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rockDAWG 04-11-2013 06:42 PM

What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
Last year while sailing through Yucatan Channel near Cuba, we were practically surfing down the waves doing 11.5 kn for the whole night. While it was fun and I had a great time being tossed in every direction. In reality, I would like to more control of the boat.

Fast forward to the up coming trip to Panama City (Canal). After eying at the weather for 2 weeks, it is likely that we will have some serious wind and swell from behind. This time the boat is equipped with a drogue. When condition is called for, we will get it ready.

Thinking about make a bridle and using a cow hitch to attach the drogue. Here are the questions:

1. Is there any advantage of having different length of the bridle to minimize the wave motion?

2. Should I sail directly away from the wind and perpendicular away from the wave, or I should sail a bit off either port or standard?

I have not sat down to draw out a few diagrams in different scenarios yet to make my decision. However, if you have done this know the right approach, please share or post a link.

3. In the past, I always sail with a tiny furled main if I have to, but this time we have a storm jib, should I use the storm jib and no main? Pls note, wind is behind us.


benesailor 04-11-2013 09:33 PM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue

Great questions; I'm awaiting the answers as well

Flybyknight 04-11-2013 10:15 PM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
Get a copy of "Heavy Weather Sailing by K. Adlard Coles and you will find all your questions answered.
Heavy Weather Sailing - Alibris Marketplace

Omatako 04-12-2013 12:54 AM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
The obvious purpose of a drogue is to slow the boat so that it doesn't surf uncontrollably which is again obviously most important with a big sea.

If you have achieved the slowing of the boat, my approach is to sail as close to my desired course and make some ground. this may be done with some sail up or if the wind is really boisterous, under bare poles.

The course would preferably be not too close to beam-on because if a wave breaks alongside you, the white water will be enough for at least a knockdown and in really heavy conditions, a roll-over, both of which are best avoided.

If you have a quartering sea you may have some challenging helming to deal with and if you're running directly ahead of a following sea you stand the chance of being pooped. Both conditions can be a little scary but they're better than the alternatives described earlier.

The bigger issue for me is recovering the drogue.

chef2sail 04-12-2013 08:26 AM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
I have only been on a boat once coming back from Falmouth England where it was necessary to deploy a drogue, therefore my experience is very limited.

The drogue we deployed was done to drastically reduce speed when it was necessary to keep the boat from getting away from you speed wise surfing down waves and keep you relatively perpendicular to the waves . We used ours in a large storm and were really not concerned with progress to a destination. We mainly used it to run with the waves and keep us in line with them as they were not breaking.

Using a drogue as a speed limiting device when making passageway is a whole other kettle of fish. I know that there specialty designed speed limiting series drogues for this purpose and they are designed differently and may have multiple layers, chutes, holes for resistance.

I do remember the retrieving the drogue was an arduous task.

hughdon 04-12-2013 09:32 AM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
We commonly tow a 'drogue' when off the wind with big following/quartering seas.
It remained deployed in 'normal' (and above) trade conditions from Cape Verde to Caribbean.
It is just a folding claw anchor (shinny SS so we can see it through the waves) on a hundred plus foot line. Its purpose is more to assist steering than reduce speed.
Pacific Seacraft 34

Gail Rider sells a drogue to reduce speed in extreme conditions.

outbound 04-12-2013 09:40 AM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
4 Attachment(s)
Series Drogue: Ocean survival

Seems length of legs of bridle is key to function maintaining the stern to face oncoming wave train. See above link. Retrieval not difficult with series drogue. Place another line on it using same knot you use for your snubber ( your preference). Winch it in and repeat. Big advantage of series drogue to other devices is it's feasible to retrieve. Been told with sea anchors and single device drogues folks have had such troube that they ended up just cutting them away ( Ouch- expensive).

outbound 04-12-2013 09:46 AM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
4 Attachment(s)
series drogue

this is the link to the englishman I brought my drogue from. Chatted with him over the phone. He was a toal delight and vey helpful. Worth a call. He'll set you straight Dawg

TQA 04-12-2013 10:12 AM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
I have never deployed a droque but did some reading around the subject when planning on what I would do if I ever was unfortunate enough to be out in survival conditions.

Bernard Moitessier writes at length on his use of drouques and trailing warps in pretty extreme conditions down in the southern ocean aboard Joshua.

It is worth finding the passage and reading it through to it's conclusions. He is one of those who have 'walked the walk'.

hughdon 04-12-2013 01:35 PM

Re: What strategy do you employ when using a drogue
We always tow our 'drogue anchor' in the second wave behind boat (100ft+).
We can see it in clear water.
This 3 Kilo claw anchor is easy to retrieve with the a main sheet winch.
Clear distinctions need to be made between 'drogues' deployed to improve steering at hull speed (what we do) and drogues to primarily reduce speed in surfing conditions.

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