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Singlehanded Jordan Series Drogue deployment

Neeves

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20 Nov 2011
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Sydney, Australia.
I may have missed it but I could not work out how you attached the prussic on retrieval. The knot seemed too far away to have been attached simply from the deck. If you make the knot and slide it as far as you can its not going to take long and you will need to push the knot away again (which was a point you made - but the knot in the video seemed further than I would be able to stretch)..

It also made me wonder if a jumar/descendeur might not be a quicker solution (saves faffing around with knots but might chew up the bridle). I'm also not sure they are designed for the loads you illustrated. It did illustrate that an electric winch might have been an idea (rather than the battery driven model).


We got caught crossing Bass Strait in an unforecast micro cell, winds of 50knots for 11 hours gusting to over 55 knots. The short seas were breaking over the cabin roof (which is 3m above sealevel) - we did not run off but kept it on the beam as running off would result in us 'missing' Australia itself and us being driven toward NZ. The reasoning was simple - we had been forecast 25 knots and simply did not know we were in a local micro-cell - thinking this was a duff forecast we did not fancy being driven toward NZ nor beating back into what we were experiencing. Our cat handled it well, triple reefed main and making a steady 8 knots - the 2 of us were less composed. If we had checked the forecast - as you illustrate - we might have made a different decision (you don't have hindsight at the time :( ). We did think of using our storm jib but as the yacht was handling the condition, the foredeck was constantly under water and our fall back was still running off - we did not follow through. Our storm jib is carried on an inner forestay and hanked on - its not a big issue but not something I was entirely looking forward to. I spoke with our Bureau of Meteorology, who are very approachable, for the historic weather later and we and the microcell moved together for those 11 hours. The BOM were very apologetic but pointed out they cannot work at the micro cell level - they slip outside the forecasts (again as you mention in your video).

The idea of a marina berth, as Newtothis mentions, did seem very attractive at the time.

An excellence video.

Jonathan
 
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matt1

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11 Feb 2005
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766
Really enjoyed the video - thanks for sharing

Would be interested to hear how you managed sleep on the passage and alarms for alerting you to any traffic
 

northcave

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26 Feb 2010
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Bristol
I may have missed it but I could not work out how you attached the prussic on retrieval. The knot seemed too far away to have been attached simply from the deck. If you make the knot and slide it as far as you can its not going to take long and you will need to push the knot away again (which was a point you made - but the knot in the video seemed further than I would be able to stretch)..

It also made me wonder if a jumar/descendeur might not be a quicker solution (saves faffing around with knots but might chew up the bridle). I'm also not sure they are designed for the loads you illustrated. It did illustrate that an electric winch might have been an idea (rather than the battery driven model).


We got caught crossing Bass Strait in an unforecast micro cell, winds of 50knots for 11 hours gusting to over 55 knots. The short seas were breaking over the cabin roof (which is 3m above sealevel) - we did not run off but kept it on the beam as running off would result in us 'missing' Australia itself and us being driven toward NZ. The reasoning was simple - we had been forecast 25 knots and simply did not know we were in a local micro-cell - thinking this was a duff forecast we did not fancy being driven toward NZ nor beating back into what we were experiencing. Our cat handled it well, triple reefed main and making a steady 8 knots - the 2 of us were less composed. If we had checked the forecast - as you illustrate - we might have made a different decision (you don't have hindsight at the time :( ). We did think of using our storm jib but as the yacht was handling the condition, the foredeck was constantly under water and our fall back was still running off - we did not follow through. Our storm jib is carried on an inner forestay and hanked on - its not a big issue but not something I was entirely looking forward to. I spoke with our Bureau of Meteorology, who are very approachable, for the historic weather later and we and the microcell moved together for those 11 hours. The BOM were very apologetic but pointed out they cannot work at the micro cell level - they slip outside the forecasts (again as you mention in your video).

The idea of a marina berth, as Newtothis mentions, did seem very attractive at the time.

An excellence video.

Jonathan
Hi Jonathan,

Gosh your conditions don’t sound fun. I couldn’t say what it would be like taking breaking seas on the beam of a cat as I’ve never sailed one. I wouldn’t want to do it in my boat even if it is 17T and 43ft.

