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Old 12-06-2004, 06:57   #1
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Storm Tactics

I am reading Lynn and Larry Pardey's book storm tactic's. It sounds good so far.
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Old 15-02-2008, 05:54   #2
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Jordan Series Drogue

Hi,

Please consider this storm tactic:

Jordan Series Drogue
Revolutionary Storm Survival Device
Donald Jordan, inventor, comments:
1. To protect a yacht in a hurricane, an outside force must be applied from a drag device. No design changes to the boat and no storm tactics on the part of the skipper can result in a significant reduction in risk.
2. The drag device must be a drogue, i.e. the boat must be tethered from the stern.
3. A sea anchor cannot be designed to protect the boat. When tethered from the bow, the boat will yaw and develop unacceptable loads. The reason for this is that all boats must be designed to be directionally stable when moving forward - or it would not be possible to steer the boat. Therefore, if moving backwards, the boat will be unstable and will yaw and turn broadside to the sea.
4. The drogue must consist of multiple drag elements strung out along the tow line. A single drag device of any size or shape will not provide protection.
5. The drogue must be designed so that a significant number of the drag elements are deeply submerged and do not lie on the surface.
6. The design of the multiple design elements must be such that, in a "worst case" breaking wave strike, peak transient load will not exceed the design value for the drogue components or the boat attachments.
7. The strength of the drogue and the number of drag elements must be adjusted to be compatible with the displacement of the specific yacht.
8. With a proper drogue, a yacht and crew can survive a storm of the severity of the Fastnet or 1998 Sydney-Hobart storm with no serious storm damage or crew injuries.

“Conventional storm survival lore and literature is no longer necessary or pertinent. Whenever the situation deteriorates to the point where further progress is no longer possible or even when it becomes unpleasant, the logical choice is to ride to the drogue until conditions improve. This also applies in the event of crew fatigue, illness, or the need for a stable platform to permit rigging repair.
Although the drogue was developed using sophisticated engineering tools and procedures, the device itself is very low tech. There are no special materials, no moving parts or controls, no special hydrodynamic shapes. The only material subjected to high loads is the double braided nylon rope.”
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Old 15-02-2008, 06:44   #3
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I am always interested when there are completely different views on achieving the same outcome, in this instance "surviving the storm". Often the various proponents will ridicule each others methods, especially if they are selling a product. Unless I have experience in a certain situation, I tend to choose someone elses ideas (who have practicial experience) that "make sense" rather than the ideas backed up just with "science". Of course my method of choosing does not necessarily work but it does make me feel better!
In this instance, as I have no experience in seriously bad storms, I am choosing the "Lin and Larry" approach of hoving to with a para anchor set off the bow with a bridle to the quarter to achieve the drift "slick". It just makes more sense to me, L & L are not selling the products and they do have a lot of experience. Perhaps their ideas are not the best but until I hear from other significant sailors with either better (and tried) ideas or experience that shows the why the L & L methods did not work for them, I am not convinced.
I know that some doubt L & L storm tatics but the arguments against their methods (that I have read) don't really seem to arise from experience, more theory.
Has anyone here seriously experimented by genuinely trying the various of storm tatics in a "controlled" way. Not in a "survial situation" of course, that is not the place to experiment, rather, experimenting significantly heavy weather (maybe 40 to 50 kts with a low sea state) with various types of stern drogues, para anchors from the bow, para anchors set L & L style etc. i.e. real variations, real experience, real data.
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Old 15-02-2008, 07:03   #4
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Opps...

Perhaps if I read the thread on series drogues first, I might have answered my own question
That thread concerns itself mainly to multihulls so I will leave the question of experimenting in controlled conditions open to the mono world. Especially would like hear from people who have used Lin and Larry's methods - good or bad.
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Old 17-02-2008, 06:27   #5
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Has NO one here tried hoving to with a para anchor set from the bow (and quarter) creating a slick to windward to reduce the chances of breaking seas as described in Pardey's Storm Tatcics.
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Old 17-02-2008, 07:20   #6
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I hove to 3 years ago using what I learned in the Pardey's book. They spent 30 seconds explaining how to do it with a ketch and it worked like magic. I have not tried the para anchor yet.
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Old 17-02-2008, 07:45   #7
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Lin and Larry Pardey's technique has worked well for them (and many others) and has, therefore, a great deal to recommend it. That being said, one must also consider the type of boat they have and whether the behavior at sea mirrors (or even approximates) your own.

