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