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Old 31-05-2011, 03:07   #76
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Re: Multihulls: Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Drogue to sea anchor or bare poles to sea anchor is without a doubt fraught with risk. Suprisingly it is difficult to push a multihull over sideways in 50 knots, big seas and bare poles. The static stability is huge, even on a 30 degree slope. Is in easier to do it end on surfing down a wave. To pull in the drogue run in reverse, winch like hell and watch the wave state
A lot depends on the design, the sea state, the expected conditions.
I tried to lay a parachute in Cyclone Bola (when it reached 60 knots) and was unable to. I'd left it too late. Simply could not handle the gear on deck let alone launch it (actually breathing was a problem). So we rode the cyclone out under storm jib and lashed over helm. We had a lee shore so bare poles was not an option.
Since then I pre-empt the worse case scenario and go for ultimate best option. Usually this is a sea anchor. Drogues we use for controlled sailing - less fatigue and wear, limited surfing. Sea Anchor for stopping.
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Old 31-05-2011, 06:46   #77
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Sail IC, in the case of a series-drogue that is properly deployed from a boat that is designed/equipped to use one, you would only need to change tactics to a para-anchor if you ran out of sea room. In that rare case (and of course, if still in survival conditions), IMO you would likely have two options and both will involve losing the series-drogue:

1. Start your diesels, get the sea-anchor ready to deploy, wait for a window of opportunity to turn the boat 180 degrees and then cut the series drogue loose just prior to attempting your turn. A concern here would be fouling your prop in the series-drogue after you have made the turn, although the turn should take you off to one side.

2. Get the sea-anchor ready to deploy, start your diesels, release the the series drogue and then run before the storm for a brief period prior to making your turn and releasing the sea-anchor. This would eliminate the risk of getting fouled on the series drogue and it would allow you more of an opportunity to watch for the best wave on which to effect your turn. Having said that, under bare poles you will rapidly accelerate to a speed that will create a risk of pitchpoling, or a capsize during the relatively high-speed maneuver.

In either case, in making your turn you should run down the face of a wave at a slight angle in the direction in which you intend to make your turn and then, after the trough and as you are beginning to ride up the next wave, put the helm hard over with assist from your diesels.

Scarey? Indeed. However, most people who choose to deploy a sea-anchor will have been running before the storm prior to making the decision to deploy it. Consequently, they will be in precisely the same situation - having to turn the boat around prior to releasing the anchor. At least in the case of having first deployed a series-drogue, you will have the choice between two methods of deployment - one in which you will have slowed the boat prior to attempting the turn.

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Old 31-05-2011, 07:03   #78
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

PS You really shouldn't find yourself out of sea room in life-threatening conditions. Modern forecasting should allow you an opportunity to gain sea room before the ultimate storm hits. If you are that close to shore when the forecast arrives, then in most cases you would have time to make safe harbour prior to all hell breaking loose.

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Old 31-05-2011, 07:05   #79
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

I would think it best to launch the sea anchor before things got crazy. Weather reports, the barometer continuing to plunge, and good old common sense should be a warning of things to come......i2f
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Old 31-05-2011, 14:18   #80
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Re: Multihulls: Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sail IC View Post
Even if I can see the benefit with a deployed sea anchor, but is it really safe (or possible) for lets say a husband/wife crew to transition from running with the wind (w or w/o drogues) to deploying a sea anchor in very rough conditions.

This is a interesting thread with many very good opinions, but this I think is a key question that has not been answered.

Cheers
I have read of one person that upon leaving or upon acquiring knowledge of a storm sets up the parachute from the bow to the cockpit using wire ties. It is then deployed from the cockpit easily and under control with the wire ties breaking away.

Works for them. Makes sense to me.

I have no experience.
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Old 09-06-2011, 21:13   #81
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

I've got to say I've learned alot reading through this thread. I have no offshore sailing experience to speak of, but I have a fair amount of coastal experience. My dream is to have a cat within the next year and the prospect of being hundreds of miles offshore in heavy weather has always been in the back of my mind. This thread has been everything I've thought of. Mentally, I feel I'm up to the challenge. From an experience point of view, not so much. From reading through this thread and there is clearly two points of view......set the sea anchor, get rest and ride it out, or ride with the weather, surf the waves and if it gets too hairy set a drogue.

