When a boat like Bright Water is caught in a storm at sea, the first line of defense is to not get caught in a storm at sea. That’s why we have lots of electronics and spend a lot of time looking at weather charts.
Sometimes that’s not enough and you get surprised by weather, or sometimes the rig falls over or the engine blows up or the rudder falls off or everyone gets sick or you hit a whale or the sails rip to shreds or you’ve just had a really, really bad day. Then, the most important thing to do first is stabilize and slow the boat’s movement.
So we ordered a Jordan Series Drogue. Ours has 132 small parachutes. When trailed from the transom, it slows (almost stops) the boat, keeps the stern into the wind and waves, and allows the boat to move slowly downwind, pointy end first. The rudder and the windows are protected as much as possible.
We bought the drogue from England from http://www.oceanbrake.com/. Good service, good price. The website is full of information.
Here’s a calm-water test of various drogue and sea-anchor devices: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4l3CbgUCU8
Here’s another video of the Jordan Drogue being deployed in actual storm conditions: http://vimeo.com/23557335