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Old 08-11-2017, 10:43   #1
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Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

Hope to hear comments on one versus the other for storm tactics. My understanding of the Jordan Series Drogue is designed to slow the boat down as one is either running with or away from the storm. Less wind and breaking waves are reported advantages, etc. While the sea anchor is designed to ride out the storm while minimizing drift, say towards a leeward shore. Is it necessary to have both for a sizable catamaran planning transoceanic voyages or would the drogue be sufficient? Aside from redundancy (valuable), does having both warrant the extreme expense of some of these sea anchors? And if only one option was chosen, which?
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:32   #2
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re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

I love FB’s spellcheck Should read “drogue”
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:35   #3
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re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

Think about it this way:

The series droque slows the boat down so that the boat moves at less scary speeds helping to navigate your way through big seas. Potentially providing the opportunity to navigate out of the storm.

The sea anchor is for when you want to just sit there and ride it out.

Which would be your style?

My style for a big catamaran going oceanic would be to invest first in a system for current weather routing info, and a good barometer.. and know how to use these. Then I would have have plenty of line on-board for making warps should I need to slow her down. If after some experience I was not satisfied with above, then I would get a drogue.
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:16   #4
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

If I could only choose one for a multihull it would be a drogue. Because speed control is more likely to become an issue on a multi, and is less severe conditions, than the need to lay to on a sea anchor. Esp if you have good weather routing.

BTW, I practice what I preach. The drogue is aboard the boat..and I just ran across the sea anchor in storage...need to inspect it to make sure its still good.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:03   #5
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

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Aside from redundancy (valuable), does having both warrant the extreme expense of some of these sea anchors?
For me, yes. They are expensive, but I am happy to spring for whatever gear will help to keep the boat right side up and off the beach. Consider that, together, they cost less than a good life raft, dingy, spinnaker etc. As you mention in your post, they do serve somewhat different purposes and the redundancy is indeed valuable. When we go offshore we have both pre-rigged and ready to go. The warm, fuzzy feeling I get, knowing they are both there, is well worth whatever they cost.

Weight can be an issue and there is not much you can do about it with a parachute, but you can make your JSD using Dyneema and save a lot of weight at little or no additional cost.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:07   #6
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

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>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> as one is either running with or away from the storm. Less wind and breaking waves are reported advantages, etc. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Less wind as the boat slows? Would not the apparent wind rise?
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:50   #7
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

There have been times when exhausted, on dark and stormy nights when 'heaving to' alone would have be risky, that I wished I could have thrown out a sea anchor to hold her into the wind while I tried to get 40 winks. Drogues, which I have used successfully, can be made up out of knotted lines and fenders or whatever junk you want to throw over,, but the sea anchor requires a little more sophistication re design and material.
I'm going to take one of those next time offshore. Hope you do too.
Cheers, Pappy
p.s.- Dashew(s) have a section devoted to multi hull tactics re breaking waves in their Surviving the Storm: ,...start pg. 389.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:09   #8
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

I'd guess it would depend on conditions. If you want to run on a following sea a drogue may keep you from pitch poling. If you want to ride it out it's the sea anchor. It is not doing one and then deciding on the other after the fact. It would be a beam sea either way and probably cutting it loose your first choice and then turtling. JMHO
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:54   #9
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

Thanks for the inputs thus far. I recently read Fatty Goodlander's article 'Take It Slow' in this month's Cruising World magazine. His account of deploying and retrieving the Para-Tech sea anchor was disturbing, especially when I think about the large chute required for a 44', 19-ton catamaran. We will probably make our own JSD and some version of Fatty's Fat Puffer or another diy sea anchor that looks to be more easily retrieved than the Para_Tech. Keep the opinions coming though! Love to learn from other's experiences as I hope to avoid some first-hand lessons.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:59   #10
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

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Less wind as the boat slows? Would not the apparent wind rise?
From what I've read, the lower wind and calmer seas seen with a drogue may be from spending more time in the trough and from some slick created by the drogue. Second hand info as I've yet to deploy one.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:07   #11
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

Have you tried doing a search on this/these topics? As there are hundreds of posts about them, most with useful links in them that cover the vast majority of the information on them that's available.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:27   #12
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

I did a search though didn’t see one specific on this topic to multihulls and the question of either/or or both.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:53   #13
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

Lots here

Victor Shane's Drag Device Data Base | Using Parachutes, Sea Anchors and Drogues to Cope with Heavy Weather – Over 130 Documented Case Histories
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Old 09-11-2017, 15:52   #14
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

It seems the major reservation with parachute anchors is the dangers of retrieving them, especially when the seas are still a bit lumpy. We have learned from the hard earned experience of others that deploying a retrieval line that runs from boat to chute along with the chute rode is a very bad idea due to tangling of the two lines and possible collapse of the chute.

So it seems the better method is to have 2 floats attached to the apex of the chute. My Para-anchor has a specific attachment point for this. You attach one float (with about 30' line) that has enough buoyancy enough to prevent the chute from sinking. Why would it sink? Because it has 3 meters of stainless chained sewed around one edge of the chute opening to prevent it spinning, and there is a length of chain in the rode to give more constant tension and help mitigate the yo-yo effect of the rode stretching/contracting.

The second float is a high visibility float on 100-150' of floating bright yellow polyprop rope. Here's where it can become tricky, as you need to pick up the line to pull in the chute backwards to collapse it. And this is Captn Fatty'a objection to parachutes as you risk getting the retrieval line caught in the props or minikeels etc.

So instead of motoring up to the bright orange float and driving over the rode, go to the side ( on a path like a U on its side) and stay well away from the rode and float line. Use a grapnel and chuck it from the bow over the retrieval line like the crabpot fishermen do to retrieve their floats.

Then pull it all in ( its now easy, easier still tailing off the windlass) over the fore-beam with all lines as far from the props as possible.


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Old 09-11-2017, 15:59   #15
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Re: Sea Anchor versus drogue for multihull

One more thought. When you toss out the grapnel line over the polyprop float line, make sure you pull it in quickly so it doesnt sink down and snag the chute rode. Obviously the retrieval float will be downwind of the chute position, so the rode is under the float line.


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