The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Just Get a Series Drogue Designed By Don Jordan…Dammit!

There are few subjects that offshore sailors like to discuss and argue about more than which is the best storm survival strategy and related gear.

Heaving-to (with or without a drogue), sea anchors, streaming warps, fore-reaching, running off at speed while steering, running off trailing various drag devices, all have their proponents. There are even those who still advocate for lying a-hull, even though countless roll-overs and good science have shown it to be a near-sure recipe for a capsize in big breaking waves.

And I freely admit that at different times in the past at least three of the above have been my preferred strategy of the moment.

Time To Stop Talking

But it’s now time to stop blathering on about this stuff. Why? Because it’s a solved problem.

Those of us who go to sea in small boats just need to get a series drogue as designed by Don Jordon, install it properly, and move on…dammit.

And, of course, we need to deploy it in time, but I have already written about that in the last chapter.

Needless Disasters

And, yes, I’m a bit exasperated. Why? Because of the number of boat-breaking, crew-maiming, dream-shattering roll-overs and knock-downs that we are still seeing three decades after Don Jordan came up with the solution.

Disasters that could have been mostly avoided if we more experienced offshore sailors, marine journalists, and safety authorities would just get with the series drogue program.

The latest horror show is the demolition derby currently going on in the Southern Indian Ocean, aka the Golden Globe 2018 Race, where competitors have already suffered at least three abandonments and one severe injury from capsize.

And that does not include a prospective competitor who was capsized in the Southern Ocean on his way to the race start, when he held on too long before deploying the series drogue he was carrying.

This just does not need to happen. To that end, here is why the series drogue is the best anti-capsize solution.

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Marc Dacey

Not only am I persuaded, I will be ordering one this winter once I suss out the specs. My only remaining questions have arisen as to the type of taping/sewing techniques on the cones, as I would deploy the drogue earlier if I thought the cones were as durable as possible. I understand there are limits to this, of course. It seems to me the basic premise of the JSD is long-proven and material choices not available at its conception and some aspects of reinforcement are the only variables in that mix. Thanks, John: never hold back!


Hi John,
I have recently ordered a Jordan Series Drogue (JSD) after reading your blog and the paper put out by Jordan himself; I wanted to understand the science behind these things. The next day I read of Suzzie Goodall GGR pitch polling after her JSD failed. Go Figure.

You would know by my previous comments that I am a big fan of ACA. however, I feel I need to call you out here, to quote your blog
‘…..key reason that the series drogue “pretty much always works” and other systems “sometimes fail” ‘
Aren’t the phrases pretty much equivalent, what do you really mean to say? Please clarify.
— Cheers Pat

Gerben Van Duyl

Thank you John. Do you know of any reliable reports from multihulls using JSD?

Stein Varjord

Hi Gerben.
I also mostly sail multihulls, and have a 40 foot rather light cruising cat, but I have no experience with the JSD, so I can only speculate. As I see it, the JSD does mainly four important jobs:
1. It reliably keeps the stern(s) into the wind and waves so we avoid coming broad side.
2. It slows down the speed a lot so we do not crash into the next wave.
3. It softens the blows from the waves by having a soft braking action.
4. It dramatically reduces our progress, so we don’t need as much distance to a lee shore as we would with no speed reduction device.

I think issue number 1 is the only one that might be different on a catamaran, (and tri). Since the chain plates will be very much further apart, the bridle will have much wider angles to work with, so it should correct misalignment quicker. On the other hand, more width might also mean that the boat could get stronger impulses to get off course. (I have never experienced this.) Those two should in the worst case cancel each other to make the result even to a mono.

A normal complaint about the JSD used to be that the boat has the stern towards the waves and that the stern is the vulnerable end of the boat. I think this claim is mostly misunderstood and wrong, and that the soft braking function removes most of the load, but this is an area where many cruising catamarans MIGHT have a weakness. The huge aft facing doors could represent a weak point if a big enough wave should break into the cockpit.

I’ve sailed lots of different multihulls and some in very bad weather, plus lots of monos. This experience indicates that multihulls tend to stay more on top of the waves, while monos seem to sit deeper. I have a feeling that the actual green water part of breaking waves normally would not get far enough into a cruising cat to hit the mentioned doors with significant power, but I do think it could happen, if the weather is exceptionally severe. Anyway, I prefer lighter faster cats with less vulnerable aft doors.

