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Old 23-04-2013, 00:40   #1
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Para anchor

We are planning to cruise SEAsia and South Pacific Islands. Has anyone got a para anchor? Have you ever used it?


Do you think it is a necessary piece of equipment or really over kill considering we are doing the longest passage of say 600 miles and that is 3 days.

Look forward to your response.
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Old 23-04-2013, 01:13   #2
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Re: Para anchor

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We are planning to cruise SEAsia and South Pacific Islands. Has anyone got a para anchor? Have you ever used it?


Do you think it is a necessary piece of equipment or really over kill considering we are doing the longest passage of say 600 miles and that is 3 days.

Look forward to your response.

See the Pardey and Pardey book on Storm Tactics (that's the first two words in the title). They go into great detail.

200 miles a day? How many crew on the boat? What kind of boat?

Picking the best weather window is your best strategy but does not guarantee that you won't get caught in a squall, and possibly a bad one. There's a whole range of options if you do; I'm sure you know that if you're planning such a trip.

We had a long discussion on this last fall with two conclusions drawn: that I shouldn't have one and that everyone else should make their own minds up. In other words, it got pretty heated, but the Pardees don't do that.

Nevertheless, I got a great buy on one and bought it. IF you take one, it has to be part of a whole larger plan for dealing with storms. You don't want to deploy that thing impulsively and without a plan.

I also got two drogues, partly for storms, but also because they can be used to steer if you lose your rudder -- and I've managed to lose two. The second time someone was with me who could use sheer muscle to make the final turn we needed into a sheltered cove. If he hadn't done that, I think we would have had to use a drogue on each side, because we most certainly couldn't have stayed where we were, and we had to have some steerage to get outta Dodge.

Read the Pardee book more than once and carefully consider your boat's design, and you'll probably figure out what's right for you.
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Old 23-04-2013, 01:21   #3
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Re: Para anchor

Most storm jibs and trysails never get used in anger either. But as they say, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

We carried a sea anchor from Aus to Vanuatu and back. Didn't need it of course.

If you do carry one, there's no point having it stored in a locker. It needs to be set up, with the bridle attached, (you need REALLY solid attachment points) all the anti-chafe rigged, the rode can be lightly cable-tied to the outsides of the staunchions, the actual anchor in the cockpit ready to go.

Having to go forward and set all this up in storm conditions doesn't bear thinking about.
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Old 23-04-2013, 01:27   #4
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Re: Para anchor

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Most storm jibs and trysails never get used in anger either. But as they say, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

We carried a sea anchor from Aus to Vanuatu and back. Didn't need it of course.

If you do carry one, there's no point having it stored in a locker. It needs to be set up, with the bridle attached, (you need REALLY solid attachment points) all the anti-chafe rigged, the rode can be lightly cable-tied to the outsides of the staunchions, the actual anchor in the cockpit ready to go.

Having to go forward and set all this up in storm conditions doesn't bear thinking about.

You said "don't do it impulsively" so much better than I did!

If I won the lottery, the next thing I would put on my boat would be a stormsail. Since it's all fantasy, I haven't decided exactly how I would configure it. Gotta buy a lottery ticket ...
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Old 23-04-2013, 02:08   #5
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Re: Para anchor

Hmm... dont think the OP has any sails
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Old 23-04-2013, 02:29   #6
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Re: Para anchor

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Hmm... dont think the OP has any sails


It is never a bad idea to have a drag device of some sort on your boat. If you have the space and the money it would be foolish to not carry one.

However it is a worthless and even dangerous piece of equipment to have on board if you dont take the time and expense to setup appropriate attachment points that are strong enough (cleats on your bow will not be adequate) and are not going to take the time to learn how to use it.
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Old 23-04-2013, 03:28   #7
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Re: Para anchor

You don't need a para anchor for three day passages.

Save the money, as they are expensive, for the best satelite weather solution. Remember in Asia not every country or area does weather as well as home... Or if they do it may not be easily understood or in the right language.

I have a para anchor but I do lots of 3,000 mile passages when one can be can be caught out. Haven't used it yet and I would never like to use it!


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Old 23-04-2013, 06:18   #8
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Re: Para anchor

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Originally Posted by Quintessa View Post
We are planning to cruise SEAsia and South Pacific Islands. Has anyone got a para anchor? Have you ever used it?


Do you think it is a necessary piece of equipment or really over kill considering we are doing the longest passage of say 600 miles and that is 3 days.

