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» Why a Para Sea Anchor?

A para sea anchor (sometimes known as a drift anchor) is a device used to stabilise a boat in heavy weather.  It resembles an underwater parachute, increasing the drag through the water and acting as a brake.  Attached to the bow, it turns a vessel into the weather, reducing drift and providing greater safety, comfort and control.

You may enjoy recreation on the water, sail professionally or be involved in the fishing industry. Whatever your business on the water, a para sea anchor is the answer for a multitude of issues; from safety and comfort through to time saving and economic viability.

New Zealand Maritime law now requires that boats venturing into the open seas must carry a para anchor as part of the safety equipment on board.

A Coppins Para Sea Anchor Will;

  •     Keep the bow to the wind
  •     Eliminate broaching
  •     Eliminate capsize
  •     Reduce rolling
  •     Assist the well being of crew


» What is a Drogue?


A drogue (sometimes known as a boat brake) is a type of sea anchor that comes in a range of shapes, and is attached to the stern for better steerage and control.  It is often used to slow a vessel in a following sea that remains sailable. This prevents broaching, pitch polling and yawing.  It can also be used for steerage control for crossing a bar or in the case of a damaged rudder.

» Why do I need a Para Sea Anchor?


We have customers who are alive today because they asked us this question. Whether you operate a small recreational craft or a huge ocean-going vessel you will be safer and more comfortable with a Coppins Para Sea Anchor - whatever the conditions.  Some examples:

  1. In rough conditions or with equipment failure, a recreational vessel can turn into the weather, providing comfort and stability and holding its position until the weather passes, repairs are done or help arrives.
  2. A fishing vessel in heavy weather may need to stay in position over fishing grounds, maximising catch and comfort, saving fuel and avoiding stress.
  3. An ocean-going craft – a yacht, ship, oil tanker, or a military vessel can encounter extreme conditions or an equipment failure.  Coppins Para Sea Anchors have saved vessels, passengers, crew, resources and the environment in these conditions.
  4. Even in safe conditions a vessel may need to be controlled or slowed.  For example, a tug towing a disabled ship in a following wind may need the ship to be slowed with a para sea anchor to provide control for both vessels.   


» How do Coppins Para Sea Anchors differ from other products on the market?


 Coppins make the world’s toughest Para Sea Anchors.  That is not just our opinion…we have international awards to prove it, and customers who survived extreme conditions because they bought the best.

There are 8 powerful reasons why Coppins Para Sea Anchors lead the world in technology and performance.

Innovative Research and Design - An intensive research and development program ensures that Coppins Para Sea Anchors lead the field in technology and design. The company works year-round alongside some of the world’s leading research institutes, to stay in front.

Extensive Range -Coppins has the world’s largest range of styles and sizes of para anchors, over 90 in total.  This gives us superior technical knowledge about their performance across the board, from small pleasure craft to ocean-going fishing and commercial vessels, super yachts and massive Navy vessels.

Custom Materials and Components - Special nylon, webbing and reinforced seams are used, resulting in lightweight, high strength para sea anchors, packed in self-deploying bags. Up to six types of special nylon webbing are used in each para anchor, each chosen for its particular strength, stretch and resistance to chafing. Coppins search the world for the best materials, often having them designed to meet our own specifications.

Coppins Para Sea Anchors include many customised components.  Many other para sea anchors include components which were made for another purpose. With Coppins products every component has been designed and tested for the intended use and all componentry has been engineered to work together for maximum effectiveness.

Unparalleled Experience - A wealth of information has been built up over decades of designing, manufacturing and servicing para sea anchors and related products, four generations of Coppins expertise.

Patented Technology - Our next generation materials and designs have opened the way to a new range of ‘super strength’ para sea anchors, providing a level of strength and control which until recently was not thought possible.  This technology has led to new products suitable for super yachts as well as the largest ships in the oil industry and Navies around the world.

