncing down the wave face. But by early morning it had eased significantly. 

We found that the windvane had been damaged by the drogue line at some point, and the plastic sea squid drogue had a bad crack in it, probably due to the tumbling as it flew through the air, then tangled with the chain and reengaged. 

the biggest lesson was to avoid using a dynamic rope with a drogue, Have at least 100 meters of warp available and plenty of heavy chain on the end to keep it well under water.  

The next time I used a drogue sailing to Antarctica on my 33 foot yacht Snow Petrel I had no issues with a much longer line, approximately 120 meters of 18mm polypropylene and 10 meters of 10mm chain using a Seabrake HSD 300 and the pull was very steady and consistent.

Once again we have problems with drogues skipping out of the waves, in this case exacerbated by using a very stretchy climbing rope as a rode. Elasticity is crucial in the rode for a para-anchor so as to prevent shock loading, but in a drogue a non-stretchy rode, combined with some weight at the drogue end, helps to keep the rode submerged leading to a more constant rode tension.

Ben notes that the wave length was about 100m and the drogue rode about half that. One would expect that this might work well, placing the drogue on the back of the when one needs it most, ie surfing down the face of the same wave, but in this case the extreme stretching of the rode seems to have counteracted this, resulting in the drogue pulling out of the water with the concomitant rapid acceleration of the boat.

As the Furgusons on St. Leger (D/M 17) found, one needs to either have a long rode with more weight to cover a wider range of conditions (as did Ben Tucker on his next adventure), or else be able to adjust it from the cockpit to specifically tune it to the conditions at the time.

S/R-2 Carbon / Kevlar Morrison

S/R-2

Carbon / Kevlar Morrison 24ft classic ocean row boat

24' x 1 Tonne

12-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9 Conditions

File S/R-2, obtained from Chris Martin - Vessel name Bojangles, Carbon / Kevlar 24ft classic ocean row boat designed by Phil Morrison, LWL 24' x Beam 6' x Draft 18" x 1 tonne - Sea anchor: 12-ft. diameter Para-Tech on 80m (260')  x 1/2" polypropylene three strand rode with 3" stainless steel swivel - Full trip line - Deployed during ocean passage in deep water from Choshi, Japan to San Francisco, USA in early September 2009 with winds of 40 knots+ and cycloidal steep breaking waves of 30' - 50' - Drift  during 36 hours at sea anchor is not known.

Chris Martin and Mick Dawson were the first pair of rowers to successfully cross the Pacific Ocean, doing so in 189 Days, 10 Hours and 55 Minutes after an adventure that included storm force winds, running out of food, an onboard fire and, of course, the shear grind of rowing day and night for over 6 months.

Bojangles  is Carbon Kevlar foam sandwich classic hull row boat. Built by Woodvale. Originally intended as a solo the bulkheads were cut into three and the central section angled more vertically to provide the deck space required for two rowers. Because rowing boats are often double ended, with a pointed stern, there is no concern about anchoring from the stern instead of the bow.

Transcript:

Parachute anchor was deployed off the stern (not off the bow). There is a specific mounting position above the rudder for the attachment of the deployment line. This means that all the waves hitting the boat strike the aft cabin but do mean that it is possible to exit the aft cabin without risking a wave breaking over the boat and slamming into the main hatch. It also reduces the wiggle on the boat during the time the boat is deployed as the boat naturally windvanes to point with the wind and waves minimizing lateral motion of the boat.

The deployment line we used was stored on deck between two large cleats about 18" apart allowing easy deployment and storage on recovery.  The deployment line was 1/2" three strand and the recovery line was 1/4". In hindsight a buoyant recovery line with a float fitted would have been better.

S/P-9 Commercial F/V

ARIZONAS/P-9

Commercial F/V

79' x 87 Tons

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 10 Conditions

File S/P-9, obtained from Captain G.T. Bodiford, Jr., Panama City, FL. - Vessel name Arizona, hailing port Galveston, TX, Tuna longliner designed by Master Marine, LOA 79' x LWL 70' x Beam 24' x Draft 8' 9" x 87 Tons - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 300' x 7/8" nylon three strand rode, with 5/8" galvanized swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in storm in deep water about 400 miles SSE of New Orleans with winds of 50 knots and seas of 20 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was estimated to be 18 n.m. during 40 hours at sea anchor.

