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Old 05-09-2012, 13:05   #136
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by conachair View Post
I didn't. Just trying to help.

But won't bother again.

Yes, you did. In spite of my repeatedly telling people I was saving my posts, you said I wasn't listening to people. You JUST said it.

I appreciate your help, but "I won't be using one of these" isn't nearly the help that "I've used it and here's what happened to me" is.

I guess you thought I was supposed to say "Wow, you're right. I have a completely closed mind and just spent a LOT of my time NOT considering all the information gave me. How brilliant you were to spot that."

Whether you believe it or not, numerous people here were tremendously helpful. Maybe *you* didn't pay attention to those posts because *your* mind is made up (and that's fine -- you should make your mind up about what you're going to do when you sail) -- so you didn't pay as close attention to the posts that were most helpful to me -- because I have *not* made my mind up yet.

But I do know that calling me names does not increase my sailing abilty.
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:33   #137
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Raku, my situation is not much different to yours. I'm about to start sailing my second boat which has been built for long ocean passages which we intend to do. However most of my sailing experience is coastal & inshore although I have one ocean passage under my belt on someone else's boat. I have no problem with you asking many questions and in fact I find that I sometimes have to ask the same question in a different way to suck out different opinions. Sometimes someone takes offense.

This is my conclusion. I will be carrying both a single element and a Jordan series drogue because I have the room for both and because it gives me options. For the same reason I have a cutter rig. It just gives me options that a standard sloop rig doesn't. If you don't carry a drogue or sea anchor then you don't have that option. Retrieval of the series drogue is going to be a protracted exercise so I'm not going to launch it until I feel that the boat might be overwhelmed without it. For the reasons stated on previous posts this is not going to be in a coastal situation and if it's on the open ocean I've probably still stuffed up badly with weather forecasting. If the thing saves my boat (life?) and then I can't retrieve it I can always cut the line because its already paid for itself. The easier to retrieve single element drogue is probably more usable. Both give you options and if the sh%#&* hits the fan it's good not be out of options.
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Old 05-09-2012, 13:41   #138
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by Sabbatical II View Post
Raku, my situation is not much different to yours. I'm about to start sailing my second boat which has been built for long ocean passages which we intend to do. However most of my sailing experience is coastal & inshore although I have one ocean passage under my belt on someone else's boat. I have no problem with you asking many questions and in fact I find that I sometimes have to ask the same question in a different way to suck out different opinions. Sometimes someone takes offense.

This is my conclusion. I will be carrying both a single element and a Jordan series drogue because I have the room for both and because it gives me options. For the same reason I have a cutter rig. It just gives me options that a standard sloop rig doesn't. If you don't carry a drogue or sea anchor then you don't have that option. Retrieval of the series drogue is going to be a protracted exercise so I'm not going to launch it until I feel that the boat might be overwhelmed without it. For the reasons stated on previous posts this is not going to be in a coastal situation and if it's on the open ocean I've probably still stuffed up badly with weather forecasting. If the thing saves my boat (life?) and then I can't retrieve it I can always cut the line because its already paid for itself. The easier to retrieve single element drogue is probably more usable. Both give you options and if the sh%#&* hits the fan it's good not be out of options.

If you try any of these I will be most interested in hearing how they turn out.

IF I UNDERSTAND CORRECTLY (and I haven't tried any of this yet) -- a single drogue slows you down, but you can still steer some. I have a REALLY big transom, and according to what I've read (all book larnin', no real life experience on it), I don't want to be going dead downwind so a galloping wave can't break full force on my transom. Better that it hit the corner. If I understand it correctly, you pretty much have to go dead downwind with a series. on the other hand, *aparently,* if you have a long enough series out the boat stops and the waves just slide under the stern.

But all of that is theory and I don't want to be weighing untested theories if my or my boat's survival is on the line. But I would go further and use these devices just to increase comfort as we rode out a storm, if -- for instance -- I had someone incapacitated by sea sickness. I don't really need someone who is dangerously dehydrated on top of everything else.

I'm particularly interested in the sea anchor because my boat has trouble heaving to and doesn't like to point into the wind. Both can be helpful in a storm and *apparently* a sea anchor can help with both.

But I don't know. I have other people's opinions -- some who have used them, and some who have not.

I got both for a song. Maybe I'll never use them. I don't know.
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Old 05-09-2012, 15:14   #139
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
a single drogue slows you down, but you can still steer some.