Gregory Zachar

I’ve been debating my thoughts between a JSD and a para-anchor. I like the idea of the JSD, but I’m also concerned over the breaking waves from the stern.
This setup would be for a trimaran, which has the aft cabin hatch located on the transom, in addition, glass doors forward of the cockpit. The hatch is a big concern.
Could this be a case for a parachute anchor?


How can a JSD be made large enough, the fastening system to the boat be strong enough and the retrieval system safe enough to deploy on a 35 ton 63ft sailboat? It seems like the forces would be enormous.

Steven Schapera

John, I believe there is one more thing we need if we’re using a JSD to pull us out of harms way – enough leeway. What were your propositions if you hadn’t enough free space to “run off” under a JSD?


Right on, John, tell it as it is, lol.
I’ve also been caught in a couple of Force 10s in my life and managed to survive by running off, heaving to, and fore-reaching, but last time I sailed in the Southern Ocean I ran out of all options, basically all I had learnt in 30 years of offshore sailing became completely ineffective. Myself and a Spanish skipper, onboard a Halvorsen Freya 39 were being knocked down every 20 minutes. We were so exhausted we could barely communicate with one another. At dawn the wind eased a bit and I finally decided to power through the mess, which luckily worked as expected. That night, when I no longer knew what to do with that boat, that very night I decided I would never go to sea without a JSD. Now I have a brand new one made by OceanBrake and though I hope I’ll never use it, it feels like I might have a solution to that problem that left me dumbfounded in the Southern Ocean.

Brent Cameron

To further support your arguments for just getting a JSD, here’s a compelling article in Ocean Navigator about a 53’ Amel Super Maramu (normally a very sea worthy boat) riding out a wicked storm with hurricane force winds while other boats foundered and crew were lost.


Yeah, I think good chainplates well mounted (I.e. solidly and inline with the loads) on the topsides, well out of the water just ahead of the stern (with the eyeholes peeking past) would be the way to go for sure. I’d be very leery about just mounting any sort of attachment point to the stern directly as even with a big backing plate, you could easily rip a big hole in your stern or even rip the stern off as the stern attachment bonding is intended to keep the water from stoving it in, not some force from ripping it off. Well designed chainplates on the other hand distribute the load lineally in line with the maximum direction of forces. On the Amel’s, the factory supports lifting the boat out of the water using the chainplates – in fact I’ve seen pictures of them fully provisioned in cruising configuration being loaded onto ships to travel the Red Sea using just this method so if they can handle the weight of a fully provisioned boat, they should easily be able to handle the slowly accelerating drag forces imposed by the JSD which are no where near as high.


Hi John,
Good article, you caught my ear… We had the opportunity to borrow a JSD but I determined it was too big. Our boat, 35’ Bristol @6ton would be overwhelmed by the 140 cone JSD made for my friends multihull. But I guess, rather than walk away from the whole project, you’ve sent me back to the website. I had read your earlier chapters, and thought, oh we’ll never install chainplates on the stern…. but we can put a larger backing plate on the rear cleats. Do you have suggestions when not using installed chainplates? Did I miss that in the chapter?
Thanks for your opinions…
s/v Pannaweh

Stein Varjord

Hi Liza, just some thoughts, even though I assume John will also answer this.
As I see it, using cleats means an unavoidable considerable risk of chafe, which is not acceptable. That’s the big reason for using chain plates, which can almost eliminate the risk of chafe.

On top of that, chainplates are inherently way stronger than cleats, if dimensions are comparable. That is because chain plates put the forces in alignment with the hull sides, so they can spread in the hull without bending forces. They also have a much larger attachment area and more bolts.

A cleat has a relatively small base plate and it protrudes above the deck, giving a bending moment, which will push one end hard down and the other end up, meaning that only the forward bolts will do any work holding the loads, which are at least doubled too, due to the mentioned bending moment.

Of course, a cleat CAN be made strong enough, by using massively oversized cleats and beefing up everything around them a lot, but that seems like more of a project than adding some rather simple chain plates, which is also works better and safer….

