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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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  #1  
Old 06-02-2009
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Drogues/parachutes

I'm recovering from surgery at a friends house and missing my boat terribly ( I live aboard). So to occupy my time I am researching storm survival skills. I was thinking about drogues and parachutes.

I like the book by the Pardeys Storm Tactics, and what they say makes sense. But researching storm tactics, drogues are by far the preferred method by a majority of offshore sailors.

A few drawbacks I see is

1) you are running with the storm and therefore will be in the storm longer than "parking " and letting it pass overhead.

2) Risk of fouling the rudder and prop due to it being deployed off the stern.

3) retrieval seems to be the biggest problem but the parachute has the same hazard

The worst conditions I have ever encountered was 80 plus knots in the Atlantic for about 15 hours. It was the first offshore trip for crew and captain. In that storm I was in a 37 foot Almond pilothouse cutter and we just ran the motor and headed into the wind till the storm subsided (speed over ground was 4 knots backwards).
Now I have a Cape Dory 30, full keel with cutaway forefoot, keel hung rudder and weighs about 5 tons (Lighter, and more narrow than the Pardeys).

Really, the big selling point to me for drogues is that you seem to be able to make small course changes or am I wrong about that.

Anyone want to weigh in I’d appreciate it.

Erika
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Old 06-02-2009
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Hey ocean - welcome to SN, dude-ette!

We've had some great conversations about this. Here are a couple of threads you should check out.

HWS

And, Dog's inimitable thread:

JSD

PS - Just a word of advice - NEVER have surgery at a friend's house.
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Old 06-02-2009
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One word-Darvocet

Sorry, forgot about searching other threads- Maybe researching storm tactics while doped up on pain meds isn't such a good idea
Erika
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Old 06-02-2009
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It's cool. It'll be good to hear your take on this stuff as well...as soon as you're sober of course. Otherwise, you'll just sound like me.
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Old 06-02-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Otherwise, you'll just sound like me.
how would that be??? doped up... well that answers a few questions
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Old 06-03-2009
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I can tell you one thing: If you tried something in 80 knots of wind that didn't destroy the boat or kill you in the process, you've got more practical experience than 99% of the people here. Motoring directly into the storm wouldn't be my first choice because of the danger that sustained high revs (and possibly having the prop out of the water at times and the pressure on the rudder being forced backwards) would pooch the engine at some point...and then you roll stern-first off a 20 foot wave in a reverse pitchpole?

Not fun.

But as I wrote, if it didn't kill you, it's not ruled out, right? Good luck with your recovery.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceangirl View Post
I'm recovering from surgery at a friends house and missing my boat terribly ( I live aboard). So to occupy my time I am researching storm survival skills. I was thinking about drogues and parachutes.

I like the book by the Pardeys Storm Tactics, and what they say makes sense. But researching storm tactics, drogues are by far the preferred method by a majority of offshore sailors.

A few drawbacks I see is

1) you are running with the storm and therefore will be in the storm longer than "parking " and letting it pass overhead.
But you're also going to be hit a lot less hard because you're moving with the storm. A parachute type sea anchor deployed from the bow leaves you very vulnerable to getting clobbered. If the parachute collapses or the rode gets slack in it, you can end up going backwards and seriously damage the rudder.

Quote:
2) Risk of fouling the rudder and prop due to it being deployed off the stern.
Not really. A properly designed drogue has too much of a load on it and too much tension on the rode for it to ever become fouled in the rudder or prop, unless you did something wrong deploying it. Also, on most boats, the prop is too far inboard to be at risk, and most rudders don't have much that a drogue can foul on.

Quote:
3) retrieval seems to be the biggest problem but the parachute has the same hazard
Yes, retrieval, especially if you attempt it before the storm has really ended, is a royal PITA.

Quote:
The worst conditions I have ever encountered was 80 plus knots in the Atlantic for about 15 hours. It was the first offshore trip for crew and captain. In that storm I was in a 37 foot Almond pilothouse cutter and we just ran the motor and headed into the wind till the storm subsided (speed over ground was 4 knots backwards).
While this may have worked in that instance, if you had had any trouble with the engine, like a clogged fuel filter, you would have been basically screwed... IMHO, you were very lucky in many respects. Also, the fact that you didn't damage the rudder was sheer luck IMHO as well.

Quote:
Now I have a Cape Dory 30, full keel with cutaway forefoot, keel hung rudder and weighs about 5 tons (Lighter, and more narrow than the Pardeys).
The full keel, even cutaway, means that it will be more stable directionally than most more modern designs. It will probably also heave-to more graciously than many more modern designs as well.

Quote:
Really, the big selling point to me for drogues is that you seem to be able to make small course changes or am I wrong about that.
It depends on what kind of drogue you are using. The JSD is designed to be a "fire-and-forget" type device, which is purposely designed to not require a helmsman steering so that the captain and crew of a boat using one can get some decent rest during a storm after it has been deployed.

Quote:
Anyone want to weigh in I’d appreciate it.

Erika
BTW, I wrote the post on the Jordan Series Drogue that SmackDaddy pointed you to earlier... watch out for the meds... they can lead to some interesting situations if you're typing while on them...

I wish you a speedy recovery and I'd highly recommend you read this POST to help you get the most out of sailnet.
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2009
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Hey Erika,

Be sure to post your 'storm at sea' story to Smackdaddy's "Big Freaking Sails" thread. Sounds like your experience of 15 hours in 80 knots of wind won't need any embellishments.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Captain Dad has weathered some pretty undesirable conditions offshore by hunkering down with a sea anchor (parachute) out, and swears by them. Keeps the bow -- the strongest part of the boat -- facing into the seas.
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Last edited by SecondWindNC; 06-03-2009 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 06-03-2009
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Like you and everyone here has said so far - every boat and every storm is different. So, just figure that whatever you plan for isn't going to work anyway. Paloma has been through two Force 10 storms and we ran before the storm in both storms (first one 48 hours, second storm 36 hours) with no drogues. The first time was because we didn't know any better and in the second storm, we lost the engine and the main, so we had no choice but to run. We needed the boat speed to keep from being pooped or broaching, luckily in both storms, we had 600s++ miles of sea room.
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Last edited by johnshasteen; 06-03-2009 at 11:32 AM.
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