Drogue Retrieval

Once the wind backed off to about 25 knots the motion aboard with the drogue out and no sails was more uncomfortable. A little sail would have steadied things. Didn’t feel like pulling in the drogue at 0300 in big seas and fresh breeze. Awoke at dawn, had a cup of coffee , and within an hour the drogue was retrieved and re-packed , ready to use again if needed.

I used the 30′ line to retrieve the bridle by using a sheet winch , then transferred the drogue line to the other sheet winch.

The wind was only 15 knots so we could pull the drogue in by hand, using the slacks created by waves, and use the winch to snub it. Not a problem at all.

Now we are under full sail , under overcast skies and the baro has climbed to 1015. Not exactly a restful bight but nor was it an epic survival story.

I like the Jordan Series Drogue and will use it again , especially as now I know that deployment and retrieval is quite easy.

I built ours from the basic kit from Sailrite.

Was the drogue essential last night ? No ,we would have been fine ,but I think we would have had some kind of drogue out in the big breaking seas and too much wind for our boat. I guess we could have hand steered , no volunteers for that last night.

Would have been very frightening to be lying ahull.

Heaving -to might have been fine , but it was really blowing , and at least we made 3 knots in the desired direction.

1125 miles to Valdivia on day 9

37 15 S 97 15 W

The Virgin Drogue

It started off as a great sailing day. What was it ? Something about westerly rapture.

By early afternoon we were running with no sails up , at 6 knots. Windy.

The barometer dropped from 1018 to 1010 in a few hours.

The seas grew , with bigger breaking crests.

The windvane handled the scenario. No broaches. No major water in the cockpit.

By late afternoon the barometer hadn’t stopped and it was really windy. Force 8 , OK.

Who wants to sit in the cockpit looking for really big waves all night ? No hands up.

Who has ever put out the Series Drogue before ? No hands up.

We better do it in the daylight , because we haven’t done it before , and there is every sign of this blow lasting a while.

The Drogue is secured on the aft deck with the bridle zip-tied in place already.

Open the duffle bag , pull out the bundled chain that is shackled to the outer end of the drogue , drop it over the stern through the stanchions until the first little sea-anchor grabs , then keep your hands clear. The 125 cones and hundreds of metres of rope peel out quickly. Suddenly it’s all out and the bridle comes up tight on the welded tangs. Instant deceleration from 6 knots to 2.5 knots.

Now , 5 hrs later , the seas are a lot bigger , the wind is still howling at about 40 knots , and I can’t imagine not having the drogue out. It is under huge tension. Water spurts from the rope as it rises from a wave front and comes tight.

I stand at the stern looking for chafe and glance at the seas rising way above the stern , like a deer in the headlights.

Periodically the side decks are inundated by boarding seas. The rudder is tied amidships, the windvane disengaged.

Time to go to bed , and maybe we can retrieve the drogue in the morning.