Stein Varjord

Hi again Liza, (and John).
I just wanted to make a more clear statement, since I feel my comment lacked that. My experience from several decades of breaking stuff on extreme racers has thought me to look at any item with basic distrust.

I think it’s a big job to make a standard cleat on a standard cruising boat strong enough for a JSD in serious weather. Adding a big backing plate is definitely not going to do the job. No chance! Adding a lot of laminate thickness and a huge cleat will do the job, but a cleat is still just the wrong solution. Reinforcing the wrong solution until it’s strong enough to not be destroyed, will not change the fact that it’s just flat out wrong and working against the odds.

In serious weather, the forces and the consequences are so severe that we need to look at the basics. Practicality becomes irrelevant. Yes, we already have a cleat at each side of the stern, and it would be nice if we could use them, but reality is that they just don’t work.

The cleats are for lines to the dock. We can’t lift the boat with them. The loads we need to handle from a JSD in a survival storm may approach lifting the boat. A JSD reportedly softens the blows of a storm, but storms have a level of power that is just incredible, overwhelming. Most cruising boats aren’t built for that kind of brutal loads. To handle it in a useful way, we can’t take short cuts.

To sum it all up, no surprises. If you go places you might encounter real storms, don’t think about it:
1. (As the article explains), bring a JSD, and practice its use.
2. JSDs go on chain plates, not on cleats.

Marc Dacey

Although I have very sturdy bollards welded to my steel deck, for reasons of chafe and to get the bridle of a JSD fully outboard, I believe I’ll have stainless steel plates made to the Jordan specification and through-bolted to the sternquarters. Much as I dislike putting new holes in the boat’s hull, I believe this is the best way to go considering the forces involved. I was some distance from an exploding block a few years ago and was nailed with a single Torlon bearing. It left a welt. Lesson learned.


Thanks, John. You’re persuasive, but just for discussion, a few points:
1) Its hardly surprising that not all folk have adopted the JSD when even the latest edition of Adlard Coles seems to sit on the fence over the topic.
2) Skip Novak says (in his YouTube ‘Storm Sailing series) that he prefers heaving to
3) Looking at the thing laid out on your deck, just how much on-board stowage does it occupy prior to deployment?

Dick Stevenson

Hi Peter,
A partial answer:
Ocean Brakes makes a deployment bag which allows for strapped up storage (and easier moving the JSD around) in a roll and allows for laying the JSD out for easy access to the bridle for boat attachment and to the tail for weight attachment and then a clean deployment.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Philip Wilkie

In addition to all the other reasons; the one that settles it for me above all else is that once deployed you go below and rest. There really is nothing else to do but pop up now and then to check for chafe.

Unlike most others here I’ve a very modest sailing experience but I can well imagine all the things that can so easily go wrong once you’ve become exhausted, especially short-handed.


John, thank you for this. I already have a JSD and your article re-enforces again that it is a good decision. I assume the dynamic pressures on the rudder could be very great as the boat is effectively pulled at speed backwards. A fair exchange for the certain effectiveness of the JSD but clearly relevant when discussing rudder/ skeg set up etc. A free hanging rudder as found on many production boats (not mine) would certainly fail rapidly when under heavy and repeated duress such as this – would you agree.

Stein Varjord

Actually, just this issue is one of the main advantages with the JSD compared to the devices meant to be deployed from the bow. With a parachute or something else from the bow, the boat will continuously drift backwards. When a wave hits, the speed can be significant. This means that the boat orientation is highly unstable and the rudder gets serious loads it is not designed for.

With the JSD, the boat always moves forwards, but with varying speed, apparently from 1 to 4 knots, averaging between 1 and 2. This makes the boat directionally stable and the rudder operates as it’s designed to operate. The the only hypothetical scenario that would make the boat move backwards through the water is if the wind instantly goes from strong to nothing. Then the JSD might pull the boat softly aft a short distance as the drogue sinks down. The speed would be very slow. There is no way the boat can move backwards while the loads are high.

When those who have actually used a JSD in anger, (I have not), mention bungee jumping, they mean the feeling from the relatively smoothly varying forward speed, not that the boat is pulled backwards through the water.

