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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #41  
Old 02-27-2007
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Mr. Gainer,
That's an incredible account... I enjoy your posts. You've taken the time to answer a couple of my questions, and I just want to say thanks.
Glad your still around,
Sailhog
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  #42  
Old 03-10-2007
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SD- I do understand the differance between a drogue and a sea anchor. Let me restate my question. I understand that a drogue or a series of drogues are trailed behind a boat running with a storm to maintain control by slowing the boat down while going down the face of a wave. I understand that a sea anchor is deployed off the bow of a boat to all but stop it and keep the bow into the storm. My question was, given that you have plenty of sea room, which is more affective in dealing with large seas? I personally would assume that if you had the experience to handle the boat properly that you'd be better off to run with it and trail a drogue to maintain angle and speed. My logic was also that if a sea anchor breaks loose....well, you're screwed. That and the fact that if you are moving with the seas it's a lot easier on the boat if their apparent speed is decreased becasue you're moving with them. I know there are lots of varieables like multiple wave fronts but which is most likely to survive the longest and roughest weather? I think that this will boil down to opinions but I've stated mine and I'd like to hear everyone elses.
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  #43  
Old 03-10-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newport41
I know there are lots of varieables like multiple wave fronts but which is most likely to survive the longest and roughest weather? I think that this will boil down to opinions but I've stated mine and I'd like to hear everyone elses.
It's the variables that determine the answer. Some boats don't have the deck gear to comtemplate either, as the forces on chocks and extrusions and winches are considerable.

Other boats will want to run if they can present a stern quarter to the seas (and the size and period of the wave fronts will have a huge effect). Compare a tradition narrowish or canoe-ended transom with a sugar scoop stern, for instance. A different approach to running and steering down waves, not to mention the tendency of certain bow entries to "submarine", is going to make that call for you.

It's like heaving to versus lying a-hull...some boats can't handle one or the other or even either, so there's no use debating a technique meant to save one's boat when one's boat can't attempt it.

I would say in the broadest of generalities that for boats that can run and trail warps or drogues from the stern quarters, that the Jordan series drogue seems to be developing good "real world" reputation. The sea anchor off the bow seems to work better with more race oriented boats, but those can also likely clear the danger area a little faster and work to windward naturally.

See Hal Roth's books (he has a lot of experience), Practical Sailor's tests and "Heavy Weather Sailing" for more. Other than that, go out in rough but not survival conditions and try out different things. You'll get wet and you may find out weak spots in your gear, but you'll probably learn a lot about your particular boat.
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  #44  
Old 03-10-2007
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I think the drogue would be more effective because you aren't going to be moving very fast relative to the waves with a drogue, which allows the boat some movement, albeit at a controlled rate. A sea anchor essentially stops the boat dead in the water, if the anchor is properly deployed... this means that the boat has a fairly high speed difference between the wave trains and itself, since the waves are moving with the storm. The shock loads on boat with a sea anchor are an order of magnitude or more greater than what is seen with a drogue, and can easily damage the boat.

IMHO, the real damage is done when there is a considerable difference in speed between the boat and the waves. A Jordan Series Drogue in particular is designed to allow the boat to move relative to the waves, but not so quickly as to be in danger of broaching or capsizing. From everything I've read, the JSD seems to be the most effective at keeping the boat in a position that will minimize the risks to it.
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  #45  
Old 03-12-2007
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Those answers both make sense to me. Sea anchors have never really appealed to me, mind you neither have sugar scoop transoms for offshore. Our boat has a fin keel but due to a fairly sharp V and the MKII rudder it does heave to well. Don't have a lot of experience with drogues sea or sea anchors but my plan is always to avoid and outrun the bad weather when possible. None the less I think we'll buy a jordan series drogue and go play around off the west coast some time when the weathers up, before we head out of coastguard range. I can steer down a wave but I've never done it with the breaks on. I'd also like to get a feel for how she heaves to in 35kts plus.
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  #46  
Old 03-12-2007
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Just as a side note, I believe you can simply *make* a Jordan Series Drogue. Here's a website with a load of info: http://www.jordanseriesdrogue.com/D_1.htm

but I recall that the "Jordan" who designed it essentially decided to leave it unpatented. But I might be wrong.
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  #47  
Old 03-12-2007
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Valiente-