I did considering using my ascender or shunt but firstly the bridles were too thick and secondly I think the teeth would have damaged the rope when under such tension maybe.

For the Prussic you can push it further away with the boat hook or in my case I have a platform off the transom so I could push it by hand. It wouldn’t have made much difference doing it foot but foot rather than meter by meter though I don’t think.

Someone suggested a retrieval line attached at the join of the bridle and first leader which would solve the issue and make the whole process way easier.

As for an electric corded winch then you’re dead right! This would be the ideal solution and you could winch away to your hearts content. I doubt it would take much from the house battery bank in the grand scheme of things.
 

northcave

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26 Feb 2010
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Bristol
Really enjoyed the video - thanks for sharing

Would be interested to hear how you managed sleep on the passage and alarms for alerting you to any traffic
Out there, there is very little traffic. I saw only 2 ships in 8 days and perhaps 4 on the AIS.

I have an AIS CPA alarm which I set for 1nm. That is repeated in my phone which connects to the AIS by wifi. I have it by the best in case I fall really deeply asleep.

When I get to parts of the world where AIS Isn’t widely used then I’ll change my strategy perhaps.
 

Comrade Red

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21 Mar 2009
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Kernow
A superb video, thanks for sharing it. Nice humble style :)

Some questions - how many cones are you using on what length warp, and how much chain?

Also what are you using for editing?
 

northcave

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26 Feb 2010
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Bristol
Some questions - how many cones are you using on what length warp, and how much chain?
147 or 157 cones. Can’t recall exactly. Length is about 130m. I got the one recommended for a 17T displacement from OceanBrake.

Chain is as per Don Jordan’s recommendation which is around 6m of 10mm chain which is around 15kg. It’s specific to my length of drogue.I just cut off 6 m from my anchor chain as I had 100m already and figured 94

Also what are you using for editing?
iMovie on Mac. I use Final Cut if I felt I needed more precision but for this it was more about content than edit.
 

GHA

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26 Jun 2013
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11,119
Location
Hopefully somewhere warm
Thanks for the video, interesting. One thing I've had a little play around with ashore is using the windlass as a short electric winch. Long dyneema loop a few turns round the capstan with couple little blocks to ensure a good lead on/off the drum then back down the side deck next to the cockpit and back in a continuous loop with a join. Then another line off the join round a diverter block to wherever you want. So with the remote windlass control round your neck you've a powerful winch with 20 odd feet of travel. Worked great for getting heavier items on and off in the boatyard. Should work leapfrogging a JSD with prussics , maybe a few hours fiddling to tweak the leads etc but might be worth a play one day. I'll certainly have it rigged on any long solo passages in future, never know when pulling half a tonne might come in handy :)
Though much easier on a steel boat as only takes a few minutes to chop a stainless chain link in half and weld it to the deck for lead blocks, much quicker than the many coats of paint afterwards :)
 

zoidberg

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12 Nov 2016
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3,710
An intriguing video with many points of interest, thanks. Yours is a fine boat and she/you handled the wind and weather well, as far as can be seen..... and the problems as they arose.
Interesting how the topography-induced 'acceleration zones' had such effects so far downwind from the hills, and also how warnings in good Pilot Books need to be factored into electronic predictions.

It's also encouraging to note how effectively your JSD eased the motion of the boat - as others have reported - and the wear and tear on ship and crew.

There's a lot of useful discussion on Attainable Adventure Cruising ( 'morganscloud' ) and Cruisers Forum about optimising the splices and attachments, for we now have available to us far better rope and other kit than Don Jordan had back in '79 when he did his research, and we now know more about making fully effective splices due to research by, among others, Evans Starzinger.

It's also important to 'hoist in' some of the recent lessons reported by deeply-experienced voyagers - e.g. that the specification needs to be chosen with an eye to the vessel's all-up displacement in laden cruising condition and not the builder's listed 'light ship displacement'. That early deployment offers gains in crew fatigue, with associated benefits in decision-making when NOT exhausted. That the kit and procedure is proven effective for small craft from the 22' MingMing to 30-ton heavy displacement cruisers....

Those who have used their JSD multiple times report fraying/shredding of their original cones and some are engaged in replacing/upgrading to tougher material than the original ripstop light spinnaker nylon.

