"Much more than a para-anchor"
"For safety reasons, Bob and I seriously considered getting a
Fiorentino anchor for our Sailboat, Illusion ...we talked to a variety of representatives to get an idea of available products. The one we liked the best was the para-anchor by Fiorentino...because they provided much more than a para-anchor."
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--Cary V. Deringer
"New anchors are even more impressive"
"In 1963 Gerrard Fiorentino rigged a para-anchor system designed just for my WAVE CREST 63, a Dragger-Stern Trawler. I tested his anchor and rigging system in force 10 winds. It provided excellent boat stability. Fiorentino's new anchors are even more impressive than the old ones. I highly recommend them for commercial use."
--Captain Lyle White
Shark Fisherman for 46 years
"New anchors have greater stabilization"
"Back in the early sixties, Mr. Fiorentino rigged a 9 foot buord specifically for our Nimble 30 trimaran. The rigging was superb and the buord got us out of
a lot of trouble. To our amazement, the new para-anchor provides greater stabilization. Last time, Mr. Fiorentino hand wrote us his instructional diagrams. This time we got an attractive manual with some computerized graphics."
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"....Normally this surveyor does not endorse products, however, after witnessing the performance of these anchors...it could be the lifesaver."
"To interested boat owners, I was invited to participate and observe a load and stress testing of parachute sea anchors by Fiorentino of Newport Beach California. The vessel used was a 1530hp steel hulled tug and crew vessel that is 99 gross tons and 94' in length with a 1" steel cable bridal and 100' of 3" tow with a calibrated load cell mounted to read loads and line to attach to the para anchor and 30' of line to a ball float attached to the anchor. These tests were run until the anchor actually failed due to excess load. The load was far beyond the actual design limits. Also the Fiorentino anchor exceeded the design limits by 200%-240% above the rated loads they were designed to hold and under very difficult test as 3" line did not give as an actual anchor rode would have of smaller size would have. It exceeded the weight and HP level one would ever find in rough seas by approximately 10.
The Fiorentino anchor impressed this surveyor that day. They come packaged totally to be deployed and all that was needed was the line to attach to deploy and when done could be easily placed back in the original deployment and storage bag. In fact the loads were so large that when the anchor would fail the vessel actually surged on the release of hold by the anchor load. These tests were total load to actual excess load to deliberately cause a failure to test the ability of these anchors. Both the Fiorentino Coastal and Offshore anchors exceeded their design limits. There is no question these parachute anchors would be an important piece of safety equipment on any vessel if in a situation that could or would require their use. The Fiorentino Offshore Anchor impressed and showed its high level of strength and simplicity and the Para-Ring hold system was very secure in use. When the vessel was in gear using all three engines one could see the Fiorentino anchor under full exceeded strain go from 35 ft. to surface and return numerous times under extreme load before failing. The strength shown actually would exceed any needed loads that could be affected by size vessel they are designed for.
Normally this surveyor does not endorse products, however, after witnessing the performance of these anchors I have no hesitation in endorsing these para-anchors for their intended use. If one had to deploy a Fiorentino anchor to hold a vessel off the lee shore or because of an exhausted crew it could be the lifesaver."
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--Thomas W. Bell & Associates
Marine Surveyors Since 1968
Disaster at Sea
By Larry S. Gullman,Captain, Eight Winds
We had only owned the 50' ketch rigged sailboat Eight Winds one year when we started planning a 6-month cruise to Hawaii. Part of the preparation was the selection and purchase of a para-anchor. We chose the 18'
para-anchor by Fiorentino. Two days before departure it arrived. I unrolled it on the deck, added 6' of chain and re-rolled it with a 50' floating retrieval line, never expecting to need to use it. I stowed it in the Lazarette along with 600' of 5/8" nylon.
