The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Don’t Use Old Sailcloth For a Jordan Series Drogue

There’s an article on DIYing a Jordan Series Drogue (JSD), AAC preferred and recommended storm survival equipment, over at This Old Boat.

There’s some useful stuff to learn in the article; however, the author makes the terrible mistake of using old discarded sailcloth that she bought from a boat salvager for the cones.

We know from firsthand reports by our contributors that the cones do wear out over time, even when made with the correct brand new fabric, so making them out of old sail cloth that will certainly be sun damaged is a seriously bad idea that could render the JSD useless in an hour or so of deployment.

Remember, the JSD is our last line of defence in a survival storm. If it fails there is nothing between us and capsize, so cheaping out on any part of it makes no sense…even if we have to forgo that cool new plotter to do the JSD right.

More on storm survival and JSD construction, including firsthand use reports.

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Dick Stevenson

Hi John,
Good catch, good advice: cruisers are often impressively ingenious in their efforts to improve their boat, but too often the wish to spend the least amount of money transcends common sense. I am always initially wary when a cruiser introduces an idea with a comment on how little it cost (implying that is the more or the most important consideration).
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Tom C

An interesting insight into building one’s own JSD by an experienced sailor who used NEW 7.8 oz. dacron sailcloth for the cones:

Terence Thatcher

Hope you will write a letter to GOB with these thoughts.

Drew Frye

I’ve never even kept cloth from a used sail even for for patches. When I’m done with them the fabric is suspect, to say the least.

Michele Del monaco

Wow, just yesterday evening was dreaming of reusing my old mainsail for that. Avoiding this mistake is worth the entire subscription