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Old 04-09-2012, 09:27   #91
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
+2

I've only been sailing FL since 1974 from Clearwater to Jacksonville and more than a few trips across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. Boats including 25' power boat, 36' cabin cruiser, sailboats 32' 36' 42' 58'.

In my experience the odds of being caught in a serious storm with large waves requiring deployment of sea anchors, drogues, etc due just to the wind and wave conditions is so small as to be negligible. Assuming of course that one is checking the weather carefully as discussed.

I have seen plenty of big nasty thunderstorms and some popped up pretty quckly but none that weren't to some degree expected based on weather conditions and forecasts. They are also visible from miles away as they build, even at night so you usually have some ability to dodge if you need.

On the other hand, I can see the possibility of needing to deploy something due to damage to rig or steering.

Raku, have you considcered that you might be overthinking this just a bit?

No, i'm not "over-thinking." It's called "learning," and *carefully* thinking through the use of equipment that could have unintended consequences unless I know what I'm doing.

I'm sorry, but "those storms" can't always be seen from miles away, and they can't always be dodged. You have much more experience than I do, but the Earth is pretty flat and you've got a really wide field of vision most days. Sometimes that storm forms right over you within 20 minutes. It's happened to me twice -- once a couple of years ago here, and once in Biscayne Bay years ago on someone else's boat. I've also seen it happen in the midwest.

The only time I've had damage to the steering (not rigging, thank goodness!) slowing the boat down would have been the worst thing to do. We needed to get out of there.

And once again I will say that the ability to forecast some of these stoms is EXTREMELY limited. You're just wrong about that. Go on a multi-day sail, and third day out, suddenly the weather forecast has changed, there's a high likelihood of thunderstorms, and you're 50 miles from a shore with no shelter (ex: Florida Bay). The Gulf can get really riled up (and remember, it's about the water, not the wind, and the water will stay riled up for a while), and there might be real advantage to settling the boat down just to have a break.

The point of having a drogue is to slow the boat while sailing downwind so you don't surf so fast you either risk broaching at the bottom or submarining into the base of the next wave. I personally know that this can happen here. The sea anchor helps control your boat cut through the waves at a desirable angle. One is for the waves coming from behind; the other is to keep them off your beam. I can envision that second one being appropriate for my boat. Maybe it will never happen. The guy I bought the sea anchor from never used it, but he liked having it. I won't "never use it." I'll go out with skilled companions and test it, including getting it back on board. I suspect that taking the road to that back block and winch might be the best way.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:28   #92
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
+2

I've only been sailing FL since 1974 from Clearwater to Jacksonville and more than a few trips across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas....
...
In my experience the odds of being caught in a serious storm with large waves requiring deployment of sea anchors, drogues, etc due just to the wind and wave conditions is so small as to be negligible. Assuming of course that one is checking the weather carefully as discussed...
+1. And knows how to properly use marine forecast information (many do not).

I lived and worked as a charter captain, sailing instructor, and cruiser in Florida, mostly SW Florida, for over 6 years. Plus about 2 more decades of experience on top of that in other venues -- much of it in the Gulf of Mexico, .... but apparently I don't know WTF I'm talking about either.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:34   #93
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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The US Power Squadron offers (at least they used to) an excellent course on what is basically weather 101.

I have been sailing and living on the Florida gulf coast and the Keys for 7 years. I have never been in a situation where I felt it would have been advantageous to use a drogue or a sea anchor. The weather we get is either tropical with many days of warning, frontal with a few days of warning or quickly developed storms that don't last through the evening. I think what the others have said that the summer storms are not long developed systems that cause major sea changes.

Was your friend out sailing with the outerbands of Debbie or Isaac in which case these storms were worse than normal summer storms, but there was a tropical system to be wary of?

The worst weather I have experienced was an overnighter from Port Charlotte to Key West with a approaching frontal system from the North. I new about it and went anyway. The weather got worse than we expected and even the cruise ships in Key West stayed over night and the ferry to Ft. Myers turned around. It was rough with 10 ft waves close together and felt like they were coming from all directions, but we were fine and if on a lesser boat would not have made the trip.

