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  #41  
Old 02-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
I have never had to deploy the sea anchor and have been able to heave-to without it. The reason I have one is if I feel there may be the chance of being knocked down or broaching in a really bad approaching storm that is likely to create breaking waves high enough to be dangerous. Guess I've been lucky so far in avoiding being caught in this situation. Would like to hear from folks who have actually used their sea anchor in life-threatening conditions.

Brent, have you never had waves break into your cockpit repeatedly? I have had waves break over the cockpit in moderate conditions and have always thought it would be a really bad idea to put the stern to the sea in really bad conditions.
I've never had waves break into my cockpit repeatedly, at least not that I've been aware of , at least not at sea. In a gale, I stay out of the cockpit, and sleep a lot. With a transom stern, and lots of stern buoyancy, this is no problem . It is far more likely with a double ender, with little stern buoyancy. If they choose to break there, no problem. Why would I even worry about it.The only time they broke repeatedly in the cockpit was in Nanaimo harbour, when a small but super intense storm blew thru . I was tied to a dock at the time.
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  #42  
Old 02-28-2012
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Lying at an angle to the wind puts a far greater load on any rode than lying stern to the wind. A bridle on a stern drogue leads to to rolling when the wind eases. Lying with one quarter to the wind, the windage on the rig takes a lot of the roll out, and is easier to deploy.
I made up a gale rider out of car seat belts , but haven't tried it yet. Friends , in a Fraser 41 , riding the Queens Birthday Storm out of New Zealand , found their Gale rider worked best 80 ft behind the boat, far better than with a much longer rode.
A client sailing one of my 36 ft twin keelers into Valdiva, Chile, said he found the series drogue far easier to recover than he had ever imagined.
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  #43  
Old 02-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I suppose the Jordan Series Drogue should enter the discussion here, though as far as I know it's generally considered an active, rather than passive technique. i.e. you need to be steering, and standing in the cockpit (with stern to the waves) in order for this system to work. The Coast Guard does recommend streaming JSD from the stern unattended, though I haven't heard of that nearly as much as using a JSD or other drogue as part of an active steering tactic. If that is a sound tactic, then I would seriously consider it.
Not sure why you assume that... In my singular experimentation with a JSD, steering would have made little to no difference whatsoever... It was possible to modify the course from DDW slightly using my vane, but basically the boat is tethered to this giant bungee, and the effect of that is far more determinative than most steering inputs will be...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I have a hard time with the idea of streaming a drag device from the stern in breaking waves, without steering, though. It just seems intuitive to me that the bow is what's designed to go into, and safely over, waves. The stern, not so much. I would also argue against the point made that when streaming a JSD from the stern that tending it from the cockpit is an advantage over going forward to tend a para-anchror. In both cases you're going towards the end of the boat with oncoming waves. The companionway hatch (look at the picture in my avatar) would also be a point of potential vulnerability, whereas my bow has no vulnerable structures and has more freeboard as well as being "pointy" and possessing sheer to direct wave forces away from the boat.

MedSailor
Ahh, ye of little faith, in your vessel's ability to have her stern rise to a following sea... (grin)

Granted, I have not used a series drogue in a strong gale or storm conditions, only gave it a whirl in about 25-30 knots, max, 8-10 foot seas or thereabouts... However, that one experiment was a revelation, similar to heaving-to in that the result was like throwing a switch, in how significant was the resultant "calming effect", and restoration of the sense of control...

The "bungee effect" is absolutely the best way to describe what's happening. As the stern rises to meet the following seas, the boat naturally will begin its normal acceleration down the face of the wave. But that is very modest, and is immediately checked by the drogue, and the alignment roughly perpendicular to the wave is also established... In my few hours lying to my drogue, never once was there the slightest hint that anything remotely resembling a "screaming broach" could occur - in the relatively modest conditions at the time, of course...

