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Old 03-09-2012, 18:11   #46
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

PS, Therapy -- thanks for the links.
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Old 03-09-2012, 18:28   #47
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Raku, in your opening post you asked for experience and comments regarding the use of a 15' para anchor and a 24" drogue as presumably you are looking for credible data to form your own opinion as what to get, how to use them (and possibly when to use them).

Experience wise, I can only offer limited experience with a 12' para anchor. I have a 31' sloop (70's style ex racing boat, balanced free hanging rudder etc) that does not heave to very well. As you clearly stated that you are not looking for information on the heaving to aspect I will refrain from going into that aspect except to say that from my experience is that it is a worthwhile undertaking - even for boats that don't heave to easily!

Back to the para anchor, I have only set mine for training and only in winds up to about 20 kts. I have tried both over the bow and also using a bridle back to the quarter (Pardey style). First point is that the action of the boat varies tremendously in very light winds (say 10 to 12 Kts) compared to heavier winds of around 20 Kts. I will presume that the actions at 20 kts will again be quite different for that at 30 or 40 Kts; so it that vein, my experience at 20 Kts is probably not helpful (to me or you) in real storm conditions. I am assuming you would still be sailing (well reefed down) until at least 30+ Kts.

Second point is that setting and especially retrieving the anchor is difficult to say the least (especially using the Pardey method) however setting it does become easier with practice; retrieval - not so much. The Pardey method did give more control of boat position relative to the weather. However the real lesson was "find a better way to to control the boat unless you are expecting to have it deployed for half a day or more". In my case, I kept experimenting with heaving to. I will reserve my use of the para anchor for real storms off-shore.

Now for some comments:

I am sure you are familiar with "Garbage In, Garbage Out" (GIGO). You are looking for good data to help form your knowledge and you have been provide with some good data in this thread. In particular I refer to the 2nd post from ICE but there are others as well.

You have also been given some very bad data but in my opinion, you don't have enough knowledge in this subject to discern what is bad data. I refer to the claims that your neighbour got caught up in a sudden squall and then ran downwind singlehanded for 4.5 hours covering 100 miles in a 30' yacht. To anyone with any decent experience (or serious research) knows this is BS. One doesn't need to know the person involved, one only has to analyse the given figures. Either he gave you incorrect figures in error or they are false.
Either way, using this as input data will only give you "Garbage Out".

Don't take my opinion or that of the two Jims (who, by the way, both have more experience individually than you and I put together); work it out yourself.

For instance, some quick numbers, average speed 22.5 Kts, lets take off a generous 2.5 Kts for a favourable current, leaving a average STW of 20 Kts. I have never approached 10 or 10 Kts maximum when surfing for a few seconds down large ocean swells in winds around 35 to 40 Kts so I will assume you will need much higher wind speeds to get and average speed of 20 Kts over 4.5 hours. Lets be generous and suggest an apparent windspeed of say only 60 Kts will get this guy's yacht moving at 20 Kts average. This gives a true windspeed of at least 80 Kts. When was the last time you heard of a sudden squall producing a sustained winds of 80+ Kts, lasting 4.5 hours and travelling at least 100 miles off the coast of Florida. Likewise, when was the last time you heard of a 30' yacht averaging 20+ Kts for 4.5 hours. Gosh even a fully rigged windjammer was flat out maintaining 20 Kts in a fully developed Southern Ocean gale.

But at least think about it, who is more likely to be right, your one-off nice neighbour, or the likes of posters here who have tens of thousands of deep water miles under their keel.

Don't become a viticum of GIGO.
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Old 03-09-2012, 18:43   #48
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Yes. My sea anchor is self-deploying. First you throw out the trip line. Then you throw out the sea anchor, packed in its bag, on a rode with chain. Then you pay it out until you have the response you need. It's not foolproof -- you can't just go below and forget about everything, but it should stop the boat. This is what I have READ, not tried yet. .............
My experience with sea anchors would indicate that there WILL be a big difference between what you have read and what you will experience when you finally try using this anchor - however, I do hope you experience will turn out differently to mine
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......

That's why you put chain on the sea anchor, too. It really does act like an anchor, and the chain forms a cantenary that works as a shock absorber.
NO, NO, No to the chain, it doesn't work that way. Read Pardey's book "Storm Tactics" for more information.

And then chain will make it almost impossible to retrieve. It will cause the para anchor to hang vertically under the boat during retrieval (or any time after the wind drops away). Imagine the forces on the bow with a 15' parachute holding it DOWN while wave action is forcing the boat UP; something is going to give - just pray its the anchor or rode!
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Old 03-09-2012, 18:43   #49
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Raku, in your opening post you asked for experience and comments regarding the use of a 15' para anchor and a 24" drogue as presumably you are looking for credible data to form your own opinion as what to get, how to use them (and possibly when to use them).

