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Thread: Following Seas and a Sea Anchor or Drogue

  1. #1
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Default Following Seas and a Sea Anchor or Drogue

    Good article from the Raleigh Telegram:

    BOATING: Using A Sea Anchor In Heavy Seas

    Photo: Telegram.

    By Captain Reg Fidoe, Special To The Raleigh Telegram

    RALEIGH - Have you ever said “Boy, am I pooped?” If you have, was it due to a heavy sea breaking over your stern? Probably not! Although, you could become tired if such an event repeated itself over and over again. But being tired isn’t where I’m going with this.

    A vessel is said to be “pooped” when a heavy sea breaks over the stern. This usually happens in a following sea in heavy wind. As a result of “pooping,” a vessel can turn broadside to the sea, as its rudder has little or no effect in those conditions.
    How do we control our boats in a following sea accompanied by heavy wind? Worse yet, what would we do in that situation if we lost all power? At the whim of the wind and the wave action, we risk broaching (turning broadside to the sea) and rolling over.
    In heavy weather, there are two very helpful approaches that you can take to steady your vessel. You could use a “drogue” or a “sea anchor.” One will reduce yaw (fishtailing) and help you maintain a steady heading in a following sea. The other will keep your bow into the weather when you are adrift. Both will help to keep you upright and afloat.

    The drogue and the sea anchor are often confused with one another. They do have a few things in common. They are both tossed overboard and secured with a line. They both help you to avoid broaching by maintaining a favorable orientation to the weather. That is, either by helping to keep the wind and wave action directly ahead of you or directly behind you.

    A drogue is a cone of canvas (or other fabric) which uses a metal ring to keep the wide end open. A bridle of three or more legs attaches the ring to a towing line. The towing line is secured to the stern of your vessel. The narrow end of the drogue has a small opening, allowing a small flow of water through it.

    This arrangement puts a “drag” on your vessel in order to minimize yaw, keeping your vessel on a steady heading in a following sea. A tripping line is attached to the narrow end, which when pulled, collapses the drogue to prepare for bringing it aboard.
    A drogue is used when your vessel is making headway. A sea anchor is used when your vessel is adrift and at the mercy of the wind, current and wave action. It would be safe to say that a sea anchor is 180 degrees out from a drogue, because a sea anchor is deployed from the bow of a vessel. It anchors your vessel to the sea, which is sometimes your only option in extreme depths.

    A drogue can be used a sea anchor, however, any type of gear that can be attached to a line from the bow may suffice. The object is to provide something from which the bow will be “anchored” due to the “drag” that the sea anchor provides. As the wind and wave action attempt to overwhelm your vessel, the sea anchor’s taut line keeps your bow into the weather.

    A drogue or a sea anchor can make an unpleasant experience more bearable. It’s wise to be prepared!

    Until next time, I wish you fair winds and may the water depth always exceed the draft of your vessel. ::

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Captain Reg Fidoe is the chief instructor of World Wide Marine Training, Inc., a U.S. Coast Guard Approved facility authorized to give examinations for captain’s licenses up to 200 Ton Master, Able Seaman up to Unlimited, STCW-95, Radar, ARPA and other Endorsements (www.wegivethetest.com or call toll-free 866-249-2135.
    Article Posted: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013.

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
    1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
    MMSI# 338131469
    Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/

  2. #2
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    you'll be "pooped" outa luck when one of those lines gets wound up in your wheel !!!

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    I carry two sea anchors but must admit they only have been used to slow drifts for fishing so far.


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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    you'll be "pooped" outa luck when one of those lines gets wound up in your wheel !!!
    I was thinking the same thing. I can see using a sea anchor when dead in the water, but I really don't like the idea if dragging something off the stern in heavy seas, seems like a foul up waiting to happen
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoose35 View Post
    I was thinking the same thing. I can see using a sea anchor when dead in the water, but I really don't like the idea if dragging something off the stern in heavy seas, seems like a foul up waiting to happen
    Believe me, it's not fun when your ***** end gets picked up by a big following sea and gets you sideways close to a broach. I have a sea anchor on board just it case I'm in that situation again, though my current boat doesn't exhibit those tendencies like one of my previous boats did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish Witch View Post
    Believe me, it's not fun when your ***** end gets picked up by a big following sea and gets you sideways close to a broach. I have a sea anchor on board just it case I'm in that situation again, though my current boat doesn't exhibit those tendencies like one of my previous boats did.

    I was in that situation when I was younger. We were crossing from Homer to Kodiak. We were in shelikof straight between shuyuak and afognak, in a 34' Californian. Seas were big and stacked with a strong current. Captain of the boat handled it, but it was hairy, must have turned us close to sideways a half dozen times.
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    Now we're starting to "shear off" on to hull designs, some just don't go good downsea. I've felt like i should of been on the bow of my bowpicker hang'in ten surfing on the breakers on the copper river flats , funny now but was pretty serious back then.

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