Of course, in extreme conditions, the possibility of seas breaking into the cockpit are very real, but any boat venturing offshore should be prepared for such an eventuality, in any case... But overall, the sort of impacts felt, the boat's tendency to ride with the seas, and the more modest loads on deck gear than I believe would be felt lying to a parachute in identical conditions, IMHO strongly recommend the use of a series drogue... Not to mention, the possibility of deploying it without any real concern for dealing with chafe is huge, IMHO - there's much to be said for "set it, and forget it", in such conditions... That's not to suggest that there might not be a time where one might have to consider another alternative, of course... but, if you have the sea room, it's a very effective device in my admittedly limited experience...

And, as Brent mentions, while the retrieval is a PITA, it was not nearly the chore that I was expecting it to be... On something like a 50-footer, of course, that could be a whole different ballgame...
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  #44  
Old 02-28-2012
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I feel like I'm about to be converted....

I feel like I'm about to be converted.....

Thanks for the thoughtful replies so far. I spent a few hours today on my boat contemplating her lines and her beautiful hiney. I'm starting to think there may be something to the JSD idea.....

For starters it finally hit me that the bridle is actually quite a significant difference. If the boat were to yaw one way or the other, the 11ft wide bridle would have a strong turning force, keeping the boat going straight down the wave. The sea anchor from the bow, on the other hand, would allow the bow to yaw quite a bit before beginning to exert a turning force. If the boat is allowed to present anything other than a bow or stern to the wind and waves, the forces increase dramatically. Even for those accounts I read from the DDDB who used a parachute successfully say that the motion was horrific. The bridle from the bow (Pardey method) may involve too exotic a setup and loads that I couldn't easily handle with my cockpit winches. (Anyone know if a Lewmar 44 can take 25,000lbs???)

The lack of chafe is a big deal, as mentioned by John Eisberg, especially on my boat. That was the whole reason for my question and diagram in the first place. All that hardware up the front is not very compatible with 30,000lb loads and sea-saw motions on rope. Today, as I was contemplating things, I had a horrible vision of that bow getting blown off during a slack in the para-anchor rode, then the rode coming under tension across the bowsprit. That kind of cross-load might likely remove the bowsprit, which is also attached to the rig.

My cockpit has excellent drainage and very little volume. A good combination to present to the sea for potential filling. The aft end of my cabin is vertical, which is not an ideal shape to present to a breaking wave, but it is made of 1-1/4" plywood with glass over the top. I'd have to massively beef up my companionway door, but I could do that.

So if I were to make strong points aft for the bridle, would I want them up high to exert an downward force on the stern to keep the bow from burying itself at the bottom of the wave, or would it be better to have them low, near the waterline, where they would allow the stern to rise as freely as possible and reduce the chances of being pooped?

I also like the fact that I could make a JSD by myself. Seems like a good thing to do with the dacron from a retired sail, and some bulk amsteel.
Make your own JSD (they don't leave anything out in this video):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L23MdzCbx2Y

Yeah, I think this idea is catching on with me....

MedSailor
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  #45  
Old 02-28-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
Ahh, ye of little faith, in your vessel's ability to have her stern rise to a following sea... (grin)
Maybe you're right. I have much more stern boyancy than this fellow.

A video speaks 10,000 words.....Anita im Orkan - YouTube

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  #46  
Old 02-29-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
I feel like I'm about to be converted.....

Thanks for the thoughtful replies so far. I spent a few hours today on my boat contemplating her lines and her beautiful hiney. I'm starting to think there may be something to the JSD idea.....

For starters it finally hit me that the bridle is actually quite a significant difference. If the boat were to yaw one way or the other, the 11ft wide bridle would have a strong turning force, keeping the boat going straight down the wave. The sea anchor from the bow, on the other hand, would allow the bow to yaw quite a bit before beginning to exert a turning force. If the boat is allowed to present anything other than a bow or stern to the wind and waves, the forces increase dramatically. Even for those accounts I read from the DDDB who used a parachute successfully say that the motion was horrific. The bridle from the bow (Pardey method) may involve too exotic a setup and loads that I couldn't easily handle with my cockpit winches. (Anyone know if a Lewmar 44 can take 25,000lbs???)

