Home Forums General Weta Stuff Drogue (sea anchor) for dropping mainsail on the water

  • Creator
  • #787
    Paul WhitePaul White

    In a recent regatta, the wind increased from 5-15 knots over a series of starts and I wanted to adjust the battens but there was no beach nearby to go to and the water was too deep for my tiny nylon Copper Anchor (http://cooperanchors.com.au/). 


    It’s only really used for stopping the boat drifting away while I retrieve/stow the trolley.   Of course I could get a larger anchor and chain – but the Cooper only weighs 230gm, fits through the 6″ deck port and it’s a lot of weight to carry when you don’t need it most of the time.

    However,  a recent incident when I had to deploy mooring lines and fenders in wind gusts of 34 knots made me think there must be a better solution – as I was still moving quite fast even when hove-too.

    So hence my purchase of a 500mm drogue (or sea anchor) from eBay.

    I’ve copied the French idea of creating a tow loop with a lightweight polyester mooring line that’s tied to the front ama arm where it joins the main hull, fed around the bow and then tied off on the ama arm the other side. The line is kept taught under the bowsprit, and clear of the water, using bungee to pull both sides onto the foredeck.

    Tow loop plan (not to scale)
    tow loop
    To deploy the tow loop you undo the bungee so the loop can drop in the water, then attach your tow line to the loop so that the boat is pulled from the centre in front of the bow.

    The drogue is attached to a line that’s 2m longer than the distance from the ama arm to the bow (a bit shorter than recommended but I didn’t want to have another boat run it over). I created a loop using a Butterfly Knot at the 2m mark containing a clip on shackle – similar to the harness shackle (you could also use a carabiner but I wanted something I could clip on and release one handed). The retrieval line allows you to retrieve the drogue from the cockpit. 

    Drogue Deployed

    drogue deployed

    To deploy, you release the bungee of the tow loop, clip the drogue line shackle to it, tie off the end of the retrieval line to the ama arm. Then throw the drogue over the side – this brings the boat head-to-wind so you can drop the main. To retrieve the drogue, pull on the retrieval line, unclip the drogue it and fold it away. Then re-fix the bungee tensioner for the tow line over the deck.

    Total weight of drogue and rope about 280gms

    Tow Loop Photos

    IMG_1308 IMG_1307 IMG_1306 IMG_1305 IMG_1310 IMG_1391

    Drogue Deployment  Photos

    IMG_1321 IMG_1320 IMG_1317 IMG_1316

    • This topic was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Paul WhitePaul White.
    • This topic was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Paul WhitePaul White.
    • This topic was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by Paul WhitePaul White.
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.