I believe he left the Jordan Series Drogue to the public domain for the good of the sailing public. I've spoken with Don several times, when I was getting ready to order a drogue for my boat, and he's a nice guy.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #48  
Old 03-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Valiente-

I believe he left the Jordan Series Drogue to the public domain for the good of the sailing public. I've spoken with Don several times, when I was getting ready to order a drogue for my boat, and he's a nice guy.
So my memory isn't completely faulty, then. As more and more people use this design, it seems to be proving its worth for most boats (although you have to have strongly reinforced attachment points to deal with the forces involved).

I mentioned to my wife that we could sew one up, but it might be just easier to have one made, or to have the CONES made, and then custom-make the bridle to clear rudders, wind vanes, etc.

Most of us can find 25 lbs. of old chain easily enough.
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  #49  
Old 03-13-2007
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While the forces on a JSD are far lower than those on a parachute-type sea anchor, it is highly recommended that you have very solidly re-inforced attachment points for the drogue that lead fair and won't have chafe as an issue.

The kits made by Ace Sailmakers are pretty good, and consists of the pre-made cones, and the rope...but you have to do the attaching. I decided my fingers and carpal tunnel were better off having them do the attaching.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 03-13-2007 at 01:12 PM.
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  #50  
Old 03-14-2007
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A couple of thoughts.
Excessive loads on a parachute type sea anchor can be avoided by not employing too large an anchor and by not using too large a rode. While on the face of it this seems to sacrifice strength, it is not necessarily so. One does not want the sea anchor to 'anchor' them in place completely in the manner of ground tackle. That would needlessly punish the vessel. A certain amount of drift is desirable in that we would not be loading the anchor and rode to extremes, to say nothing of the deck fittings. An excessively heavy rode could be a hindrance as well. In the quest for the 'strongest' it is easily forgotten that as rode size increases, for a given vessel, elasticity decreases. Anyone who has had the misfortune to use an over-sized snatch strap on a mired vehicle knows that a strap designed for a heavy commercial truck will exhibit almost no stretch when used on a lighter vehicle. The ability of the rode to shock load will greatly reduce the dynamic loading of deck fittings. As to deck fittings, it would seem prudent that with the money invested in either a sea-anchor or drogue, it would be just as prudent to have strongly reinforced deck fittings to accomodate either.

One issue with the drogue is that the vessel is still running before the wind. This requires an alert helmsman. That may not be a given in the conditions foreseen. The danger of broaching or pitchpoling remains. The drogue is also not readily adjustable. Once deployed it is unlikely that one would be able to add or subtract to it due to the strain and, thus not be able to tailor it to changing conditions. The sea anchor does not suffer from this as we are not trying to run. Obviously, running will put much less stress on the drogue's rode.

It is certainly worth experimenting with each device in as heavy a condition as is practicable. Each vessel is going to ride differently. Practise with each could be invaluable when conditions worsen beyond previous experience. I find the prospect of running for prolonged time to be a little daunting. Trans-ocean racing boats experiences in this regard are not necessarily indicative of the stamina and abilities of the relatively short handed cruiser. A racing boat full of experienced helmsmen is a luxury enjoyed by few. I also am of the opinion that most vessels in truly heavy weather have a definite preference for one angle to seas over another. Sailboats vary so much that I suspect that this can only be ascertained by practise in below survival conditions. Such factors as amount of bow flare, stern shape, and keel design will have much to determine one method over another.

Two good books on the subject are; Heavy Weather Tactics using Sea Anchors and Drogues by Earl Hinz, and Storm Tactics Handbook by Lin and Larry Pardey. While both are good, the Pardey's bring a great deal of anecdotal evidence to the table for their theories while Hinz gives a good overview of drogues and anchors without seeming to prefer one over the other.
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