Two generations of Bodifords have been fishing the Gulf of Mexico for tuna, using parachutes for station keeping and sea layovers. On the occasion of this file the F/V Arizona was approximately 400 nautical miles south-south-east of New Orleans when she was overtaken by a Tropical Depression. She was too far offshore to duck back into port so Captain Bodiford decided ride it out on the 24-ft. diameter Para-Tech sea anchor.

At the height of the storm the wind was sustained at 55 knots out of the NE, occasionally gusting to 80. Seas were about 17-20 feet. Arizona is a large, heavy boat, weighing in at almost 90 tons. She was hove to the para-anchor for a total of 40 hours without any problems. She drifted about 18 miles in that time.

S/P-8 Commercial F/V

ARCHANGES/P-8

Commercial F/V

65' x 49 Tons

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 12 Conditions

File S/P-8, obtained from Captain Clark B. Fay, Pelican, Alaska - Vessel name Arch Angel, hailing port Alaska, commercial fishing schooner, LOA 65' x LWL 56' x Beam 16' x Draft 11' x 49 Tons - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 600' x 1" nylon three strand rode, with 3/4" bronze ball bearing swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a storm in deep water in the Gulf of Alaska with winds of 75 knots and seas of 30 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was uncertain due to 3-4 knot westerly current.

Captain Clark B. Fay is also a veteran of the Alaskan fisheries. He has been through many a gale and not too few storms. Arch Angel weighs in at 49 tons, has a draft of 11 feet and, according to Fay, has been tethered to her 24-ft. diameter Para-Tech sea anchor hundreds of times.

On the occasion of this file, winds were hurricane strength with occasional gusts to 90 knots. Seas were as great as 30 ft. Shock absorption was provided by a full spool - 600'- of one inch nylon three strand. Transcript:

I use the sea anchor almost daily during the spring when I am offshore, and occasionally during bad weather in the summer and fall. Only an idiot fishes up here in the winter. A good swivel is an absolute must. I use a commercial fishing swivel that salmon purse seign vessels use on their purse lines, rated at 32,000 lbs. It has three races of stainless steel ball bearings, and the body is made from bronze. Cost is about $200.00, available from Redden Net Co., Bellingham, Washington.

With enough line payed out I've never found a catenary (chain) system at all necessary and I wouldn't want to have to haul back the extra weight. I use a Poly-Pro trip line and run it all the way back to the boat, using a power winch to haul the rig back.

 

S/P-7 Commercial F/V

KELLALEES/P-7

Commercial F/V

50' x 35 Tons

28-Ft. Dia. Parachute Sea Anchor

Force 7-8 Conditions

File S/P-7, obtained from Captain George W. Newson, Comox, B.C. - Vessel name Kella Lee, hailing port Comox, commercial F/V, designed by Monk, LOA 50' x LWL 47' x Beam 15' x Draft 9' x 35 Tons - Sea anchor: 28-ft. Diameter C-9 military class parachute on 500' x 1/2" nylon braid rode, with 5/8" bronze ball bearing swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a gale in shallow water (70 fathoms) about 40 miles west of lower Vancouver Island with winds of 30-35 knots and seas of 12-15 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was estimated to be 13 n.m. during 13 hours at sea anchor.

Captain George Newson is the president of Newson Fisheries and a veteran of many gales in the Pacific Northwest. Whether longlining for halibut, trolling for salmon, or gillnetting for herring, the sea anchor has always played an important part in enhancing the safety, comfort and efficiency of his crew. Even as a young man he was accustomed to using government surplus parachutes while fishing Cape Flattery's stormy waters.

On the occasion of this file he used a 28-ft. diameter military surplus (C-9) parachute on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

He has since obtained - and used - a much heavier 24-ft. diameter Para-Tech sea anchor.