The Pardey's boat is a traditional design with a full keel and heavy displacement: such boats will typically heave-to extremely well without the aid of a sea-anchor deployed in a bridle off the bow/windward side of the boat. Many fin keels, on the other hand, are notoriously reluctant to heave-to. In such a boat, I suspect that even with a sea anchor deployed as they describe, there would still be a tendancy to yaw - and therewith, a risk of taking the occasional sea beam-on. In such a case the series-drogue would seem to be a better option.

I guess the question is whether there are people out there who have successfully used the 'Pardey' technique in survival conditions on boats that do not readily heave-to without deploying a sea-anchor.

Brad
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Old 17-02-2008, 21:40   #8
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If you want a different view of storm management that L & L's, you should read Dashew's Surviving the Storm. It is a goofy title with poor editing, but a good book on the subject. The problem with asking others what has worked for them is that very few people will experience a survival storm. So most of the anecdotal information you get is based on surviving a storm. This might be a bad blow to some and a man-against-the-sea battle for others. But it is unlikely to be any where near the survival storm category. To get real comparative information, read about the storms where many boats of different types were involved and used different techniques. These include Fastnet, Queens Birthday and Sydney-Hobart storms. A lot can be learned from these storms and the storm managment techniques used by the sailors. One very interesting fact is that boat type/design was not a significant factor in survival.

Paul L
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Old 17-02-2008, 22:27   #9
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I know this one has been posted before, but I think it's appropriate to bring it up here again. DDDB, Drag Device Data Base Using Parachutes, Sea Anchors and Drogues to Cope with Heavy Weather: Seventy Documented Case Histories, by Victor Shane.

People have sent in their experiences in storms using drag devices. The book is divided into several types of boats, monohull, cat, tri, power, and those categories are divided into bow and stern deployments.

John
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Old 17-02-2008, 22:33   #10
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Could someone explain why it is better to be tied off stern to with a drogue and have waves breaking across your transom as opposed to being tied off at the bow? Its pretty obvious that boats are designed to take breaking waves more from the bow than the stern. Just how strong are the companionway hatches on yachts? I don't see barges getting towed backwards in heavy seas. In the rough seas I have been on in ships and offshore supply vessels it is best to go dead slow ahead with just enough steerage to maintain course into breaking seas. How is this different for small boats? You don't turn a large vessel dead down wind in heavy seas because of the severe yawing which would induce a heavy roll as the seas hit the ship on the quarter. Yes I understand that the windage of the boat is pushing it astern by a few knots with a drogue off the bow.

This slick idea seems like nonsense when you compare the energy the boat knocks down in its lee compared to the energy in a wave that weighs hundreds of thousands times more than a yacht.

Could theory about how to manage a small boat in a storm be getting ahead of actual experienced and practiced reality?
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Old 18-02-2008, 00:44   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
Could someone explain why it is better to be tied off stern to with a drogue and have waves breaking across your transom as opposed to being tied off at the bow? Its pretty obvious that boats are designed to take breaking waves more from the bow than the stern.
Yachts are designed to go forward as has already been mentioned. There is a lot of stress on rudders with modern yacht designs in a seaway going backwards. Even hove to, boats slowly go to windward.

Try reversing a fin keeler under power and put the rudder hard over and see what happens. Tiller will probably rip out of your hands.