"Was your friend out sailing with the outerbands of Debbie or Isaac in which case these storms were worse than normal summer storms, but there was a tropical system to be wary of."

Sigh. NO.

I've even said when it was -- the day before Memorial day last year -- 2011. Go check the charts if you want -- no tropicals anywhere near us. As I said, I happened to be in Venice (and near the shore) that day. WE saw that storm boil up from nowhere, quite rapidly. We rushed to get everything inside, but it stayed out to sea. I've said all this multiple times.

The storm lasted about what my neighbor said -- it was strong enough to make the news.

I don't know anyone who was dumb enough to go out sailing in the outer bands of either Debby or Issac -- except me -- I helped a friend move a boat to a safer location for Isaac. We could have gotten caught in a squall, but watched the radar carefully and chose our window to go the 4 1/2 miles very carefully. It was the smart thing to do. Turned out one of the two anchors wasn't holding. We moved her to a proven mooring field -- and then that area got pounded by squall after squall. His boat remained secure although a couple of boats, although moored, still dragged, and there were a few collisions.

It was still the right thing to do -- very carefully.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:41   #94
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
+1. And knows how to properly use marine forecast information (many do not).

I lived and worked as a charter captain, sailing instructor, and cruiser in Florida, mostly SW Florida, for over 6 years. Plus about 2 more decades of experience on top of that in other venues -- much of it in the Gulf of Mexico, .... but apparently I don't know WTF I'm talking about either.
Don't feel too bad. We're in good company. It seems that most of the experienced sailors offering advice on this thread that are just as clueless as we are.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:47   #95
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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"Was your friend out sailing with the outerbands of Debbie or Isaac in which case these storms were worse than normal summer storms, but there was a tropical system to be wary of."

Sigh. NO.

I've even said when it was -- the day before Memorial day last year -- 2011. Go check the charts if you want -- no tropicals anywhere near us. As I said, I happened to be in Venice (and near the shore) that day. WE saw that storm boil up from nowhere, quite rapidly. We rushed to get everything inside, but it stayed out to sea. I've said all this multiple times.

The storm lasted about what my neighbor said -- it was strong enough to make the news.

I don't know anyone who was dumb enough to go out sailing in the outer bands of either Debby or Issac -- except me -- I helped a friend move a boat to a safer location for Isaac. We could have gotten caught in a squall, but watched the radar carefully and chose our window to go the 4 1/2 miles very carefully. It was the smart thing to do. Turned out one of the two anchors wasn't holding. We moved her to a proven mooring field -- and then that area got pounded by squall after squall. His boat remained secure although a couple of boats, although moored, still dragged, and there were a few collisions.

It was still the right thing to do -- very carefully.
I'm not saying you are a liar, and apologize if it came across that way. I just don't think you should encounter any weather coastal cruising the golf coast to require a drogue or sea anchor. If you do decide to use these strategies that close to shore, then all the best to you.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:54   #96
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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"
Capta and Foolish Sailor have told you that being aware of the weather and knowing how to handle your boat are what is really important, for the kind of sailing you do. This is good advice."


I don't know if I can make this clear, but they both assumed that for some reason I'm *not* aware of the weather.

And I'm sorry, but the notion that just because it's "coastal" sailing means you don't have to maintain control of your boat is wrong. We've had several boats sink in Tampa Bay -- about as coastal as you get -- in gales. Not storms, just lots of wind and waves.

. . .

As I say, I'm not convinced that because this is "coastal" sailing, some of these strategies may never have a place. If I have someone seriously seasick on my boat, I'm going to want to settle the boat down and give that person a chance to recover. This is one bouncy boat.
I swore to myself I was not going to post to this thread anymore . . .