Others are looking to use HDPE line for their JSD rode and bridle, which offers benefits of light weight and reduced bulk but other problems with slippery knots and bends. A simple Prussik loop is likely to struggle.... but there are other configurations which will serve.

Don Jordan was motivated to engineer an answer to the problems highlighted by the '79 Fastnet Disaster and the breaking seas associated with that. He didn't consider AFAIK the very much larger and faster deep-ocean breaking seas that those navigating in high southern latitudes are encountering, with consequent much increased 'breaking wave strike' energies. That his solution continues to cope with such in monster Southern Ocean storms is of huge credit to this engineer and his work. It is also worth remembering that the destructive conditions experienced in the Celtic Sea during the '79 Fastnet Race have occurred before and since, as a reading of Adlard Coles 'Heavy Weather Sailing' will attest, and that the need to deploy a JSD might well occur in relatively nearby waters - including the Western Approaches and the North Sea.
 
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Neeves

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Sydney, Australia.
Northcave

Thank you for the reply.

I did wonder if you used a boat hook :) as I could not think of anything else. As you mention and Zoidberg introduces -a central dyneema line to the apex of the securing bridle might make the difference.

I think you might undervalue your video - its importance is that you had the motivation to make the video even though you had much bigger concerns. As someone remarked it is 'humble' - there are not many similar videos made by single handers on such an important and critical topic.

All credit to you.

As Zoidberg mentions - technology is now available that Jordan could not dream of - the story is on going and you have made a significant contribution - for which - thanks. I hope we never need to use one!

Jonathan
 

Neeves

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20 Nov 2011
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Sydney, Australia.
I was wondering about the use of Jumars and my fears were the same as yours - the Jumars would chew up the rope. I was not so worried about rope diameter as we use double braid dyneema, with only the core as dyneema, as the bridle is then thinner - and fit our winches (specifically the electric winch). Having thought a bit more - who cares if the rope gets chewed up consider it as sacrificial and make sure you carry a spare.

However I'm not sure that Jumars are built for the tensions involved - so maybe academic.

We use a dyneema bridle off our transoms for a shore line - its multi-purpose.

Jonathan
 

gregcope

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21 Aug 2004
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@northcave Enjoyed your video.

When you got to the bit of your main ripping I thought "oh". Then your engine issues ... Entertaining stuff (from an nice warm house!)
 

doug748

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Plymouth
Northcave

I think you might undervalue your video - its importance is that you had the motivation to make the video even though you had much bigger concerns. ...

True, there is not much video of this type about There is this fragment from Nabil Amra:




Which is worth a mention because the yawing drogue lines caused him to lose his self steering gear. A point worth making for the brave ones thinking about offshore adventures.
 

bitbaltic

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21 Nov 2011
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Boat in Milford Haven
After lockdown in July I took the first flight back to my boat which was in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. I wanted to get it back to the UK this year since we planned to sail to Svarlbard in 2021... so I sailed single handed to the Azores (approx 700nm) where I'd meet my partner Emmie for the onward leg back to the UK.

A reasonable forecast showed approx 25kts for the first 3 days and then a strong blow for a couple of days south of Madeira. I had intended to pull into Madeira and let it blow through before carrying on. However, I couldn't quite claw my way up there so I decided to carry on but encountered sustained 45kt winds but with abnormally large breaking waves in the accelleration zone to the SW of Madeira. I tried to reef the main further before nightfall and ripped it down the middle. I then motored up at 50 degrees into the waves and wind with the staysail but then the engine packed up. I turned down wind and ran off. With large waves breaking around me and faced with the possibility of loosing a lot of ground into the Atlantic, with no mainsail or engine to help me claw my way north again... I deployed the JSD.

I made a video of the trip and the retrieval which I thought some might find interesting.

Tackling the problem from the start though, how old was the mainsail? I vaguely remember your (fantastic) boat having ?Hood sails when it was in Portishead? Those would be getting on, was it newer? Obviously problems are avoided if it didn’t split.
 

zoidberg

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I've read and re-read the text of Don Jordan's paper as printed by the US Coastguard in May 1987 ( https://www.jordanseriesdrogue.com/pdf/droguecoastguardreport.pdf ). Some of it is beginning to stick.....

