The Yachting NZ Cat 1 regulations say that you must have a drogue or sea anchor of some description on board.
I have been doing a bit of research and have asked on various Facebook forums what other people use and have come up with some ideas.
The Jordan Series Drogue is a long line of rope with a series of small sea anchors attached. It is designed to be towed astern to hold the yacht stern on to the waves. http://www.jordanseriesdrogue.com/
Apparently you can purchase them fully made or in a kit form from Ace Sailmakers in the USA http://www.acesails.com/ but they don’t have any prices on their website (I have also heard that the kit takes forever to put together!)
There is also a company in the UK called Ocean Brake http://www.oceanbrake.com/prices.html. We are looking at a yacht around 6700kg and a series drogue from them is GBP500 ish. and delivery to NZ is about another GBP140!
I have also heard about a Shark Drogue – http://www.para-anchor.com/pro.stormdrogue.html which is around USD$700 ish, so perhaps slightly cheaper than the series drogue. That same company also does para-anchors which are deployed from the bow instead to hold the bow in to the waves as opposed to the stern.
I have found another great blog which I am looking forward to following and they have written a post about their Jordan Series Drogue. I asked them if they thought it would be ok for use on a yacht with a flat transom, and they have got some good answers as to why they think a drogue is better than a sea anchor. Check out Gone Floatabout’s Blog
As Ellen says in her reply to me:
Unless things have changed since 2008, you will have to have a sea anchor aboard to clear New Zealand CAT-1 regulations, but I’m not a great fan of sea anchors. Yachts are designed to drive forward through the water, so lying to a sea anchor is not ideal. In really big seas, especially breaking seas, the moving water will cause the line to slacken, rendering the anchor essentially useless. The yacht will yaw from side to side, potentially even turning broadside to the breaking wave before the line grows taut again and pulls her bow back around. The force on the boat is also in all the wrong places. Stern drag devices keep the yacht going the direction she’s supposed to; the line won’t slacken like that; and the force is where it should be. Of course, I haven’t yet used my series drogue, but the idea behind it seems sound: the large number of drag elements ensures that it will always have cones well submerged and doing their job!
She has a good point. I have emailed the company that they bought their sea anchor from to see if they have got any thoughts on flat transoms when using a sea anchor.
Here is a magazine article about how to use a sea anchor to steer if you lose your rudder.
Another expensive piece of kit that I hope we won’t have to use. But good to do some research now and start saving!