Rakuflames, I think you have really not heard at all what people were trying to tell you. No one said that "just because it's 'coastal' sailing means you don't have to maintain control of your boat" or anything remotely like that. Coastal sailing is actually more dangerous and possibly more challenging than ocean sailing -- because it's the land which is so dangerous to mariners. What people are telling you is that coastal sailing presents a different set of challenges to ocean sailing, and how to deal with a multi-day really large storm at sea, the kind which creates a dangerous sea state, is just one of the tasks for the coastal sailor. Drogues and sea anchors are made for this kind of situation, not for settling down the boat to relieve seasick passengers, and task for which they are entirely unsuited.

As to the weather -- no one said that you are "unaware of the weather". What they were trying to tell you is that you don't seem to understand the difference in types of storms. ReMehTau said it well:

"The weather we get is either tropical with many days of warning, frontal with a few days of warning or quickly developed storms that don't last through the evening. I think what the others have said that the summer storms are not long developed systems that cause major sea changes."

As Foolish Sailor said:

"Waves are created as a function of Wind Speed, Duration, and Fetch.

In short sharp storms like a viscious thunderstorm squall where winds may even get up to 60+ in the gusts, even if you are stuck in it for four hours it will not cause wave conditions that would warrant the use of a drag device. It will cause uncomfortable chop even as high as 2 meters and can cause serious situations for those unprepared.

However the solution to dealing with this type of weather is basic seamenship and sail handling versus relying on a drag device."

The conditions where you need a drag device because you can't keep the boat under control when running off are conditions created by storms of types 1 and 2 in RehMehTau's list, not type 3. Not even 4 hours of that kind of a storm, as Foolish Sailor said. It takes days of big wind acting over hundreds of miles of ocean to create those conditions.

To put it another way -- getting through a non-frontal t-storm in Florida on a boat could be compared to walking up Stone Mountain, if we think of the kind of sailing Erstarzinger does as like climbing Mount Everest. You don't need oxygen bottles, ice axes, crampons, or technical climbing boots on Stone Mountain (you might need a 357 Magnum for the muggers, however -- again, the challenges are different ). When the job is Stone Mountain, it is very important not to confuse it with Everest. It's different. Tools and tactics are different, too.

You write about "waves on the hind quarter [hind quarter?!] in Longboat Pass" -- case in point, that we have different challenges sailing around a coast. As I said, the land is the most dangerous thing to mariners, because it can be disastrous running into it, but also because it can create awful sea states, sometimes out of nothing. It's even much worse (like squared or cubed) in areas with big tides and strong tidal currents. This kind of situation is extremely challenging, but -- entirely unrelated to the challenge of dealing with multi-day storms in the open ocean. Different tactics, different tools, altogether. Nothing to do with this conversation.

You wrote about settling your boat down to relieve a seasick passenger. I can sympathize with this -- I've had this problem more than once myself. Try using a sea anchor once for this purpose and post again here afterwards -- I am quite sure that you will then be convinced that it is not the right tool. You should not be thinking about setting sea anchors just to "settle down" the boat -- sea anchors are survival tools, for survival conditions, and vastly too much trouble and risk for such a situation. Oxygen bottles on Stone Mountain.

The tailor-made solution for this heaving to. It "settles down" the boat magically. It feels like someone pressed the "pause" button. I heave to to give a break to seasick passengers, or sometimes just to make lunch. It is a fabulous tool. Some boats don't like to heave to very much, but in my experience every boat will heave to if you get the sheeting right. Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to figure it out.

OK, now I'm really going to stop posting here. You've got plenty of information now, Rakuflames! The thing is to digest it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:59   #97
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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I'm not saying you are a liar, and apologize if it came across that way. I just don't think you should encounter any weather coastal cruising the golf coast to require a drogue or sea anchor. If you do decide to use these strategies that close to shore, then all the best to you.

How close to shore?

Another assumption, like the assumption that I would do something like that in the Gulf Stream after going out there in weather from the north ...

How close to shore am i going to do that, and what direction are the waves coming from? Am I going to put the drogue out "that close to shore" or the sea anchor?