I've got to say from a neophyte's point of view , my gut feeling is that setting the sea anchor and riding it out seems the more conservative approach, especially if you've never experienced that type of weather before. It seems the only real negative to setting a sea anchor is that you run the risk of getting pushed backwards and damaging your rudder. With some of the testimonies of commercial fisherman that swear by a sea anchor I did not hear of any mention of rudder damage. What did I miss?

I would love to hear from both sides of this. How many of you experienced sailors have actually set a sea anchor in heavy seas and had your rudder damaged on the backlash?

I'm really not trying to play the devil's advocate here, but I would really like to hear from someone that successfully deployed a sea anchor and it didn't work out and why.

I can see both points of view, but I think it's more of an experience factor than anything,

Thoughts?
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Old 10-06-2011, 15:53   #82
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Of course it will depend on the design of the cat a great deal the risk of damaging trhe rudder, but for most of the modern cats I see this risk marginal.

Back to my point, trying to set either parachute or even drog (seems to me easier and less risky) in extreme conditions with unexperienced crew is a recipie to disaster..

I still belive that leaving the boat on his own (and praying..) could be the best solution for majority of us. (and definately for me)

Cheers

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Old 10-06-2011, 17:30   #83
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I was looking at a you tube clip of a lagoon 440 in 60knts of wind doing 18 knts. What was really interesting is that when we were in a storm off Cape Point in only 47 knts of wind, the sea state was wildly worse than what I saw in the clip.
Also, rounding the point had the sea state bringing out different patterns all the time. A friend who was onboard his catamaran astern of us, had taken on water and was in survival mode (I applaud his sailing skill for having managed rounding the point with a water filled boat).
Ana and I were both tied to the boat and were steering for the most part from inside. The waves were barreling and literally breaking on top of us.
We could see foam up against the windows and even at times seaweed stuck against the windows in the foam. It was wild.
When we were approaching Cape Point, we were heading into the swell and waves - the odd wave came from a sidewards direction and some in front of us suddenly stood upright like a wall...... not sure how to explain that ?
I was on engines and was working the throttle continuously - speed between waves and throttle back onto the wave and then hit the throttle as the boat passed through the wave again. It was a struggle between keeping the boat moving but not too fast that it would stop dead in the approaching wash which would put too much strain on the rigging, hence working the throttles. I'm sure I did plenty wrong out there but the sea state changed so often that my tactic was changing accordingly. When we rounded the point, a wave picked us up and we found ourselves side on riding down a wave face. When we looked behind us we were astounded to see the same wave barreling. I told Ana I was sure the barrel would close before hitting us, but was wrong. The wave literally broke on our beam and we found ourselves being spun around 90 degrees or more - terrifying!
From then on out we powered her sidewards through the troughs turning her into the wave as it broke. The noise was unbelievable. Then we found ourselves close to bellows rock and had no option to ride the waves sidewards again until clear. Then we turned toward false bay with the waves breaking from behind. Strapped in we moved up onto the bridge as I wanted to see what was happening to the nose of the Cat which I feared would dig in and cartwheel. ( been on a cat that did it with 6 of us onboard - not doing that again)
To my amazement, I watched the nose drop down to about 2 ft above water, and then 'pop' up again and every time.
I found this incredible - and although it was frightening to be in that sea state, we felt safe onboard.
When we had returned, I discussed the fact that the nose 'refused to bury' and obviously I was impressed by that - they explained that it was due to the nacelle (a middle hull between the hulls of the lagoon 440 which extends from the stern to into the trampoline area and just above the waterline. As the nose drops, the nacelle makes contact with the water and begins to 'float' the bows up again - really an amazing design.
I can honestly say that the game was changing by the minute. There was no consistent pattern, one had to FEEL, look, see and hear all the time. I doubt that any sea anchor or drogue would have been safe in these conditions. It was critical to be able to 'position' (only way I can explain it) the boat from wave to wave.
I have no idea what I would have done during nightfall - it seemed crucial to me that I had to visibly manoeuvre the boat to maintain a safe position continuously. The one thing I invested in after that event - a decent, strong, simple and easy to use storm jib.
I figured that has got to be part I the answer in any storm - keep just enough sail power in the bow and keep her windward.
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Old 10-06-2011, 18:00   #84
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Good story Impi, thanks for sharing it.