Mark Bodnar

I think what confuses people when the see waves rolling past is the fact that the water is not actually moving horizontally (unless the wave is breaking). The water is moving up and down with the wave. You can see it with a rubber duck floating atop waves – it bobs up and down but mostly stays stationary. Or take a long piece of line and whip one end up and down – the waves run down the line but the actual line is still in your hand.
The problem is that a boat is -A-being pushed by the wind and mostly -B-can accelerate down the wave faces and pick up speed. This leads to the boat either crashing and pitch poling when it hits the bottom of the trough or being tumbled when its hanging on the face of a breaking wave.
The idea behind the drogue is to slow that forward movement to a manageable pace and to stay out of that steep breaking wave zone. So even as waves are crashing past the boat, you are still moving forwards – relatively slower than the waves and wind, but faster than the water.
Technically (with no real world experience on my behalf) I imagine it’s possible to have a wave break into the back of your boat while being slowed by the drogue – water could then tumble into the rudder – but unlikely with much force.


YupGreat article John I can’t fault your logic. For mere mortals like myself it is difficult to get someone capable of retrofitting chain plates of a suitable size. I love the plates you have fitted and would like to replicate something similar. I did the calculations to specify plates for my ovni 435, but couldn’t get any one to do the required load calculations or come up with a chafe free way for attaching to the hull. So I’m reduced to using beefed up stern cleats. I haven’t seen any other Ovni’s with dedicated JSD attachment plates, or very many other yachts apart from your own with elegant solutions.
So this as well as storage may also lead to a reluctance to install the JSD.

Great site..

Chuck B

Hi John, I’m in the same boat as Garry, if you will. Perhaps I’m being obtuse, but I too am hung up on understanding the chainplate specifications. Don Jordan’s USCG report did not describe chainplate specs. At the link you reference ( it’s not clear where that chainplate spec came from. Given the importance of the attachment points, this isn’t something I want to be cavalier about.

The page describes only a single design, saying, “For a load of 14,000 lbs, a strap 1/4 x 2.25 x 18 inches attached with six 3/8 bolts would provide a conservative design.”

In the chainplates section of Brion Toss’s Rigger’s Apprentice (page 160 in the second edition), this seems to correlate most closely with a chainplate sized for 1/4″ steel wire, except that the chainplate is 1.8x wider. Given that Toss states, “For long-term fatigue resistance chainplates need to be at least 1.5 times stronger than the wires they hold,” I deduce that this chainplate in Toss’s table has a breaking strength of 8,200 x 1.5 = 12,300 pounds. This is actually under the 14,000 pound design load. Going up one size in Toss’s table gives 10,300 x 1.5 = 15,450 pounds breaking strength, which is better, but still quite close to the 14,000 pound design load.

The wideness probably helps a bit (I’ve no idea how to quantify; though my intuition is that for this situation thickness is more significant than width, especially in terms of pressure between the chainplate and the shackle), but in any case the closeness between the design load and the breaking strength is surprising to me.

Wouldn’t I want the chainplates to be strong enough to not DEFORM at the design load (let alone break)? Given that in the USCG report, Don Jordan states that the design load is a load that can be expected to be experienced by the equipment. Which to me implies needing more of a margin between design load and chainplate breaking strength.

At the end of the day, it’s about peace of mind and feeling confident that equipment is well designed and up for the task when the time comes to use it. Bottom line, I’ve not yet found a way to evaluate statements made regarding chainplates (and their bolts, etc.) to my satisfaction.

I’ve tried engaging some marine engineers, but they seem to be either too busy or my project too small.

If I had the required know-how, I’d create a chainplate table specifically for drogue attachments, describe precisely how it was arrived at, and make it available to the public.

Chuck B

Thank you John. Boat size aside, at this point I’m just trying to satisfy myself that the chainplate described at is a reasonable basis to start from. Ok so I’m probably overthinking things, but I’ve posted a project proposal on a popular freelancing website, to engage a mechanical engineer to develop a table for sizing chainplates for JSDs. If something useful comes of it, I’ll share the results here.

Incidentally, you got me thinking about how the shackle interacts with the chainplate. Do the ends of the chainplate need to be bent slightly so that when the drogue is loaded the shackle pin is “square” with the chainplate (i.e. maximizing the surface area of contact to minimize pressure)? Otherwise it would seem there could be some (possibly unfortunate) point loading on the shackle pin.


