Jordan Series Drogue

What is it ?

Performance at Sea


Design Loads and Attachments

Launching and Retrieval

About the Designer

About the Builder

Storm Waves

Wave Science

"The Loss of the Winston Churchill"

Coast Guard Report CG-D-20-87

Mooring and Anchoring

Printable Versions

Soundings-May 2006

Ace Sailmakers: Jordan Series Drogue Pricing and Order Form


I, Don Jordan, am writing this for Dave Pelissier because without him and his remarkable energy and dedication, the drogue would have rotted on the beach. Now its reputation has spread throughout the deep sea world, and I, now 89 years old, can be confident that it will continue to be available to sailors for the future.

As a result of my early magazine articles and lectures, a small number of skippers made their own drogues using the Coast Guard Report to define the configuration. One skipper, after using the drogue in a severe Atlantic storm during his cruise from England to Australia, started a company to build and sell the drogue in Australia. Another skipper, the owner of a company making hydraulic equipment in Texas, after riding to the drogue in a near hurricane also decided to make and sell the drogue. There were several other companies in England and the U.S. who started to offer the drogue for sale around 1990.

I made an effort to keep in close contact and personally wrote to all purchasers. However, sales were very low, about 2 to 4 drogues for each company a year. The price of the drogue was high, about $2000, considerably more than a government surplus parachute, the main competitor. Many skippers who choose ocean sailing as a way of life do not have very much money and the price was a serious deterrent. Somewhere I remember reading that the total estimated market for drogues was probably around 10,000, not a number on which to get rich. Gradually all the companies gave up the battle and ceased to offer the drogue.

I realized that, despite the successes at sea, the whole project might fail. As a final move I wrote to a number of sailmakers. All expressed no interest. A few weeks later I received a call from a young man who said he worked at a local sailmaker and had seen my letter. He was leaving the company to start a small sail repair business with his father as a helper and would like to make the drogue. We got together and I started to refer interested skippers to him. He managed by hard work and clever procedures to lower the cost from $2000 to $1000. He also offered low cost do it yourself kits and he gave competent and responsive service to all skippers, including special deals to poor but deserving types.

For the past fifteen years as the owner of Ace Sails, Dave Pelissier has made most of the drogues in the world except those made by the skippers themselves. I believe that there may be at least 1000 afloat. I have the addresses of drogue owners in 20 countries and 30 states. If it weren't for the good work of Dave and his company, I do not think that the drogue would have survived and prospered.

A great majority of ocean sailors go through life without encountering a survival storm. Whenever such a storm strikes there is a flurry of drogue sales. It is a real tragedy that, while my 20 years of effort was devoted to preventing a recurrence of the 1979 Fastnet, none of the unfortunate boats in the 1998 Sydney Hobart race carried the drogue .

By now Dave and I have the satisfaction of knowing that we have probably saved the lives of many sailors and that we have made a lasting contribution to safety at sea.

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Jordan Series Drogue  | What is it?  | Performance at Sea | TechnologyDesign Loads and Attachments | Launching and Retrieval | About the Designer | About the BuilderStorm Waves Wave Science | "The Loss of the Winston Churchill" | Coast Guard Report CG-D-20-87  | Mooring and Anchoring | Retrieving The Drogue | Printable Versions | Soundings-May 2006| Ace Sailmakers: Jordan Series Drogue Pricing and Order Form

If you have any comments or questions on drogue sales or configurations, please email them to or call us at (860) 739-5999.

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