Delta Drogue

Are you looking for a safer way to control your boat’s speed while offshore fishing? Consider investing in a para-tech delta sea anchor drogue that limits the boat's speed, reduces the yaw angle, and provides steering assistance on solid seas. However, the proper use of a sea anchor off the bow should not be confused with the appropriate use off the stern. The dichotomy between the two concepts and documented case histories has been in the Drag Device Database publication. Sailors planning extensive offshore passages should visit the website for a more in-depth study of the different applications of both devices.

Design & Construction

The PARA-TECH DELTA Drogue uses the "guide surface principle." The design is a triangular delta shape that provides strong, uniform flow separation at all leading edges. Shape retention is achieved with the pressure of the water inside (similar to the "Ballute" drogues used in aerospace applications). The relatively small mouth at the leading edge makes it extremely unlikely that one will get turned inside out (a problem associated with large cones and small parachute drogues). Also, the three ears of the DELTA Drogue have the effect of increasing drag as speed increases.

The PARA-TECH DELTA Drogue is extremely simple in design and construction. So simple that it is made from heavy duty vinyl coated material.

Speed-Limiting Drogue

A speed-limiting drogue is towed off the stern. Its purpose is to (a) limit the boat's speed, (b) reduce her angle of yaw and, (c) provide for steering assistance in strong seas. You can and may have to steer the boat with the drogue in tow.

However, there is one caveat with any speed-limiting drogue: the same low pull that allows for steering control may also allow the boat to broach, capsize, and/or pitchpole in the heaviest seas. The forces that pitchpole yachts are formidable enough to yank the drogue through the water, and may even be enough to throw the boat end-over-end. Sailors should be aware of this caveat and make allowances for it in the course of their decisions at sea.

Warning: In all likelihood, the insufficient drag of a speed-limiting drogue will not prevent pitchpole in the heaviest storms, especially those packing ESWs (Extreme Storm Waves), rogues, and Three Sisters-type developments.

  • The above notwithstanding, speed-limiting drogues can be of immense value in strong following seas and have been used to stabilize craft since antiquity. No doubt there are many yachts sailing today that would have gone down had it not been for the grace of God and some sort of device that slowed the boat down.

  • Towed off the stern with a bridle, a speed-limiting drogue can be used as an emergency steering device to yaw the boat if steering fails.

  • Towed off the windward quarter, a speed-limiting drogue can help maintain directional stability while negotiating a dangerous harbor entrance.

  • Towed off the stern of a vessel in tow, a drogue can all but eliminate the "whiplash" effect and contribute to better control by the towing vessel.