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Old 03-09-2012, 22:21   #61
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Estarzinger,

Holy nutz.
And thank you for the visual of storm experience.
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Old 03-09-2012, 22:44   #62
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Rakuflames
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.

Ok, fair enough; not rude.
Yes, I've used them all. The tire worked best, but remember it was a drogue, not a sea anchor. I set it about 300' (all the line I had) back. A drogue is not a sea anchor; they are not for the same purpose.
A sea anchor is designed to be streamed from the bow to minimize movement to leeward, only. Obviously, if you are bow to wind in weather you don't want to be sailing in, you are going to be going backwards at some point. What kind of pressures is this putting on your rudder, even if it's locked amidships? I will not use a sea anchor for this reason.
A drogue is used to control and slow, down wind travel but continue to travel. A light drogue can become airborne and end up in your rig, which is why I went to the tire (not necessarily a full size car tire; size to desired need)/chain system.
But the end result of all the systems was that I preferred (for me and my boats) the boat free and untethered by drogue or sea anchor, if I can continue on a safe course or lay a-hull or heave to if I cannot.
I hope this helps. Obviously, you need to do what works for your boat.
Are you going cruising? How often do you expect to be in gale force winds unwarned, beyond a safe port?
Do you really need to worry about all this at this time?

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Old 03-09-2012, 22:47   #63
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Sorry, I forgot to mention that a drogue is streamed from the stern, usually in a bridle from each quarter.
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Old 04-09-2012, 00:21   #64
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
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.
My father only used 3 tyres chained together as a drogue for about 16 years (a lap around the world and multiple laps around the W Pacific, SE Asia and one lap around Oz). He went thru a couple of cyclones, once right thru the eye and continued to use his 3 tyres while running with the staysail up. His boat was a Roberts 43. At one point he reckoned he would get a Jordan series drogue if he had the money to burn on something other than rum, but he never took that step.

Anyway, Raku, he was happy with the system, if that answers your question. As someone mentioned it is a drogue and is not a replacement for a sea anchor.

I have never tried the tyres, we have a different system that relies on long, looping rode from one stern to the other, and adding any sort of crap to it (sail bags, milk crates, anchor and chain and anything else lying around in the cockpit lockers that seems appropriate at the time). All boats have plenty of junk so it is easy to be creative!

The previous owner of our boat used to use 2 rodes on his next boat during a lap around the world - one from each stern, with a milk crate on each. Even though he had a Jordan drogue, he never wanted the hassle of repacking it until it got real bad, so he just went with the milk crates.

No need to go commercial. A long strong rode, good anchorage points on the boat, some crap to add to the rode to create resistance and a way of winching it all back in. That's it.

But don't you want a sea anchor because of your cruising area?
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:13   #65
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post


I think "squall" is the wrong term for the kind of storm I'm concerned about. The storm that spun me twice was a fast-moving squall that hit hard and then went away. The storm my neighbor got caught in was a major storm that survived a long time. See, i'm thinking if he'd put a drogue out and it had done what it should -- cut his speed in half -- his ordeal would have been over in half the time (still plenty long), and would have been easier to manage.

It's just not that big a deal to put out a drogue, and from Hinz it sounds as if, with a trip line, a sea anchor isn't that hard to pull in. They're self-deploying, so that's not a big deal.
I think certainly it is worthwhile to figure out all the tactics you can use to survive a major storm at sea, and acquire gear which might someday save your life.

But one of the most important things is to understand the weather somewhat, and monitor it. I don't think that there is any reason to get caught in a "major storm" when you're sailing coastally. That is because major storms - that is, high energy, large scale, long duration weather events - just don't appear out of nowhere.