A lot more has been written since, and I'm certain some of it is valid and useful..... especially that relating to the use of better materials than Don Jordan had available to him some 30-odd years ago. For example, he notes that the 1.5oz spinnaker fabric he used swiftly showed signs of wear and tear. He also suggested reinforcing the cones' leading edges. Reports and quite recent posts from some deeply experienced sailors suggest they are 're-discovering' this and enhancing their own gear accordingly.

It seems that the carriage of a JSD is considered the preserve of deep-ocean wanderers and that those of us who sail closer to home have no likelihood of ever needing such a device. It seems to have slipped from our collective awareness that the problems Don Jordan sought to address were those of wavestrike on boats in the Fastnet Race of '79. His text and examples reference this tragic event over and again, and the wavestrike energies he uses for his calculations are assumed to be those which were actually encountered by boats in that race.

I've participated in two Fastnet Races since then, I've sailed that stretch of the Celtic Sea a dozen times more - including Jester events - and I've done scrutineering as often.... and I have yet to see a boat equipped with a JSD. It seems clear that owner/skippers are deciding that "It doesn't apply to me. I'm not going near anywhere which might need a JSD" and I'm wondering if that is not simply a 'logical fallacy' and a vague unwillingness to face reality.

A breaking wavestrike of under one-third the size assumed by Jordan could - no, would - roll all the boats I've sailed in the past 20 years, if caught beam-on.
( If the vessel is caught in.... a plunging breaker, or in the secondary wave created by the jet impact of the plunger, capsize is possible in waves as small as 1.2 times the beam of the vessel - Barry Deacon/Wolfson Unit ).

Breaking seas of that size are very common - and not at all exceptional - all around our coasts. My carriage and use of a JSD is to prevent presenting ourselves 'beam-on' to such a wave....

Here is a trio of screengrabs from the above paper, each of which bears some thoughtful inspection:











It's worth a reminder that the 'displacement' in the latter graph refers to the Maximum Loaded configuration, and not the builder's 'light ship' figure. As for the load-capacity of the towline and bridles, there are other materials available today, and some careful interpretation is necessary of what capacity is inferred by 'Towline Diameter'.
 
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northcave

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Bristol
Tackling the problem from the start though, how old was the mainsail? I vaguely remember your (fantastic) boat having ?Hood sails when it was in Portishead? Those would be getting on, was it newer? Obviously problems are avoided if it didn’t split.
Well remembered! Yeah it was my Hood main that split. Old but it just seem tough as old boots up until then. Clearly not that tough. I should have reefed earlier but my boat likes lot of power and she was holding it well until that point. I did have it repaired but I shuld really be considering a new one as the one I had spare, shown hosted half way through the film, is quite a light weight main.... althpught it did fair well coming back from the Azores in August against 3 bouts of force 7.
 

Giblets

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A great film, Tim. I'm very intrigued by the gimbal arrangement that you use during your filming including the shots to camera in the cockpit and down below. Care to describe it in more detail please.
 

northcave

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A great film, Tim. I'm very intrigued by the gimbal arrangement that you use during your filming including the shots to camera in the cockpit and down below. Care to describe it in more detail please.
Well I’m not actually using a gimbal. The Gopro has stabilisation software which makes it look like there is. Presumably crops the image slightly and then stabilises it. The Drone has a gimbal but that’s it. I had thought of getting a gimbal as you can pick them up in ebay for not so much. The gopro was mounted on a suction cup a lot of time though as there is plenty of smooth GRP around.
 

rptb1

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18 Sep 2013
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Cambridge
Others are looking to use HDPE line for their JSD rode and bridle, which offers benefits of light weight and reduced bulk but other problems with slippery knots and bends.
Just checking, but do you mean UHMWPE (Dyneema, Spectra, etc.) HDPE is the plastic used to make milk bottles. HDPE rope does exist, but I'd be surprised if it was suitable. I was recommended to consider UHMWPE by OceanBrake.
 

rptb1

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18 Sep 2013
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Cambridge
For example, he notes that the 1.5oz spinnaker fabric he used swiftly showed signs of wear and tear. He also suggested reinforcing the cones' leading edges.
For what it's worth, sample cones I have from OceanBrake last year are made of heavy fabric with reinforcing tape on the leading and trailing edges. The cones in the video do not appear to have these tapes.
IMG_20201014_213144.jpg
 
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