Sloop JR: Heaving to with a reefed sail plus towing a parachute drogue.

  • 30 Aug 2021 04:49
    Reply # 10968039 on 10964763


    Thank you for starting this thread and now also for giving me an idea as to the dimensions of a (shall we call it 'Kverneland Drogue') for my Jasmine.
    I will certainly make one together with Celesile.
    We had great fun making Jasmine's sail  together.
    Plus for her there might be more business to be had making 'Kverneland Drogues' for pointy sail folk here in South Africa than for junkies who in this country are very rare.


    My apologies for the use of the word extreme. I can see how it put a speed wobble (pun intended) into the thread. David Tyler's use of the word heavy is what I meant.

    One of the most frequent criticisms of the JR that I have encountered from non JR sailors and in particular one who claimed to have some JR experience is that JRs cannot heave to.
    this I knew to be false so I was and remain curious as to how other junkies do so in heavy weather.

    David Omnick, 

    Yes we do have a notoriously tricky sailing ground here in South Africa.
    For that reason the 1st voyage of Jasmine as a junk from Durban, around the two Capes, Agulhas and Good Hope, will not be tackled by me alone.
    From Cape Town to Port Owen is likely when I will first sail Jasmine over days and nights or in shorter daysail hops with only my English Pointer Dixie as crew.
    First I will have to pass exams, theory and practical, for the first time in 42 years to get a skippers ticket which is a legal requirement here on yachts over 29ft.
    It will be interesting to see how the practical examiner approaches evaluating me on sailing a JR. :-) 

  • 30 Aug 2021 03:24
    Reply # 10967846 on 10964763

    No question, the thread drifted away from where it started, which was heaving to as a method of stopping the boat to take a break, reef, etc.  My intention was to contribute to that thread, not to address extreme weather. 

    It does seem that we might take Hans-Erik's concern with heavy weather in context.  I believe he sails on the South African coast, which is subject to a good bit of such weather. I imagine most sailors there are preoccupied with it.   

    As for the Abbott drogue, the author notes that it's just another method of slowing or stopping the boat for whatever reason, and that it's not intended for extreme conditions.

    Given where the thread started, I've found it an interesting discussion from all contributors.


  • 29 Aug 2021 23:15
    Reply # 10967359 on 10964763

    Arne's right: the discussion has drifted away from where it started, to no good purpose. 'Heaving to' and 'extreme weather' don't belong in the same sentence (we might define extreme as being F9 and upwards). It's unsafe, and only to be attempted when there is danger close to leeward, making the risk of a knockdown the lesser of two evils. Heaving to in heavy weather (F6 - F8) is different. The older types of long keeled, heavy displacement boats might find it a reasonable thing to do in heavy weather, but still, modern lightweight boats are at risk of knockdown, depending on the sea state.

    But heaving to in light to moderate weather, for the purpose of holding position and not losing too much ground to leeward, is a very useful thing to be able to do. I have had to wait for dawn/ wait for the tide to rise/ have a rest and a meal with less motion/ whatever. But boats will need differing setups depending on keel type and hull type. Arne's international FB is happy with a drogue as described, but it would be of no use to try the same thing on Tystie, as she behaves in an entirely different manner. Being of shoal draught with a large skeg, the bow falls off and she is not at all inclined to round up and tack. I found that with a few panels of sail up and strapped in hard amidships, she would lie beam on, but no higher, comfortably making a little headway but also drifting slowly downwind. I don't know how a JR sloop with a deep fin keel would behave, but probably not in the same manner as either Ingeborg or Tystie.

  • 29 Aug 2021 20:22
    Reply # 10967045 on 10964763
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For some reason fellow junkies appear to have an obsession with (very) heavy weather. This thread turned into that pretty quickly.

    My aim was just to find a way to stop my sloop-rigged junk for more than a few minutes. I didn’t ‘sell’ my way of heaving to as a heavy weather tactic, but it probably will work as that for just as long as heaving to will work on a Bermuda rig on the same type of boat.

    I once participated in a heaving-to exercise with a sister-boat of my Ingeborg. With a full mainsail, it didn’t work so well, as the boat hunted up and down and almost tacked. With a deep reef in the mainsail, she hove to steadily.

    Ingeborg’s way of heaving to with that drogue is actually quite similar to the classic way with a backed jib. It is just that the drogue and the forward-set mast combine to do the job of that backed jib. In the case of the 7.9m Marieholm IF (Ingeborg), I think the JR + drogue method gave a steadier ride than the Bermuda rig with a backed jib.

    A ballasted keelboat, in particular with a long keel, will provide a lot of resistance against drifting downwind ( heaving to in heavy weather is sometimes used to avoid drifting ashore). Up to a certain point, heaving to appears to be a good method to ‘put the brakes on’  -  but don’t ask me when it is time to give up that tactic: This is outside my experience.
    Have a look at some other threads on similar subjects:


    Last modified: 29 Aug 2021 23:38 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 29 Aug 2021 16:45
    Reply # 10966568 on 10964763

    The Abbott drogue is an interesting variation on towing warps.  Howard, in answer to your question about a series drogue in sections, we did that on our original Minimus, a ballasted monohull.  We built a modified series drogue in two sections, one shorter, one longer.  One blustery night at sea we experimented with towing the shorter section off the stern.  A relatively sleepless night it was, as she rolled heavily from side to side.  After that we went back to heaving to in the conventional way.  

