Jeff has owned several sailboats of his own and has sailed with me on my vessel in the past. He is joining the vessel for her first offshore passage to Hawaii and I feel very fortunate to have him aboard for the passage. While I was visiting with him in Honolulu he offered to put forth some funds for the voyage. I suggested he put it towards some safety / survival gear and we discussed our past adventures and storm tactics and what we might like to have aboard. Aside from the mandatory Jack-line and harnesses, we felt a good drogue would be a very usefully piece of gear.
I thought back to the time I was in sixty knots of wind and surfing down monstrous waves on the way to Hawaii in my twenty six foot sloop. She would lift her stern to the wave then begin to surf down the face until we matched the speed of the wave and lost steering, then she slewed, her stern falling abruptly off to starboard, steering would be momentarily restored and she would be straightened out and then slew off to port. We careened down the wave in this sickening zig-zag manner on the verge of broaching.
After the second time that happened we came about and hove to. A precarious task in those conditions. The ride was much better with the exception of the odd wave crumbling underneath us dropping us with a hard jarring, or slamming hard against the windward bow, tossing the boat and launching us off our feet if we were standing, or hard into the Lee cloths in our bunks. I rubbed my bruised ribs wishing I had the foresight to bring chest protectors and hockey helmets. Jordan drogues would not be invented for a number of years.
We definitely wanted to have a Jordan drogue aboard this time.
We researched the drogue and both quickly agreed we did not want to spend time sewing together over one hundred cones, better to order the cones from a reliable source. We could handle assembling the drogue. During our research we kept seeing Ace Sailmakers referenced as a source for drogue parts. I called them and left a message Friday night, Saturday morning they returned my call and spent a lot of time on the phone answering all my questions and making some very good suggestions. I ordered the cones from them and it was a very pleasant experience; every time I called to check status or ask a question my call was promptly returned with an appropriate response to my question. The cones arrived well packaged and in good condition. The workmanship and construction is very good. They included a stack of literature; diagrams, assembly notes and tips, testimonials.....and even included an installation tool (at no charge) to make it easier to put together. I recommend them if you are in the market for a drogue.