Using Drogues When Crossing a Bar

Re: your article in Cruising World some editions ago concerning crossing a harbour bar. As a last advice there could be the option of using a drogue from the stern for stabilizing reasons (I also use a drogue as a steering device).

What do you think about this? The first one who mentioned this method was Captain Voss in 1901 (in “The Venturesome Voyages Of Captain Voss). Best Wishes Yours, Jens

Hi Jens: The US Coast Guard has used drogues for years when towing to keep boats aligned and drogues used to be used all the time by small, slow speed fishing boats. In a last resort situation it would make sense.

But if a drogue were required, it means the bar is already breaking heavily and you are crossing at displacement speeds – a dangerous combination. In this case, it is almost always better to stand offshore and wait for calmer bar conditions – even if this means heaving to in a gale for a while. Obviously, crossing a breaking bar is not for the inexperienced! Regards – Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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