Newport Beach is a fantastic town! The only downside is the crowds. The harbor is huge - very long with a couple of islands along the way. It is filled with mooring buoys and boats - LOTS of boats. There are boats, paddle boards, jet skis, kayaks, etc.. running all over the place all day and night. But what we liked most about Newport Beach is the beach.
The waterfront is a beautiful sand covered beach for as far as you can see. The day we spent on the beach had wonderful breaking ways rolling in. Jan is in total heaven!!!
|Jan loving Newport Beach|
As we were cruising along looking for the one little spot that is available to anchor your boat we came across the "Google catamaran". This thing is quite a sight - huge and sleek.
One of the reasons we came to Newport was to pick up our new drogue. I had been researching methods of steering the boat should our rudder become disabled at sea and finally decided a drogue was the best option. A drogue is basically some type of device that you drag behind the boat. There are 3 main designs - a mesh made from nylon straps, a rope with several cones attached, or some type of bag. I chose one called the Shark. It is basically a nylon bag with 4 slots cut in the sides. The other option for emergency steering is some type of add on rudder - usually associated with a wind vane steering system.
I would love to have a wind vane. They are a backup to your autopilot (they are a steering device) and they don't use any electricity to steer boat - both very desirable things. But I didn't feel they were the best idea for Rapture. First, they are REALLY expensive and now that we don't have any income, we are trying to keep expenses down. Second - they should be mounted on the stern of your boat in the middle to be most effective. That is a problem on Rapture because she has a stern door in the middle that is by far the best way to board. You can mount a wind vane off to the side, but that causes all sorts of other problems. You can also get a swing mount that allows you to swing the unit to the side, but once again, not a great solution. Another issue is that the steering ability of a wind vane can be very limited based on your point of sail. So, drogue it is!
A drogue really has 2 uses - slow the boat down in big seas and emergency steering. We surely could have used the drogue in the storm that we went through off Cape Blanco. One of our big problems was the boat going too fast. We were surfing down these huge waves at 19 knots - WAY too fast! We would get to the bottom of the wave totally out of control and then often broach. The drogue helps to slow the boat down and helps to keep the stern where it belongs - at the back of the boat.
The second use is emergency steering. To my surprise, it works GREAT! You simply throw the drogue in the water behind the boat and attach the two bridle lines to the primary winches on either side of the boat. Then when you want to turn to port you simply crank on the port winch. That drags the drogue to the port side which then turns the boat. It worked really well!
One of the nice things about the Shark drogue is the company is located in Newport Beach. I bought it while we were in Monterey - north of Newport Beach. So our plan was to just stop on the way by and pick it up. When I told them we were going to pick it up in Newport Beach on our boat they offered to come out on the water with us on our boat and teach us how to use it. Wow! Now that is customer service. So on the appointed day we went into the city dock and there stood Zack Smith - the designer of the drogue. A very nice and knowledgeable guy. It was really a pleasure having him on the boat.
|Mike tossing the drogue in the water|
|Mike and Zack talking strategy|
|The drogue at work|