What appears out of almost nowhere are squalls and thunderstorms, usually lasting minutes and at most a couple of hours. The more sudden and unexpected is a storm, the faster it's over (there's an old sailor's saying about that which I can't remember). So I have to agree with those here who say that drogues and sea anchors are not primary tactics for sailing near the coast. When you've tried your sea anchor, you will find out that it is a fairly immense hassle recovering it, even with a trip line, and you have all the risk involved with working on deck in bad weather, lines in the water, etc, etc. I doubt that anyone who has used one once, would never ever deploy one for a storm not expected to last more than a couple of hours, and a coastal sailor who is even slightly prudent about monitoring the weather should simply never be caught in anything more than that.

For sudden squalls and thunderstorms your primary tactics should be running off or, in really bad cases, heaving to or fore reaching. In a really really bad case you could trail warps, but I've never heard of a coastal sailor needing to do even that.

The other thing about sudden storms is that they are not capable of creating a really dangerous sea state, at least not in deep water (I'm excluding tidal races and the Gukf Stream, but you don't have either in SW Florida). A dangerous sea state in deep water requires a lot of energy - a large, not localized storm lasting a long time. Extreme tactics like sea anchors are needed against extreme sea states, not just strong wind. If all you have is an hour or so of 50 knots winds, running off works just fine.

Which is not to say that there's anything wrong with learning to use a sea anchor - on the contrary, the more skills you have, the better! But I would bet money that as long as you are sailing around SW Florida you will actually use it exactly one time, then it will end up on the bottom of a locker, then in your garage or Fleabay. But nothing at all wrong with that - maybe some day you'll do a Transpac, and you'll be glad you already have the skill!
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:55   #66
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
.. The more sudden and unexpected is a storm, the faster it's over (there's an old sailor's saying about that which I can't remember)...
"Long foretold - long hold
Short forecast - soon past"
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:48   #67
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
"Long foretold - long hold
Short forecast - soon past"
Thanks, that's it!

And another:

The sudden storm lasts not three hours
The sharper the blast, the sooner 'tis past


All this is based on objective reality of weather -- energy. A big storm capable of producing a dangerous sea state requires a huge amount of energy and cannot form suddenly. A storm which forms suddenly must necessarily be localized.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:31   #68
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
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.
Regarding the need for a two element drogue, what about a series drogue in two sections or more that can be shackled together to provide different levels of resistance instead of one or two single element drogues?
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:04   #69
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
Rakuflames
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.

Ok, fair enough; not rude.
Yes, I've used them all. The tire worked best, but remember it was a drogue, not a sea anchor. I set it about 300' (all the line I had) back. A drogue is not a sea anchor; they are not for the same purpose.
A sea anchor is designed to be streamed from the bow to minimize movement to leeward, only. Obviously, if you are bow to wind in weather you don't want to be sailing in, you are going to be going backwards at some point. What kind of pressures is this putting on your rudder, even if it's locked amidships? I will not use a sea anchor for this reason.
A drogue is used to control and slow, down wind travel but continue to travel. A light drogue can become airborne and end up in your rig, which is why I went to the tire (not necessarily a full size car tire; size to desired need)/chain system.
But the end result of all the systems was that I preferred (for me and my boats) the boat free and untethered by drogue or sea anchor, if I can continue on a safe course or lay a-hull or heave to if I cannot.
I hope this helps. Obviously, you need to do what works for your boat.
Are you going cruising? How often do you expect to be in gale force winds unwarned, beyond a safe port?
Do you really need to worry about all this at this time?


Where I am, if you're in a significant storm it isn't safe to go into most ports here. As I said, I've been in five so far. Not too long before I'm sailing from Miami to Tamps.

Yeah, I need to plan (not worry -- plan), and yeah, this is the time.

I appreciate your comments more than you know.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:07   #70
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
Sorry, I forgot to mention that a drogue is streamed from the stern, usually in a bridle from each quarter.

Thanks, Capta. I do understand what drogues and sea anchors are, where they're deployed from, etc. I'm getting as much feedback as I can from people who have actually used them, because as I said, some people are so passionate on this topic that they lose a little credibility.