The lack of chafe is a big deal, as mentioned by John Eisberg, especially on my boat. That was the whole reason for my question and diagram in the first place. All that hardware up the front is not very compatible with 30,000lb loads and sea-saw motions on rope. Today, as I was contemplating things, I had a horrible vision of that bow getting blown off during a slack in the para-anchor rode, then the rode coming under tension across the bowsprit. That kind of cross-load might likely remove the bowsprit, which is also attached to the rig.

My cockpit has excellent drainage and very little volume. A good combination to present to the sea for potential filling. The aft end of my cabin is vertical, which is not an ideal shape to present to a breaking wave, but it is made of 1-1/4" plywood with glass over the top. I'd have to massively beef up my companionway door, but I could do that.

So if I were to make strong points aft for the bridle, would I want them up high to exert an downward force on the stern to keep the bow from burying itself at the bottom of the wave, or would it be better to have them low, near the waterline, where they would allow the stern to rise as freely as possible and reduce the chances of being pooped?

I also like the fact that I could make a JSD by myself. Seems like a good thing to do with the dacron from a retired sail, and some bulk amsteel.
Make your own JSD (they don't leave anything out in this video):
Series Drogue Construction - Make Your Own Series Drogue Sea Anchor - YouTube

Yeah, I think this idea is catching on with me....

MedSailor
Yes. Ditto on that. Thank you for the opinions. My boat actually has two very beefy, well bolted pad eyes just aft of the winches, right on the edge of the gunwale that were very possibly used for attaching a bridle/drogue by a previous owner. Looks like another good winter project to sew up a bunch of cones. At least if the sea anchor should fail I'll have another option. Am wondering if Amsteel/Dyneema is the right stuff. It's awful slippery to haul in and it may be better to have some stretch, maybe using standard 3/4" nylon.
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  #47  
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You can tell I have way too much time on my hands but have been thinking about the construction of some kind of drogue. All the little cones on the series drogues are very nice and I'm sure they do a great job, have been studied, engineered, etc. but I wonder if there is a simpler way, somewhere in between an old tire and another $1000.00 contraption. How much different, from a hydraulic point of view are all the little cones as opposed to a series of half hitches (locked by stitching) with some sort of plastic disks, maybe 5" in diameter cut from old sheetrock buckets or something, slid on in between knots? Each would grab a little bit of water and add up just like the time consuming cones.
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  #48  
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I have been told that a reversed transom greatly increases the odds of waves boarding into the cockpit. I stick to a traditional transom rake.
I have used tyres with the top half cut out , leaving the wire core as a kind of bridle, as drogues. Turning them inside out widens them. You can chain several of them together. The beauty of this is they are almost indestructible, and you can find them anywhere, before making a long, rough passage. This means not having to carry them aboard in benign latitudes.
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  #49  
Old 04-23-2012
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Re: Where to attach the sea anchor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
You can tell I have way too much time on my hands but have been thinking about the construction of some kind of drogue. All the little cones on the series drogues are very nice and I'm sure they do a great job, have been studied, engineered, etc. but I wonder if there is a simpler way, somewhere in between an old tire and another $1000.00 contraption. How much different, from a hydraulic point of view are all the little cones as opposed to a series of half hitches (locked by stitching) with some sort of plastic disks, maybe 5" in diameter cut from old sheetrock buckets or something, slid on in between knots? Each would grab a little bit of water and add up just like the time consuming cones.
Who knows?

I met a guy who got caught in a blow and faked together a poor mans series drogue out of all of his spare line, his pots and pans, and all his spare foul weathere gear. Swore it worked. I considered him to be a loon at the time, but it's honestly hard to say. It's a simple concept, just distribute drag along a line.
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  #50  
Old 04-24-2012
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Re: Where to attach the sea anchor?

Concerning the retrieval of a JDS: Could you not rig a small line that is 10 or 15 feet longer than the drogue itself and attach it to the trailing end of the drogue? It could even be spliced in the trailing end and at one of the boat end bridal points. Using this method you are pulling in the drogue from the far end with the cones closed. Just a thought.
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