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Old 05-01-2019, 01:00   #1
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Choice of Tender to be towed

I have a 53' Hatteras Motoryacht. I want to tow a 17' - 19' tender behind my vessel. It seems all I hear about is center consoles being towed astern. Has anyone had any experience with towing a conventional speedboat behind their boat? I am specifically looking at a 1987 Four Winns Horizon bowrider. I know the Horizon is primarily a lake boat, but I will be only using it once I have the hook down in a calm anchorage. Any reason that the Four Winns would not work as my tender? Thanks for your insights.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:04   #2
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Liberty.
The idea of towing a 10,000+ Lb battering ram behind my boat would greatly concern me.
However, many years ago, a friend cruised Lake Superior aboard his 56' Chris CraftConstellation, and successfully towed a 17' Whaler CC.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:37   #3
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Oops - it was a Chris Craft Constellation (56').


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Old 05-01-2019, 05:43   #4
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

As a tender itíll work fine. However getting it from A to B may/will be problematic.

Where do you plan On cruising?

Is the 4 Winns an IO or outboard?

The center console boats Iíve seen towed have had a massive stainless towing plate built that covers a large surface area of the bow to spread the towing loads. The towing hawser has been large (1Ē-1.5Ē) and very long with a hefty electric or hydraulic winch to adjust the tow line length.

Further the center console boats all have been of an offshore fishing design. With closed decks and self draining cockpits.

The bow rider will need to pump out any water that makes its way in, as well as tow straight in ocean conditions (if this is where youíre going to be).
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:44   #5
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

For serious motor cruising I would prefer a smaller dink, kept up top and covered. That is a big tender you are contemplating. Could be nice for some situations such as inshore cruising locally. Would be good for going ashore on seldom visited islands or shallow water fishing, shelling, etc. I like the idea except for more serious cruising. Check the weight and the rating on your davit, too. Offshore of course you would not want to tow it.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:10   #6
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Wrong again - It was a 57 Ft. 1964 Chris-Craft Constellation (M/V "Pathfinder")
This very onehttps://www.yachtworld.com/boats/196...ation-2765210/

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Old 05-01-2019, 09:35   #7
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Thanks for everyone's input . . . especially Sailmonkey. Really good insights into the CC that are being towed as tenders. I will be cruising from the area of Naples, Florida (homeport) to the Keys and occasionally the Bahamas. The Gulf of Mexico can certainly get rough so I am sure the towing eye (trailer eye) of the Four Winns would in no way be capable of sustaining the strain of the tow in turbulent conditions. I am rethinking my idea . . . maybe just stay with my 12' RIB. Thanks for helping me to keep from moving in a bad direction.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:42   #8
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liberty3 View Post
Has anyone had any experience with towing a conventional speedboat behind their boat? I am specifically looking at a 1987 Four Winns Horizon bowrider.
In my area it is not uncommon to see a larger cruising vessel towing a decked and partially enclosed boat to be used as an upscale tender or fishing boat. This is usually done in more protected waters such as the inside waters of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound. I would think a bowrider would be a poor choice, however, as the open bow would make the boat far more vulnerable to taking on water while under tow.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:37   #9
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Based on my research the flatter the hull the better and in come cases longer may work better too @ trawler speeds. The problem remains that the hull speed of your 53'er is going to be higher than the boat being towed, it tries to plane causing it to plow.

@ faster speeds i'm not sure it has much effect but I don't think i'd want to tow a 19' boat @ 20 knots anyway.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:16   #10
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

I believe you could tow any size tender long distances in a variety of conditions if properly prepared for them. Shock absorption is key, and long nylon lines help, but a dock spring will help a lot as well. Towing downswell is the most difficult as it wants to surf, and could easily surf right into the mother ship. This requires a drouge to be quickly deployed while underway. A strong bucket or sailboat drouge tied onto the tow line and slid down to the tender is what I've done in the past and works well.
One problem is keeping a hard tender off the topsides when anchored in variable winds.
I've seen yachts with spring poles out and huge fenders, but from experience, a small error could be very costly. An inflatable would be a wiser choice. I assume you can hoist it on deck for rough conditions.
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Old 05-01-2019, 15:01   #11
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

I have towed many miles with a variety of wood skiffs with a sailboat in the gulf of mexico, ranging from 14-19í , flat bottom and v bottom fishing boats. The largest problem is a following sea. At times you need to shorten the tow line so the towed boat dosen t take off. A u line behind the towed helps to slow it down, or bucket, or drogue. I really like poly line as it floats and has less chance of being sucked into your prop, but doesn t give you stretch, a 3strand bridle would provide some stretch, new line has more stretch than old nylon there are floats that can be placed on your tow line but the line needs to be knoted to keep the floats in place, and the knots compromise the line strength. I would tow with a bridle, run a line through the middle and tie the tow line to a stern cleat so you can adjust the length. Pull tender along side for docking anchoring , tight conditions, not rough conditions. fenders on the tender will lessen contact with mainship, but it looks like hell.... A automatic bilge pump is needed. With you boat I wouldn t hesitate . You will love the freedom....
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Old 05-01-2019, 15:09   #12
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Sailmonkey nailed it.

