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Fiorentino's "Rode Tension" Solution
by Zack Smith

Excerpt taken from "More on storm tactics--balance, comfort"
October 2000 issue of Blue Water Sailing.


 “...You have to feel your way through a rode-length problem." For example, if the bow of a vessel starts jerking or "feels like" it's being pulled through the waves, chances  are that more rode needs to be deployed. If the boat "feel like" it is heading beam  to the seas, even after adjusting sail and rudder, some rode needs to be retrieved because there's too much slack in the system. Excessive slack in the parachute system can be avoided by deploying small portions of rode at a time. This brings to mind the last gale in which I set a para-anchor, including the deployment of 50 feet of anchor rode from a Catalina 30. Winds were a steady 35 knots, with gusts up to 45 knots, and 15-foot swells with occasional breaking tops. I paid out a small portion of rode at a time and secured it to a cleat. When the boat felt solid and comfortable, I could relax; when the bow began to feel bumpy, I paid out more rode. During the test, my anchor rode tethered to the para-anchor was taut. Adding weight to the anchor rode aided in keeping it taut while reducing shock loads to the boat. I've learned to place six feet of chain near the Fiorentino anchor whenever I suspect that wind forces may reach storm force. 
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