Newson was using a dedicated tether consisting of 500 feet of 1/2" nylon braid! Kella Lee is a 50-ft. Monk trawler with a dry weight of 35 tons, yet her skipper - with many years of experience - initially chose 1/2" line for the tether, a size that one would ordinarily associate with the ground tackle of a 26-ft. sailboat weighing three tons! This says something about the importance of incorporating elasticity into parachute anchoring system. Transcript:

I used a regular 28 ft. chute years ago while trolling salmon off the Washington coast. It was common practice for most of the West Coast troll fleet. We worked the area above Gray's Harbor, known as the Prairie. Most of the area was too deep for anchoring and too far away to run in, so we used parachutes for sea anchors. We rode out many NW gales in relative comfort, averaging 1 nautical mile of drift per hour to leeward in gale force winds. The boat always rode bow to the sea.

The Para-Tech 24' diameter chute, being somewhat smaller and considerably heavier, tends to set easier than the government surplus 28-footers.... We pay out 500 ft. of 1/2" Samson double braid nylon rode, which is shackled to the bow.... The drift is reduced by two thirds. The ride is reasonable because of the elasticity of the long, thin rode.

Update: Two years later Shane received another letter from Captain Newson, indicating that the 1/2" nylon braid had in fact broken in a gale. The break occurred right at the thimble area of the splice. Newson was able recover the parachute by powering up to the float. He now uses 5/8" nylon braid.

S/P-6 Commercial F/V

MAJESTICS/P-6

Commercial F/V

65' x 33 Tons

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9-10 Conditions

File S/P-6, obtained from Captain Paul Clampitt, Everett, WA - Vessel name Majestic, hailing port Seattle, converted 1923 wood schooner, LOA 65' x LWL 58' x Beam 16' x Draft 13' x 33 Tons - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 600' x 3/4" nylon braid rode, with 3/4" bronze ball-bearing swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a southeasterly gale in 300 fathoms of water about 40 miles south of Yakutat Bay, Alaska, with winds of 40-50 knots and seas of 20-30 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 20°

Washington fisherman Paul Clampitt is the owner of the 65-ft. schooner Majestic. While longlining, he routinely uses a 24-ft. diameter Para-Tech sea anchor for station keeping, allowing the crew to get a good night's sleep offshore. On the occasion of this file the same 24-ft. sea anchor was used in a southeasterly gale in the Gulf of Alaska. The para-anchor did a good job of holding the bow of the boat into the seas - bearing in mind that this is a converted 1923 wood schooner with a full keel and stern draft of 13 feet. Transcript:

The parachute sea anchor requires some skill to learn how to properly deploy. We deploy it using a "flying set," by setting the chute off the stern and allowing it to open, then turning the helm upwind with the engine in neutral. The main advantage in using the anchor is in getting a good night's sleep without having to man the helm through a gale. We have yet to use the chute in true storm conditions, because in life-threatening situations I don't want to experiment, and prefer to have a man on constant watch - so we might as well maintain steerage way by jogging up into the seas. But it is a comfort to know the chute is available for deployment in case of loss of power.

In our case the chute doesn't really help that much in stopping the boat from drifting, however, because most of our drift occurs from strong tides in our areas of operation and the vessel and chute drift at the same rate in these situations.

S/P-5 Commercial F/V

S/P-5

Commercial F/V

55' x 60 Tons

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 8-9 Conditions

File S/P-5, obtained from Captain Dennis Crosby, Youngstown, FL. - Vessel name Ashly G, hailing port Panama City, FL, Thompson trawler, LOA 55' x LWL 50' x Beam 18' x Draft 10' x 60 Tons - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 400' x 3/4" nylon three strand rode, with 3/4" galvanized swivel - Partial trip line - Deployed in low system in deep water about 150 miles south of Mobile, Alabama, with winds of 35-45 knots and seas of 15 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was estimated to be 4-5 n.m. during 24 hours at sea anchor.

