"The Para-Anchor Advantage"
excerpt from the
issue of Dockside.
By Cary V. Deringer
For nearly ten
years, my husband and I have lived aboard our
34-foot cutter, Illusion. The last five of these have been spent cruising
full-time. During the years before we untied the
dock lines, we did what most cruisers do, we
purchased a bounty of equipment for reasons that
ranged from safety to comfort. Over the
past 20,000-plus nautical miles of sun and s
spray, our gear has been put to the test in more
than a few case scenarios. Fifteen items
have been selected for review. You may remember
seeing these featured a few years back within
the pages of Dockside when they were new and
first installed on Illusion…
sailors gather, weather is always a topic for
discussion. Talks of weather inevitably,
lead to “bad storms at sea” stories, so when
asked, “Where we encountered the worst weather,”
I always answer: 80-miles offshore of
made rounding Cape Mendocino so rough, was being
caught within the windy cycle of their normal
weather pattern of thermal lows from land
meeting a high-pressure system offshore.
The first four days of our passage from
Vancouver Island, Canada, heading to Southern
California were blissful, but the next four had
us without sleep or dry clothes, equipment
breakdowns, and following seas to 20-feet, and
steady winds of 45-knots and gusting.
We hove-to in order to assess the situation.
Since weather reports called for conditions to
remain unchanged, we had to wonder if the sea
state would worsen over the next few days.
could hold her own, we were confident about
that, and our circumstances were not life
threatening. It was a combination of
things—the violent motion, the sleeplessness,
the constant grating sound of the wind, and the
inability to make a decent meal much less keep
it down – that would further take it’s toll on
us both physically and mentally.
one afternoon, we decided to make a run for San
Francisco. To ensure arrival during
daylight, we decided to heave-to until early the
“Hey,” Bob screamed into my ear not more than an
inch away. “The parachute sea anchor!”
barely hear him over the wind, but when he said,
“blah, blah, blah parachute,” I understood what
he was trying to say—deploy our Fiorentino Para
planning our gear checklist, our main purpose
for carrying a parachute sea anchor was safety.
We researched our options, and liked the simple,
innovative design of the Fiorentino product.
We contacted the company and were equally
impressed with the customer service and the
technical and practical experience of the staff.
With our new
parachute sea anchor onboard, we’d practice
using it by deploying it in protected waters on
calm days. Using the motor to imitate
backward momentum, we got a feel for what the
product really is – an inflated parachute under
water that allows you to , as near as you can,
anchor your boat at sea. Next came
practice in the 15 and 20-knot days too.
Fiorentino told us to keep the Para Anchor
rigged and ready for deployment in its duffel,
so we did. When we found ourselves using
it off of Cape Mendicino in 45-knots of wind,
screaming gusts that shuddered our mast, and
waves that stood nearly 20-feet, deploying the
Para Anchor seemed almost too easy…."
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