Experience wise, I can only offer limited experience with a 12' para anchor. I have a 31' sloop (70's style ex racing boat, balanced free hanging rudder etc) that does not heave to very well. As you clearly stated that you are not looking for information on the heaving to aspect I will refrain from going into that aspect except to say that from my experience is that it is a worthwhile undertaking - even for boats that don't heave to easily!

Back to the para anchor, I have only set mine for training and only in winds up to about 20 kts. I have tried both over the bow and also using a bridle back to the quarter (Pardey style). First point is that the action of the boat varies tremendously in very light winds (say 10 to 12 Kts) compared to heavier winds of around 20 Kts. I will presume that the actions at 20 kts will again be quite different for that at 30 or 40 Kts; so it that vein, my experience at 20 Kts is probably not helpful (to me or you) in real storm conditions. I am assuming you would still be sailing (well reefed down) until at least 30+ Kts.

Second point is that setting and especially retrieving the anchor is difficult to say the least (especially using the Pardey method) however setting it does become easier with practice; retrieval - not so much. The Pardey method did give more control of boat position relative to the weather. However the real lesson was "find a better way to to control the boat unless you are expecting to have it deployed for half a day or more". In my case, I kept experimenting with heaving to. I will reserve my use of the para anchor for real storms off-shore.

Now for some comments:

I am sure you are familiar with "Garbage In, Garbage Out" (GIGO). You are looking for good data to help form your knowledge and you have been provide with some good data in this thread. In particular I refer to the 2nd post from ICE but there are others as well.

You have also been given some very bad data but in my opinion, you don't have enough knowledge in this subject to discern what is bad data. I refer to the claims that your neighbour got caught up in a sudden squall and then ran downwind singlehanded for 4.5 hours covering 100 miles in a 30' yacht. To anyone with any decent experience (or serious research) knows this is BS. One doesn't need to know the person involved, one only has to analyse the given figures. Either he gave you incorrect figures in error or they are false.
Either way, using this as input data will only give you "Garbage Out".

Don't take my opinion or that of the two Jims (who, by the way, both have more experience individually than you and I put together); work it out yourself.

For instance, some quick numbers, average speed 22.5 Kts, lets take off a generous 2.5 Kts for a favourable current, leaving a average STW of 20 Kts. I have never approached 10 or 10 Kts maximum when surfing for a few seconds down large ocean swells in winds around 35 to 40 Kts so I will assume you will need much higher wind speeds to get and average speed of 20 Kts over 4.5 hours. Lets be generous and suggest an apparent windspeed of say only 60 Kts will get this guy's yacht moving at 20 Kts average. This gives a true windspeed of at least 80 Kts. When was the last time you heard of a sudden squall producing a sustained winds of 80+ Kts, lasting 4.5 hours and travelling at least 100 miles off the coast of Florida. Likewise, when was the last time you heard of a 30' yacht averaging 20+ Kts for 4.5 hours. Gosh even a fully rigged windjammer was flat out maintaining 20 Kts in a fully developed Southern Ocean gale.

But at least think about it, who is more likely to be right, your one-off nice neighbour, or the likes of posters here who have tens of thousands of deep water miles under their keel.

Don't become a viticum of GIGO.

Maybe the guy exaggerated some. Maybe he wasn't really off Naples, but he was still downwind and out of control for at least 4 hours (remember, we have weather radar and all that, and I was actually in Venice that day, and the storm was followed on the news).

Fact is he nearly lost his life and had one heckuva difficult sail (he was single-handing) and it is worth my while to pay attention to the fact that these things can and do happen where I sail.

I would expect to have a sea anchor out for some time. It's not exactly like putting a reef in. In "someone's" determination to abrasively put me down he has lost a fan. I'm sure he doesn't care, but there are a lot of far more courteous people out there glad to give me the benefit of their expertise.

It doesn't really matter to me whether Jim, or anyone else, quibbles over how fast that boat was going. The fact that this experienced sailor nearly lost his life and had a horrendously difficult time for over 4 hours (that is confirmed by the news that day) is enough for me to be thinking about all of this.

So what's really going on in my head is "Do I really need to discuss this with someone who is determined to jump all over the details of the story than actually talk about the topic of the thread, and has he (or she) actually had experience with the equipment I'm asking about?"

That's who I'm listening to -- people who have actually used the equipment in question.

