Drag Device Data Base

Victor Shane’s must-read compendium of first-hand experiences is the real thing, an eye-opening read in storm tactics and drag devices, successes and failures alike.

In compiling as many firsthand experiences as he can get his hands on
— firsthand experiences only — Shane reminds us that there is no laboratory for testing storm tactics. We are forced to fall back upon experience — our own, plus the collective experience of all those who can help to pile up that hard-won stuff.

Mr. Shane solicits submissions for the Drogue Device Data Base from his base in Southern California, compiles those submissions, and sells the book over the internet. He is an admirer of Adlard Coles, author of the classic, Heavy Weather Sailing. Shane writes: “Coles avoided dogmatism. He relied on real observations, evidence and data. He kept his mind open, avoided overcompensation, and was willing to learn new lessons. He purposely left many questions, in particular the one relating to sea anchors and drogues, open to future resolution. We walk in his footsteps.”

Learn how to submit your own first-person account or order the book ($36.95+)HERE. For a sampling of contributors’ experiences, read on.

S/M-44: Vessel name Dragon, Hinckley 38’ x 11 Tons. This yacht ran into tropical storm Mitch while participating in the 1998 Caribbean 1500. Dragon was tethered to an 18-ft. dia. Para-Tech sea anchor for 36 hours in Force 9-10 conditions, her lady skipper, Pat Festino, reporting satisfactory results. Afterwards Pat crawled to the bow and retrieved the sea anchor by hand, a crewmember grinding in the rode on a cockpit winch. “Foot by foot it came in. My journal says, ‘inch by inch.” (Quoting her words.)

S/M-48: Vessel name Ardevora of Roseland, Whisstock Ketch designed by Steve Dalzell, LOA 55′ x 22 Tons. Ardevora was tethered to an 18-ft. dia. Para-Tech sea anchor in shallow water (25-100 fathoms), opposing current and Force 9 conditions off the coast of Chile, her owner reporting violent pitching/yawing motion and generally unsatisfactory results. After 4 hours the rode parted from chafe and the yacht came beam to the seas, her owner reporting a much more comfortable ride lying ahull, but with a caveat: “Instinct suggests lying ahull is inviting damage/disaster,” (quoting Ardevora’s owner). “I made mistakes and miscalculations and so lying to our sea-anchor was an unpleasant experience. However I believe that even if a sea-anchor is perfectly set-up, lying to it would not be as comfortable as heaving-to.”

S/M-53: Vessel name Blue Cristal, Beneteau sloop, LOA 37′ 7” x 6. 5 Tons. Blue Cristal was tethered to a 15-ft. dia. Para-Tech sea anchor for 26 hours in Force 8-9 conditions on her way to Noumea from Bundaberg, Australia. Her owner reported satisfactory results – “The Para-Tech sea anchor worked very well… two other vessels in the area tried to sail out of it… one ended up 75 miles off course and the other ripped its mainsail and broke the forestay.”

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