Ashly G's partially torn sea anchor came back for repairs a number of years ago. Upon inspection the first thing Victor Shane noticed was that the canopy was inside out! The skipper of the boat could not recall how this came about. Most sea anchors and parachutes have a heavier, skeletal, web framework that cradles and reinforce the lighter canopy material. If the parachute is used inside out high loads may tear the canopy away from the radial basket, which is probably what had happened here.

Upon further inspection Shane also noticed heavy damage in the vent-hole area.

The vent-hole is the discharge orifice incorporated into the top of the canopy to afford stability and shock absorption. This is a very critical area where there is tremendous water pressure trying to squeeze through a small hole. The nylon cloth of the parachute is not strong enough to withstand the pressure, so the vent-hole has to be heavily reinforced with webbing - it is the strong webbing that takes up the strain, and not the lighter canopy material. And indeed, in this case it had been redundantly reinforced.

So what could have happened?

Further investigation revealed the culprit: CHAFE! The trip line has to be tied off to something. Usually that something is the webbing that reinforces the vent-hole. In daily use the trip line rubs and pulls against the webbing. Chafe does the rest. Once the reinforcing webbing has chafed through the high loads have to be born by the lighter canopy itself, usually resulting in failure of major proportions.

 

SHOWING CRITICAL VENT-HOLE AREA
SHOWING CRITICAL VENT-HOLE AREA

Shane was quick to bring the matter to the attention of Para-Tech's Don Whilldin. A master parachute rigger and veteran skydiver (more than 1000 jumps), Whilldin went to work and redesigned the critical vent-hole area.

All Para-Tech sea anchors now have a separate recovery bridle, to which the trip line may be attached independently of the critical webbing that reinforces the vent-hole.

S/P-4 Commercial F/V

GORMANS/P-4

Commercial F/V

70' x 30 Tons

24-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9-10 Conditions

File S/P-4, obtained from Captain Bobby Lucas, Youngstown, FL. - Vessel name Captain Gorman III, hailing port Panama City, FL, commercial F/V, designed by Davis, LOA 70' x LWL 66' x Beam 20' x Draft 7' x 30 Tons - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 600' x 7/8" nylon braid rode, with 5/8" galvanized swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a whole gale in deep water about 150 miles SE of Morgan City, Louisiana, with winds of 45-60 knots and seas of 15-20 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was 8-10 n.m. during 48 hours at sea anchor.

Captain Gorman III is one of numerous commercial F/Vs that work the Gulf of Mexico out of Panama City, Florida. Many are equipped with sea anchor. Some carry 1000 feet of nylon rode on a hydraulically operated reel. Captain Gorman III routinely uses her 24-ft. diameter Para-Tech sea anchor for sea layovers and station-keeping offshore. In March 1988 her skipper, Bobby Lucas, deployed it about 150 miles south of the Louisiana coast in a gale. Transcript:

I am a longliner fisherman for tuna and swordfish, and I fish anywhere from 100 to 200 miles offshore. During the winter I am in a lot of rough weather. I used to idle into the sea or idle with the sea to keep from lying dead in the water and getting hit broadside by big waves. It is very dangerous not to have any way of anchoring. Now I always carry my 24-ft. sea anchor so that I can get my bow around into the sea and keep from lying in the trough in rough weather. I have been anchored in 50 knot winds, gusting 70, and seas of 12-20 ft. for as long as 48 hours. Without the sea anchor it would have been a very uncomfortable ride and possibly I would have had to steam in to port. Offshore, it is necessary to have a sea anchor.

S/P-3 Commercial F/V

FVS/P-3

Commercial F/V

66' x 120 Tons

32-Ft. Dia. Sea Anchor

Force 9-10 Conditions

File S/P-3, obtained from Captain Michael Monteforte, Kenyon, RI. - Vessel name First Light, hailing port Point Judith, RI, commercial F/V, designed by Walter Bechman, LOA 66' x LWL 62' x Beam 21' x Draft 12' x 120 Tons - Sea anchor: 32-ft. Diameter Para-Tech on 150' x 1¼" nylon three strand rode, with 3/4" stainless steel swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a whole gale in shallow water (60 fathoms) about 150 files from Boston with winds of 55 knots and seas of 20 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10°.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial fishing ranks as one of the most hazardous occupations in the United States.