Rigorous Testing – Coppins products are tested relentlessly, sometimes to destruction, to find any weakness and to fine-tune their design and performance. As well as rigorous trials with ocean-going vessels, tests often use powerful local tidal currents, for rapid, cost-effective, year-round development.

Commitment to Excellence – The Coppins team is committed maintain our status as the makers of the toughest para sea anchors in the world.

Deployment Systems Innovation-The complexities involved with deploying large scale para sea anchors needed to be worked out, and for large scale applications custom deployment systems need to be created. We now have this technology within our product portfolio. While they may be built on a case by case basis, many of our large scale deployment systems are "off the shelf", user friendly, and complete products systems. We have tested hundreds of different sizes of industrial strength para sea anchors and related deployment systems, including radio controlled, mechanical, as well as assisted and automatic releases systems. We have tested our deployment systems on all types and sizes of boats from tiny ocean-going craft to military vessels up to 41,000 tons. During these tests we have conducted extensive drag force testing with Fairmount Marine in Europe which has some of the largest class tugs on the planet at 16,000 horse power. Millions of dollars have been spent accumulating thousands of hours of drag force data, measuring controlled loadings as well as maximum loadings developing our technology. We have been successful in developing deployment systems technology for our clients and are proud to maintain a 100% success rate on development projects. Please Contact Us today and let us put Coppins technology to work on your vessel.


For more information please see out Technology and Awards, and Research and Development sections

» How do we know that Coppins Para Sea Anchors are the world’s best?


In 2012, a Coppins Para Sea Anchor system won the Award of Excellence in the Safety and Technical Products category of the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) awards. These awards, presented in Boston, Massachusetts, attracted 355 entries from 14 countries, are the industry’s equivalent of an Olympic Gold medal.  This was the third time Coppins had won this award. 

The judges said ‘Your project, Para Sea Anchor... is being recognized as the best project submitted... chosen for defying design boundaries to produce unique, innovative and functional products.' IFAI 2012

Coppins Para Sea Anchor systems have been selected, following world-wide searches, by the US Navy as well as leading European and American research and development companies as well as super-yacht owners in search of the world’s best para sea anchor products.

Further more Former 'Maritime New Zealand Safety Officer' Jim Lott had this to say about his purchase of a Coppins Storm Fighter Para Sea Anchor

"When Karin and I set out across the Pacific to South America following our retirement, we decided that it would be wise to invest in the best possible para anchor we could find. We are older now and without an active young crew to keep sailing Victoria in stormy conditions as we have done in the past, it was important to ensure that we could cope in the worst conditions we could expect. From all the studies that we have made of others who found themselves in severe storms in small vessels at sea, it is apparent that para sea anchors provide the best system for keeping a yacht head to wind and sea when survival conditions are encountered by a small crew.

We considered the various models available carefully. It was clear to us that the construction material and the design of the deployment system as well as the Coppins adjustable throat were highly desirable features that only the Coppins StormFighter provided.

We have not yet been in a position where we needed to use our para anchor in danger, but having seen a ‘StormFighter’ in action when we conducted trials near Auckland, we are certainly confident that we have made the correct decision.

That said, we will be happy if we never have to use it!"

Jim and Karin Lott

Yacht Victoria 2014.

» What size Para Sea Anchor do I need?

This is critical and depends on what you will be using the para sea anchor for.  Contact us and we can help you evaluate your needs.

» How do I deploy my Coppins Para Sea anchor?


Coppins Para Sea Anchors are the easiest drag devices to deploy in the world. We have spent many years refining our deployment systems and have developed and easy to use cockpit deploy able system to maximise safety and ease of use. While our competitors para sea anchors require rigging and deployment from the bow in storm conditions, Coppins has found a better way. All of our para sea anchors come as a complete kit with full instructions. In the case of the Stormfighter™ it can be set up before sailing so everything can be deployed from the cockpit without going out on deck. Ask us for an Information pack to better illustrate the functionality.


» In storm conditions, when is the best time to set up deploy a Para Sea Anchor?