P.S. Your site is such an immensely invaluable resource, I can’t thank you enough for creating this and keeping it going.

Chuck B

Ah, that’s the piece I’m missing. How do you know that chainplate specification came from Don Jordan? Because if it did, then I’m totally on board! Maybe it says somewhere and I missed it.


Randall sails a pretty solid 45′ vessel, but he wishes he’d deployed his drogue during The Figure 8 Voyage:

“Winds had increased to a steady 30 – 35. Remarkable however were the seas, steep and breaking and far larger than one would expect from 35 knots.”


Hi John, Out of curiosity; can you compare what the ride is like after deploying the JSD versus heaving-to. I know heaving-to is generally very comfortable after getting set up….is the JSD similar??

Gregory Zachar

Info isn’t fine in the article, why are thimbles and other metal fittings a bad idea? What is the alternative to connect the bridle to the rode and chainplates while reducing chafe?

Alain Côté

Hi John,

Since you are somewhat familiar with the boat, what are your thoughts on what it would take to get appropriate attachment points for a JSD in a Boreal 47?



Alain Côté

Thanks, John. That’s a good start and for sure getting Boréal involved will be best, although it is sometimes hard to get much time out of them.

P D Squire

I’m surprised they’re not supplied as standard. The Boreal was designed based on notes taken by two highly experienced sailors during extended high latitude expeditions. Did they not reach there same conclusion: that a Jordan Series drogue is the definitive essential requisite solution?


Hi John,
I’m also following the proceedings in the GoldenGlobeRace and I confess I got quite excited when I first heard about the revival race of 2018. I felt that an event like that somehow gets into reach of a normal sailor on a normal sailboat although that feeling of mine could be disputed a lot. When I learned about the nasty accidents that happened in the Southern Ocean -you rightly coined the expression “demolition derby”- I wondered and still wonder if they are not required to carry a JSD or at least some other drag device. OK, the JSD wasn’t yet invented in 1968, but then so wasn’t the satphone, tracker or an emergency drill for rigging a jury rig (I believe) . And drag devices as such were well known already. Do you have any information if the regs are stating a drag device to be on board ? Maybe Colin knows about it, as he was involved at first. And if there were drag devices on board, were they not deployed because of the boats being in race mode ?
If the latter was the case then that would strongly back up my private theory that racing at many times prevents prudent seamanship. Debatable of course. In any case, I’m very much with Dick Stevenson’s rule of not pushing the boat to more than about 80% of it’s potential to avoid the nasty things most of which happen while pushing into the last 20%. That Susanne survived the same storm while riding at JSD seems to prove my point.

Stein Varjord

Hi Hans.
Are Wiig, the Norwegian who was the first to get rolled and dismasted is a friend of mine, not very close but through more than 20 years as members of the same small sailing club and more. Might meet him in a week at the club meeting…

I don’t know if he had a JSD or other drag device, but I don’t think so. I think it would have been mentioned. I also don’t think the others did. Perhaps that is just because it’s not yet universally accepted as the most important storm survival gear, which it should.

I think a more likely reason is that the boats are old fashioned and extra reinforced, considered to be very tough, the race means they don’t want to stop, and perhaps most important: A JSD is quite heavy and takes much space. Weight means less speed. With provisions for a year, space is a problem!

Your thought that racing often prevents prudent seamanship, is certainly true! Racing is all about going to the limits, far beyond what is prudent, seamanship and all else. That’s not safe, not comfortable and not healthy, but it’s necessary to win… In this GGR, the boats are not spectacular, but the race and the sailors are, and they’re pushing as hard as they can. Safety is definitely not the top priority.


Hi Stein and John,
somewhere I’ve read that the single most dangerous piece of equipment on a sailboat is the calendar. And I have some experience with that, letting booked flights or similar things influence decisions on board. In short: never sail under time pressure. What greater time pressure is there as being in a race ? Conclusion: don’t race ! Of course it’s not that simple as racing teaches us cruisers lots of very useful things, many of which represent really excellent seamanship, there is an article on that on this website. So it boils down to good decisionmaking every single time, I think.
As for the JSD not finding space on board the GG boats, is probably a bad decision. Btw: a spectra JSD doesn’t take so much space and isn’t weighing much. I have one and it fills a bag of perhaps 70cm x 30cm.

