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Old 11-13-2007, 05:54 AM   #29
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 48

"Speaking of old boats, drogues, trailing warps, etc. I've read accounts of cruising done 40 to 80 years ago where the cruiser talks about trailing x many hundred feet of line, or trailing 2 lines of x many feet long or even 3 lines of x many feet long. I've not heard any recent accounts of doing this--is it still done? Or, have all cruisers sensibly gone onto the use of drogues, sea anchors....and spare tires?

I ALWAYS trail at least one line when offshore, It's knotted about every six feet or so with a couple of small loops big enough to stick your hand (second to last) and foot (the last one)thru at the end. Gives a MOB a fair shot at staying close to the boat while you scream your head off for the off deck watch. On one my boats it was possible to rig it thru a shock cord to the tiller, when you jerked it, it was enough to pull the tiller over causing the boat to round up. On my big boat had a hydraulic wheel. Harder to rig, Fixxed it to pull the wheel off course hopefully putting it into circle eventually bringing the boat to a stop one way or another. In a blow bad enough to run from, I try to warp from the two stern cleats, with a bight as I posted before. This is enough to ensure your tail end doesn't swap places with the bow. In a bad news storm, u need to gauge what speed works best for the conditions (I'm a "runner" when it gets bad news...lots easier on crew and craft assuming you have a clear field to run ...if you are on a lee shore, you got a bigger problem ). When you need more than the bight gives you, a tire with 3 or 4 wraps around the tread will give you more drag... if you REALLY wish you had a reef to hook onto, then set your tire up before hand with a 4 or 5 point bridle , 3 or 4 wraps at each point then terminating into a central steel ring. Tie your rode into that to minimize chafe. Steel on steel works best so a shackle thru an eye onto the ring will serve you well. you can have that set up in advance so you can either go for the wraps on the perimeter or the center ring as conditions require. Set up in a bridle, be advised this is serious droguishness you're laying out, so make sure your warp and cleats are up to it. As the previous poster pointed out. Samsons at the aft quarters and one on the bow are darned useful, especially if you have to tow or be towed. I'll leave it to the CG or ex CG's here to tell some good 'almost successful tow" stories.


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Old 11-13-2007, 03:29 PM   #30
Join Date: Sep 2004
Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Gone Troppo
Posts: 103

Originally Posted by Seeratlas View Post
"Speaking of old boats, drogues, trailing warps, etc. I've read accounts of cruising done 40 to 80 years ago where the cruiser talks about trailing x many hundred feet of line, or trailing 2 lines of x many feet long or even 3 lines of x many feet long. I've not heard any recent accounts of doing this--is it still done? Or, have all cruisers sensibly gone onto the use of drogues, sea anchors....and spare tires?

A few years ago we were running under bare pole doing 11-14kts with the waves breaking on the transom hung rudders. We wanted to slow down for the night so before deploying our drogue, I decided to try towing lines. I tied somewhere between 15 & 25 lines of varying lengths (12-30m) with a knot or two in each from the stern. Only two were attached to cleats the rest were just tied to the traveller lines, main sheet or push pit. This slowed us down and kept us under 9kts and the waves broke a metre or two before they reached the rudders. Left the drogue in the locker, and have still not ever used it. An old sailor friend had advised me to try this method many a year ago, said it worked a treat on his mono. It was definately worth remembering.



Happy Sailing,


Crowther Windspeed 36

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Old 11-15-2007, 03:42 PM   #31
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 97

Never had to use a drogue, thank goodness, so PASS on that part

When I was buying a boat 2 years ago, I avoided furling mainsails on the basis of safety - though happy to have a furling genoa. I am now very jealous of main furlers - with only two of us on board, even with an autopilot, slab reefing and taking down fully is a chore. Yes, we do have lazy jacks - they help but are not as handy as roller reefing.


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Old 11-15-2007, 11:01 PM   #32
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 28

Jib furling seems to be a tested and relatively reliable addition to a boat.

In mast main sail furling is a disaster waiting to happen. They are very prone to jamming unless procedures are followed exactly and in order when furling/reefing. A jammed sail in serious conditions could be fatal. Performance wise, you lose sail area because the sail needs a hollow roach as you don't have battens. It is a non starter for me. I did a little survey in my marina. Of the three boats with in mast furling, all had had them jam. One so badly they had to climb the mast and cut the sail away once they got back to the marina. These were all inshore incidences in relatively protected waters and only moderate winds. Cause of the jams was operator error and all learned how they could prevent the jams if they followed specific steps in exact order under ideal conditions. I'm not sure what they might find in the rough and tumble of a real world storm but I would not be willing to try them.

In boom furling systems are less of a problem if they jam but the cost is stupid. I can slab reef my 350 sf main in 1 minute from the cockpit. Why would I want to pay $5,000 plus to have a system that has to have the boom at an absolute perfect angle with all it's prone to failure mechanical accoutrements. With boom furling, it will take more time to reef and probably a trip to the mast. Besides, those fat booms are ugly. I can drop the main at any time, with the lazy jacks, and forget it till I have the time to flake it down properly.

I think drogues are a product of our affluence. Back in the good old days, cruisers made do with inexpensive options that worked. Now we have the money to pay for very expensive, one time use, safety features that would have been considered foolish wastes of money 20-30 years ago. We never thought of a drogue in 1974 when we left on our cruise. We sported 600' and 300' of Nylon line we could use as warps and a couple of tires if we needed more drag.

Most drogue/warp failures are the result of chafe at the transom. A line under tension can chafe through in minutes. The forces on a warp/drogue are tremendous, possibly more than you could hold on a winch and certainly more than you could crank in. In your preporations, be sure that you have the ability to deal with chafe.


Peter O.

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