Also, anything like this I do has to pass the "four football players" test. That is -- just because someone has done something, even over and over, doesn't mean it's a smart thing to do. It might only mean that they've been lucky so far. (You remember the three football players who drowned with only one surviving because of the multiple mistakes they made? They had done it all before and were "experienced" -- at doing some things dangerously.)
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:15   #71
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I think certainly it is worthwhile to figure out all the tactics you can use to survive a major storm at sea, and acquire gear which might someday save your life.

But one of the most important things is to understand the weather somewhat, and monitor it. I don't think that there is any reason to get caught in a "major storm" when you're sailing coastally. That is because major storms - that is, high energy, large scale, long duration weather events - just don't appear out of nowhere.

What appears out of almost nowhere are squalls and thunderstorms, usually lasting minutes and at most a couple of hours. The more sudden and unexpected is a storm, the faster it's over (there's an old sailor's saying about that which I can't remember). So I have to agree with those here who say that drogues and sea anchors are not primary tactics for sailing near the coast. When you've tried your sea anchor, you will find out that it is a fairly immense hassle recovering it, even with a trip line, and you have all the risk involved with working on deck in bad weather, lines in the water, etc, etc. I doubt that anyone who has used one once, would never ever deploy one for a storm not expected to last more than a couple of hours, and a coastal sailor who is even slightly prudent about monitoring the weather should simply never be caught in anything more than that.

For sudden squalls and thunderstorms your primary tactics should be running off or, in really bad cases, heaving to or fore reaching. In a really really bad case you could trail warps, but I've never heard of a coastal sailor needing to do even that.

The other thing about sudden storms is that they are not capable of creating a really dangerous sea state, at least not in deep water (I'm excluding tidal races and the Gukf Stream, but you don't have either in SW Florida). A dangerous sea state in deep water requires a lot of energy - a large, not localized storm lasting a long time. Extreme tactics like sea anchors are needed against extreme sea states, not just strong wind. If all you have is an hour or so of 50 knots winds, running off works just fine.

Which is not to say that there's anything wrong with learning to use a sea anchor - on the contrary, the more skills you have, the better! But I would bet money that as long as you are sailing around SW Florida you will actually use it exactly one time, then it will end up on the bottom of a locker, then in your garage or Fleabay. But nothing at all wrong with that - maybe some day you'll do a Transpac, and you'll be glad you already have the skill!

I'm going to disagree with you about squalls and thunderstorms. I was out and about the day of the Venice storm my friend got caught in. It came up out of nowhere, very fast. We followed it on the news, because it was big and long enough to make the news.

As for the Gulf Stream, it's part of my extended back yard (I can expect to be in it some day), but I'm aware of the kind of very severe turbulence that can come from, for instance, a strong northern front against that strong northern-traveling current. I understand the basics of weather, also, but I appreciate people making sure I am aware of that need.

You're right. Wind isn't even the issue. Just take the sails down if you have to. The issue is the action of the water. But that's the reason for getting this equipment (which was EXTREMELY reasonably priced) -- the seas can stay churned up, sometimes for a day or more, after a big storm has passed.

I may well never need this equipment, but if I do, then we're in a pretty hairy situation and we'd better know how to use it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:19   #72
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo485 View Post
My father only used 3 tyres chained together as a drogue for about 16 years (a lap around the world and multiple laps around the W Pacific, SE Asia and one lap around Oz). He went thru a couple of cyclones, once right thru the eye and continued to use his 3 tyres while running with the staysail up. His boat was a Roberts 43. At one point he reckoned he would get a Jordan series drogue if he had the money to burn on something other than rum, but he never took that step.

Anyway, Raku, he was happy with the system, if that answers your question. As someone mentioned it is a drogue and is not a replacement for a sea anchor.

