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Old 01-19-2019, 08:28 AM   #1
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Questions about paravanes

We are fine tuning the paravane system for our under-construction 24m aluminum powerboat. We are former sailors and neither of us has been on a boat with paravanes. We've studied designs and talked to folks we've encountered cruising, but I thought I would reach out to this group to start a discussion.

I'm looking for people who have blue water experience running with paravanes.

How deep do you run your fish?
How difficult is it to launch and retrieve your fish?
Could you post a picture of your actual paravanes?
If you could redesign your system, how would you do it?
What words of wisdom can you pass on from your experience?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Christine
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:21 AM   #2
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At rest, the fish are 15’ below the water. The design was to keep the fish from hitting the running gear in any sea condition. Once we leave the dock, the poles go out. When we want to put the fish in the water, we stop and drop them in. To bring them in, we stop and have a retrieval line that brings the fish along side and I lift them out. It takes minutes to retrieve them.

As far as the design goes there’s nothing I would change. We have 12,000 plus miles with them in the water. Our design was taken from a commercial boat and fine tuned by Tom Davenport.

We use the paravanes the same as when we sailed. If one of us says, “should we put the fish in the water”? It’s usually time, the same as asking about putting a reef in the main.

There has been lots of discussions about paravanes on the Forum. Try the search function for more info.

For design on a new build, I’d enlist a navel architect since the loading is huge.
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:27 PM   #3
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I was a commercial fisherman. We called the paravanes "flopper stoppers" on the US West Coast. Picture is a common design. If you like that design, they're probably available from a good gear store.
I had the largest made and they were heavy. About 3' across and probably weighed 75-100 pounds. If I made new ones, I'd make them out of aluminum. Mine were set about 10' below the water and about 10' out from the boat side. They were rigged with 3/8" chain to the pole. The holes in the top are for adjusting the angle they hang at. Back hole is flopper nose down for drag to slow the boat for trolling. Other holes to balance to neutral position. The round piece at the bottom is a piece of steel shafting about 4" long and is there for weight so when rolling toward a flopper, it dives and keeps slack out of the rigging. When used to run at speed, a 5/16" stainless wire was rigged between the chain at the water level and the bow to take the strain off the pole and pole rigging.
The further out from the boat, the greater the effect. In my opinion, they work better than commercial built in stabilizers. They make a big difference at anchor, too.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:20 PM   #4
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You need to talk to Richard on Dauntless. He crossed the Atlantic both ways in a realitively small Trawler with paravanes.