Those of us who sail offshore for pleasure can pick our season and our route, and change both if necessary. But the skipper of a commercial F/V is up against an economic imperative. "Breaking up a trip" can be an expensive proposition. He has spent hundreds of dollars in fuel, ice and provisions, and the crew has to get paid whether they catch fish or not. So what happens when the Weather Service issues an untimely bulletin? Given today's shaky economic picture, the skipper has to make a difficult decision as to whether to go ahead with the trip, or to abort and head back for port with the holds empty.

In the course of interviewing scores of offshore fishermen, Victor Shane discovered that, as a general rule, most will stay on the fishing grounds and ride out the average gale, especially if the trip is still young. The majority will steam back for port in the event that the forecast is upgraded from "gale" (34-40 knots sustained) to "storm" (48-55 knots sustained). Sometimes they get caught out there in between.

Now when a commercial F/V runs into an offshore gale it is standard procedure to "jog into it" - an expression used by commercial fishermen themselves. The engine is placed in slow forward and the F/V makes just enough way to enable the helmsman to keep the bow pointed as high into the teeth of the gale as possible. Fuel is spent in jogging into the seas; the hull may pound some; there is the wear and tear on everything and everyone. And if the vessel loses power, if she springs a bad leak, or if something major - like a pump - breaks down, she may end up needing the assistance of the Coast Guard.

This is why commercial fishermen were among the first to use parachutes at sea. With the parachute set they can shut down all engines and stay on top of the fishing grounds, anchored to the surface of the ocean in relative comfort. Transcript of Captain Monteforte's testimonial:

I used sea anchors for four years on my last boat, the Dyrsten. She was 60' long by 20' wide, made of yellow pine planks with oak ribs. Her gross weight was 38 tons. We used surplus parachutes then, but suffered with the problem of the chutes blowing out, so we always carried a spare. I thought about a chute for my new boat, First Light, but because she is at least three times heavier than Dyrsten, I didn't follow up on the idea, until last January, when I called Para-Tech, after seeing their ad in National Fisherman. I purchased a 32' diameter chute... a well-made, extremely rugged looking sea anchor.

We started using it on the very next trip. We would fish all day, and lay to the chute during the night. What we experienced at sea anchor was a very peaceful motion, as the bow of the boat tracked its way into the oncoming swells. The ride was different than if you were to jog into it. I suppose there was just less pitch, allowing for a good night's sleep. On one particular trip in March '88 we were fishing at least 150 miles offshore when, on the second or third day of the trip, the barometer started to fall rapidly. Now, ordinarily, we are left with two choices if the weather deteriorates: steam home, or lay to. Unless the forecast is really bad, we invariably lay to. At any rate, we set the chute before dark and when I got up at dawn the wind had already shifted to the northeast and was blowing 30 knots. Having noticed that the barometer was still low, I decided to remain at sea anchor a while longer. As it turned out we remained at sea anchor for another day and night. The wind increased to fifty five, sixty knots, with higher gusts.

The whole time that we were hove to the sea anchor we were comfortable and relaxed. When it was over, we were rested, in good shape, and anxious to get back to work. In my opinion, a sea anchor, used with good judgment, is an invaluable tool.

S/P-2 Commercial F/V

WASHBURNS/P-2

Commercial F/V

65' x 43 Tons

28-Ft. Dia. Parachute Sea Anchor

Force 9-10 Conditions

File S/P-2, obtained from Captain Marc Palombo, Sandwich, MA. - Vessel name Holly & Michael, hailing port Sandwich, commercial F/V, designed by Washburn and Doughty, LOA 65' x LWL 60' x Beam 16' x Draft 6' x 43 Tons - Sea anchor: 28-ft. Diameter C-9 military class parachute on 450' x 3/4" nylon three strand rode, with 5/8" galvanized swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in a whole gale in shallow water (45 fathoms) about 75 miles SE of Nantucket with winds of 45-55 knots and seas of 18 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was estimated to be 15 n.m. during 24 hours at sea anchor.