It depends on how big it is and how much drag it creates, but generally yes, that's correct. We aim to be doing 6-7kts with the single element drogue out, and we adjust our sails (from bare poles to small storm jib to regular storm jib to staysail) to keep that speed.

I have a REALLY big transom, and according to what I've read (all book larnin', no real life experience on it), I don't want to be going dead downwind so a galloping wave can't break full force on my transom.

That's not as much of a problem as you seem to be stating it. We also have a big transom. We get thumped on the side of the boat by breaking waves and we very occasionally get a wave break into the cockpit over the transom, but the force of a wave breaking on the transom has never been any sort of problem.

Better that it hit the corner.

I would say not, as that is more likely to knock the boat around side to the waves and a follow up wave might then hit you beam on and knock you over. The force on the boat hitting 'a corner' is likely to be just as great as 'dead on the transom' because the corner includes both the transom and the side of the boat which is in total a greater surface area. Remember these waves are great huge things.

If I understand it correctly, you pretty much have to go dead downwind with a series.

No, you can go about 40 degrees either side of downwind. You just adjust the rode/bridle . . . you do realize you should rig it on a bridle? Not sure if you know it, but drogues (on a bridle) are one of the common solutions for emergency steering if you loose your rudder.

on the other hand, *aparently,* if you have a long enough series out the boat stops

about 2kts . . . don't know if you consider that 'stopped' or not. The drag of the drogues is relative to speed. At zero speed they create zero drag, so you can not in fact actually fully stop with one, you can only go slowly - 2kts is practically speaking about as slow as you can go

and the waves just slide under the stern.

The slower you go , the harder the waves will hit you, and the more they will break into the cockpit. So you are more vulnerable and will get hit harder going 2kts than 6-7kts. The danger of more speed is not being hit by the waves but of starting to loose steering control and rounding up and then being hit beam on.

I had someone incapacitated by sea sickness. I don't really need someone who is dangerously dehydrated on top of everything else.

You should get some good seasickness meds on board. Sturgeon is excellent. You should also have a suppository version for really serious situations.

You can get dehydration even without seasickness - simply not drinking enough - its pretty common. It is smart to have a 2lt botle of water for each person on board, each marked with their name, and make sure they each drink the full bottle every day.


I'm particularly interested in the sea anchor because my boat has trouble heaving to and doesn't like to point into the wind. Both can be helpful in a storm and *apparently* a sea anchor can help with both.

You have it now. You should now go out and try it and report back to us. Try rigging it both the Pardey way and the over-the-bow way. Do NOT just stick it in a locker and hope it will work whenever you may need it. They need to be fiddled with a bit to know how best to rig and deploy and recover them. Deploying them without getting the rode taggled in something, rode chafe and recovery are usually the three biggest problems in actual use. So, go out and give it a go!
......
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Old 05-09-2012, 15:16   #140
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

I think your concern of taking a wave directly against the transom is misplaced. I have never heard of a transom failing due to a following sea; it may have happened, but it is vanishingly rare. What is common is a large wave hitting the quarter and causing a broach and roll situation. Basically the wave hitting the quarter causes a large yawing force which will be somewhere between difficult and impossible to counter with the rudder. Given your established problem with your rudder, this would be a situation to avoid like the plague. I can count on large quartering seas to destroy tillerpilots on my boat - the forces just get too great. Running straight off is the answer. Most of the time the stern will rise to the wave and the wave will pass harmlessly under the boat; sometimes a wave may break and poop the cockpit but this is more of a downward force on the stern than a hammer to the transom. YMMV

While I don't have experience deploying/recovering either, I doubt that the series drogue is any more difficult to recover than a single drogue. The series drogue can be recovered right up to the weighting anchor by simply running the line (drogues and all) around a primary winch. With a single drogue the line can be brought in the same way, then the chute would be brought in over the transom with the recovery line. Not much difference, assuming the same drag from each (which should be the case).

As for using a sea anchor or drogue for comfort and not survival, I think that may be a mixed blessing. First, a lot of additional work is created. Second, it is commonly reported that boats with drag devices get very uncomfortable when the wind comes down after the storm and the seas are still up. Most of the accounts I have read emphasize the need to bring the device in as soon as the wind is down to sailing conditions in order to stabilize the boat under sail and not just get thrown around in the seas going nowhere. Of course that means it will be a bit harder to recover than later. That seems to me to be an awful lot of effort for an improvement in relative comfort, and the resulting exhaustion is itself a risk. Anyway, the whole idea of comfort, relative or absolute, on a small boat at sea in a storm is a chimera.

