We chose to deploy our sea anchor (18' ParaTech) when we were hit by a gale while sailing our 48', 20-ton ketch from Hawaii
. It was not a true 'storm' as the winds never got over 45 knots but I still feel that the sea anchor was the best decision at the time - with my wife and three young children
aboard, we felt safe lying on the sea anchor for about 18 hours but not particularly comfortable.
For a rode, we used 600' of 5/8" twisted nylon, shackled to our 30kg Bruce anchor and we also had 100' of 3/8" chain out. We had our usual anchor bridle
restraining the chain.
I no longer carry the twisted nylon rope but have since acquired 300' of 1" nylon single
braid but I have yet to deploy the sea anchor with it.
Fair winds and calm seas.