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Scale model drogue deployed from stern

Date: 1998
Overall: 1380 x 30 x 30 mm, 0.02 kg
Medium: Plastic, cord, metal, string, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from RANTEAA
Object Name: Model drogue
Object No: 00033058
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Captain Crispin George RAN and his daugher Rachel, made this scale model of a drogue in 1998. Captain George was called as an expert witness at the 2000 Coronial Inquiry into the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. He used the models to explain to the Coroner the principles of a highline transfer during a sea rescue operation.
    SignificanceThis model demonstrates the relative size of the rescue equipment used in the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
    HistoryThe Sydney Hobart Yacht Race has become a classic annual sailing event in the Australian and the international sporting calendar. The course covers a distance of 1170 kilometers starting in Sydney Harbour and finishing on the Derwent River at Hobart, Tasmania. The inaugural race was held in 1945 with RANI being the first yacht to take out the competition in the time of six days, 14 hours and 22 minutes.

    On 27 December 1998 a raging storm struck the Sydney to Hobart fleet, with 80 knot winds and mountainous seas. An emergency air/sea operation rescued 55 sailors, and 71 of 115 yachts failed to finish. 5 sank and 6 men died. A coronial inquest held in 2000 recommended a complete upgrading of safety and rescue equipment, emergency procedures and weather warnings, and set a new minimum age of 18 years for race entry. The tragedy still reverberates in sailing circles.

    During the search and rescue phase of the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race forty-nine people from seven yachts were rescued by helicopter. Both civilian and Navy helicopters were used in these operations. The most challenging of these rescues was the transfer of ten crew by Navy Sea King and Sea Hawk helicopters from the SWORD OF ORION during the night of 27 December 1998.

    Most of the yachts assisted were dismasted and lay across the wind and sea where the helicopter needs to hover pointing into the wind. With these relative positions the high line transfer from yacht to helicopter is made more difficult. A sea anchor enables the boat to point into the wind and steadies the vessel's motion relative to the wind and sea thereby assisting the already difficult highline transfer.

    The drogue deployed from the stern was designed to slow the boat when it is running fast before wind and/or sea. By providing drag and retaining rudder effectiveness the drogue prevents the yacht broaching (being flattened or capsized sideways) or pitchpolled (capsized end over end).

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