Originally Posted by ian parkes
Ed thanks for the reply.
The sea anchor idea seems ok in theory but still rasies some questions . with it velcro strapped to your BA you could still get caut up in the line and there are loops to get an arm or leg through.
Agreed, a snag hazard still exists. Hopefully it's mitigated by the short length of rope (12ft)- if you fall astern of the boat then you are definately clear of the rope. You could get an arm through the loops of the sea anchor, but you would have to be very unlucky.
Originally Posted by ian parkes
I can't see a sea anchor holding a boat head to sea in surf , surely the breaking waves would pull the sea anchor around towards the shore and turn the boat stern to the waves . Al least the boat would end up on the beach in surf a sea anchor would be better deployed over the stern
A sea anchor settles a couple of feet under the surface. As the boat is picked up by a wave and starts starts to slide backwards down the face, enough drag is caused by the anchor to ensure that the bow is dragged around to face directly into the breaking sea. The longer your anchor line is, then the better the chance is of the anchor remaining in clean (static) water underneath the waves.
From experience, a sea anchor used in this way can help if drifting in surf.
Last year I was flung from the boat following a heavy landing just outside of the surfline, about 400m from the beach. I was able to clamber back in and dragged my friend onboard. We were outside the surf zone and although in no danger of capsize, an onshore wind was causing us to drift back towards the surf and so we deployed the sea anchor. The engine restarted and we made to recover the anchor. Unfortunately, I failed to notice that we had severed the fuel line at the primer bulb whilst clambering in. Water had been drawn into the carb and the engine soon stopped.
We radioed the CG and let them know what was going on. The sea anchor held well as we drifted into the surf. As each wave passed, the boat became completley awash and only drained whilst rising up to meet the next wave. I had been concerned by the lack of open transom on the GRX, but found that the weight of water actually softened the ride and seemed to stablise the boat.
The waves were messy due to the onshore wind and the boat finally capsised when about 25m off the beach. There is a steep shelf at this point which causes a large dumping wave. The bow was lifted to such an extent that the anchor was snatched from the water, allowing a bow over stern capsize.
We waded to the beach and waited for the boat to drift up. Although pretty shaken by the ride, only injury suffered was a black eye.
A few lessons I learnt that day.
Only play in surf near a soft sandy beach
Have a sea anchor that can self deploy
. Had we not made it back to the boat within seconds then the wind ww would have been stuffed.
Keep a throwline ready
. Had only one of us made it back to the boat, then a throwline woiuld have been esential to have had any chance of recovering the other.
Keep the fuel line cable tied out of the way
! We would never have had to test the sea anchor had the engine kept running.
Lengthen the anchor line
to at least 1/2 a wavelength whilst you can. Had we done this before entering the surf, I feel that we wouldn't have capsized. I now tie a small loop into anchor line about a 30cm from the bow eye. I can then clip in a throwline between the boweye and the loop and cut the anchor line- rapidly giving me another 15m.
Radio the coastguard in good time
. Once in the surf, there was no way we could have let them know what was going on. Consider a fist mike. I
Consider how to summon help
. When in surf, people on the beach have no visibility of you. I now carry miniflares and red smoke. I dont think red pinpoint would help much.
Hope it helps develop your thoughts. It's been worthwhile considering the way I do things and I agree with you about the lifelines. I think I'll now leave one permantly rigged on each side of the boat. That way I wont run the risk of being flailed by the carabiners! If I need to stay with the boat and cant get get back onboard (injured?) then I can still clip on. Wouldn't like to do it in surf though.
Phew, don't think I've typed this much before...
A better day's surf