Rigging Drogues

Aloha Folks: I am, like too many new cruisers, spending money adding things I MIGHT need…I am thinking about prep for the day at sea when not smart enough to avoid heavy weather, and I need a drogue.

AVALON, TPI hull #5 has at the stern port and starb an open chalk on the rail thru which in a tie up to a dock leads fair to the cleat mounted thwartship on the stern.

I am wondering how to secure drogue lines considering their strain and the stern line cleat set at right angles to the pull of the drogue line.

What would you say to leading the drogue bridle thru the hole between the cleat “feet”, then a single turn around a heavy winch then secured to the midship cleat on the rail? The winch turn to facilitate retrieval, the stern cleat to provide a fairlead, and the midship cleat to provide a fair securing place.

Thanks, Scott

Hi Scott: I don’t trust my memory of the details on the back end of your boat. But for general principles consider the following: How the drogue is attached depends on the loads, chafe, and how long it is to be used.

For something like a Jordan Series drogue, you will need to have hard spots, reenforcements to spread the load, usually in the form of pad eyes on the corners of the transom.

Galerider type devices have much lower loads.

Sharp turns around corners of cleats, chocks, etc. are prone to chafe. Chafe can be reduced by use of high modulus lines which don’t stretch. Stretch equals movement which causes chafe.There are also minimum radii issues to be considered and these vary with rode construction and diameter.

Using the feet of the cleat as a turning block, taking thr rode around this and to a winch is probably not a good idea. The 90 degree turn substantially increases the loads (there’s a diagram on this in Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia). I don’t recall the reinforcement under the cleat which TPI used, but in general, this is not a good idea if we’re dealing with really high loads.

When thinking about leads keep in mind that the device being dragged is going to be swinging back and forth in angle as the boat changes course relative to the position of the drogue. So the attachment points on the hull need to allow for this. A negative example would be the lead of a port quarter chock with the boat turning to starboard. The port rode would then rub on the corner of the transom.

Good luck with whatever you do. – Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

2 Responses to “Rigging Drogues”

  1. Andre Stroebel Says:

    Hi Steve

    I am in the process of buying a drogue for my 40ft catamaran to slow the boat down if needed. I have narrowed the choices down to two types. Firstly the Jordan series drogue which seems to do a good job but it seems quite a large lot of rope and stuff to have to store. From what I have read it seems to be difficult to retreve due to the high loads. The other one is the Seabrake from Burke Marine. I dont have too much info on this one only what is on the web site but it seems quite good. Do you have any advice on this? Any other systems worth considering?



  2. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hi Andre:
    This subject is discussed in detail in our book Surviving the Storm with lots of case histories. We also have a blog or two on the subject where we tested the para anchor, Jordon Series Drogue, and Galerider.
    The Jordon device is more of an ultimate storm drogue, not for everyday heavy weather. We did not find it difficult to retrieve. The Galerider seems to be a good bet for a general use drogue. I have no info on SeaBrake.