Everytime I see a video of some storm survival it doesn't look very bad. I've only been realy scared once in a storm at sea. I took some video then played it back when I got home. Same thing, it didn't look all that bad on the tv.

The one story that always comes to mind when sailors talk about sea anchors is this one: Yachtsman Richard Charrington tells of his struggle to survive - Times Online

There where multiple mistakes made, but the perceived security and comfort of being at a sea anchor definitely played a part. The crew where sleeping!!
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Old 10-06-2011, 18:29   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palarran
Good story Impi, thanks for sharing it.

Everytime I see a video of some storm survival it doesn't look very bad. I've only been realy scared once in a storm at sea. I took some video then played it back when I got home. Same thing, it didn't look all that bad on the tv.

The one story that always comes to mind when sailors talk about sea anchors is this one: Yachtsman Richard Charrington tells of his struggle to survive - Times Online

There where multiple mistakes made, but the perceived security and comfort of being at a sea anchor definitely played a part. The crew where sleeping!!
Hi Palarran

Wow - a truly remarkable story!

I had never heard if this before. It makes me realise that we were lucky when we capsized on a cat - 35 ft - was on a lake in severe wind - 6 of us and we all survived. I swam 1.8NM for help (stupid stupid stupid - never leave the vessel), was pulled out of the water hypothermic ....... Huge lessons learned that day !!!
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Old 10-06-2011, 20:24   #86
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

As owner of an Orana 440 about to head down to South Africa and then home to Annapolis, I have read this with great interest. We carry both a drogue and a parachute, and the requisite bridles, chains, swivels, etc. I have not yet tested deployment, though I expect to prior to crossing the Indian Ocean.

My own plans have been greatly influenced by the first-hand accounts of deployment of these devices in a book titled the Drag Device Data Base, which captures first-hand experiences from sailors, grouped by type of boat (mono, cat, tri) and device (drogue, chute).

Having pored over the book many times, it seemed and still seems clear to me that deploying a chute EARLY is best for several reasons, not least of which is the fact -- unmentioned in this post -- that storms move, and that running with the wind significantly prolongs one's time in heavy weather ...

That said, I like the idea of avoiding heavy weather.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:04   #87
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Hi jglauds

Can you perhaps give us a bit if info on how to determine size, length of line etc for drogue and sea anchor in a catamaran your size? It is probably worth having the kit onboard ..... A lot of guys here use the old tyre method of slowing the boat down - it works pretty well and although one would think a tyre floats, it actually creates a lot of resistance in the water which one wants.
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:50   #88
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Here is "the" source for information on Jordan Series drogues. To get sizing information follow the link to the Coast Guard report on series drogues which includes sizing recommendations for mono-hulls. The pricing information from Ace sailmakers also includes recommended sizes for multihulls.
Jordan Series Drogue

I had ace sailmakers make our drogue, but you can also build it yourself, or from a kit from sailrite.

Mark.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:36   #89
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Thanks jglauds....that DDDB seems to be an excellent resource. Those wily vets with heavy weather experience would do a world of good to the sailing community by submitting to the database.......On thing I found interesting in this link......."Those who use drag devices for the first time and run into problems will tend to send back comprehensive reports; the veterans who use them routinely and don’t run into any problems, won’t. "

Anyway some interesting comments in this link.

news
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Old 12-06-2011, 19:00   #90
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Re: Multihulls - Heavy Weather ( Passive ) Handling

Wasn't that DDDB book published 10 years ago? How old where the boats that submitted the reports for it? Also, of those, how many where actually catamarans? And of those catamarans, how many where sailed by professionals compared to a scared husband and wife?

Quite honestly, it is incredible to me that someone would patch together a jordan series drogue for a catamaran. That is so old of technology for today it's laughable. Add to that the notion that you want to lay out a parachute sea anchor in true storm conditions when catamarans simply are not designed to face waves in those conditions, wow. But hey, its everyones personal choice. As I said before, I'm choosing to follow what professionals do, not casual cruisers.
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