Battle Testing a Jordan-Designed Series Drogue—Round 1

Trevor's voyage of 171 days, his first with a series drogue

In 2015 I bought a Jordan-type series drogue for Iron Bark, my 35-ft Wylo-class steel gaff cutter, designed by the inimitable Nick Skeates. She displaces 11 tonnes so the drogue is 97-metres long with 124 cones, as recommended. The drogue was supplied by OceanBrake.

"Iron Bark" in gentler climes off Tahiti

The cones are made of a heavy cloth with a rubberised backing, seamed all round with heavy tapes well sewn on. The bridle and first section of the drogue are 18-mm double-braid nylon with a tail of 14-mm nylon double braid. The splices, seizings and attachments of the cones are all strong, neat and seamanlike.

I thought the whole thing to be exceptionally well made and fairly priced.

Since fitting the drogue I have sailed from Scotland to Newfoundland and Labrador, then south down the Atlantic and around the Cape of Good Hope to Australia, and on to New Zealand, with a diversion to Australia’s tropical north coast along the way. During that time I used the drogue on six occasions. Here is what I learned:

Trevor is an Australian who worked as a geologist for the minimum amount of time necessary finance his voyaging. Iron Bark is a 35ft steel gaff cutter that looks after Trevor in his wanderings. In return he keeps her in sails, cordage and paint that costs more per gallon than rum. Since he launched her in 1997, they have travelled widely, preferring little frequented coasts - Antarctica, Patagonia, Greenland, Labrador, but have spent time in the tropics too. Iron Bark may be the only vessel to have wintered unsupported in both Antarctica and the high Arctic.

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