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Old 15-09-2014, 09:34   #1
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Drogue Suggestions

I have been working to find a reasonably priced solution to a failed rudder. After many hours of study and reading I finally had a moment of clarity - a drogue. It seems like the absolute best all around solution that will also give me another tool in my storm arsenal (I already have a sea anchor). So now the question is which one?

I am leaning toward the Shark because of the comparison test that is on youtube. The issue I am having is that the test was done by the maker of the Shark. So, what do you all think about drogues? I would really prefer to hear from people that have actually used one because I can read the reviews as well as the next person.

Thank you in advance!
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Old 15-09-2014, 09:42   #2
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

... I would go for a Jordan Series Drogue: Jordan Series Drogue

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Old 15-09-2014, 10:03   #3
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

You need to decide what you want it for. For just steering, Shark sounds good.

I did some calm water testing some years ago. Only tried one (Seabrake) in vigorus conditions, but it wasn't that rough (35Kn) and I was only trying to delay arival. No problems.

The Shark certainly seems very stable and soild. Whether it provides the correct drag for your needs I can't say.

Sail Delmarva: Drogue and Parachute Sea Anchor Testing: A Summary for Small to Medium Cruising Catamarans
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:10   #4
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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... I would go for a Jordan Series Drogue: Jordan Series Drogue

Regards,

Carsten
Why? Can you elaborate?
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:12   #5
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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You need to decide what you want it for. For just steering, Shark sounds good.

I did some calm water testing some years ago. Only tried one (Seabrake) in vigorus conditions, but it wasn't that rough (35Kn) and I was only trying to delay arival. No problems.

The Shark certainly seems very stable and soild. Whether it provides the correct drag for your needs I can't say.

Sail Delmarva: Drogue and Parachute Sea Anchor Testing: A Summary for Small to Medium Cruising Catamarans
I mainly want it for emergency steering. But a side benefit is if I get caught out in a blow again. I sure could have used it a few weeks ago off Cape Blanco.
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:29   #6
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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Why? Can you elaborate?
Follow the link he put up. If you do some searching on the link it will provide lots of information on why JSD's are proven and tested to be a very good emergency drogue system. As far as i know (which could be wrong) it is the only drogue tested and developed between a private party and the USCG.
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:29   #7
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

I used the shark to travel 200 miles back to panama after both rudders were disabled, was very happy to have it on board.


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Old 15-09-2014, 10:47   #8
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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I used the shark to travel 200 miles back to panama after both rudders were disabled, was very happy to have it on board.


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Old 15-09-2014, 11:51   #9
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

I'm very happy with a home-made cone drogue. Used it in 50+ knot breeze 400 miles south of Bermuda in December 2008 and was glad to have it. I wouldn't have wanted to use it for steering though - too big / too much resistance. I haven't tried it, but I'd have thought that a series drogue would be capable of peforming both functions very well. For heavy weather you could use the whole length, but for steering you could use just a portion of it - enough to provide drag sufficient to turn the boat while maximizing your way.
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Old 15-09-2014, 12:31   #10
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

there are essentially two quite different solutions, which are both called "drogues".

One lets call a 'medium speed drogue'. Mostly these are single element drogues like the galerider, delta drogue and shark. There purpose is to keep the stern pointed into the waves and to limit surfing, but to allow the boat to have some decent speed (7kts or so) to also minimize wave impact and maximize rudder control. The downside of these solutions is that in very steep waves they can pop out of the wave face and allow you to surf uncontrolled some distance before the reattach to the water. They can do this even when weighted. Or in very severe breaking waves they may just simply not have enough surface area/drag to hold the boat thru the wave strike.

In this category, we have personally used the galerider and delta drogue. Both worked well. My favorite is the galerider, for two reasons - the wire mouth seems most stable and because it can also be used to help recover a man-over-board. I have only seen an early shark prototype tested, and it seemed to me to perform ok but not outstanding.

The second lets call a 'low speed drogue'. The series drogue is the typical product here. The idea here is two fold - (1) more surface area to hold the boat more firmly thru the most severe breaking waves, and (2) spread that surface area out over several/many cones so that they are not all in the same wave face/same disturbed water at once so they can not all come 'unstuck' like the above single element drogues can. The downside here is two fold - they are harder to recover and I find people are reluctant to use gear (and put off deploying it) when they know it is going to be a lot of work to get it back. and second, you are moving slower so wave strikes hit the boat harder.

We have both an 'official' series drogue, with all the (150 I think) little cones, and I have also modified two single element drogues (added strops thru their middles) so I can deploy one, and if I think I need more I can shackle on more rode and deploy a second, and then a third. This has most of the advantages of the official series drogue, but is a more flexible and easier to recover solution. It is also easier to stow, since it uses existing anchor rodes and warps rather than its own completely dedicated rope (like the series requires).