Thursday, March 25, 1999 we visited the National Weather Service offices in Monterey. They gave us an excellent weather window for the following day. Friday we sailed from Oyster Point Marina with clear sky and light winds. We passed under the Golden Gate at about 11:00 AM with the tide. Winds had picked up to 15 to 20 knots. As we moved out into the ocean the winds increased dramatically, up to 50 knots. Swells were Northwest 15 feet and wind waves were also 12 to 15 feet West.
We had been caught with too much sail up and brought in the jib and dropped the mizzen. By now we had lost the entire crew to seasickness, and the main was still up. Winds now averaged 40 knots with gusts to 48 knots. We started the engine and tried to run South for Half Moon Bay. We would try for Hawaii another day.
The wind was too much and the waves were breaking over the stern. We were determined to drop the main, but the crew was all flat on the deck sick. David summoned the energy and brought the main down. We stabilized and looked like we might make it back without incident.
"we were being driven into the rocky coast by strong west winds of
over 50 knots."
At this point disaster struck. Through the last hours of breaking waves, the spinnaker bag, secured to the bow railing was under attack. The cover of the bag had worked loose, and out came the spinnaker, right into the water. Of course it found its way to the prop and fouled the prop, stalling the engine. From a bad day, we now had an emergency. We were 4 miles off the coast being driven into the rocky coast by strong W winds of over 50 knots.
With no engine and no crew, we saw few options. It cannot be stressed enough, that seasickness is a very serious threat to the successful operation of a sailboat and my crew did not care if they lived or died at this point. I could not leave the helm as the interaction of windwaves and swells made for very difficult seas. I knew we had only one option, a tow by the Coast Guard. I could see they would never reach us in time.
I put the least sick crew member on the helm and pulled out the 5/8" anchor rope. I made the tricky journey to the bow and attached it through the hawser hole to a large cleat. Arriving back I began rigging the para-anchor. Attaching a fender, attaching the anchor rope. Fiddling with shackles, dropping them, retrieving them, before I was finished I finally succumbed to the evil seasickness. Over the side went 600' of rope and 60 pounds of anchor.
I fell exhausted to the deck to hear "Dad, you ran the line on the wrong side of that spreader cable." Oh man, they were right. I would not want to be dragged by a mizzen spreader cable. Really fast we grabbed the partially slack line and hauled it in the stern and over the stern cleat. Two of us hauled with all our strength. As we made the first loop it was pulled tight and the boat was essentially stopped.
"The Coast Guard said they tried to pull the para-anchor in but it felt like it was stuck on the bottom, or to a rock, as it would not move at all. I said yes, that is what it is suppose to do."
What followed was a long tough operation by the Coast Guard. Without the stability of the para-anchor, and the time it afforded, we would have been grounded for sure. Once the towline was secure the winds increased over 50 knots and the waves swept the deck. It was a rough tow back. Later I asked about the para- anchor. The Coast Guard said they tried to pull the para-anchor in by pulling on the anchor rode, but it felt like it was stuck on the bottom, or to a rock, as it would not move at all. I said, "Yes, | that is what it is supposed to do." The Coast Guard saw the retrieval float but did not care to trip the
Fiorentino anchor. I do not blame them because the seas were so turbulent. We arrived back in the bay by around 5PM with a few broken ribs from the tow back, some damage from impact with the Coast Guard vessel, and a missing spinnaker and para-anchor cut loose by the Coast Guard. We consider ourselves lucky.
"Thanks for a
product that did its job. I hope to never use it
Since then I have ordered another Fiorentino
anchor. I learned a few lessons on rigging
and stowing the para-anchor. I had planned on
rigging the anchor if a dangerous situation
seemed to be about to arise, but I believed that
one never plans on entering a dangerous
situation. Next time, I plan to rig the anchor
in port, and run the anchor rode outside my
railing to the bow, leaving it permanently
attached to the bow cleat. Then I plan to tie
the rode to the railing with weak string that
will snap if the para-anchor is deployed. I will
always remember that when you are sea sick, only
the very simplest operations can be executed.
Emergency situations by definition will involve
seasickness. Thanks for a product that did its
job. I hope to never use it again. (Check
out Larry's Log at:
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