Lepke thank you for confirming that they are sometimes called Flopper Stoppers.
When I was a kid I remember adults calling them that but when I mentioned it on TF I was corrected that the term only applied to devices used at anchor.
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Old 01-20-2019, 12:42 PM   #5
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Used them offshore on many boats for years. One thing worth mentioning is where they're mounted, the closer the pivot is to the water the more tendency of the boom to lift if you hang one up. If they lift the fore stay from the outboard end of the boom slacks and you can bend the boom backwards. The solution is to either have the pivot on the same plane as the fore stay attachment or above it. I know this is counterintuitive but I ran one boat that a lobster pot would lift the 32 foot steel boom and I had to be quick with the engine controls to prevent a problem. I don't use them anymore as they create drag, add weight and complexity while a steadying sail works almost as well. In reality a proper seaboat shouldn't require addons. Here's the last fishing boat I owned, note the absence of paravanes, you can see the seats on the tips of the crosstree where they used to set when up, I never missed them after I took them off. Please take my comments as my own opinions and make your decisions based on your own research.Name:  Iroquois.jpg
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:40 PM   #6
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Don’t mean to hijack the thread Is that picture Port Clyde?
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Old 01-20-2019, 04:51 PM   #7
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Don’t mean to hijack the thread Is that picture Port Clyde?
It is, on a much nicer day than today.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:00 PM   #8
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As I said, my floppers were some of the largest around. I could be sideways to big swells and still walk the deck easily. But the floppers and their chain were heavy. Trolling for salmon, they were set to drag, so I pulled them to run. If I checked several spots for fish in a day, I remember it being a real effort on the last pull.
I miss the fishing, especially the late season good weather. And the tuna fishing, that was mostly good weather, 60°+ water. And fun. I once poled a ton of albacore before breakfast by myself. About 90 fish.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:24 PM   #9
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Many years ago I was the engineer on an 83' trawler that had paravanes/flopper stoppers fishing on Georges Bank in winter. It started to blow and eventually got quite fierce, bad enough we stopped towing and layed to. The seas got rather large, it was snowing and at night so I can only guess at this late date the height, perhaps forty or so feet. We still had the birds in the water and I was in the wheelhouse with the mate when we heard this tremendous crack and the boat immediately took a slight list to port. The crack was the chain to the starboard bird which had parted and snapped back to strike the side of the wheelhouse leaving a nice chain impression in the steel. I started to get my oilgear on to go out and cut the other bird free to even us out when she rolled hard to port and the forestay to the paravane parted as the boom went into the water with the boom and dangling wires hanging limp bent back against the side of the boat. The only thing to do was to cut the starboard boom off and then the port to clear us from the mess and not get anything in the wheel. I crawled out with the torch and after a bit the boom, which must have weighed several thousand pounds snapped off with a bang and disappeared into the dark water. A few minutes with the torch and the other boom left us also. This is why I've never been a fan of paravanes.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:36 PM   #10
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It is, on a much nicer day than today.


Ha. I woke up there back in August to almost the same scene. Ran a GB 36 back from Thomaston to RI.
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Old 01-20-2019, 05:41 PM   #11
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Ha. I woke up there back in August to almost the same scene. Ran a GB 36 back from Thomaston to RI.
I live just a little north of Thomaston, I have moorings in Port Clyde and Rockport. I was down to Marshall point light the other day walking my dog.
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Old 01-20-2019, 07:40 PM   #12
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Christine, just wanted to say I have enjoyed reading your books! We don't have paravanes and I can't add to this thread but I couldn't resist saying thanks...
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:07 AM   #13
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Thanks Waywego, that's very of kind of you.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:42 AM   #14
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Used them offshore on many boats for years. One thing worth mentioning is where they're mounted, the closer the pivot is to the water the more tendency of the boom to lift if you hang one up. If they lift the fore stay from the outboard end of the boom slacks and you can bend the boom backwards. The solution is to either have the pivot on the same plane as the fore stay attachment or above it. I know this is counterintuitive but I ran one boat that a lobster pot would lift the 32 foot steel boom and I had to be quick with the engine controls to prevent a problem. I don't use them anymore as they create drag, add weight and complexity while a steadying sail works almost as well. In reality a proper seaboat shouldn't require addons. Here's the last fishing boat I owned, note the absence of paravanes, you can see the seats on the tips of the crosstree where they used to set when up, I never missed them after I took them off. Please take my comments as my own opinions and make your decisions based on your own research.Attachment 84469
Thanks Fish,
I was bedeviled by the problem of the pole going vertical for too many miles. Finally, a few days still from Martinique, I found the perfect solution, a fender wedged under the cap rail and pole, works perfectly.
We did the next 5,000 miles that way and never had another problem.

I will look for my blog post on the subject. I also emailed a few folks last year with more details.
If the OP emails me, I will find him that email.

