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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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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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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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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.

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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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 :eek: won't need any embellishments.:D
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Valiente,
you picked up on something I didn't mention because I didn't want to stray from the topic but..
This storm was my first real offshore storm (1993). Because of the severity of that storm motoring into the waves was really very stupid. But that was the extent of our knowledge (thankfully God loves and protects stupid people too). The waves were so big that I spotted a freighter off my starboard quarter a few miles off and then didn’t see him again until he was off my port beam some twenty minutes later (and don‘t you know I was looking!).
The dripless stuffing box, after pounding for all those hours, started to implode. The prop would cavitate when the bow was thrown forward into a trough. This set off a series of events that took the lives of all our electrical bilge pumps (2) and then our manual. I , being the only one who didn't get seasick, had to bail out 30 to 40 gallons of seawater from the bilge ever 40 minutes to keep water from reaching the engine. I think the stupidest (is that a real word?) thing we did through that whole storm was to bring our life raft onto deck “just in case”. Frankly, if the boat couldn’t take this storm and our incompetence how could a plastic blow-up raft take it?

I have to say the Almond Pilothouse Motor sailor didn’t motor very well or sail very well but it was built like a brick house.

Sailingdog,
I know I am being a bit dense on this point but remember I’m a blonde on davocet. With the drogue I can make some course changes because it just slows me down, with the parachute I am “parked” and if in a collision situation can’t make course changes.

Saildork,
thanks for the suggestion I think I'll do just that. Did I mention that we had a psycho crew member on board too?

Storm,psycho, and sinking aside... It was a great ride!

Thanks for the input,
Erika

Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.
- Unknown
 

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Okay - psychos and liferafts? Now you HAVE to go throw down the whole thing in BFS. I've teed it up for you.
 

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Thanks for the detail, OG. I agree you were most fortunate. I suppose all that bucket work saved you from hypothermia! Talk about motivation!

I'm not having much luck Googling "almond pilothouse cutter 37 foot". Do you have any links or pictures that would help us visualize this boat?
 

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Think of the drogue as an ACTIVE helper- keeps you slower and under better control while running off, but requires full time steering. The parachute is for when you desparately need a rest and are willing to just hang in there for a day or two. One needs to be conscious of sea room, currents, and the probable storm track in either case. Most failures have been due to unfair leads and chafe.

We have an Outbound 44 with 18,000 nm under the keel in BC, Alaska, and 2 seasons in the South Pacific and have never used either device. Max winds seen: 45-50 knots.

I don't think there are many sailboats that can motor into an 80kn hurricane and make forward progress. Best not to rely that much on the engine, at most using it to keep speed up in the troughs with little or no canvas up.
 

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This is not entirely true... it depends on what type of drogue you are using. If you're dragging warps, or a GaleRider type drogue, then yes, it may require active steering. A Jordan Series Drogue does not require active steering.

Think of the drogue as an ACTIVE helper- keeps you slower and under better control while running off, but requires full time steering. The parachute is for when you desparately need a rest and are willing to just hang in there for a day or two. One needs to be conscious of sea room, currents, and the probable storm track in either case. Most failures have been due to unfair leads and chafe.

We have an Outbound 44 with 18,000 nm under the keel in BC, Alaska, and 2 seasons in the South Pacific and have never used either device. Max winds seen: 45-50 knots.

I don't think there are many sailboats that can motor into an 80kn hurricane and make forward progress. Best not to rely that much on the engine, at most using it to keep speed up in the troughs with little or no canvas up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I guess I made it sound like the 80 knot blow was a walk in the park. We made no forward progress in that blow, at around 2200 rpms ( I think that was the rpms, it was a long time ago) our SOG was 4 knots backwards. Furthermore, there wasn't a spot on my body that wasn't black and blue, It was exhausting work just to stay wedged in the bunk. The seas were freaky big but the troughs were filled with foam so it looked rather flat. The wind in the rigging was so loud that someone could scream right into your ear and you would hear absolutely nothing. There was no way any canvas could of been put out and I can't explain how the engine kept up with it. (It was a turbo 40 HP ?)

How can a drogue not require active steering? She is still sailing down the wave- even at a slower speed wont she still want to head up? Would you locked the helm perfect mid-ship?
 

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The amount of resistance created by the drogue and the design purpose of the drogue determine whether active steering is needed or not.

A speed reducing drogue, that is designed to just slow the boat, like the GaleRider, requires active steering to work properly. Among the other speed reducing drogues would be trailing warps, dragging your anchor and rode behind the boat, etc.

A Jordan Series Drogue is not a speed reducing drogue. It produces far too much drag to work as one of those. It is a speed limiting drogue and essentially keeps the boat relatively still compared to the water surrounding it...with the boat making 1-2 knots generally. This type of device does not require active steering, since the boat is held stern to waves fairly solidly and fairly consistently. However, it does require that the drogue be properly sized for the boat.

As for a boat's tendency to head up...no, that isn't the case on most newer designs. If you read Don Jordan's paper on anchoring/mooring and why modern boats tend to horse at anchor, you'd understand why this is the case.

How can a drogue not require active steering? She is still sailing down the wave- even at a slower speed wont she still want to head up? Would you locked the helm perfect mid-ship?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you sailingdog for the clarification. Boy do I learn a lot on this site!

Have you heard of anyone deploying the JSD off the bow too? What I am getting at is instead of buying a parachute for the times I need to head into the wind and a drogue for the times I need to run, why not find something that can do both.

Is that crazy talk?

Erika
 

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Erika—

According to Don Jordan, the JSD should NEVER be deployed from the bow. :) Boats are far more likely to be seriously damaged lying bow-to with a sea anchor than they are lying stern to with a JSD IMHO.
 
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