Lessons Learned - Drogue steering

A report follows from the crew of Patriot, an entrant in the 2018 Sydney to Hobart yacht race who lost their rudder and were forced to use drogue steering.  It is an interesting read with a number of lessons learned for those setting up their own drogue steering systems.

Download the full document pdf here (634 KB) .

Summary of lessons learned:
• Ideally have a dedicated emergency tiller and rudder box setup on the stern – wouldn’t want to be on a lee shore with drogue steering
• Longer sheets and definitely a swivel at the bridle end of the warp. Weight of chain and swivel at drogue end saw the drogue sit well 2 wave lengths back from the boat. Warp and drogue size was right for the boat, a thicker warp would have been comforting though.
• 3 knots is about all you can do safely under drogue steering we noted. Current and moderate winds meant we couldn’t go to windward.
• Without the drogue we wouldn’t have been able to be towed.
• A dedicated towing bridle setup with full chafe protection is a must, ideally load shared to winches.
• Pre-plan safe havens before heading out, particularly those which cater to deeper draught vessels and understand available facilities.

Watch video of Patriot under tow using Drogue here.

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