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Usually an improvised contraption by which a sailing vessel is slowed down in a following sea to prevent it being pooped by waves coming up astern. It can vary from a long warp towed astern in small sailing craft to a spar with a weighted sail in larger sailing ships. A drogue is very widely confused with a sea anchor, but in fact the two serve different purposes. Sir Francis Drake used a drogue comprised of wineskins in the Golden Hinde when chasing the treasure ship Cacafuego in the Pacific as he did not wish to alarm its crew by coming up to it too fast. Also, when an open boat approaches the shore through breakers, a grass-line over the stern acts as an efficient drogue, both slowing the boat down and holding it steady so that the waves do not turn it broadside to the beach so that it capsizes.

A drogue

Subjects: Warfare and Defence — Maritime History.

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