Join Date: Jul 2002
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Parachute Sea Anchor
Pick up a copy of DDDB, Victor Shane''s Drag Device Data Base (I don''t think you want an edition earlier than the Fourth). It provides an excellent overview of real-world uses of various drag devices, and offers vendor info, as well. Before chutes became more commonly sought after by cruising boats, folks would typically dig out a surplus chute from a war surplus store...and I think this is discussed in one of the Pardey''s books. Modifications were typically required. Finally, you might look for Earl Hinz book on this subject (his title escapes me at the moment but an amazon search will produce the obvious title); he does a nice job of overview coverage on all drag devices.
This isn''t a ''one size fits all'' topic, where the obvious preference in choices as they relate to all boats can be easily ranked. DDDB''s value is that you can read the first-hand encounters and judge with some certainty how a given type of device will tend to work with your specific type and size boat. E.g. in our case, I came to the conclusion we''d find using a chute difficult and, for the kind of offshore sailing we do, unlikely...but think a Galerider drogue is much more utilitarian: small form factor when stowed, light and relatively easy to deploy, strong and simple, easy(ier) to retrieve. Skip Raymond makes these up on Connecticut.