Scott Adams, Norco, USA asks:
Just beginning our research for our "cruising/diving"
retirement and I'm currently looking at sea anchor uses/techniques.
I've been reading about your progress, but don't ever recall if you've
ever had to deploy a sea anchor in rough seas. From what I've read,
you seem fairly well prepared for anything, thus I assume you have one
and have a plan should you ever need it. Have you in fact used one,
and if not, what's your plan of action in doing so?
Thanks, and please keep the VofE updates coming! It's our inspiration
to "make it happen" quicker.
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Scott, good question. We have an 18' Para Tech sea anchor coupled to 600' of 3/4" three strand nylon. Currently we are under way and will be off and on until late October or early November. While at sea we attach a 15' length of 1 1/4 Spectra line to Egret's bow towing eye installed just above the waterline. This is led up over the second bow roller to the foredeck. We use a lighter line with a rolling hitch and tighten the Spectra using the winch capstain. This in turn is cleated off keeping the heavy Spectra line tight. To the Spectra we attach the 3/4 nylon and lead it along the outside of the bow rail, held in place with ty wraps. The line goes over the Portuguese bridge on the port side then is flaked out in long coils behind the Portuguese bridge. The sea ancor is attached to the 3/4 line and is stored in its bag. The retreival line and float are attached as well. This arrangement allows us to deploy the sea anchor without going forward in obviously difficult conditions. If the line holding the spectra line tight doesn't break as I have planned it would require a trip forward to cut the small line.
We have never deployed the sea anchor, even in testing. The sea anchor would be an absolute last ditch effort to keep the bow into the waves in an emergency. From what we hear, retreivalis are difficult at best in heavy subsiding seas. Several times in our travels we have had to round up and run directly into the seas varying the RPM to the conditions. This is similiar to a sailboat hoving to. Only in the case of main engine failure would we deloy the sea anchor. In truly terrible seas, something we have never seen or hope to ever see I don't believe the wing engine would hold station thru every wave set for hours on end so we would probably run the wing to buy us time to deploy the sea anchor then work on whatever problems the main may have.
Bottom line: during the past seven years and a few sea miles we have never come close to deploying the sea anchor. Would we buy one again? Yes. We take safety quite seriously.
Sooner is better. The clock is ticking, the reefs are waiting. Ciao.