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A Tartan 40 set up for offshore work? I'd guess someone built those as dedicated hard points to attach a sea anchor.
 

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It could be for a drogue. For some great info on the Jordon Drogue and the physics of boats and waves, especially during storms conditions, at sea and anchor see Jordan Series Drogue. Sea anchors, drogues are a type of sea anchor, are also from the stern an anchor is from the bow. I like the article of how a sail boat behaves at anchor and why it yawls back and forth. Most think it is due to wind changing direction, it isn't. It is due to the way a boat is designed, which is to move through both air and water in a stable manner. At anchor one of the stabilizing factors is not working and makes the boat unstable. Actually anchoring by the stern is a more stable way, especially in high winds. See above link.
 

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Towing a dinghy?

Looks like they would work perfectly with a bridle for that purpose using a bridle.
It could work for that as well, but I doubt that's its primary purpose... My money is on it being the attachment point for a series drogue, although I would have angled them down slightly, to better match the most likely direction of the pull :)





As always, a good explanation from John Harries on MORGAN'S CLOUD:

Jordan Series Drogue Deployment System On Expedition Sailboat


 

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Mermaid Hunter
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Sea anchors, drogues are a type of sea anchor, are also from the stern an anchor is from the bow.
Really? Vocabulary is important. I've always considered sea anchors and drogues to be fundamentally different things. Jordan and Galerider make drogues. Sea anchors are sea anchors.

Towing a dinghy?
Pretty beefy for a dinghy.
 
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