Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-07-2008, 12:14   #1

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brecon, Wales
Boat: St Francis 50 on order
Posts: 269
Cats in Heavy Weather- heave to/parachutes

When sailing a cat in heavy weather has anyone here ever had to heave to or deploy a parachute?

Gludy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 08:40   #2
Senior Cruiser
mikereed100's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Santa Barbara
Boat: 46' custom cat
Posts: 1,418
Images: 2

If you do a search on this site you will find some recent discussion on the topic. If you are contemplating deploying a parachute anchor in anger I would reccomend Victor Shane's "Drag Device Database" for a wealth of case histories.


mikereed100 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 08:58   #3

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brecon, Wales
Boat: St Francis 50 on order
Posts: 269
Thanks - I have ordered the book
Gludy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 09:13   #4
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
Hud3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Virginia
Boat: Island Packet 380, now sold
Posts: 8,847
Images: 47
Hi, Gludy.

Here's a Google search engine just for Cruisers Forum. Plug in terms like "drag devices", "parachute anchor", "storm tactics"...

Cruisers & Sailing Forum

There's a lot already here that will get you started, then you can ask specific questions at your leisure.
Hud3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 10:46   #5
Senior Cruiser
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,578
Images: 32
Heavy weather tactics are a mix of what to do.

sea room (i.e. is there lots of room to leeward)

Boat design - if on a drogue will the aft end of the boat take the strain/shock/water ingress.

which way you are headed.


crew size and condition.

What sort of weather is headed your way.

Thus: Sea room. Do you need to anchor your boat, or can you run slowly before the wind

Boat design - is the boat designed or strengthened to take the loads on mooring bits imposed by drougue or parachute. Will the boat lie to either without swinging around. will the stern lift up over a breaking wave, will the cockpit drain quickly enough, will the patio door withstand the shock of several tons of water knocking at the door. are the windows up forward strong enough, or do you need storm shutters to go over them.

Which way are you headed - if you are going downwind anyway, then the drogue makes a great deal of sense (particularly the jordan series drogue). However, if you have spent the last fortnight clawing your way upwind, a parachute may make better sense.

Experience/crew size/condition - fairly self explanatory. suffice to say that getting the drogue or parachute deployed earlier means it is easier. If you have left it too late, deploying a drogue is simpler and safer as you will not have to go forward (but you should really have rigged it earlier so that all you had to do was throw it overboard.from the cockpit).

What sort of weather is headed your way - if you are in the dangerous sector of a hurricane, attempting to get to a less dangerous sector or move sideways away from its path is a better option tahn throwing out the parachute and praying.

Maxing out discusses all these at length.

Heavy Weather Sailing gives some good stuff.

Jordans series drogue website, and the US Coastguard study are worth a read

the parachute anchor sites normally give some good details as well.
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 14:44   #6
Senior Cruiser
44'cruisingcat's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,176
Images: 69
44'cruisingcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 16:36   #7
Registered User
cats..paw's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: chesapeake.
Boat: searunner 31
Posts: 40
Not from a cat, but twice from a tri (on the same passage).

At the risk of overtelling the story, I'll smooth up an earlier post:

Early November 1992. Steering 120* mag from Norfolk, bound for Virgin Islands in a Searunner 31 tri. Three onboard with a heap of stores. We stepped into a worsening 5-day storm. First kicking up the Gulf Stream with opposing winds, then clocking around blowing harder and harder yet, leading to 45 kn winds steady, plus heavy gusts.

With a whole lot of fetch. Seas: 30 feet, perhaps a bit more. 6 foot breakers crisscrossing from 2 directions.

Victor Shane had suggested a 16 foot parachute anchor, and we deployed it twice, the first time for 20 hours. The parachute was payed out so it lay in the next crest as we topped ours, and that required 400 feet of rode plus the chute leader plus 70 feet of bridle.

Sweet it was on that chute, riding like a duck on an elevator. The board was up so we could skitter sideways, and the rudder tied off so we couldn't damage it, backing down. The GPS told us that we only lost 2.2 nm in that time. The bridle was led through a pair of big snatch blocks on the ama bow bridle plates, a la Jim Brown. We pulled them in two feet every couple of hours to adjust any bridle chafe.

We carried no windlass, so when the winds dropped to 25 kn we retrieved the whole rig using two winches, in series. At the time it seemed like a whole lot of retrieving, but we'd gotten some rest and could proceed. And just keep sailing the boat.

Hope this offers some ideas.

.....and when the leeward ama takes water over the deck, you should have reefed already.....jim brown.
cats..paw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2008, 16:49   #8

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brecon, Wales
Boat: St Francis 50 on order
Posts: 269
Thanks - I enjoyed reading that account.
Gludy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-07-2008, 09:25   #9
Eternal Member
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
cats paw,

Thanks for the tip on extra bridle. Pulling in to avoid chafing sounds good!!!!!!!

imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Heavy Weather Tactics and Equipment Benny Seamanship & Boat Handling 54 10-09-2009 06:04
Heavy weather anchoring, Stede General Sailing Forum 105 10-12-2008 10:11
Heavy Weather and Multihulls Sonosailor Multihull Sailboats 13 07-03-2008 09:03
Hull flex in heavy weather cat man do Off Topic Forum 17 21-09-2007 18:24
Heavy-Weather Tactics: GordMay General Sailing Forum 25 28-10-2003 15:44

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:48.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.