    Where I think the series drogue in sections would be valuable is when slowing or stopping a multihull.  My experience is that almost any drag device towed from a bridle off the sterns of a multihull makes for a very comfortable motion, as multihulls are relatively roll-proof.  Here's our latest experiment in that direction for our catamaran Minimus II (scroll down to the section on "A Novel Series Drogue").   

  • 29 Aug 2021 16:17
    Reply # 10966523 on 10964763

    I'm always interested in outside-the-box thinking, so thanks Arne for sharing your new method of heaving to.  In my experience, being able to safely and comfortably stop a boat is an undervalued and under-utilized skill.  I agree with Hans-Erik that heaving to is not necessarily about extreme weather.  I've often used it to "hold station" offshore, waiting for daylight to approach a harbor. 

    The most novel use is one I encountered more than 40 years ago. We were crossing from the southern tip of Baja, California to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in our 20' sloop.  It's a 300 mile open ocean crossing and when we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, we met an elderly couple in a 25' trimaran.  They asked how long it took us and we reported 3 days.  They'd taken 5 days, which of course surprised us, given their much faster boat.  Then they explained their unorthodox sailing routine at sea. 

    They sail from dawn until a couple hours after dusk, then take sails down, put out a parachute sea anchor and an anchor light, have dinner and get 8 hours sleep before continuing the next day.  Over the years, they'd found it an effective way to keep fatigue at bay and to make passages more enjoyable.       

  • 29 Aug 2021 16:13
    Reply # 10966502 on 10964763

    Some time back I encountered a piece on what is called the Abbott Drogue, which is essentially an enhancement on "towing warps"   I'm not entirely clear on some aspects of it.   Abbott Drogue

    In this case they are towing 180' of 1" nylon line attached to winches on each end.  Carriers made from water hose are slid down the line each with some sort of weight securely fastened to it.... such as a dinghy anchor and chain.    More or less line can be used, and more or fewer carriers and weights sent down the line.    A simple drogue that is not intended for survival conditions but produces significant and useful drag.

    I've often wondered if anybody has built their Jordan Series Drogue in sections that can be shackled together so you can use smaller segments than you would ordinarily use in a survival situation.  

  • 29 Aug 2021 11:02
    Reply # 10965977 on 10964763
    Anonymous member (Administrator)


    heaving to is not necessarily about extreme weather. The manoeuvre is just meant to be an easy method to let one take a break.  When I had my 23’ Albin Viggen, Malena, still with a Bermuda rig, it was standard practice to heave to when the mainsail was to be reefed or unreefed. I have also read about travellers who hove to while waiting for the sunrise before approaching a harbour or tricky inlet of some sort.

    To give an idea of the size of the drogue, mine, at 0.18sqm is 1.2% of the sail’s 3-panel top section and 1.8% of the two last panels. On your Jasmine, I guess a 0.3 og 0.4sqm drogue would do fine. I have made drogues of that size, and they are not difficult to manhandle. Making the drogue too big will probably kill too much of the speed so the boat will not head up enough. ( I need to test my setup with the drogue tied to the weather quarter...)

    Ending the heaving-to is easy. Just let the sheet go and then raise as much sail as you want. Then haul in the drogue with the sheet still slack, and finally resume sailing. This is easy. I do it every time I go sailing alone.

    Just as with heaving to with a Bermuda- or gaff-rig, one must practice a little with the method on a breezy day. Long-keeled boats are known to heave to nicely, but many fin-keeled boats also do it just fine. My armchair hunch is that even fin-keeled boats, which heave to badly with a Bermuda rig, will behave better with a JR plus drogue (or even Bermuda jib plus drogue).

    The obvious drawback with the drogue method is that one must have a drogue. A bucket in tow may work, but that is only 1/3 the size of my present drogue. However, stitching up a parachute drogue can be done in an afternoon. I use offcuts of sailcloth, left over from making my sails. It could even be a fine start-up project for wannabe JR sailmakers to get a bit sewing machine practice.


    Last modified: 30 Aug 2021 09:38 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 29 Aug 2021 10:08
    Reply # 10965891 on 10964763

    Very interesting, Arne. Thanks for posting

  • 29 Aug 2021 01:04
    Reply # 10965132 on 10964763

    Very interesting Arne.

    I look forward to trying this and variations thereof on Jasmine.

    Ultimately though we sloop junkies would love to discover the best method of heaving to in extreme weather.

    Short of deliberately being out in the danger of such weather whilst messing about with ideas I am unsure how a 'best method' could be discovered.

    Last modified: 29 Aug 2021 01:32 | Anonymous member
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