Now, you are looking for an emergency steering solution. So you want a 'medium speed' drogue, but you probably also want it just a bit smaller than the recommended sizing to allow a bit more boat speed. You don't want or need as quite as much drag for this particular application, but you do need drag, about 1kt or 1.5kts worth for it to work.

Btw there is a good test and write up of emergency drogue steering here: http://bermudarace.com/wp-content/up...t-a-Rudder.pdf. Its on a monohull, but most will apply to a multi except you have it a bit easier because you already have a lot of beam. He is using a galerider.
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Old 15-09-2014, 13:08   #11
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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Originally Posted by SVRapture40 View Post
I am leaning toward the Shark because of the comparison test that is on youtube.

I love that video! Especially how they go out of their way to manually pre-foul the series drogue. I guess they could not find any other way to make it look bad.
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Old 25-09-2014, 21:36   #12
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

Have you investigated a properly (professionally) thought out, & designed, back up rudder system? Something like say, this Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter - J46 Emergency Steering

Also, IMO, if someone's truly concerned about the integrity of their rudder, & is planning to head offshore, then it only makes sense to have a SOLID new steering system put in place.
I say this as;
- Most rudders on production boats are not heavily built, nor designed & constructed so that you don't get water ingress. Especially where water can damage the key structural parts. And this problem only gets worse as a boat gets older.
Plus, rudders are somewhere which builders often look to save a bit of coin during construction. Following the out of sight, out of mind dictum. That, & surprisingly few buyers know much about rudders - their design & construction that is.

- If you work with the right folks to design & build a solid rudder, assuming some sweat equity, the cost factor for one's not outlandish when compared to say, a new sail.
And given your hands on time with the rudder you'll know what to keep an eye on, in terms of wear & tear on it's structural bits.

And whether you build a quality, new rudder, or a solid, emergency rudder, then you can keep the other one onboard as a spare/should the worst occur.
There's a reason that offshore racing boats are mandated to have viable emergency rudders onboard.


If you're still totally sold on a drogue, & are at all considering using it for storm conditions, then get a Jordan Series Drogue, ZERO questions.
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Old 29-09-2014, 16:09   #13
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

Well.. as always, an interesting bit of non-information.

First - I couldn't see them "manually pre-foul" any of the drogues tested in the video. Maybe I just wasn't watching close enough.

Second - if I was at all concerned about the integrity of my rudder system, I would definitely have it checked out before I went offshore. That being said, I am very confident in the integrity of my rudder system but as a prudent sailor I desire to have backups for critical systems of my boat before I venture out (no matter how well built the system is). And I am sure it depends on the particular offshore race but for one - the Vic-Maui - it does NOT say you need "viable emergency *rudder*" - it says you need an alternative method of steering (a drogue is very acceptable).

Lest this turn into a rant, I will leave it at that and move on to my original question with what I have found. I did buy the Shark and am really happy I did. I happened to be in northern California heading south when I bought it. So Zack (yes, the guy from the video) said "just stop by Newport on your way by and I will go out on your boat and test/show you how it works. Okay, sounds good to me!

Zack really was great - very respectful and overflowing with great information. We deployed the Shark and played with it quite a bit. It was certainly not like turning the rudder, but it definitely did not have any trouble turning the boat. Granted, my rudder was still attached and just locked in position, but it worked great.

One of my big things with product vendors is customer service. When was the last time you had a vendor bring their product down to your boat, go out on the water, and actually show you hands on how it works for free? I am absolutely certain there are vendors that will do that but they are few and far between. That really is above and beyond the call as far as I am concerned.

Thanks Zack!
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Old 29-09-2014, 18:29   #14
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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Well.. as always, an interesting bit of non-information.
Right. You only got three links to extensive on the water testing, 4 opinions based on real-world personal experience, and one well thought out alternative suggestion in the first 11 responses to your question. I can see why you are disappointed.

I am glad you got a product and are happy with it.
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Old 29-09-2014, 19:48   #15
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Re: Drogue Suggestions

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Right. You only got three links to extensive on the water testing, 4 opinions based on real-world personal experience, and one well thought out alternative suggestion in the first 11 responses to your question. I can see why you are disappointed.

I am glad you got a product and are happy with it.
My original post stated that I had already done the research and read the reviews and was not looking for links to product descriptions. I clearly stated that I was looking for feedback from people that had a drogue and had used it. And I certainly in no way implied that I thought my existing rudder was lacking in any way.

So out of the 11 responses I got 3 from people that had actually used a drogue (and I thanked them for their response) and one from a person that built his own. The rest just gave their opinions on what they thought might be a good idea (not what I was asking for).

Don't get me wrong - I am very thankful for the information. And maybe I was a bit unkind with my remark. To be honest, I was bit a miffed by the person that assumed my rudder was not up to the task to begin with and my idea was to get a drogue for *when* it failed.

On that note, please forgive my comment about the less than helpful information. I truly meant no disrespect.
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