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Old 26-03-2010, 02:10   #1
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Hoving-To in a Maxim Cat

Which are the better drougues to use when hoving to in a Cat? We have a Maxim 38' Cat which we will be cruising on from December 2010. Which drogues are the better ones to use - the single large cone type one or the long line with smaller drougues on it. How well does a cat hove to? Any info would be great - Thanks
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Old 26-03-2010, 03:03   #2
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Heaving to, drogues, sea anchors

Most sailing craft, including multihulls, will heave to. Experimentation in moderate weather with your boat will help you determine the appropriate moves. You should practice heaving to, both from reaching/running and from beating. The principle is the same, jib sheeted to windward, main sheeted with traveler amidship or to leeward, and rudder blade angled to windward (or tiller leeward). We fish offshore, and this works great when there is a "fish on".
Drogues and or sea anchors are best deployed from well backed (by winches?) strong points on the stern, on long bridles on multihulls, with adequate nylon (for elasticity) line deployed (10-15 x boat length or more, or when practical some even multiple of the wave period). A series drogue (like the Jordan Series Drogue) is arguably preferable to a sea anchor, as the shock loading is decreased, sea anchor "tripping" is avoided, and retrieval is much easier. The drogue should allow the boat to make slow downwind headway, enabling steerage and preventing broaching (the real risk in very heavy weather).
You must always have adequate sea room for these tactics. They won't protect you from a lee shore.
Our 45' high performance cat heaves to with the traveler about 1/2 way to windward, making only slight headway and slight leeway. The motion, even in high wind remains very comfortable. We have run off under bare poles in hurricane force wind in the Gulf of Mexico at 8-10 knots towing two 300' warps (5/8" nylon), deploying the (less desirable) parachute sea anchor only when boat speed got out of hand. A series drogue (to replace our sea anchor) will be an early purchase.
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Old 26-03-2010, 20:09   #3
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Originally Posted by dwightsusan View Post
Most sailing craft, including multihulls, will heave to. The principle is the same, jib sheeted to windward, main sheeted with traveler amidship or to leeward, and rudder blade angled to windward (or tiller leeward).

Our 45' high performance cat heaves to with the traveler about 1/2 way to windward ---
The traveler to windward? Is that correct?
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Old 26-03-2010, 20:41   #4
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Originally Posted by dwightsusan View Post
Drogues and or sea anchors are best deployed from well backed (by winches?) strong points on the stern, on long bridles on multihulls, with adequate nylon (for elasticity) line deployed (10-15 x boat length or more, or when practical some even multiple of the wave period). A series drogue (like the Jordan Series Drogue) is arguably preferable to a sea anchor, as the shock loading is decreased, sea anchor "tripping" is avoided, and retrieval is much easier. The drogue should allow the boat to make slow downwind headway, enabling steerage and preventing broaching (the real risk in very heavy weather).
You must always have adequate sea room for these tactics. They won't protect you from a lee shore.
Our 45' high performance cat heaves to with the traveler about 1/2 way to windward, making only slight headway and slight leeway. The motion, even in high wind remains very comfortable. We have run off under bare poles in hurricane force wind in the Gulf of Mexico at 8-10 knots towing two 300' warps (5/8" nylon), deploying the (less desirable) parachute sea anchor only when boat speed got out of hand. A series drogue (to replace our sea anchor) will be an early purchase.
What size sea anchor do you deploy off the stern ? I have a large one to use off the bow (although I've not yet had to use it) and can't imagine using it off the stern. That's the purpose for the much smaller drogue.

Glad to hear you can heave to with your cat. Do you roll up most of your genoa?
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Old 27-03-2010, 00:49   #5
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A bit more

FSMike - Thanks for catching my embarassing and confusing typo. I should have typed "with the traveler 1/2 way to leeward". Sorry for the disinformation.
GGray - We use the parachute (8') as a drogue, to control forward (downwind) speed. Although our original intent was to use it as a sea anchor deployed from the bow, we found, the hard way, that doing so allowed the boat to intermittently surge astern, usually slewing into something approaching a broach in the resultant loss of rudder effectiveness and directional control. With the sea anchor acting as a drogue from the stern, any downwind surge left us with full directional control from our very effective high aspect rudders.
The remaining problem is shock loading from the parachute, even with 300', or more, of nylon line deployed. So, we will next invest in something we feel is better, a Jordan Series Drogue.
The genoa (in our case, a screecher) can be a problem, the spinnaker, more so. When fishing seriously, we douse these sails and set the working jib in anticipation of the shout, "fish on". Otherwise, and almost invariably, when conditions call for us to heave to we already are using the working jib as our only headsail. Our screecher is on a soft luff and does not furl well. We have briefly heaved to with a sloppy partial roll in the screecher. If we are casually fishing downwind with the spinnaker deployed, we hank on the working jib, ready for a quick hoist, while we douse the spinnaker with a sock as we round up.
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Old 27-03-2010, 16:49   #6
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I thought the Jordan Drogue had more shock load then say a galerider. With a Jordan your boat speed is decreased to less then 3 knots while with a galerider it is 6 knots (something like that). What I recently found out which was interesting to me is that many cat sailors are not using either a parachute or drogue. I've hired a delivery captain in St. Marten to manage my boat and he has 15 trans-Atlantic's and two Pacific runs under his belt. He said he's never had a use for either. For him, the use of chutes and drogues is to quote "old school". His opinion is that newer designs are better running bare poles or if running out of sea room, bow to the waves with the motors running to keep in place. I asked him if he's ever been in some real S*&t and he laughed and said yes. He grew up on the Bay of Biscay.
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Old 27-03-2010, 17:19   #7
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dwightsusan, just curious, when you hove to I assume you have alredy reefed down as far as possible on the main and genny? We have a 46' cat and although we have hove to many times on our previous mono we have yet to experience any significant wind to try it with the new boat. Thanks
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Old 27-03-2010, 19:58   #8
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FSMike -
GGray - We use the parachute (8') as a drogue, to control forward (downwind) speed. Although our original intent was to use it as a sea anchor deployed from the bow, we found, the hard way, that doing so allowed the boat to intermittently surge astern, usually slewing into something approaching a broach in the resultant loss of rudder effectiveness and directional control. With the sea anchor acting as a drogue from the stern, any downwind surge left us with full directional control from our very effective high aspect rudders.
Thanks for the clarification. With 8 ft diameter, I guess you would need to use it as a drogue. My smaller cat has an 18 ft sea anchor to hang to by the bow. But as I said before, I've not used it yet.
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Old 28-03-2010, 03:59   #9
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Stacy - We heave to for several reasons, the most common being to ease reeling in a large fish offshore - we are inveterate offshore meat fishermen. Sometimes we heave to just for an offshore break (maybe lunch, or a light air swim) from sailing our high performance cat (which can be a bit of a handfull even in moderate conditions). Only very rarely would we heave to in foul weather, then usually reefed down and with a storm jib deployed. Only once have we deployed our parachute drogue because of conditions, hundreds of miles offshore, 4June2001, in Hurricane Allison, a most trying, and more than a little embarrassing, episode (and the possible subject for another post). That experience induced us to subsequently do a little practice in moderately high winds and seas, most of the basis for my comments about drogues.
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