Greg
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Old 05-09-2012, 15:23   #141
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
I think your concern of taking a wave directly against the transom is misplaced. I have never heard of a transom failing due to a following sea; it may have happened, but it is vanishingly rare. What is common is a large wave hitting the quarter and causing a broach and roll situation. Basically the wave hitting the quarter causes a large yawing force which will be somewhere between difficult and impossible to counter with the rudder. Given your established problem with your rudder, this would be a situation to avoid like the plague. I can count on large quartering seas to destroy tillerpilots on my boat - the forces just get too great. Running straight off is the answer. Most of the time the stern will rise to the wave and the wave will pass harmlessly under the boat; sometimes a wave may break and poop the cockpit but this is more of a downward force on the stern than a hammer to the transom. YMMV

While I don't have experience deploying/recovering either, I doubt that the series drogue is any more difficult to recover than a single drogue. The series drogue can be recovered right up to the weighting anchor by simply running the line (drogues and all) around a primary winch. With a single drogue the line can be brought in the same way, then the chute would be brought in over the transom with the recovery line. Not much difference, assuming the same drag from each (which should be the case).

As for using a sea anchor or drogue for comfort and not survival, I think that may be a mixed blessing. First, a lot of additional work is created. Second, it is commonly reported that boats with drag devices get very uncomfortable when the wind comes down after the storm and the seas are still up. Most of the accounts I have read emphasize the need to bring the device in as soon as the wind is down to sailing conditions in order to stabilize the boat under sail and not just get thrown around in the seas going nowhere. Of course that means it will be a bit harder to recover than later. That seems to me to be an awful lot of effort for an improvement in relative comfort, and the resulting exhaustion is itself a risk. Anyway, the whole idea of comfort, relative or absolute, on a small boat at sea in a storm is a chimera.

Greg
Thank you so much. My understanding is that the sea anchor in particular is about waves, not wind. Of course you could get more efficiently underway once the wind died down, but (forgive me -- each boat does handle these things differently) -- my boat is tender in waves, and the reports seem to indicate that the sea anchor helps handle that. I would be willing to wait more comfortably before getting underway and let the seas as well as the wind settle down. But what you say matches with what I've read from a variety of sources, that the sea anchor is much harder to retrieve while the waves are still up.

That's one of the things that makes all of this a tough call.

I don't think drogues are all that hard to retrieve. A sea anchor could be an entirely different story.

thanks.
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Old 05-09-2012, 15:58   #142
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

estarzinger; Thanks, that is a very clear explanation. Some people have little understanding of large breaking waves so some time on YouTube might help them understand what you mean. I've seen great YouTube clips of fishing boats in heavy weather.
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:10   #143
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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......

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments. Those, too, go into the file!

Yes, I did know you can steer in a pinch by dragging, and I did read to use a bridle.

You are absolutely right. while I'm testing that sea anchor I should try the Pardey approach. Then I can compare them both under controlled circumstances.

I realize people have been frustrated with me. I am frustrated in return because while those frustrated people apparently think I haven't been listening to them, I've been eating it all up. Comments here have sent me off doing other research, etc. I have a lot of information accumulated in a folder now in addition to everything I've collected here, and several books on my FIRE.

In spite of the friction I remain tremendously grateful to this place, not only for this discussion but for many others as well.

Into the folder you go -- again!
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Old 05-09-2012, 16:49   #144
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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I realize people have been frustrated with me.
Don't worry about it. e-communication is a tricky medium and it is easy to unintentionally get cross-ways with someone.

But some people have taken some time here to try to help you out, and in return it would be quite wonderful if you would go out and try out your drogue and sea anchor and make a report back here on what you learned. Some fresh first hand experience is what we need to move this discussion further along.

I don't expect you to head out into a storm just to give us some feedback but even in 25kts you (and we) will learn some valuable things about rigging and retrieval and boat motion comfort.

As an aside, it takes us about an hour to retrieve our drogue on 300' of rode, winching it in. We are not as young and fit as we would like to be, so my wife and I alternate on the winch during that hour. As I said we like to do that when the wind drops to 35kts, so the loading on it is still pretty high. We have tried using the electric anchor windless but were afraid of breaking it because the peak drogue loads stall it.
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Old 05-09-2012, 17:19   #145
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
Don't worry about it. e-communication is a tricky medium and it is easy to unintentionally get cross-ways with someone.