Stein Varjord

Hi Hans.
As you mention, a JSD bag can be as small as a small sail in a bag. Meaning that for cruisers, space and weight can’t be the excuses for not having one. On the GGR boats, however, even that rather small bag might be hard to fit in. The boats are small, especially because they’re old style, meaning perhaps half the interiour space of a more modern equal length boat. I’d definitely still bring a JSD, even if it meant I’d have to use it as my bed, but I do understand the problem they have.

Related to the priorities on JSD and the “demolition derby”, I’m also thinking about the merit of heaving to. It’s been a very good solution in bad weather for ages. Most competent ocean sailors use it and love it. I use it too, but with a bit of unease. It feels exposed.

I think the “gospel” of the JSD needs to be promoted more, but that message is gaining momentum. As a supplement to that, I’m starting to think that the ocean sailing community might need to become more aware that heaving to isn’t all that good in properly severe weather.

We all know that if the weather goes too bad, we have to stop heaving to and do something else, like running with the weather, but maybe the risk awareness isn’t good enough. Heaving to certainly works great, but with big waves it’s dangerous. The transition from heaving to to another strategy when the weather increases is one problem. Given what we now know about “rogue waves” being real things with a given statistic frequency, maybe heaving to is just not suitable for even gales. Thus, the trust in heaving to can get us into serious trouble.

Maybe we should consider heaving to a solution for a pit stop for rest or other needs when the weather isn’t really serious, and actively discourage its use in the worse stuff? Maybe heaving to is a potential trap that needs to be used with sceptic awareness? Maybe the JSD is the only smart strategy if real serious stuff might arrive. Maybe we need to say clearly that heaving to then isn’t good enough?

I have only been in one storm that presented truly extreme conditions, hurricane, with insanely big waves. We had a fairly fast catamaran and didn’t consider heaving to in that, (!) and I’ve never used a JSD. So, I’m not really experienced enough to be sure, but: Are Wiig was hove to when he was flipped. Probably the majority of ocean sailors trust heaving to almost unconditionally. I think something must be said… The word “Warning” seems relevant.


FWIW, discussion on drogues and Golden Globe 2018 participants who lost rigs and boats, by the race management. Discussion on drogues starts at 17:54.
A bit dismissive.

For me, I’m getting a JSD …

Dick Stevenson

Hi Michael,
I went to the site you mentioned, but it appears that to watch you have to be a member of facebook which I am not. Is there a work-around? Dick


Hi Dick,
I do not do facebook either. I think you can click “not now” when asked to join, or I got to it through the GGR website. On the GGR website scroll down a little to the facebook panel on the left, then within the panel you can scroll to the video of the “Q&A Session with Don.”

Dick Stevenson

Hi Michael,
Got it. Thanks.
His comments with regard to drogues sounds just like the rational/dismissal CQR/Delta/Bruce etc. experts/owners gave in response to the new generation anchors when they came on the scene.


First he almost dismisses that drogues, esp. series drogues, can do a lot against broaching or being knocked down. Later he talks about boats “thrown into the trough”, and “there’s nothing you can do about it”. Just to the situation where a JSD is said to shine.
Well, at least he concedes “drogues are very good”…


Possible typo: Pardy Bridle or Pardey Bridle?

Carlos Diehl

Hi John,
I have never used or possessed a JSD (I’m planning to build one), but I’ve read everything I can find about them and I am convinced. I read they are a pain to recover after use. Has anybody thought of attaching a trip line (I can imagine one of those orange floating lines) to the very end of the drogue? That way you would recover only collapsed cones, with less effort.
Regards, Carlos D.


Thoughts on nylon vs dyneema for the Drogue line? First inclination is nylon because of the elasticity under load and easier hand. Both ACE and OceanBrake say either is fine because of the delay in take up of the load, and one mentioned Jordon said dyneema was fine when asked. Any experiences with dyneema?