Look forward to your response.
We just went thru south pacific and are now in SE Asia. We have one but haven't come close to using it. I think once you are up in the tropics its pretty unlikely you will need it unless your at sea in a cyclone. Down around NZ where we are from its a good idea and a lot of fishing boats carry them. Having the ability to get GRIB files from anywhere at anytime with the sat phone has made a big difference and its now a lot easier to avoid bad weather.
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Old 23-04-2013, 10:55   #9
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Thanks for your thoughts guys and gals. For record we are a powercat and we average 8 to 9 knots. The grib files are great and I find them seldom wrong. May be something might come a bit earlier or later. I have used them to go to Antarticia, all down east Australia across Bass Straight twice and all round tasmania where weather gets pretty wild. Being a power vessel we look for the no wind areas (doldrums ) unlike yachts or wind from the quarter to square behind us. The boat loves it there and just surfs all day.
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:09   #10
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Re: Para anchor

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You don't need a para anchor for three day passages.
+1. All you need is enough patience to wait for a good weather window.
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:13   #11
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Re: Para anchor

A couple of things. I carry one (two actually, different sizes) and I have used one in anger several times. They work as advertised, if you follow directions and set them up per the manufacturer's directions. I have read lots of accounts of their use, and without fail the ones that don't follow directions are the ones that have problems. We did not find the strain on the cleats or boat excessive in Force 9-10 offshore conditions, with seas up to 30 feet. In fact, I would say it was generally similar to anchoring in terms of strain once we put out the 400 feet of nylon required. That big stretchy bungie cord reduces the strain a lot. They are useful for other things too. I have used one to stabilize the boat offshore in moderate conditions while I fixed broken steering cables. Weather forecasting will not always keep you out of bad weather--read all the accounts on here of people caught out and having problems. Systems pick up speed, change track, and things break onboard. You might also want to look into the Jordan Series Drogue, which is highly recommended by some.
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Old 23-04-2013, 11:19   #12
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Re: Para anchor

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A couple of things. I carry one (two actually, different sizes) and I have used one in anger several times. They work as advertised, if you follow directions and set them up per the manufacturer's directions. I have read lots of accounts of their use, and without fail the ones that don't follow directions are the ones that have problems. We did not find the strain on the cleats or boat excessive in Force 9-10 offshore conditions, with seas up to 30 feet. In fact, I would say it was generally similar to anchoring in terms of strain once we put out the 400 feet of nylon required. That big stretchy bungie cord reduces the strain a lot. They are useful for other things too. I have used one to stabilize the boat offshore in moderate conditions while I fixed broken steering cables. Weather forecasting will not always keep you out of bad weather--read all the accounts on here of people caught out and having problems. Systems pick up speed, change track, and things break onboard. You might also want to look into the Jordan Series Drogue, which is highly recommended by some.

THANK YOU for acknowledging that watching the weather forecast will not save you completely from storms.

It will help tremendously, but suppose you are disabled out there for a couple of days? Fronts move. Winds shift. Chaos theory prevails in weather forecasting.
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Old 29-04-2013, 08:36   #13
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Re: Para anchor

I work by the PPP maxim where planning is the key but if you can do 9knts all day long you should be able to avoid the worst of the weather. Clearly, if you cruise a motor yacht and can afford the gas, money and space is not an issue.
I'm bringing my 32 footer back across the pond maybe this year and have been looking at the options and reckon the series drogue by Jordan is worth a serious look. In test conducted by Para Anchor on Youtube the JSD was by far the most effective but is the most difficult to recover. Jordan makes a point of recommending very strong anchor points on the extremities to take the loads. As it is deployed from the stern you can continue going forward with the waves. But getting first hand accounts of para anchors and drogues being used in extreme conditions are few and usually very one sided. Have a safe trip and check the references below.

Jordan Series Drogue
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Old 29-04-2013, 11:39   #14
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Re: Para anchor

Just to be clear, that video was produced by Fiorentino, a manufacturer and seller of drogues and parachute sea anchors. Frankly, it looked to me like for a bunch of them they didn't have out anywhere near enough scope to give them a fair chance. Performance will be much different with lots of scope out. Some of them will ride much deeper below the surface.
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Old 29-04-2013, 13:45   #15
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Re: Para anchor

I agree the problem doing researching on the internet is all the vested interests. Despite that, I found this useful as it was the first time I'd seen many of these products. All the company promotional material I've seen demonstrates these storm safety devises is in swimming pool conditions. This youtube video tries to approach the problem of gathering data by imposing similar conditions. I think the drag effect of each drogue, demonstrated by the reduction in speed is as valid as you can hope for.
The Jordan series drogue has been made available to all who can use a sowing machine at zero cost by Jordan. It's been a while since I looked at the web site but I seem to remember it was tested and reviewed by the US coastguard.
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