The weeks are now counting down till we head off to the Louisiades in PNG for a couple of months on our next Blue Water. Since we returned from Vanuatu poor Mico has sat idle in the pen when work commitments sucked us back into the real world with vengance
. Thankfully we've killed a couple of clients, seriously injured a few others and put the fear of God into the rest and now perhaps they'll leave us alone to enjoy our sailing
So, I'm pulling out all the gear from last trip and making the inevitable lists of things to do and the even scarier 'things we need to buy', when I opened up the sea parachute anchor we purchased for our last trip. Thankfully we did not have reason to deploy it but we'll pack it aboard once more for the Louisiades.
At present it consists of a number of elements that in an emergency we would quickly shackle together and deploy.
The bow end ( 2 x 6m x 15mm S/S chain inside kevlar sleeves, inside reenforced flexible polytube) runs from our sampson post and out either side of the hawser holes to shackle onto 2 x 15m lengths of sleeved rode that comes to a large single swivel. This is our bridle and we run that back down the starboard side secured to the staunchions by small cable ties with the end sitting in the cockpit near the gate. This is all attached before we leave port so if push comes to shove, we simply attach the rest of the elements and launch the whole thing from cockpit without having to go up to the bow. The drogue, chute and line then dig in, drift away from the boat and snap the cable ties leaving Mico hanging off the end of a deployed 18' sea parachute.
Well - that's the theory.
Maybe I'm getting old and the senior moments are occurring with increased frequency but I looked down at the 100m of rode in one bag; the 30m of nylon line and large bouy in another and the 15m or retrieval line and smaller float in a third bag, and could not for the life of me remember which end attached to which. This led me to think about mounting waves, soaked crew and perhaps a nightime deployment with racing heart and all the confusion that mix might entail.
After chopping up a nightime fluro reflecter cycling vest, I'm pleased to say that now each end, of each line has a large flexible label with a big 'A' , 'B', 'C' and or 'D' attached to it that even blind Freddy in a snowstorm with a potatoe sack over his head couldn't miss! Simply attach 'A' to 'A' then 'B' to 'B' etc et al. After which, toss the whole lot over the side!
Sounds obvious I know but I think its worth considering the insidious deterioration that takes place when we come ashore and spend too much time sitting at a computer! Somehow the old adage of 'win some & lose some' takes on a new and ominous meaning i.e you win extra stomach size and you lose brain cells