A Bit of a Drag

Some sailors can go a lifetime without ever needing to resort to heavy weather tactics, others simply end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and have to find a way of riding out a storm.

In our case we knew anticipated the need to at least have the means to ride out bad weather in safety and relative comfort given our high latitude cruising plans.

Our solution was to invest in a Jordan Series Drogue, think through the best launch and retrieval techniques, set it up in advance for a quick launch and then hope that it does what the designer and manufacturer claims it would.


We had set up the 24mm thick bridle before we left Stanley, clipping it in place with large zip ties. The launch bag for the main drogue was located and secured on deck close to launch position and the chain used as the end weight was also kept close to launch position.

WE had the benefit of the open pilot house roof to set up the launch bag once we knew that we would need to use the drogue and then it just remained to connect the chain using a shackle to the end of the drogue.

We took still and video footage of the launch and retrieval to share with other users and the manufacturers.

As this was the largest drogue made to date by Oceanbrake we found that the 14 cones had been frayed by coming clear of the water and so will increase the length of the first cone free section after the bridle.

After 42 hours drifting SE at an average of 2 kts we retrieved the drogue in 25kt winds and 4m seas using one of our our powered main sheet winches with the retrieval line taken forward to the fwd midship bollards.

Once retrieved we found that the first 14 cones had frayed thus reducing their effectiveness and that one leg of the bridle had chafed 50% through. The cones and bridle leg will be replaced and better chafe protection used in future.