I have never tried the tyres, we have a different system that relies on long, looping rode from one stern to the other, and adding any sort of crap to it (sail bags, milk crates, anchor and chain and anything else lying around in the cockpit lockers that seems appropriate at the time). All boats have plenty of junk so it is easy to be creative!

The previous owner of our boat used to use 2 rodes on his next boat during a lap around the world - one from each stern, with a milk crate on each. Even though he had a Jordan drogue, he never wanted the hassle of repacking it until it got real bad, so he just went with the milk crates.

No need to go commercial. A long strong rode, good anchorage points on the boat, some crap to add to the rode to create resistance and a way of winching it all back in. That's it.

But don't you want a sea anchor because of your cruising area?
Jimbo, I'm interested in the sea anchor not only because of the area but because of the particular characteristics of my boat. It tends to want to lie abeam (I think because of the high freeboard, and as I said in my first post I actually sailed and steered this boat in a brisk breeze by using the freeboard as a sail), and it's quite tender. In a bad situation it might well *need* the help to stay pointed into the waves. Especially if all the sails are down ... there's one sail left I can't take down, the freeboard.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:21   #73
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Re: Drogue vs. sea anchor

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Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
"Long foretold - long hold
Short forecast - soon past"

But there's also "red sky a night, sailor's delight" -- you should see the gorgeous sunset we had here the night before Debby came in and caused 17 kinds of chaos.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:31   #74
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

"
Quote:
Originally Posted by estarzinger
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.

Regarding the need for a two element drogue, what about a series drogue in two sections or more that can be shackled together to provide different levels of resistance instead of one or two single element drogues?
__________________"

Somehow I missed estarzinger's post -- thank goodness for quote!

My boat does what I understand to be a forereach instead of heaving to. If it's under control, that's fine, but because of my boat's tendency to lie abeam along with her tenderness, I do have to be careful where the bow is pointed. This is why I need a backup plan or two.

Hunter actually advertised this boat as a bluewater boat when it was first built, but I think that would only be for highly experienced sailors. In fact I know a highly experienced sailor who has the same model/length I have, and he made sure I knew that it isn't a bluewater boat (it's really wonderful the way sailors look out for each other).

What I do is try to stretch myself each time I go out -- but not extremely so. But that "extremely" thing is sometimes up to Mother Nature.

I mentioned losing my rudder to turbulent water that caused waves (I still blame Moses) to wash most of the water out from under my stern in a relatively shallow channel. I saw the turbulence of course, but I also saw three boats before me go through without anything except a little bouncing (Oh yeah that's what happened to me!) ...

But once before I was in Longboat Pass, which can get extremely turbulent, and for the same reasons -- deeper channel with very shallow water on either side, and other forces such as an opposing current going on. It was rough, but we kept the boat under control and got through (and through a very narrow bridge) safely.

It's that "football player" thing -- just because you've done something safely once doesn't mean it's always going to work out well for ya.

I didn't get a Jordan series drogue, but I have three that can be daisy-chained. My thinking was "Put out one, and if it doesn't do enough, or if it doesn't stay where it needs to, add a second so one or the other is likely to "catch" where it needs to as the waves vary.
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:49   #75
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

Raku,

You've been given some absolutely great advice by evans star zinger (and beth leonard). This is a couple who have more bluewater and storm experience than virtually everyone else on this forum - combined.

I have a huge amount of respect for their opinions. Beth Leonards book "A voyagers handbook" is about as definitive a work on bluewater cruising as you can find. Best you buy and read it (more than once). If Beth doesn't discuss it - you don't need to know it.

On storm tactics the best book I have managed to find is Peter Bruces "Heavy weather sailing". This is another book that should be on your shelf and just as Beth's it should be well-thumbed through. If Peter doesn't discuss it in his (regarding heavy weather) you also don't need to know it.

I don't claim to be in their league, not by a far shot (they have forgotten much more about sailing than I will ever learn or know). But I am a Yachtmaster Ocean and I do make my living writing about sailing and how-to sail.
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