Then I consider whether they used it well or not. One drogue going around the Cape is not, I believe, a good way to use drogues.

Others here have connected me to reports that give, first hand, the pros and the cons, particularly of sea anchors.

Once again, it is not that I don't know how to heave to. The BOAT does not heave to well. I have explained this several times -- even in a 10k wind, hove to the boat travels about 2 1/2k over ground. Presumably in a bigger wind that number would go up.

It is these individual traits of my boat that are causing me to look at the technology in question. I didn't just go buy a sea anchor because it looked coo.
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Old 03-09-2012, 18:51   #50
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

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My experience with sea anchors would indicate that there WILL be a big difference between what you have read and what you will experience when you finally try using this anchor - however, I do hope you experience will turn out differently to mine


NO, NO, No to the chain, it doesn't work that way. Read Pardey's book "Storm Tactics" for more information.

And then chain will make it almost impossible to retrieve. It will cause the para anchor to hang vertically under the boat during retrieval (or any time after the wind drops away). Imagine the forces on the bow with a 15' parachute holding it DOWN while wave action is forcing the boat UP; something is going to give - just pray its the anchor or rode!

I haven't finished Hinz' book yet. I haven't even finished the sea anchor portion yet, but because of my particular boat's tendency to lie abeam already, I may not try the Pardey approach. If it goes badly I could be abeam at just the wrong time.

My understanding (and I haven't tried it yet) is that to keep the chain up you have to have a float adequate for the weight of the chain you've used.

I will take your comments under advisement, but will of course compare it to all the other first-hand information I have before we try a deployment.
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Old 03-09-2012, 19:14   #51
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Maybe the guy exaggerated some.
Yep, maybe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
......
So what's really going on in my head is "Do I really need to discuss this with someone who is determined to jump all over the details of the story than actually talk about the topic of the thread, and has he (or she) actually had experience with the equipment I'm asking about?".....
I don't know what methods works best to you but I have found that when the detail is looked after in the planning and preparation stage, the performance follows perfectly; put another way, the devil is always in the detail. You may have other ways that work better for you but I think everyone (most?) here is this thread is trying in their own way to be helpful
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Once again, it is not that I don't know how to heave to. The BOAT does not heave to well. I have explained this several times -- even in a 10k wind, hove to the boat travels about 2 1/2k over ground. Presumably in a bigger wind that number would go up.
No, it might but it is not presumed.

None of my boats knew how to heave to . But the first ones responded to my then limited knowledge of heaving to and responded nicely .

My current boat is difficult to get balanced in the heave to position so I have had to up my skills considerably to get her "parked". Balancing out the various forces has taken much time in the learning curve and I have found that what is required varies considerably with wind strength and wave size / action. I need different combinations of sail area and position (both sheeting and relative to the COE) and well as different rudder angles depending whether I am on the river, close inshore, well off shore etc etc. What works at say 18 Kts with 4' seas short period, no swell is quite different than say 25 kts 6' seas on a 12' well defined swell and again that is different to 15 Kts on small seas with two different swells running.

The point being, don't give up on heaving to, it takes some deterimation to get it sorted on some boats (like yours and mine)

EDIT: Heaving to is all about understanding and balancing the various dynamic forces on the boat, wind, wave, sail, rudder, keel etc. Get them balanced and the boat stays put (more or less)
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Old 03-09-2012, 19:22   #52
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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That's who I'm listening to -- people who have actually used the equipment in question.

I am going to somewhat immodestly suggest that I have as much or more actual real cruising experience with the full range of drag devices as anyone else around.

Then I consider whether they used it well or not. One drogue going around the Cape is not, I believe, a good way to use drogues.

Well, that was me, and given your limited experience with these devices I am going to suggest that perhaps you might want to rethink your position. That's a nasty spot. You want to get thru/by it as quickly as you can. You do NOT want to be sitting there going slowly (as with a para-anchor or a series drogue). The single element drogue allows my boat to do a very controlled and stable 7kts downwind, with the stern held into the waves (no tendency to broach) and prevents it from surfing (which requires hand steering). That's ideal for a double handed cruising boat.

The 600' is because the wave length is so long down in the southern ocean. 300' will perhaps only go half way up one wave. 600' is much more stable down there. I suspect you have never seen waves like this so find it hard to imagine.

The one problem is the single element drogue very occasionally pulling out of the wave face. Chain in the rode does NOT solve this problem. The rode tension pulls the drogue to the surface of the wave even with a decent section of chain in it (I have tried this, and if you look at even an all chain anchor rode in 50kts you will see it straight and bar tight).

