The Series Drogue is a safety device designed to prevent the capsize and damage of both monohull and multihull sailing yachts and other vessels operating in the open ocean, in the event of a “worst case” breaking wave strike, as well as improving the motion of the boat in storm waves and to reduce drift.
The Series Drogue has been at sea for over 25 years. At least 2000 are carried all over the world. The drogue has been deployed through many storms including several hurricanes. No boat has ever been damaged and no crew injured. A typical comment from the skipper is ” I did not feel threatened.”.
The series drogue has been developed using modern engineering technology, including model tests in wave channels, computational dynamic analysis, and full scale testing by the U.S. Coast Guard at their motor life boat testing facility where boats are subjected to breaking waves formed on the Columbia river bar.
The drogue consists of a number of small cones woven into a tapered line with a small weight at the end. The maximum design load and the number of cones is determined by the displacement of the boat.
Some skippers call it ” THE SAILORS AIRBAG”
The drogue is designed to protect the boat in a “Worst Case” breaking wave strike. Engineering data for the design was obtained from the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster (See Fastnet Force Ten by John Rousmaniere) in which 15 lives were lost and 24 boats sunk or abandoned, and further supported by data from the 1998 Sydney – Hobart race in which 5 yachts were sunk, 6 sailors died and 55 crew were winched to safety by helicopters. (See Fatal Storm by Rob Mundle) No boats carried the drogue in these storms. There is now convincing evidence that the drogue would have brought all the boats through safely.
WHAT IS IT?
The Series Drogue is a safety device deployed from the stern of the vessel.
It consists of a bridle, a leader and a tapered line with from 100 to 200, 5 inch diameter cones attached. A 15 to 25 lb. chain is then attached to the end. The number of cones and rope diameter is adjusted for the displacement of the vessel.