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A Guide to Drogues

Speed-limiting Drogue

A speed-limiting Drogue is towed off the stern. It's purpose is to limit the boat's speed, reduce her angle of yaw and to provide for steering assist in strong following seas. 

You can, and may have to, steer the boat with the Drogue in tow. There is a "Catch 22" with any speed limiting Drogue: The same low pull that allows for steering control may also allow the boat to broach, capsize and/or pitchpole in the heaviest seas. 

The forces that pitchpole yachts are formidable enough to yank the Drogue through the water in the course of throwing the boat end-over-end. Sailors should be aware of this "Catch 22" and make allowances for it in the course of their decisions at sea.

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Four Uses For Drogues

  • The above notwithstanding, speed-limiting Drogues can be of immense value in strong following seas and have been used to stabilize craft since antiquity. No doubt there are many yachts sailing today that would have gone down had it not been for the grace of God and some sort of device that slowed the boat down. 
  • Towed off the stern with a bridle a speed-limiting Drogue can be used as an emergency steering device to yaw the boat if steering fails. 
  • Towed off the windward quarter a speed-limiting Drogue can help maintain directional stability while negotiating a dangerous harbour entrance.
  • Towed off the stern of a vessel in tow a Drogue can all but eliminate the "whiplash" effect and contribute to better control by the towing vessel. 

Design and Construction

The DELTA Drogue uses the "guide surface principle". 

The design is a triangular "Delta" shape that provides strong uniform flow separation at all leading edges. Shape retention is achieved by the pressure of the water inside (similar to the "Ballute" drogues used in aerospace applications).

The relatively small mouth at the leading edge makes it extremely unlikely that one will get turned inside out (a problem associated with large cones and small parachute drogues).

Also, the three ears of the DELTA Drogue have the effect of increasing the Drogue's drag as speed increases.

The DELTA Drogue is extremely SIMPLE in design and construction. 

It is made from heavy duty vinyl coated material at an affordable price. The DELTA Drogue's three lines are made of heavy Nylon webbing and end with a stainless steel swivel (included).

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Drogue Sizing

Available in Six Sizes

Boat size Delta Drogue Weight   Stowed Dimensions 

Up to 25 ft.    LOA 36" 2 Lbs.   12" X 6" X 4"  
Up to 35 ft.    LOA 48" 3 Lbs. 12" X 6" X 4"  
Up to 45 ft.     LOA 72" 5 Lbs.   12" X 12" x 4"  
Up to 55 ft.     LOA 96" 9 Lbs. 12" X 12" X 4"  
Up to 65 ft.     LOA 114" 10 Lbs. 10" Dia. X 15" Long 

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Accessories & Rigging

Safety at Sea carries a full line of accessories for use with Sea Anchors and Drogues. Stainless steel hardware, trip lines, anchor rode and rode stow/deployment bags. And we can supply your Sea Anchor rigged and ready for use.

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Anchor Rode

Safety at Sea anchor rode is of nylon double braid - strength, ease of handling - with the advantages of stretch - and breaking loads are very high 5/8"(16mm) is 8000kg

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Other Advantages

  • Braid construction makes the condition of the rode always visible. 
  • Only the highest quality NYLON yarns are used, manufactured on the latest and most modern equipment. 
  • 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4" diameters carried in stock with larger diameters and very long, continuous lengths available. 
  • We can pre-splice stainless thimbles or dock loops in the ends and make complete bridle assemblies for multi-hulls. 
  • Rigging - Safety at Sea can provide you with a fully rigged Sea Anchor or Drogue with rode, hardware, etc., tailored for your boat and designed for compact stowage and ease of use.
Like to know more about Parachute Anchors and Drogues? Read this in depth article from Ocean Navigator by Earl R Hines and purchase DDDB book by Victor Shane

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