Multiple elements is the solution to this problem. But the Jordan series drogue is more difficult to recover and slows the boat down more than I like. SO, I have experimented with a '2-element series' drogue. So far it's worked, but the situations/conditions where the single element pulls out are rare and I don't yet have enough accumulated experience with the 2-element series in those situations to be able to say anything conclusively.


Once again, it is not that I don't know how to heave to. The BOAT does not heave to well.

My boat also does not heave to very well. Most boats that do not heave to well do in fact fore reach quite well. You might want to experiment a bit with that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
you might well consult the writings of Beth Leanard and Evans Starzinger. Evans often posts here on CF, and they have FAR more big wind experience than Earl Hinz, and in more modern design boats.

You did not mention it but we have a couple FAQ'a on issues related to drage devices and heavy weather at BethandEvansFAQ
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
It's just not that big a deal to put out a drogue,

Yes, true
and from Hinz it sounds as if, with a trip line, a sea anchor isn't that hard to pull in.

Hmmm . . . depends a lot of what size the para-anchor is (note: The pardey para-anchor method uses a much smaller sea-anchor than the regular 'over the bow' method) and how long you wait for the storm to diminish before you try to recover it We like to get going again when the wind drops to 35kts and sea anchors can be quite a bear to recover in those conditions. Just motoring to the trip line pick up is challenging when the waves are still quite big and steep. Other people wait until it drops much more than that, but we don't because (1) its very uncomfortable to be sitting in a left over big wave pattern, (2) its often when people get into trouble because they wallow and end up beam to still quite big waves, and (3) we hate to waste a good wind.

One thing to keep in mind is that Earl sailed a long time ago, and the cruising boats were MUCH smaller. Your boat would have been a big boat back than. This affects drag devices and tactics, in particular smaller para-anchors are much easier to recover (by the cube of the diameter)
My recommendation would be: (1) try fore reaching on your boat and see how it does. I suspect that will be a good tactic for you for winds that are forward, (2) try running with a single element drogue out. I suspect that will be a good tactic for you for winds that are aft. (3) The most important thing is to slowly build storm experience. As you gain experience, what you used to think of as a storm or heavy weather, becomes just strong wind.
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Old 03-09-2012, 19:49   #53
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

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Jim, please lay off calling people liars.

You said, "I was not commenting upon your requirement for some means of storm management, but rather on your offering of data to support your position.

The story you quote is, frankly, unbelievable."

And yet I have come across multiple accounts of boats sailing at over 20k in storms. They pointed out that using a drogue cut the speed in half while sailing downwind. That's still really fast -- but the point is 1) I had no reason to disbelieve this person and 2) I have found multiple other accounts of such events right on line. So please, YOU go do some research before you decide to call someone a liar, 'k?
Well, Raku, I sincerely believe that either someone is lying or you misunderstood your neighbour's claims. Probably the latter. Jim Cate has been very patient.

If you want advice, you need to be receptive to it and you also need to filter out the BS based on real world physics.

But, HEY! let's go back to YOUR situation. If you cannot heave-to (because of the boat shape), and you cannot afford to run with a drogue (because of the proximity of the coast), then you have your answer - you need a sea anchor. If you get hit by huge storms with little notice, you will need to have your sea anchor ready to deploy AT ONCE. No setting up, running around on deck, rummaging in lockers. AT ONCE! Have everything ready to go by using wire ties which can be cut from the cockpit. You can work out how to do it without asking for advice here.

So there it is, that is the solution for YOUR boat and YOUR cruising area, as described by you. Case closed.
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Old 03-09-2012, 20:11   #54
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

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Well, Raku, I sincerely believe that either someone is lying or you misunderstood your neighbour's claims. Probably the latter. Jim Cate has been very patient.

If you want advice, you need to be receptive to it and you also need to filter out the BS based on real world physics.

But, HEY! let's go back to YOUR situation. If you cannot heave-to (because of the boat shape), and you cannot afford to run with a drogue (because of the proximity of the coast), then you have your answer - you need a sea anchor. If you get hit by huge storms with little notice, you will need to have your sea anchor ready to deploy AT ONCE. No setting up, running around on deck, rummaging in lockers. AT ONCE! Have everything ready to go by using wire ties which can be cut from the cockpit. You can work out how to do it without asking for advice here.

So there it is, that is the solution for YOUR boat and YOUR cruising area, as described by you. Case closed.