Marc Dacey

Well, seeing as all this talk has convinced me, I will anticipate your advice with great interest as it will be part of my JSD order…

Drew Frye

Another broken mast in the Golden Globe Race yesterday. Pitchpoled and dismasted. A JSD is looking smarter and smarter.

Granted, that is super tough sailing and racers don’t like to stop. Dying is tough too, and if it were not for modern communication and rescue capabilities, I think it is likely there would have been fatalities by now. I have some other thoughts on the nature of the race, the rules and the organization, but I’ll leave that debate to others.

Steve Hodges

According to the GG website, Susie had deployed a drogue:

“She said that before the incident, she had been enjoying the conditions and felt in control. But then the safety tube on her Monitor self-steering broke and she was forced to trail a drogue anchor astern and take down the mainsail. She was below decks when the boat was pitchpoled, and when she returned on deck to assess the damage, found that the line attached to the drogue had parted.”

It’ll be interesting to learn the details of the failure (Chafe? Shock load?), and what, if anything, could’ve been done differently to prevent the pitch pole.

In any case, she’s a tough cookie.


Reading the brief description on the GG website, it would be interesting to know whether
1) the drogue line parted and then the boat pitchpoled or
2) the boat pitchpoled and than the drogue line parted.
Although 1) seems to be more likely at first, the Reading of the website seems to imply 2). But wouldn’t a parting drogue line result in a completely different movement of the boat prior to the pitchpoling? Or would – should only one side of the bridle part – this result in a movement that is just part of the pitchpoling?
Anyway, great to hear Susie has been saved.


When pitchpoling the boats movement is immediately stopped, so there would be zero load on the drogue. I cannot see any reason a line could part _after_ pitchpoling.


Sorry if my wording was misleading. I didn’t mean „after pitchpoling“, I was rather thinking about „during pitchpoling“.
So my question is: would or would not a parting line be felt prior to the pitchpoling? If it would, I might not be the only one with misleadingly wording but well accompanied by the GG website.


Tapio Lehtinen also in the GGR, some large number of miles behind Susie Goodall on the way to Cape Horn, is also carrying a JSD. On the call today with race HQ, he said he hoped he didn’t have to use it for three reasons:
1- hard to deploy
2- “a week to recover,” probably somewhat tongue in cheek
3- concern for damaging self-steering gear.
It’s an interesting decision making process for potentially life saving gear, and one wonders about whether these issues would have been sorted out as part of preparation.
I suppose easy to question from my rocking chair, but nevertheless a question.

And agree, will be interesting to find out what happened to Susie’s drogue, and when, if possible.

Drew Frye

Correction. I read two places that she deployed a JSD but the rode failed. No additional information. I doubt full details are known or knowable.

Shock loading seems unlikely; the JSD does not shock load. I imagine we will learn the details of the construction. If the line parted mid-way, damage during deployment is possible. If it failed at the bridle apex, it will be interesting to know the construction details. But I doubt Goodall got a good look at it. Since the boat had multiple leaks, I assume it will succumb to its wounds before it is seen again.


Sir Robin Knox-Johnston explaining how he finally figured out how to deal with extreme conditions in the southern ocean in the original Golden Globe. A little over 3 minutes in to the video.
He didn’t have a JSD, but used 720 ft of 2” polypropylene rigged in a trailing bight to keep the stern to breaking waves. Would then go below to sleep.
His explanation is basically exactly as above in the book for why the JSD works for our “slow” cruising boats. (I refer to this for more real world experience for JSD explanation, not to suggest the warp as an alternative.)


Hi John

What do you make of Susie Goodall’s pitchpole lying to a Jordan series drogue in the GGR? Don McIntyre the organiser is not a proponent and discusses the slow and fast pitchpole with a set drogue on Facebook. He prefers warps.

Post the pitchpole Susie found the bridle had snapped and JSD gone. Hard to know whether this happened during the event or prior.

Interested to here your thoughts.

Phil McLean

All the descriptions of use I’ve read and installations I’ve seen (including most recently on Webb Chiles’ Gannet which I saw this fall in St Michaels, MD) have the series Drogue attached to stern fittings, yet the sketches in this chapter show the Drogue streaming from the bow.

Are there forward installations in use? Is there a benefit to putting the bow into the waves breaking astern that outweigh the ease of use which is derived from stern installation?