A commercial fisherman by the age of
14, Fiorentino descends from a long line of seaman, clipper
captains and master riggers in Genoa Italy. One of Gerrard's
first boats was the 87' Santo Antonino (picture above) that
he purchased with his father Valentino Fiorentino. A self
taught man, Fiorentino used his natural engineering
abilities to dramatically impact the commercial fishing
industry by modifying existing boating equipment and
inventing entirely new equipment. Fiorentino's
accomplishments include co-designing the world's first
3,000-pound power block (left photo), and creating or
modifying purse blocks, anchor winches, seine winches, and
black cod holders.
Shortly after he was released from the Navy in 1946,
Fiorentino pioneered the concept of converting a military
parachute into an underwater drift control device. He then
spent much of his life at sea experimenting with various
rigging techniques. In fact, it was a common practice for he
and his crew members to deploy a para-anchor over 50 times
in a single season. And, after 200 actual storm deployments
off the Western Pacific, Eastern Pacific and South American
Coasts, Fiorentino (left photo, sitting bottom right) has
learned that the para-anchor's rigging system is key to its
Fiorentino developed a safe rigging system, the young
entrepreneur cashed in on his new discovery by investing in
a large inventory of military cargo chutes, which he then
stored away on three open lots in San Pedro, California.
Word began to spread fast about Fiorentino's rigged
para-anchors," among fishermen and yachtsman up and down the
Western Coastlines of the United States and Mexico.
By 1958, the
forward-thinking Fiorentino moved his inventory
of surplus para-anchors and commercial marine
equipment into a 3,000-foot waterfront store, (photo on the right) ideally located right
next door to the commercial fishing fleet and
San Pedro's Cabrillo Yacht Club. His
word-of-mouth business was so successful that it
turned into a full-time operation that has
lasted over 40 years in the same location.
Today, Fiorentino para-anchors are manufactured
in Newport Beach, California where the company
and Gerrard Fiorentino's mentoring continue to
influence the company's manufacturing and design
When an ordinary fishing trip ran
into an extraordinary off the coast of Mexico, a young tuna
boat captain’s quick thinking
saved his catch, the lives of his crew and
inadvertently launched a revolutionary safety
device – the para-anchor ...
Read the full story here.
See video below
Gerrard Fiorentino demonstrates how easy it is for any
sailor to practice using their para-anchor off any type of
boat. The fishing vessel photo on the right was Gerrard's
last fishing vessel "Holy family." The other photo is aboard
Zack's former Catalina 25.