July 3, 2015

Tidbit: Sea anchor deployment perspective...

This is one of a series of brief, no nonsense posts that we call aTidbit: 
noun; small and [possibly] particularly interesting item of gossip or information...
The purpose is to share succinct posts about lessons learned, or things we use or do that work [or don't...] that are common to most of us boaters. 

The goal is to garner feedback from those of you having first-hand experience with a different approach/ solution/ product/ or additional useful information to share...  
We never assume what we are sharing is the ideal or only; it just seems to best suit our needs [and/or habits and/or budget] from our experiences thus far...
Sometimes these Tidbits originate from a topic of discussion on one of the forums we participate in, and this happens to be one: Link to original forum post [03-Jul-2015]
Note: The original blog post [below] has been inducted into Tidbits since it qualifies, but was published 3 1/2 years before we initiated the Tidbit series...

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Original Question from Cruiser's Forum:

Re: Pictures of sea anchor attachments?

Originally Posted by Franziska View Post

as I have just got the line for my seaanchor I start thinking about how to attach it in the best way and most chafeproof.

Chafeprotection seems more vital than on a normal anchor.
Old firehose is a great protector but how do I then use a cleat or eyepad?

Better wrap around the beams?

Or through two biiiiiig padeye just above the waterline (essentially lifting the bows to some degree rather than pulling them under)?

How about a few feet of highly chafe resistant Dyneema before the loooong Nylon bridle starts?
Dyneema with eyespliced loops on both ends.
One side overlapped on cleat other side joining into an eyesplice loop on the Nylon bridle.
Any thoughts?

Those of you who have done it, how do you do it?
Pictures please.

Looking forward to the crowds thoughts, thanks,


I have no experience deploying a sea anchor from a catamaran, but can share my experiences deploying from fiberglass monohulls in case some of it may also apply to multihulls...

I have yet to deploy a sea anchor in storm conditions as I have been lucky enough to achieve the desired balanced hove-to state on both occasions... 

However, practicing sea anchor deployment and retrieval on 2 different boats over the years I came to the conclusion that it made the most sense for me to attach the sea anchor rode swivel to my anchor chain about 3+ meters above the main bower. I then deploy the sea anchor and let out ~15 meters of chain as though I was preparing to anchor. Next I set up my usual anchor bridle (which is very chafe resistant and easily replaceable) on the anchor chain rode.

The net result is the sea anchor rode swivel [600 ft of 1 1/8" 12 plait nylon with a 24ft Paratech sea anchor on my current boat] is connected to the main anchor chain for chafe resistance (among other things.) 
For reference here is our Anchoring and Storm Tackle Inventory page with much more detail about our Sea Anchor and related ground and storm tackle.
The deployed main bower and chain act like a kellet to further dampen the sea anchor loads, along with the double anchor chain snubber [i.e., no loads on the windlass as long as the snubber is intact...]

This also allows for minor length/ sea anchor depth adjustments using the anchor windlass. Of course, this is all assuming deep water...

If you are worried about the main bower fouling the sea anchor rode/swivel, you could always detach the chain from the anchor and then attach the sea anchor swivel to the end of the anchor chain... but I like the kellet weight of the anchor in my set-up...

This all sounds fiddly, but really isn't [at least in practice in force 8 conditions...] However, as I mentioned above, I have been lucky enough to never have deployed my sea anchor in anger.
Note: As discussed on our Storm Tackle page,  in the future I am considering replacing our sea anchor with a Jordan Series Drogue [JSD] once I install adequate attachment points for a JSD. [e.g., horizontal chainplates on each hull side of the transom.]


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