Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Drogue

I was recently asked what a drogue is. I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned this device before but here goes! (and this is pretty much lifted from Wikipedia!):

'A drogue is a device to slow a boat down in a storm so that it does not speed excessively down the slope of a wave and crash into the next one. By slowing the vessel in heavy weather, the drogue can make it easier to control. A drogue is usually constructed to provide substantial resistance when dragged through the water, and is trailed behind the vessel on a long line'.

In our case, the drogue is towed behind the lifeboat in conditions where we are heading with the sea (not straight into it). It does two things for us, firstly it makes the boat more controllable from a steering perspective, secondly it prevents the boat from surfing on the wave face and so makes for a more controlled passage. Ours has enough line attached that the distance it is from the stern of the boat can be varied according to the wave pattern (the longer the wave length the longer the main line). It also has a tripping line so that it can be tripped when not needed and also to assist with recovery.

In all honesty I have never witnessed ours being used in anger, however, I can certainly imagine a time when it might be needed.

incidentally, it is a very similar looking device to a sea anchor, however, a sea anchor has a distinctly different purpose. That is, to hold the boats bow head to sea in an almost stationary position.

1 comment:

Fitz said...

Nice Youtube clip off the Lytham Mersey after the Riverdance grounding with Drogue out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvGy2gnMfa8

Great Blog alway a good read and good source off info on the Lifeboats.