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magnusmurphy 05-19-2007 05:51 PM

Jordan series drogue
I'd like to get some opinions on the Jordan series drogue. There is one for sale in my area. How many of you Caribbean sailors carry drogues or sea anchors?


M Murphy

sailingdog 05-19-2007 06:15 PM

I'm not a Caribbean sailor, but I do have and carry a JSD on my boat. I haven't had to use it for real yet, and hope I never have to, but I think it is a good investment for anyone going out in a smaller sailboat. Just make sure that the one you get is properly sized for your boat. Also, setting up the mounting points for it is very critical.

If you have any questions, let me know. :D

EscapadeCaliber40LRC 05-20-2007 12:52 AM

Its sounds like a good technology. My boat came with two alternative devices when I bought it, which I still have but I have thought of adding the JSD as well. Not taken that step so far...

sailingdog 05-20-2007 07:29 AM

BTW, the JSD isn't really designed for use in shallow waters... as it depends on sinking properly, and if you're in too shallow a depth, it may snag on the bottom instead, which would be bad. But, generally, if you're in waters too shallow to deploy a JSD, and in a severe enough storm to require one, you've made a really bad mistake. :D

SimonV 05-20-2007 07:44 AM

I can recomend the para anchor, very little drift and rock solid in a storm.
I have never used the jordan.

sailingdog 05-20-2007 07:57 AM


Part of the reason I don't like parachute type sea anchors or drogues is the fact that all of your eggs are in a single basket so to speak. If the large parachute collapses or gets fouled, you're screwed. You have to adjust the lead length to get the parachute into the same part of the wave as the boat, but several waves away... and this may require you to adjust the bridle/lead several times in a storm. The Jordan Series Drogue is a fire-and-forget type safety device. Aside from checking on chafe, you don't have to adjust it for different storm conditons or wave size.

Also, the larger parachutes, which are not drogues but sea anchors, really put too much of a load strain on the boat, since the shock loads they can generate are likely to rip the hardware they're attached to the boat by out of the deck. A JSD is designed to not shock load the components on a boat, since as the loads are applied to a JSD, the cones react differently, depending on where they are in relation to the boat and the size of the load on the bridle. The higher the load, the more cones that become loaded and the greater the resistance the JSD provides... but it does so in stages... rather than all at once.

CosmosMariner 05-20-2007 09:40 PM

I have not acquired a sea anchor or drogue yet but have done a lot of research into both. In addition to reading the heavey weather sailing techniques used by the big names in cruising I have spent a couple of years reading about other people's experiences with various storm devices of these types and reviewing the specs and deployment and managment procedures for each. I've decided that I will buy the Jordan. Two things come into play in my thinking - nose to the wind and running with it. Initially I felt the nose to the wind para anchor was the way to go. After reading about other people's actual experiences the factors SD pointed out jumped out at me.

Running under control of a drogue whether ropes in a loop, a bridle, anchors etc seems to be a successful fovorite and while both techniques can be a life saver I now personally feel running is best and the Jordan is the best drogue. Again only my opinion bassed on other people's input and I haven't tried it yet but I'm going to put my money down on a Jordan.

gershel 05-20-2007 10:06 PM

Running Off
I was wondering about your thought process of feeling that running off is the best solution. How would you treat a lee shore when running towards one? Just curious. I too have no experience with either device, but if I could anchor somehow, until the bad weather would pass, makes the most sense to me. Since I can't anchor in the ocean, a Para-anchor seems to be the answer. Running, with a storm, I would think would leave you in it longer than anchoring,and let it pass over you quicker

sailingdog 05-20-2007 10:53 PM


Granted, a lee shore will always be a problem. Neither drogues or sea anchors are really appropriate if you are in a lee shore situation IMHO. Both are really designed for if you are caught out in the open ocean by a storm. If you were close enough that it could become a lee shore situation, you should of either headed in and secured safe haven in a good harbor or headed out to sea to give yourself sufficient room. Failure to do either is poor seamanship IMHO.

