36' x 17' x 6 Tons
24-Ft. Dia. Parachute Sea Anchor
Force 8-9 Conditions
File S/C-9, obtained from Gary Jones, Rockville, MD. - Vessel name Corinthian XIII, hailing port Chester River, MD, "Witness" catamaran, designed by Lock Crowther, LOA 36' x Beam 17' x Draft 2' x 6 Tons - Sea anchor: 24-ft. Diameter military chest reserve parachute on 450' x 3/4" nylon three strand rode and bridle arms of 25' each, with 5/8" galvanized swivel - Full trip line - Deployed in low system in shallow water (12-15 fathoms) about 50 miles SE of Cape Fear, NC, with winds of 35-45 knots and seas of 8-12 ft. - Vessel's bow yawed 10° - Drift was estimated to be 5 n.m. during 10 hours at sea anchor.
Parachute sea anchors are worth their weight in gold in difficult coastal situations with the wind on the rise and the crew sick and exhausted. Their low rate of drift means that they require practically no sea room, making them the only viable means of stopping the boat and calling "time out" in close quarters. Transcript:
Wind and sea started building about 1800 hrs as we came up on Frying Pan Shoals. With the wind on the nose and the sea becoming choppy we weren't making any progress toward Charleston, South Carolina. At midnight the wind had turned the sea white and many waves were coming over the bow. We were heavy with provisions for a long cruise and five people were aboard. One crew member got sick and the rest were exhausted from fighting the weather.
The prospect for weather during the next 8 hours sounded bad and we knew the chances of being set into the shoals were great, so we decided to set the chute. Holding onto the heaving deck with one hand and setting the chute was tough due to water coming over the bow. It took 1.5 hours to deploy the rig, but it worked great and gave us time to go below and get much-needed rest.