Members' Online Book: Heavy Weather Tactics, Chapter 10 of 21

Battle Testing a Jordan-Designed Series Drogue—Round Two

I refurbished the drogue using OceanBrake cones with green taped ends alternating with Ace Sailmakers cones made from sail cloth hemmed at one end only. The yellow cone is one of the original ones that failed. ©Trevor Robertson, all rights reserved.

Recap of Round One

Last year I wrote about my experience with the Jordan-type series drogue while on a passage in the Southern Ocean on my 35-ft gaff cutter Iron Bark. That voyage, from Newfoundland to Australia, then onwards to New Zealand with a side trip to northern Australia, took an inordinately long time (the leg from Newfoundland to Australia took 171 days) and met with more than the usual amount of heavy weather.

Along the way (and without any intention of doing so) I tested the drogue nearly to destruction. That was the basis of my last report. I promised to report back once I had repaired the drogue and given it enough use to make further comment meaningful. Here is that report.

[If you didn’t read Trevor’s original article, or even if you did and the passage of time has dimmed your recollection, we suggest you read it now. You also may wish to read John’s article on Jordan-Designed drogue durability problems, and then return here. Eds]

Improvements Based On Round One

On arrival in New Zealand I contacted Angus Coleman of OceanBrake, who had supplied my drogue, and he immediately offered to replace the damaged cones without charge.

This was a very generous offer, especially as Angus did not know that I intended to write anything about my experience with the drogue.

It seemed the original cones failed when the material from which they were made shed its rubberized backing as a result of repeated stress reversals. Angus sourced a heavier polyester material with no backing and sent me 60 new cones made from this material.

Comparison Testing

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Meet the Author

Trevor Robertson

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.