Please tell me what you are assuming I will do so I can make an intelligent reaply.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:00   #98
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

This summer i got caught in sustained 35 knot winds with gust up to 45kns. The waves were running say 6-7 feet. No problem. I had checked the forecast just before we went out . It said 16-18kns. Next we got caught again. Weather said 10-12 kns. We got hit with sustained 30 kns. Worse, we were sailing to bornholn where there is a powerful east going current now blown up by 30 kns westerly winds. Locally this is known as the "hammer waves". I guess in english they are called "overfalls". Well we did get the hammer that's for sure. 4 hours of being beaten. But neither day did we ever consider any other storm tactics than reefing way down.
By the way, even in the sustain 35kns winds we did break hull speed quite a few times. Hotest speed was 11 kns
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:01   #99
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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No, i'm not "over-thinking." It's called "learning," and *carefully* thinking through the use of equipment that could have unintended consequences unless I know what I'm doing.

I'm sorry, but "those storms" can't always be seen from miles away, and they can't always be dodged. You have much more experience than I do, but the Earth is pretty flat and you've got a really wide field of vision most days. Sometimes that storm forms right over you within 20 minutes. It's happened to me twice -- once a couple of years ago here, and once in Biscayne Bay years ago on someone else's boat. I've also seen it happen in the midwest.

The only time I've had damage to the steering (not rigging, thank goodness!) slowing the boat down would have been the worst thing to do. We needed to get out of there.

And once again I will say that the ability to forecast some of these stoms is EXTREMELY limited. You're just wrong about that. Go on a multi-day sail, and third day out, suddenly the weather forecast has changed, there's a high likelihood of thunderstorms, and you're 50 miles from a shore with no shelter (ex: Florida Bay). The Gulf can get really riled up (and remember, it's about the water, not the wind, and the water will stay riled up for a while), and there might be real advantage to settling the boat down just to have a break.

The point of having a drogue is to slow the boat while sailing downwind so you don't surf so fast you either risk broaching at the bottom or submarining into the base of the next wave. I personally know that this can happen here. The sea anchor helps control your boat cut through the waves at a desirable angle. One is for the waves coming from behind; the other is to keep them off your beam. I can envision that second one being appropriate for my boat. Maybe it will never happen. The guy I bought the sea anchor from never used it, but he liked having it. I won't "never use it." I'll go out with skilled companions and test it, including getting it back on board. I suspect that taking the road to that back block and winch might be the best way.
Since you don't like the term overthinking perhaps better to say that you may be thinking that the problem, the potential seriousness and risk to be much greater than actual experience suggests?

I certainly encourage learing and preparation and all that go with it, but it is possible to get carried away. Like preparing for an earthquake in Florida. It could happen but the odds are so slight that for all practical purposes can be ignored. Much better to spend ones time preparing for things that have higher odds of occurring in the context of ones one situation.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:05   #100
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Since you don't like the term overthinking perhaps better to say that you may be thinking that the problem, the potential seriousness and risk to be much greater than actual experience suggests?

I certainly encourage learing and preparation and all that go with it, but it is possible to get carried away. Like preparing for an earthquake in Florida. It could happen but the odds are so slight that for all practical purposes can be ignored. Much better to spend ones time preparing for things that have higher odds of occurring in the context of ones one situation.

Sigh ... assume whatever you want, and I'll never convince at least one other person that I get (and have for many years) what he is saying about the weather.

There is no forcing people to stop reading between the lines. Amazingly, when people do that, it's always negative things they think up -- never positive.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:07   #101
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

I'd like to bring up another issue. As one who tends to do most of my cruising single handed. I'd like to ask about the ability to get some rest. Fatigue seems to play an important part in some of the bad decisions sailors make when the weather gets snotty. It seems to me the ability to go below and get some "minimal" rest would be better done using a sea anchor than operating under a drogue. Yeah, you might lie on the SA for while until things calmed down but, staying at the helm for single handed sailors while using a drogue does not seem like the best option either. It might be different scenario if you have crew who can take turns manning the helm allowing the other crew member(s) to get some rest. Just asking.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:14   #102
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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+1. And knows how to properly use marine forecast information (many do not).

