Originally Posted by Caracal
No, the point is not one of difference of opinion, but one of understanding the physics involved. A drogue will slow you down, not stop you, and as a result you will go backwards through the water
, and have the stern take the brunt of it when going down a steep wave and continously take the brunt of it while you are forced backwards through the water
. A parachute anchor from the stem will let you take everything on the nose, whereas a drogue will not. That's the difference.
You also have to take into account that the rudder
which will now be in the "front" of the boat as it travels through the water, will put a lot of sideway forces on your boat and attempt to turn it. Try surfing down a wave leading with a big foil/drag.
A wave is not a body of moving water. Drogue or no drogue, if you're stern to and the wave is moving at 8 knots and you're moving at 4 knots, that does NOT mean you're going backwards since the wave is a transfer of energy, not a solid moving mass. Add in that the wave is lifting you, stern first, and the inertia of the boat and simplification that "you're going backwards through the water" breaks down right away. And it's born out by practical experience both with and without a drogue. In fact, you're infinitely more likely to damage your rudder
or have control issues going to weather if you lose way and slide backwards down the front face of a wave.
On the subject of the wisdom of going "stern to" and the resulting dynamics of the boat, it really is a question of the design of the boat, the conditions you're in, and the forecast
in terms of what you need to do to get out of Dodge.
My first inclination is always to go stern to and run with the weather. I've run down wind
bare poles in 50 knots and 7 meter seas with no drogue at all, doing 6-7 knots. A wind vane
handled the conditions beautifully and the ride was comfortable and predictable enough to go down below and hang out. Hand steering
, which we did through part of the storm at the outset before the wind vane
was set was a bit tiring because it was pitch
black out and you had to stare at the instruments, but was not difficult. I've been in similar conditions with a drogue out and the steering
lashed TDC and been equally comfortable and controlled.
Needless to say, beating to windward with storm sails
in similar conditions is an exhausting ride. I would only attempt it if it was the best way to get out of the storm system and the forecast
indicated that to be the prudent course of action (eg. hurricane). Heaving to is ultimately the best option in many circumstances, but if you can make 6 knots along your intended course, why not, if you can do it safely and comfortably?
As to the whole pooping issue, that obviously depends to a degree on the boat itself but is a rare event in most offshore boats unless you're in heavily breaking seas. Mine has a relatively small, fast-draining cockpit and high bridge deck
specifically designed for safety
offshore in this circumstance and so does not present a real stability risk. The boat also has an elliptical shape with canoe stern with sharp entry, providing excellent buoyancy. The point is, unless you have an enormous and/or poorly designed cockpit, it's just not an issue IMO except in extreme survival conditions.
In short, I'll run with the wind
unless I encounter specific circumstances that make heaving to more prudent. I'll be more comfortable and put less stress on my vessel which are both important factors in weathering a storm.