It is better to set up and deploy early. A rule of thumb is if the waves are as high as the beam of your vessel and breaking, this is enough to roll most yachts if they are beam to the weather. Our system is set up to deploy at a moment’s notice. We have learned that some crews delay this set up process, in our opinion the sooner is better.

» Can I deploy my Coppins Para Sea Anchor in high winds?

With our deployment system the para sea anchor is set up before the storm and is released in its own deployment bag. This means it will not catch in the wind before entering the water as many of our competitors product are susceptible to. Our system is designed to make it as safe and easy as possible for those who leave it late to deploy. 

» Can I use a Para Sea Anchor for my motorboat?

 Yes, you can use a Coppins Para Sea Anchor off a motor boat, but you need to consider the windage and the superstructure. Please Contact us with your boat details and we can advise accordingly.

» What size and type of anchor rode should I use with a Coppins Para Sea Anchor?

The size and type of the rode is very important and it is best to get our advice, as gettingthe right rode can be a time-consuming exercise.  We have complete kits and set-up systems including rode deployment bags that come with full pictorial instructions, which takes the guesswork out of the set up process. Please Contact us for further information and consultation.


» Should I use chafe gear?

 It is very important to use a chafing socks, or chain.  Chafing is one of the only reasons a Coppins Para Sea Anchor could fail.

» How do I know how much rode to pay out?

The rule of thumb for storm conditions is ten times your boat length. If hove-to overnight or in a break-down situation as short as 50 meters is OK.




» Is rudder damage an issue?

Rudder damage is a risk that can be greatly reduced by using a Coppins Para Sea Anchor. Tying the wheel so the rudder is amidships will also reduce the chance of the rudder being turned back and damaging the stock.

» What are some common mistakes people make with a Para Sea Anchor?


A) Lack of preparation: Leaving the deployment of your para sea anchor until it is almost too late can be very risky. With a complete deployment system you can set up the para sea anchor before you sail or before heading into the storm.

B) Tangled lines: To avoid this, ensure your trip line and recovery float get away before you deploy the para sea anchor.

C) Chafing: Ensure all chafe points are protected with chafing socks and any burr edges repaired or attended to, to reduce chafe.  Alternatively, you can use chains.  It is best to place the chain in a hose to reduce noise and protect your vessel.

D) Weak tie points on vessel: Ensure your rode tie points, cleats and bollard are strong enough to take the load of a para sea anchor. If in doubt, check with a recognized boat builder or engineer.

E) Problems in recovery of the para anchor: This needs to be practiced in moderate conditions. 


There are two ways of recovery


1)  Motor up to the recovery float and trip line, pulling in the main rode as you go.  This takes a little more work but the main point is to not pull the para anchor up by the main rode, let the trip line do that job.


2)  Drop your rode and para sea anchor together and motor up to the recovery float. This way your rode and para anchor sink out of the way and allow you to get up safely to recover the float.  You should check that you have adequate flotation in your main float buoy to carry the load of the para anchor and rode prior to this.

» What can I do to keep my boat from jerking and being pulled through the waves?

You should ensure the rode is long enough – about 10 times the length of the boat.  The rode must be nylon, with a weight attached about halfway along. Contact us for more details


» How can I avoid the para anchor rode getting tangled around the keel or rudder?

The rode should be kept taut at all times.

» I have heard the bow can feel like it is being pulled underwater when retrieving a para anchor. How can this be avoided?

The main rode should be slackened so that the para sea anchor collapses prior to recapture.


» What about lying ahull?

 This is not recommended in storm conditions or extreme weather and is hard work for crew.

» What about running downwind?

This should be done only if conditions are sailable and waves are not breaking.  A Coppins Seaclaw will help to maintain comfort and stability in the conditions. Contact us for more details

» Should bridles be used?

Bridles are a must on multihulls and can be used on monohulls.  The length needs to be at least a 6:1ratio to the beam, plus some surplus for on-board control or tie-off. These will help maintain stability, by pulling on the leeside bridle pointing the bow back into the wind.