But some people have taken some time here to try to help you out, and in return it would be quite wonderful if you would go out and try out your drogue and sea anchor and make a report back here on what you learned. Some fresh first hand experience is what we need to move this discussion further along.

I don't expect you to head out into a storm just to give us some feedback but even in 25kts you (and we) will learn some valuable things about rigging and retrieval and boat motion comfort.

As an aside, it takes us about an hour to retrieve our drogue on 300' of rode, winching it in. We are not as young and fit as we would like to be, so my wife and I alternate on the winch during that hour. As I said we like to do that when the wind drops to 35kts, so the loading on it is still pretty high. We have tried using the electric anchor windless but were afraid of breaking it because the peak drogue loads stall it.

It's all so helpful!

I am *hoping* to try it on my friend's boat when we bring it around from Miami. It has a lot of characteristics similar to mine. If we can't do it then, there's a number of people I can find to go out with me to test these things, and I will report back.

Trying on my friend's boat is dependent on his having the time to read up on it, and I suspect he may not have that time. Plan B would be to take my boat out (it is awaiting installation of the new rudder) for a test. No, I won't deliberately go out in a storm. I want to test it under controlled circumstances.

I will have extra people on board to help with the cranking. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 05-09-2012, 17:47   #146
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With my old wheel pilot, I had an issue of controlling the boat in the typical Lake Michigan square, breaking waves we so often get. I used to drag a wrap from the windward quarter to help the autopilot out, and it made a big difference in the amount of correction the pilot had to make. This wasn't a survival thing, but more a comfort and stability issue the boat had. Typically, this was just a 200' section of 5/8" three strand rope looped to a cleat on the windward side. It tugged just enough to hold the quarter into the waves when it came. If I wasnt dragging anything, the boat would get pushed and turned beam on the next wave.

This was only an issue if I couldn't head straight down wind. Usually, this was when I was running to a harbor.

The real fix was when I installed a big below deck unit that could handle itself without the assistance.
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Old 05-09-2012, 17:58   #147
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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With my old wheel pilot, I had an issue of controlling the boat in the typical Lake Michigan square, breaking waves we so often get. I used to drag a wrap from the windward quarter to help the autopilot out, and it made a big difference in the amount of correction the pilot had to make. This wasn't a survival thing, but more a comfort and stability issue the boat had. Typically, this was just a 200' section of 5/8" three strand rope looped to a cleat on the windward side. It tugged just enough to hold the quarter into the waves when it came. If I wasnt dragging anything, the boat would get pushed and turned beam on the next wave.

This was only an issue if I couldn't head straight down wind. Usually, this was when I was running to a harbor.

The real fix was when I installed a big below deck unit that could handle itself without the assistance.

That's interesting. I sometimes have the same problem with my wheel pilot, although unless I win the lottery, any money for a "big below deck unit" went to that rudder.
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:07   #148
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

This is actually very similar to the issue we had with our AP the other day: it simply refused to go into standby and so we sailed the whole bloody crossing without touching the helm once!

Sometimes you can't really trust your equipment!

b.
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:31   #149
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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This is actually very similar to the issue we had with our AP the other day: it simply refused to go into standby and so we sailed the whole bloody crossing without touching the helm once!

Sometimes you can't really trust your equipment!

b.

I was saling across Tampa Bay one day. A boat was passing me fairly close to starboard but far enough away -- until his AP apparently caught a wave wrong and the boat suddenly veered to port. It's a small miracle that he didn't take out my backstay with his anchor -- it had plastic shroud covers on it, and from the look of it, it looks as if the anchor rolled off instead of catching.

Then he clipped the back of my stern, leaving bottom paint on the bottom back, went over the painter and flippd the dinghy we were towing, which unfortunately had an outboard on it (my boat had no bracket to hang it from at the time).

It turned out that the sipper was sitting to the side of the cabin and his wife was below making lunch. There was no one at the helm.

Yes, they're handy, but no, they can't be trusted.
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:50   #150
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Thanks!

The rather spirited discussion has yielded some great info from some very seasoned sailors.

I do have one question. Mastering any new skill is the result of training and repetition. One can learn and practice heaving to, or fore-reaching in fairly benign conditions.

Besides intentionally putting your boat at risk, is there a way to practice deploying and retrieving drogues or sea anchors?

Thanks

Bill
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