One thing about Parachute style sea anchors, is that the shock loading that they can generate is exceptionally high, and most boats do not have sufficient hardware to take such loads for an extended period of time.

Also, parachute-type anchors, if deployed with too much or too little scope, will often be collapsed by the wave action, and may not re-deploy properly.

A JSD generates far lower shock loads, as the cones are gradually brought into use as the forces on the drogue line increase and the light straightens out. A parachute type anchor fills all at once.... with a correspondingly large shock load transmitted to the boat.

Finally, the components of a Jordan Series Drogue are generally subjected to far lower stresses individually, than are the components of the parachute-type sea anchors and drogues. This greatly reduces the chance of the components failing. The redundancy of the Jordan Series Drogue's design also makes any individual cone far less significant in what portion of the drogue's capabilities it contributes... with a parachute type anchor... everything is concentrated in the one parachute—effectively all your eggs are in a single basket.

Also, many storms do not necessarily move in the same direction as the winds they contain.... this is particularly true of storms that can last for days. Generally, only short duration storms, like summer thunder squall lines will move in the same direction as the winds that generate them. In most short duration storms, other tactics are usually sufficient to weather them.

Look at all the really major storms, like that of the 1979 Fastnet race or the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race... both were essentially revolving storms, similar in nature to a cyclonic or TRS type storm, in fact, if not in origin. Most multi-day survival situations will involve a storm that has a cyclonic or revolving component to it.

Often, moving in the direction of the wind is better than just sitting there, since the kinetic energy dispersed against your boat is far lower. For instance, if the waves are moving at 15 knots... and you aren't moving you've got significantly more energy than if you are running at 3 knots with them. Given the same size wave striking the boat, you would have 225 units of force vs. 144 units of force... or only 64% of the energy being spent against your boat.

CosmosMariner 05-20-2007 11:11 PM

I was talking about a deep water open ocean situation. As SD said about the shallow water scenerio, if you are on a lee shore in a storm you've done something incredably stupid. It's the scenerio always thrown out there like the Star Trek 'Kobiashi-Maru' test - the battle scenerio that could not possibly be won anyway. A legitimate question though. No technique is a silver bullet for every situation. It depends. Commander on station has to decide what will work, this time. Which lee shore? What sea state and how fast winds? What boat LWL vs beam? What distance to lee shore? How many crew? Crew condition? Engine? Water depth? Storm coming in or going away how long before it will pass? An example:

My son was on his way to Bahamas Nov. '05 in his Watkins 27 and got caught off Cape Fear, NC 25 miles out in 60mph onshore winds winds in 50' water depth. A Watkins is a strong boat but slow as snot into the wind. I own a 25' Watkins by the way. First I told him not to go 'outside' the ICW into the North Atlantic in Winter in his boat until Savannah. So He did something incredibly stupid and he said he learned alot of lessons in one night that he was putting into action immediately. Now he KNOWS why they call it Cape FEAR! Running was not an option, not enough room. Lying to a sea anchor was not an option drift would have had his butt on shore by morning. Sailing and/or motoring was nearly impossible due to shallow water creating 10' seas. It was 5pm, getting dark and the crew were exhausted. He was 25 years old at the time 6' tall 200lbs and in incredibly good physical condition. He had been sailing since he was 3 years old. His crew was his former college room mate who got his degree in Outdoor Leadership, was an associate EMT and was also in incredibly good physical condition. His choice? The only one left - 0ne 22lb Danforth HT, 100' 5/16 proof coil chain and 300ft 1/2 nylon twist rode. They set the anchor, marked their position on the GPS and hunkered down for a sleepless and very uncomfortable night. Next morning the winds calmed and the sea state improved. He checked the GPS and they hadn't moved an inch. They motorsailed to Winya Bay, into the ICW anchored and got some sleep, there are no Athiests in a foxhole or a cockpit in a storm. They were lucky but used what they had to handle a bad situation.

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