Just finished reading Nick Ward's book, "Left for Dead". 1979 Fastnet race. Nick survived after being left alone with another crew member who was dead on board Grimalkin a Ron Holland designed Nickolson 30. This is a modern fin keeler. After reading this very descriptive book I would not consider tethering from the bow.
After reading Nick's book I bought Rob Mundle's book "Fatal Storm" off Ebay. This is a book on the Sydney Hobart race of 1998. Once again very descriptive and from my arm chair I would only consider the stern. The damage done in the Hobart race to modern and old designs alike seem to be from waves striking the boats beam on. Yachts sailing forward under a storm jib could steer around breaking waves, soon as they dropped all sail they seemed to be in trouble.
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Old 18-02-2008, 05:08   #12
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Quote:
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This slick idea seems like nonsense when you compare the energy the boat knocks down in its lee compared to the energy in a wave that weighs hundreds of thousands times more than a yacht.
Yes, the slick idea does SEEM like nonsense yet it does work for some - why? And why aren't more people using it. Is it because: its an old technique more or less forgotten; doesn't work for a lot of newer designs; crews prefer to press on rather than hove to; no one understands why it works so don't believe it does - don't trust it.

I am GUESSING (and that maybe obvious) this protective slick has something to do with fluid dynamics between the disturbance of the surface layer from drift of the keel (and para anchor) and the nature of breaking crest on the sea. I assume it only helps to prevent a sea breaking from wind action rather than a shoaling bottom. The effect seems to be quite pronounced and local from what I have read.

My credentials in this thread:
Sea Time - no real storm experience whatsoever; I have sailed regularly 30+ kts; occasionally 40+ kts and a single Tasman Sea crossing.
Armchair Time - Most of the works of Solcum, Villers, Coles, Chichester, Hiscock, Blyth, Knox-Johnston, Moitessier, Smeeton, James, Lewis, Ridgway, Cottee, Bullimore, Hawkins, Mundle, Hays, Chiles, Ward, Hordern, DDDB and a fistful of lesser known names. And of course, the Pardey's "Storm Tactics" - Irwinsailors reason for the thread.

From this reasonable selection of it would seem there are 7 basic storm tactics being used at one time or another.
Dumping oil, lying ahull, hove to, running free downwind, sea anchor (para anchor) from the bow, running with various types of drogues from the stern, hove to with para anchor deployed to windward via a running bridle from bow and quarter (L & L's slick).
The first 6 appear many times in the literature and with varying success and failures (although oil is rarely mentioned in the last 60 years); however the last one (which I will refer to as "the slick") ONLY appears FIRST hand in the Pardey's StormTactics and hardly even second hand elsewhere. I can't believe it is a hoax and L & L suggest will work for a variety of designs (with the usual proviso of practice & trying it yourself) including fin keelers - maybe not extremely narrow fins.
The first 6 tactics (except oil) are debated widely and most of us at least understand the principles involved and I am sure many of you have tried more than one of them.

But "the slick" just doesn't rate a mention except for L & L and yet they rate it very successful and I for one think it makes sense (even though I don't understand the dynamics involved). From my reading, the boat is relativity steady, hove to, the forward quarter presented to the non-breaking seas while drifting very slowly downwind, no breaking seas in the vinicity of the boat due to the protective slick. Unless no one has lived to tell the tale, I would have expected someone on a forum this size to have some first hand experience of this method.

Am I missing something...
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Old 18-02-2008, 07:06   #13
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David M, Ramona gives one valid reason for the series-drogue, but there are many others:

Secondly, the boat still maintains some forward motion and hence (as when you are sailing downwind) the apparent speed of the wave and wind from behind is lessened.

Thirdly, with a series - drogue, the drag remains essentially constant as the cones are deployed throughout the length of the rode. In sea-anchors, there have been numerous cases of the chute collapsing in an incoming wave: in such a case, the rode goes temporarily slack and then suddenly re-fills, causing a huge snap and extreme forces on the rode and the attachment points on the yacht. This can tear hardware out of the deck; the chafe can also cause the rode, the bridle or even the chute to break. Richard Woods felt forced to abandon his cat a couple of years ago in precisely these circumstances. Yes, there have been opinions expressed that he had not let out sufficient rode, but some would suggest that this only highlights a further difficulty with sea-anchors: they are much more difficult to deploy (and retrieve) and may require adjustments to ensure that the sea-anchor is on the same relative position on the wave train as the boat. In extremely high waves, if the boat is situated on a crest while the sea-anchor is below the trough, there will be a tendancy to pull the anchor up towards the surface as well as back, making it more vulnerable to the effect of breaking seas.