You're as polite as Jim is.
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Old 03-09-2012, 20:13   #55
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

I wouldn't waste my money on either. A tire wrapped with chain makes a perfect small boat drogue and it's heavy enough to keep it out of your rig.
Sea anchors are meant to keep a vessel bow to wind and can be extremely damaging to a vessel's rudder as the boat is forced backwards by the waves.
I think I have to buy a C-30 if they are THAT fast, then I can become very famous as a sail boat racer. Trans-Pac here I come!
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Old 03-09-2012, 20:48   #56
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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I wouldn't waste my money on either. A tire wrapped with chain makes a perfect small boat drogue and it's heavy enough to keep it out of your rig.
Sea anchors are meant to keep a vessel bow to wind and can be extremely damaging to a vessel's rudder as the boat is forced backwards by the waves.
I think I have to buy a C-30 if they are THAT fast, then I can become very famous as a sail boat racer. Trans-Pac here I come!

I don't mean to be rude -- but have you tried a tire? What was the result? Can you actually compare it to using a sea anchor? I don't mean that aggresively. I'm hoping I'll get *really* lucky and you've tried both.

The thing is, a lot of these writers are so passionate about the stand they're taking that they don't always sound ... completely unbiased ... but I've seen in several places that the tire thing doesn't really work. I have a manufactured drogue series; the real issue is the sea anchor. I think drogues have pretty well proven themselves.

What I've read is that you have to be going backwards at a rate of more than 2k, but then common sense kicks in. If the "average" wave is 8 ft tall, there are probably some 12' or even bigger waiting for you. If the "average" wind is 45 mph, you might well have gusts to 60 or 70. If your AVERAGE reverse speed is 2k, sometimes you will exceed that.

This is why I keep circling around this issue. I don't have much money invested in the sea anchor and can easily sell it if I decide I don't want it.

See, I ... er ... well ... I'm on my third rudder ... this year ... I'm on a first name basis with the folks at Foss Foam!

The first one was the original boat rudder. The shaft was rusted through from the inside out, and snapped under strain -- as in it ended up moving through the water horizontally instead of vertically.

The replacement had an unfortunate meeting with a river channel bottom in churned up water. We were in the channel but sometimes that's not enough ... We were with five other boats and mine was the fourth to go through. We were just unlucky (and Moses snuck aboard and parted the sea right under my stern ...)

Anyway, not interested in breaking any more rudders, and I've come across that particular risk regarding sea anchors several other places too, but I appreciate your warning me about it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 20:54   #57
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

two pics just for fun:

A drogue with 300' of rode out. You can see the rode just going into the wave face behind me. It looks closer than 300' but in fact the drogue was just under the surface there. This was not a particularly 'windy' day - gale conditions rather than storm conditions.

Click image for larger version

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Here's what storm conditions look like in a protected anchorage (this is an Oyster 72 anchored near us). I leave it to your imagination how much worse it would look in the open ocean - a German cruising boat was lost this day with all hands gone about 150 miles from this pic.

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Old 03-09-2012, 20:59   #58
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
two pics just for fun:

A drogue with 300' of rode out. You can see the rode just going into the wave face behind me. It looks closer than 300' but in fact the drogue was just under the surface there. This was not a particularly 'windy' day - gale conditions rather than storm conditions.

Attachment 46043

Here's what storm conditions look like in a protected anchorage (this is an Oyster 72 anchored near us). I leave it to your imagination how much worse it would look in the open ocean - a German cruising boat was lost this day with all hands gone about 150 miles from this pic.

Attachment 46044

Good heavens.

So IF I understand drogue deployment correctly, the waves would be 150' apart to set the drogue two waves behind?

Was that a series or just one "chute?"
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Old 03-09-2012, 21:10   #59
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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So IF I understand drogue deployment correctly, the waves would be 150' apart to set the drogue two waves behind?

Yes, 150' wave length would put a 300' rode 2 waves back. 150' is actually a pretty short ocean storm wave length even in the Atlantic

One thing we have found is that this '2 waves back' theory is hard to execute in practice. The wave length varies quite a bit. It will be long for a couple waves and then shorter for a set and then something else.

Was that a series or just one "chute?"

That's a galerider - a single element. As I mentioned, it was not that windy in this pic. We were using it primarily to keep the stern aligned with the waves. They were a bit steeper than normal because we were coming into a continental shelf and there was also an ocean current flowing (against the wind), so we just wanted to ease the steering without slowing down too much.

........
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Old 03-09-2012, 21:22   #60
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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........
Wow -- did you take the other picture also, the one with the tops of the waves blown off to foam?

You've touched on what I wonder about with the drogue. Waves are never going to be perfectly spaced apart. I *IMAGINE* that a series drogue would help solve that problem, but then I also read that a drogue is not a good choice except for double-enders. My boat is about as non-double-ended as you can get. The back is high, flat and squat.
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