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Old 09-12-2005, 18:22   #1
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Use of drogues, sea anchors

I am interested in hearing from those who have used drogues and/or sea anchors, types vs. type of boat, conditions, experience on effectiveness, etc.
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Old 09-12-2005, 20:41   #2
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Sea anchor

I make my own. The end that the water goes in is bigger than the end that the water goes out. I have two, one for each side of the boat. Only use so far has been for fishing. On a windy day with Ethel ( the auto helm ) steering I use the diesel to putter to windward and let the wind blow me down wind with the anchor out to adjust the speed. There are two references in the books on the 98 Sydney Hobart race. In one a skipper described having the lines for the anchors attached at midships so the the stern could rise with the waves. In the other one boat dragged a regular anchor and other stuff to good effect. They had already lost a crew overboard by getting out of control. If they had of done this sooner they probably would not have lost the guy. The Pardies have described how they use a sea anchor to hold the pointy end to the wind, at an angle. Might be that full keel boats can have the pointy end to the wind, but I only intend to run with the wind trailing the sea anchors, but zero practical experience at this in extreem conditions.
Michael
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Old 10-12-2005, 05:16   #3
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Sam, Victor Shane offers exactly what you are seeking in Drag Device Data Base, 4th ed. Have you read that? It would be a great way to springboard your thinking off the many specific experiences with each of the 3 drogue/sea anchor types in boats of all sizes and hull(s) reported directly by the crews.

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Old 10-12-2005, 15:08   #4
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The current issue of Cruising World has a great article on drogues. I don't think you can read it on line, but you should be able to pick up a print copy somewhere.

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Old 11-12-2005, 00:20   #5
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I am especially curious because I recently used a Delta-type drogue to good effect in extreme conditions (30+ft waves and Force 10-11). I hardly hear discussion about this. I wonder if a Galerider-style drogue would have worked as well (or better) or if just dragging some junk astern would have had the same effect.

Interestingly, we waited some time to deploy it for fear we'd be slowed down enough to poop. That happened anyway on several occasions - there was no avoiding it, and luckily the boat had a small, fast-draining cockpit, so it wasn't as serious as we thought (plus it never got more than about 1/3 full).

Anyway, we didn't have a sea anchor, but almost had need for it at one point. I think in the future I would carry one of these as well.
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Old 11-12-2005, 04:11   #6
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Sam, the Galerider has many fans and is written up numerous times in DDDB; it seems very effective altho' as boat size nears 50', I know of one boat that - down in the Southern Latitudes, lower Roaring 40's, near 50S - chose to sail with a 2nd one attached in series with the 1st on occasion.

One thing that comes thru, loud & clear, in the crew reports from DDDB is that drogues and sea anchors need to be chosen based not just on performance criteria relative to the boat, but also on the capabilities of the crew to deploy and then service the unit while in very difficult conditions.

A reason _Blue Water Sailing_ recommended the Galerider over other drogues was that it is a very small, light package when bagged and stored (2' x 2' x 4" minus the rode), easily deployed, and relatively easy to retrieve while there is still a substantial sea running. (By contrast, this appears to be far less true of the series drogue). We've all read accounts where folks drag anchors, weighted tires, long bights of line et al. from the stern and these things also work (to varying degrees, while the crew enjoys the experience the first time they do so of being test pilots). OTOH the actual deployment (and retrieval) of these adhoc devices may be problematic for a husband-wife or small-handed crew.

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Old 12-12-2005, 03:57   #7
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I have to say that I found deploying the Delta-type drogue quite simple. We secured it amidship off the stern cleats (bridled), pitched it off the stern and payed out line until it was the textbook "two wave crests" behind us. That was it, and it worked fine.
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Old 14-12-2005, 09:34   #8
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For how long a time did you have the drogue deployed?

Did you have any problem with chafe?

What speed through the water were you achieving under drogue, and did you have to steer, or were you able to use the autopilot?

Were there any problems with recovery?
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Old 15-12-2005, 07:06   #9
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chafing, yes, it chaffed straight thru - so there was no recovery!

but that was after it had done it's job for two days.

In a boat with a hull speed of 6-7 knots, we did 4-5 knots under bare poles and the drogue in Force 10 gusting occassionally to Force 11 and 30-40ft seas.
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