I love my setup and at this point wouldn't change a thing. While I used to run them at 14 to 15 feet below water surface, that turned out to be too shallow in bigger seas, >12ft.
I now run them at 18 feet and have them rigged so that i could deepen that to 35 feet in really big (>30ft) seas.
That's also the advantage of Amsteel, in that it's easy to adjust rigging and it makes virtually no noise.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:45 AM   #15
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Thanks to everyone who has chimed in here. That story that Fish53 told is certainly a scary one. I have heard of fishing vessels capsizing when losing one paravane, but then there are other vessels that fish with only one paravane deployed. Interesting to hear the different depths mentioned here. Our designer has designed us A-frame booms which should make it somewhat easier to rig, but because of our boat's size, the paravanes will be big. We've read the designer Michael Kasten's work on roll attenuation, and we are considering buying his design to try to achieve a fish with less drag. I did search on this forum for posts and comments about paravanes, and I didn't find many. Perhaps I wasn't using the correct search terms. Anyway, I really appreciate you all sharing your experience.
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:02 AM   #16
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I found this draft, that I never published until now.

https://dauntlessatsea.com/
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Old 01-21-2019, 06:35 AM   #17
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I found this draft, that I never published until now.

https://dauntlessatsea.com/
Thanks very much to all of you for your quick responses to Chrisine's original request for experiences with open ocean crossings with paravanes. I am the fortunate man building this new boat with Christine and even more so being married to her and we are most interested in learning from you about the actual use, setting, retrieving and handling of paravanes as we have not used these on our previous boats as they were all sailboats.

Richard, thanks for this link to your previous article and I'm putting together a PM to you now to learn more.

As Christine has mentioned, we are well looked after for the design and building of the mechanical aspects of our passive stabilization system thanks to our NA and Naval Yachts who are our builders. Our system has a large A-frame style for the booms on each side which are hinged via massive CNC cut aluminium base plates welded integrally to the hull framing and length from deck hinge pins to pole end holes is about 4.23m/14' and the bases are about 2.1m above the WL at half load.

My primary interest for those of you with first hand experience doing passages with paravanes is the rigging and systems involved in using them. So things like Launching and retrieving the paravanes/fish/birds, connections between paravanes and end of booms, adjusting depth under water, keeping boom ends down and steady, etc. And then any basic geometry and dimensions for this rigging, clutches, winches, blocks, etc.

We have both spent many years as single handed sailors so working with rigging is something we have considerable experience and confidence with, but specifically dealing with paravanes is all new and hence our desire to tap into all the first hand expertise and experiences here on the TF.

My sincere thanks in advance for any additional information, recommendations and suggestions you might be able to offer based on your previous experiences with paravanes on passages.

-Wayne
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:25 PM   #18
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Rich aka Wxx3 chimed in with a lot of good info. I would also contact CruisingSeaVenture here or on youtube. They recently underwent a refit and added a custom one-off paravane set up on their cruiser.
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:33 PM   #19
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We have them on MOJO and use them anytime the boat is rolling. They work great. Easy to launch, just push the poles out, run the down wire back to the flopper stoppers which are stored on brackets on the aft rail, shackle it on, slow the boat down and drop each bird overboard. They go to work immediately and are somewhat fascinating to watch! Ours hang 16' down, but when underway are probably running about 12' under the surface. Retrieval is by stopping the boat, pulling the poles up to near vertical then hauling each bird up over the rail and walking it back to it's storage bracket. What would I do differently? I'd rig a way to raise each bird out of the water (probably with a small winch) while the poles are fully extended, and have some sort of bracket a the top of the pole to hold the bird so it wouldn't bang around on the pole. This would make it faster to get the birds up, and also allow me to bring the poles vertical with the bird up at the top. I could then lower the birds down and store them at my convenience. This is not something difficult to rig, just one of those "round tuits". We don't do much offshore cruising anymore so it hasn't bubbled to the top of my priority list yet. You can see pictures of the A-frame rig, the birds and their storage braclets on our web site, www.mvmojo.com on the exterior tour page.
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Old 01-25-2019, 04:03 PM   #20
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In our area, paravanes are often connected via stainless steel rods at an optimum length. (This means that they can't be adjusted, as Richard mentioned.) The fishermen who run these claim that the advantages are that boom and rods can be sized so fouling any part of the ship is not possible; there is little sound and no vibration from the system, and retrieving is safer/simpler.
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