Originally Posted by sandy daugherty
I respect your experience, Dave, but the Coast Guard report addresses each of your points, with objective tests. In my mind, if a vessel has room for only one system, I see greater advantage in the series drogue.
I've looked for a situation where the chute, with its difficulties, is superior to the series drogue and can imagine only one, where (as in the grand banks) water depth
and bottom structure could allow the series drogue's anchor
to catch and create an overwhelming shock load to the system.
Please point out what I am missing here.
Exit Only is a small catamaran
by present standards at 39 feet and 5 inches length with 21 feet of beam. In spite of our small size, I carried two eighteen foot diameter parachutes from para-anchor international, one series drogue with 120 cones, and a large gale rider drogue. I also constructed the Abbott drogue detailed on our website.
During our circumnavigation
I used one 18 foot diameter parachute in a winter storm 300 miles north of New Zealand
, and I used the Abbott drogue in a storm in the Atlantic heading south to the Canary Islands. I was never in conditions that required the use of a Series Drogue.
The stuff I used in those storms worked extremely well on my boat, but may not have worked as well on boats of other design and size. I know my boat and my equipment
, and I look at the character of the storm and the amount of sea room available, and then I pick from one of the four options I have on board.
If I have limited sea room, I choose the parachute to hold position and to assume a defensive posture.
If a storm is moving fast and will pass by in less than 24 hours, I may hold position with a parachute to let the storm pass by as that is the quickest way out of my predicament. Running in those conditons would only prolong the misery.
If I am in the dangerous semicircle of a storm, I would never run with a drogue because going downwind sucks me into the center and toward the front side of the storm which is a bad idea. In would rather hold position with a parachute or heave to if I was in the dangerous semicircle.
If I am in the non-dangerous semicircle of a storm, I would feel more comfortable running downwind because at least I would be heading more toward the backside of a storm rather than the front side, and I would be heading in the oppsite direction of the forward storm movement.
If the seas are not breaking, I would consider the Abbott drogue or the Large Gale Rider drogue. When the seas start breaking, I would move to a drag device that was strong enough to control the boat in breaking seas.
In severe breaking seas, I would rather have my bows into the seas on a catamaran
of my design. I have chafe free sea anchor
chainplates that will never pull out, and on my boat my greatest chance for survival would be bows into breaking seas. On boats of other designs with flat large salon
windows, having the bows into the seas might be a bad idea.
I built my own series drogue. It took a lot of time to make it, but it's not that hard or expensive to construct. My parachutes were purchased new as was my large gale rider drogue. I also carried the gale rider as a back up man overboard
recovery tool. It has a very big opening and is made of heavy webbing like a large cargo net. I can attach it to my extra long spinnaker halyard
and drop it down into the water
and can hoist a severely injured crew member
back on board inside the gale rider drogue.
I carried two parachutes because in a storm at sea in the shipping
lanes, it's possible that I would need to abandon the chute if it looked like I was going to be run down by a ship, or if the chute was run down by a ship.
The point I am making is this. There is no single
answer or solution that applies to all storms at sea. It depends on your boat design, the character of the storm, the sea room, and the storm gear that you carry on board. I am a small catamaran that has plenty of options when sailing offshore
. That's my approach. It may be overkill, but I have seen enough disasters offshore
to know that on my boat, I want lots of different options available. I may be a small yacht, but I have big options.
I would never go to sea and limit myself to a single