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Old 11-12-2009, 05:38 PM   #15
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So, how about others that have been in the situation where things have not gone the way they had planned and have been in a situation where they have thought "I really don't want to be here". Lets hear your story, what you did and your post experience thoughts.
There is an article in Multihulls around 2000 or 20001 about my boat Whats Up Doc, a 47' Crowther catamaran, caught in a storm betwen Austrailia and Fiji. This storm caused the loss of at least one monohull and damaged others. The owner at the time, Keith McKenzie describes 50' breaking seas. Keith was double handing bu tthe other crew was incapacited with seasickness so he was really solo. He put out a sea anchor on 200' of 1.5" braided nylon attacked to the usual bridal. He could sit in the salon and (with glasses) watch the anchor crest the next wave just before the nearest wave hit. there was no violence to the night once at anchor. They road this for a full night or longer and moved very little by GPS. No wave broke on the deck. Retreival was not a problem becauwe of a small line that attaches to the center of the anchor so when you haul it in it inverst the anchor.

I have deployed it once since I owned her but just as a test in 10" waves and 30K winds. We have a drogue but have not used it. both are web netting type parachutes with large holes. The drogue is about 1.5- 2 feet across and the anchor is about 5 -6'. both have the 1/4" retrieval line.

David Edsall
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:30 PM   #16
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I have no experiance in a cat; but i do have experiance in mono hulls and can tell you that a drogue or sea anchor are the most unused but best possible bits of equipment. i have deployed a sea anchor in bad weather many times and it just works . sometimes off the bow occasionally off the stern.

i dont understand the reluctance of many folks to deploy either for foul weather or in mid transit to get some rest, time to do repairs or just to not have to beat into it for hours on end.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:40 AM   #17
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Am new to this forum, but feel inclined to comment about sea anchors. There is a rare book by Daniel Shewmon about the construction and use of sea anchors. Shewmon is an engineer who designed. constructed, and tested to failure many sea anchors, so I think that his results are reliable. He calls for a sea anchor of 10-12' for a 40' catamaran, and he recommends using long lines (20-25 times the wave height) of anchor line appropriate for the boat. The long line is necessary for shock absorption and ensuring that the anchor remains submerged. Considering that a 25' breaking wave has a 2-3' surface moving at almost 20 knots, any vertical surface on the boat will experience about 1000 lbs/sq.ft. impact therefrom. No short anchor rode-bridle-cleat configuration is likely to absorb such an impact, so the long line (500-625') is as important as a well-made sea anchor.

As for running with the seas and a drogue, consider whether you prefer a 1000'/sq. ft. against your cockpit door rather than against your cabin windows. I would vote for neither, outrun the storm if possible, but you have to be ready if that proves impossible. Also, if you decide to run with a drogue and get to a point that an anchor is necessary, the transition could be really difficult.
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:00 AM   #18
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I guess that to 'heave to' is not an option for a catamaran?
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Properly managed and performed ( depending on the actual conditions) 'Heaving To' is a better option than 'Lying A-Hull' - again depending on boat and equipment - skipper - experience and most importantly the seas , the obstacles, and the wind!
Our Privilege 42 heaves-to very nicely.

Our first experience was not by choice -- our hydraulic steering fluid leaked out and a 'heave-to' was the natural result. Of course, this happened at 3 AM. We had been sailing fairly close to the wind in 32 knots apparent with a reefed main and genoa with 8-10 foot swells and making around 8 to 8.5 knots. It had been quite boisterous, but when the steering quit, we just rounded up, the jib back-winded, and...everything went calm and quiet. The boat settled right down. The noise almost disappeared. It was like sailing into the eye of a hurricane -- instant calm. Once we figured out what had happened, we really enjoyed the break from the weather. Had our first all-sit-down-at-the-table meal since the wind picked up. We made about 1.25 knots while hove-to, but sea-room was not a problem, so we all got some much needed sleep before daylight when we started on steering repairs.

We learned a lot of things on that trip (Cape Canaveral to St Thomas via the open ocean), but one of our favorites is that we (me, my wife, our boat) enjoy being hove-to. Any time we need a break -- repairs, meals, sanity -- we will heave-to and enjoy the peace and quiet.

We did fine in the conditions described above and have had no problems in anything less (typically, 5-7 ft seas and around 20 kts of wind). I'm not sure what the limits would be or what would be the limiting factor.

For us, the hardest part of heaving-to is getting the boat sailing again. We often find it easiest to start one engine to bring the bow through the wind. Although just as often we fall off the wind and gibe around the back way. As always, the whole thing is easier with practice and calm conditions.
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Old 06-27-2012, 03:38 PM   #19
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Interesting. Your angle to the wind was what while hove to?
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Old 06-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #20
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Interesting. Your angle to the wind was what while hove to?
I don't recall exact numbers, but the wind still comes over the bow, just on the other tack. Not quite hard on the wind, but closer than a reach. And it oscillates a little; sort of slowly "porpoising".

The boat has just a little forward motion, mostly it is making leeway.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:55 AM   #21
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On Gone Troppo we hove to with just the main up, the number of reefs in depends on the wind at the time. Normally the main is way out but we sometimes tighten the sheet to change the angle to find the most comfortable ride. This works well for squalls and to have a time out to relax and think. With practice it gets really easy to start sailing again.
It does not work when the wind really gets up as in a TRS, the sail just starts to really flog itself to death and as the wind comes in amazing gusts all sorts of woes may happen. We had to go from hove-to to a parachute anchor(at night) in a TRS, it took several hours, but once the sail was down and away it was OK for the next couple of days. The wind and current were in agreement so the seas were not too bad, and we went backward in the desired direction at (from memory)about 2 knots first day and 4 knots on the last. When the wind dropped(<50) the parachute was not as hard to recover as we thought it would be.
The parachute line was 16mm nylon and about 200 meters long. It suffered stress damaged and had many hard lumps where it had been heat stressed.
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:18 AM   #22
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Drogues seems to be a good solution and I am of opinion that when one do an extended cruise any or all safety precautions would be a non negotiable. I have heard that parachutes was also very effective in keeping a boat stable in a storm but never actually used nor have it.

I have a overkill drogue suitable for a 50' cat ready to deploy in seconds connected to 2 bollards stored in a box aft. In the cockpit I have two drain grits to drain any water from wave hit which I bought at the St Francis marine boat yard.

I know that this configuration could amplify a following seas fill up but weighing the option I concluded that empting the cockpit from a wave water ASAP would be preferable and less risky than following seas.

Last but not least I had the cockpit saloon door reinforced to withstand a big bang from a large wave and just in the event the door did not hold I installed a pool pump on a remote start control with a moveable 40mm pipe that really pump water at a great speed.

I found these preparations not to be too expensive, excluding the drogue, but generally the question is, can there be a set price for safety?
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:32 PM   #23
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Hi Giellie and welcome aboard. I wonder about your drogue. There can be problems with those which are designed for a bigger boat. If the drogue is too oversized, the boat may be slowed too much in a following sea. If the boat is moving at say four knots it can be steered. If it is slowed to below two knots there may be insufficient water flowing past the rudders to allow for any steering; this will mean you have to go below, wedge yourself in and leave the boat to battle on its own.

I believe a towed drogue is traditionally used to slow the boat sufficiently to allow continued control as the big seas roll forward beneath the hull.

Best wishes
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:53 PM   #24
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Hallo Ausie,

Thanks for the welcome and yes indeed, I neglected to say that I have removed some of the pouches as exactly that you described, happened. In fact it kept me at almost a standstill.

Thanks for noticing that and allowing me to rectify what I have actually done to the drogue after I tested it.

Thnks
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