I lived and worked as a charter captain, sailing instructor, and cruiser in Florida, mostly SW Florida, for over 6 years. Plus about 2 more decades of experience on top of that in other venues -- much of it in the Gulf of Mexico, .... but apparently I don't know WTF I'm talking about either.

It always amazes me when people get online and then are surprised when not everyone agrees with them.

Maybe your comfort level with a severe storm is different than mine. Maybe my boat has different characteristics than yours in a storm. Maybe there's more than one viewpoint.

Maybe people learn a whole lot from asking questions. YOU would not just take as gospel what others said without considering it. Why should I? No one said you don't know WTF you're talking about. No one implied it. There's a tremendous amount of knowledge here and I've read all of it very carefully.

When you say that, it's actually me that's being slammed. I didn't slam you. it's not necessary. It's not personal.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:18   #103
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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I'd like to bring up another issue. As one who tends to do most of my cruising single handed. I'd like to ask about the ability to get some rest. Fatigue seems to play an important part in some of the bad decisions sailors make when the weather gets snotty. It seems to me the ability to go below and get some "minimal" rest would be better done using a sea anchor than operating under a drogue. Yeah, you might lie on the SA for while until things calmed down but, staying at the helm for single handed sailors while using a drogue does not seem like the best option either. It might be different scenario if you have crew who can take turns manning the helm allowing the other crew member(s) to get some rest. Just asking.

THANK YOU. Surviving a life-threatening storm is one use of a sea anchor but not the only one.

I keep saying it's not about the wind, it's about the water. And the water can stay churned up for awhile. I used the example of a very seasick sailing companion. If you can settle the boat down and let that person recover some, you're now MUCH safer, because you have two functioning crew instead of one.

But apparently (slight exaggeration here) some have interpreted what I've said to mean that I would put a drogue out for a boat wake in the Intracoastal Canal. I can't have an intelligent discussion with someone who sits back and thinks "But what if she ... (insert ridiculous scenario)" -- and then assumes that to be what I would do. It's not possible.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:23   #104
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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How close to shore?

Another assumption, like the assumption that I would do something like that in the Gulf Stream after going out there in weather from the north ...

How close to shore am i going to do that, and what direction are the waves coming from? Am I going to put the drogue out "that close to shore" or the sea anchor?

Please tell me what you are assuming I will do so I can make an intelligent reaply.

Well tell us, how close to shore do you sail?
When sailing from Venice to Naples, are sailing down the coast within sight of land, or are you heading out a hundred miles?

You mentioned that a drogue would have been a great device for your friend in their situation. I can't imagine that he was that far off shore going from one port to another, but hey maybe he was.

I have never deployed a drogue, and I may be wrong here, but I would think it would have been a dangerous choice in that situation. If the winds shifted from the west, he would have been on a run struggling to get a drogue in as he is being carried toward a lee shore.
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Old 04-09-2012, 10:43   #105
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Re: Drogue vs. Sea Anchor

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Well tell us, how close to shore do you sail?
When sailing from Venice to Naples, are sailing down the coast within sight of land, or are you heading out a hundred miles?

You mentioned that a drogue would have been a great device for your friend in their situation. I can't imagine that he was that far off shore going from one port to another, but hey maybe he was.

I have never deployed a drogue, and I may be wrong here, but I would think it would have been a dangerous choice in that situation. If the winds shifted from the west, he would have been on a run struggling to get a drogue in as he is being carried toward a lee shore.

NOOOOO! SOMEONE ELSE said a drogue *might* have helped him out. In fact it might have been quite dangerous, and I said exactly that in another post.

What *I* said (having done it, not just making it up) was that my first storm strategy is to head OUT TO SEA. Deeper water reduces the risk of breaking waves and get the heck away from that shore.

I would do that before the storm hit rather than trying to get to some safe harbor. Boats are rarely sunk in storms around here, but when it's happened -- it's been in shallow water. LOL there's a guy in my club who sank his boat in three feet of water when the wind clocked around and he was suddenly anchored by a lee shore. Boat went into the surf where it pounded and pounded until the keel came right through the bottom.
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