Fourthly, temporary slack in the rode can also allow the boat to yaw and take the brunt of the waves beam-on.

Fifthly, there is a natural tendancy for a boat to maintain a more straight heading if it is moving forward with some drag behind. This is the direction that boats (and arrows) are designed to travel in.

Sixthly, it is much easier and safer to deploy a series-drogue as it can merely dumped out from the relative safety of the cockpit, rather than from the bow(s).

Seventhly, the USCG conducted tests of Jordan's design a number of years ago and found them more effective in breaking seas than a sea-anchor.

Eighthly, it is comforting to know that Jordan made his design available free of charge to hundreds of people/sailmakers worldwide; his original intention, the original test by the USCG and the testimonials are not merely sales hype by a manufacturer.

Having said all of that, there is more than a nugget of truth in your expressed concern about breaking waves into the cockpit of a multihull. While the stern of a modern cat should contain sufficient bouyancy to rise with even large oncoming waves, breaking seas are a different phenomenon. Cats tend to have huge cockpits and some have a step down into the bridgedeck accomodation that would no doubt allow entry of water before the cockpit drains could even begin to deal with the situation.

For precisely this reason I have purchased both a series-drogue and a para-anchor. While it is my fervent hope that I will never require either, I see the first line of defence as being the series-drogue. Although the manufacturer suggests deploying the entire length and then going below and forgetting about it, I would initially deploy a shorter length with the intention only of slowing the boats progress and increasing lateral stability. If helming became impossible (or too tiring) I would prepare the sea-anchor for deployment and then pay-out the entire series-drogue and basically 'see what happens'. If, as Jordan and others claim, the boat slows to about 1 1/2 knots and is able to take even breaking seas without difficulty, I would indeed go below and ride it out. If, on the other hand, the cockpit was getting overwhelmed by breaking seas, I would release the series-drogue and deploy the sea-anchor from a bridle off the bows.

I suspect that a monohull with a high bridgedeck, solid companionway doors and adequate cockpit drainage would do well (in fact much better) with a series drogue than with a para-anchor. I also suspect that the same would be true in cats with no cockpit wells and with an open rear bridgedeck (or alternatively, with slats under the cockpit area). I am less than confident about how my particular cat would survive in those conditions as I have a distinct cockpit well that is (partly) fenced in by a raised deck to accomodate the aft athwartships double berths.

In the end result, what works for some may not work for others. Boats differ, as do storms. What works for a ship or supply vessel will likely have little application to a small sailing yacht. What works for a Westsail 32 (lying ahull - the Westsail 32 in 'The Perfect Storm' was actually found upright and intact several days after the rescue of the crew) may not work for a comparatively light fin-keeler or multihull. Indeed, as I have already suggested, what works for one cruising cat may not work for another.

I suspect that there are variable answers for tactics in coping with extreme conditions, precisely because there is no single 'correct' answer. That, of course, is disquieting. We would all prefer that there be a single right way to deal with a situation. We can (and should) read about the experiences of others; but ultimately, as with virtually everything to do with the sailing and navigation of a vessel under our command, we have the responsibility to adjust to varying conditions as they arise. Develop a plan, but keep an open mind. And equip and prepare your boat for the possibility that your designated first line of defence may fail.

Brad
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Old 18-02-2008, 08:28   #14
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The slick sure seemed to work for us in 12 white caps on lake Michigan. I was amazed at how well the Pardey's suggestions worked.
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Old 18-02-2008, 09:42   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramona View Post

Try reversing a fin keeler under power and put the rudder hard over and see what happens. Tiller will probably rip out of your hands.
I have...plenty of times with a semi-balanced rudder on a sailboat. I did skippered charters for a sailing school on the weekends while at the maritime academy. What is the problem with putting the rudder amidships and locking it during a storm? If the rudder post fails by bending or breaking off then I would say that is an undersized rudder post. Shouldn't the steering gear on a serous ocean cruising sailboat be designed to withstand the forces generated by a storm?

It seems crazy to have to put a boat stern to into breaking waves because one might have an undersized rudder post, an under-balanced rudder or a poorly designed steering system.
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