In my limited experience of heavy weather I have found that any time you're standing still you're taking a hiding (hove to, sea anchor, whatever). I have never used a JSD or a sea anchor neither do I intend to.
I have had satisfactory success with ordinary drogues. As far as I can tell, as long as you can slow your boat to prevent surfing (and that's not all that hard because swells/waves run at a fair old lick), it is better to run off the wind at an appropriate angle to the storm's path and safe sector.
My piece of kit is 140 metres of 35mm sheet into which I will tie knots at 15 metre spacing. I have tested this motoring with lesser pieces of line and it reduces boat speed significantly. I was given the 140m line so I will tie it in knots and test it, I reckon it will bring my powered speed from 8 knots to about 3. At this speed, the boat will not surf.
Please understand I don't argue that others shouldn't use these devices, as far as I'm concerned you can a put a line on the USS Ronald Reagan if it makes you feel safer. I know that there are reams of writings from far more experienced sailors than me saying that they are indispensable but still, they're just not for me.
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"Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."
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