 

Captain Marc Palombo is president of Calico Lobster, Inc.. He has a number of commercial F/V's that work out of Sandwich, Massachusetts. These lobster boats, designed by naval architect Bruce Washburn, have proven to be extremely stable platforms at sea. Because of their hard chines they don't roll very much. Their low profile allows them to fish in high winds, and their wide open after decks can accommodate hundreds of lobster traps. Palombo called Victor Shane's company a number of years ago about C-9 parachutes for the boats. It seems that a member of his crew, Arthur Davey by name (see previous file), kept insisting that they should have one on board.

Shane explained to Captain Palombo that he had a few C-9's in stock, but that in his opinion they were not suitable for a big, 40-ton commercial F/V. He reminded Palombo that they were parachutes, designed for one man jumping out of an airplane. Captain Palombo insisted that he wanted three of them. He said Arthur Davey had told him they should be adequate.

Shane said "O.K", but went to great lengths to explain the importance of the long rode, "Remember, the long rode acts as a load buffer. THE LONGER THE RODE, THE LESS THE STRAIN ON EVERYTHING!"

Those C-9 parachutes were subsequently used by the Calico fleet in heavy weather, in conjunction with 400-500 feet of nylon rode. They didn't tear, and some were still in use years later. In 1986, for instance, the Holly & Michael used one in a November gale on the Georges Bank - 45 fathoms. Transcript:

I am writing to compliment you on the usefulness of the PARA-28 [28-ft. C-9]. As an offshore Lobster Fisherman I have deployed the parachute many times. I am completely satisfied with its operation. In one instance, we deployed the chute in a November 1986 gale, 75 miles south-east of Nantucket. The weather conditions deteriorated rapidly and we found ourselves sitting in 45 knot winds with about twelve foot seas....

Holly tethered to a 28-ft. diameter C-9 parachute in 18-ft. seas during a November gale about 75 miles SE of Nantucket. Note the breaking crest to the left, and the rode leading to the sea anchor. "Through the toughest twenty hours of the storm we lay to the parachute.... The PARA-28 kept our bow into the seas as we drifted. We did not pound into the seas, nor did we lie beam-to. It was a soft, comfortable manner to ride out the storm." (Photo courtesy of Captain Marc Palombo, Calico Lobster, Inc.)
Holly tethered to a 28-ft. diameter C-9 parachute in 18-ft. seas during a November gale about 75 miles SE of Nantucket. Note the breaking crest to the left, and the rode leading to the sea anchor. "Through the toughest twenty hours of the storm we lay to the parachute.... The PARA-28 kept our bow into the seas as we drifted. We did not pound into the seas, nor did we lie beam-to. It was a soft, comfortable manner to ride out the storm." (Photo courtesy of Captain Marc Palombo, Calico Lobster, Inc.)

For about twelve hours the National Weather Service out of Boston had storm warnings up. Through the toughest twenty hours of the storm we lay to the parachute. We were as comfortable as could be expected under these conditions. The PARA-28 kept our bow into the seas as we drifted. We did not pound into the seas, nor did we lie beam-to. It was a soft, comfortable manner to ride out the storm. The parachute enabled us to stay and ride out the storm. Some of the other vessels went into port with broken trips. We stayed and were able to complete our trip. In this respect the anchor paid for itself tenfold. I must stress that there is no substitute for good common sense in some of the decisions to either go home or stay out. But if I were to decide to stay and ride out a storm, I would definitely want a parachute sea anchor out.

Holly & Michael of Sandwich, Massachusetts. This commercial F/V uses parachute sea anchors to stay on top of the fishing grounds offshore.  (Photo courtesy of Captain Marc Palombo, Calico Lobster, Inc.)
Holly & Michael of Sandwich, Massachusetts. This commercial F/V uses parachute sea anchors to stay on top of the fishing grounds offshore. (Photo courtesy of Captain Marc Palombo, Calico Lobster, Inc.)