My wife and I have looked into this heaps as we are thinking exactly as you are. We have zero interest in bringing along any sort of fishing boat, including the CC boats mentioned above. We want a mobile bumper with a little emotor and a little gas engine, probably a new Yamaha WaveRunner (they are IMO the best made most reliable things on the water), and some sort of race boat from 21' to 24'. We are So Cal boaters all our lives and naturally want to bring along something with which to ski fast. We've been involved in all sorts of boat racing out here over the decades most of which isn't done anywhere else.

So we are thinking of building a new boat out of CF or converting an old boat to something very different than how they were made. We might even build a new mold for a new boat.

There are other forums more Florida specific that cover what you need to know in great detail. This site isn't really that into what you are looking to do IMO. There are a couple of shops in Florida that specialize in this also.

Here are some of the problems I've learned about.
1. You'll need to completely rebuild the front of whatever you tow as nothing really comes from a factory ready for the beating you propose.
2. The reason all these guys use fishing boats is they are made to take on water and get rid of it fast. Your boat, and the ones we use, don't do that at all. So either you are gonna have to set up some sort of elaborate water exhaust system on the tow'd boat or you are gonna have to come up with some way to cover your boat that will withstand mother nature. If you are like me you are thinking you can just winch up the ski boat to close behind the mothership and it can sit there pretty in ugly water. But a quick study of the hows and whys involved in how those Florida guys have mastered towing will kill that idea. From what I can tell, the guys who have figured all this out will call your boat "too wet to be towed.
3. The towing rig is pretty complex and IMO it's complicated to use properly as well. IMO, from what I've read about doing this from the people who have cash to burn is you have to monitor the tow'd boat all the time. Plus, I'd be looking for the pad for the tow'd boat to ride on the pad like we do for the skier out here in water ski racing. So that means a winch as well. Or is it wench?
4. Your boat is an open-bow top and that is the worst of all possible scenarios because that means you can take on water from every side and corner of the boat.
5. It's only worth doing if the boat you want to take with you is something special that cannot be rented. Your boat is kind of a common rental style boat.
6. Make a list of everything you want to do with an extra watercraft, make another column on the list for exactly what you want to do with your bowrider, and then see what on that list can only be done with your bowrider and if there is anything then how important is that activity? Because you are gonna burn some real cash to set this up and to maintain it because those ropes are spendy and don't last forever. For example, if you want to water ski/tube/board/dive then is there something your bowrider can do that cannot be done with a 18' Whaler or a new Yamaha Waverunner? Both of those are relatively light and can be carried onboard.
7. Finally, you have to make an honest assessment of whether or not your Four Winns is of the quality and overbuild that can take the brutal abuse that comes from towing into seas. I mean you no disrespect, but your Four Winns isn't gonna take that abuse. Few factory boats can. You are gonna destroy that nice ski boat you have. For example, we raced a Scarab 26' Cv with a 600hp BBC and Merc outdrive for several years out here in the 90s. Was a very pretty boat IMO. Most of the time the boat ran on rivers and lakes out here so zero abuse. We did race it in the Catalina Ski Race several times plus a lot of race training in the channel for those races. We did not go out in bad weather. Still, that was bit abusive. In less than five years that new boat was literally coming apart everywhere. Top speed was barely in the 70s so it wasn't like we were running it on the ragged edge either. I'm pretty sure that boat was a glass cloth layup not a chopper gun layup. So if yours is chopper gun layup then it was last significantly less and be more difficult to maintain.

When you have a list of unique activities only your bowrider can do, then be certain they are unique. For example, we love to ski fast and all that crap so we look for heaps of power. But I had a best friend decades ago who lived on a water ski lake that limited horsepower to 35. We were both over 6' tall and we skied that crappy little tri-hull he had every day all summer and had one of the best summers of our life. Sure, we had to dock start or drop a ski and we got skilled in holding our breath until out of the water but it was simple and easy.

Here's a page for historical Boston Whaler specs and I think an 18' Whaler with a new 150 is a sweet spot for what you are after. The 18 isn't the hero the 13' is but I think the 18' is a great all-around boat that performs very well is nasty water out here. They are difficult to sink, have heaps of room as they are essentially the first open bow ski boat, and with a new EFI 150 you have real ski power and very little maintenance plus they sip gas. But even with a Whaler you will have to have some Star Trek level bow eye fabricated. Also, I think I remember those Florida guys playing with towing the boat first before deciding where to put the boweye. It was all sensitive to weight and balance too.
http://continuouswave.com/whaler/ref...fications.html

Here's a Google search for how to do it. You'll quickly find that group who know what they are doing. Just be forewarned, after several years you will spend more on creating and maintaining the setup than your boat is worth. That became clear to us. Hence our thinking of building a very fast CF race boat with minimum interior. Building ne would allow us to fabricate a bow eye that was massive and tied into plus ran alongside full length stringers.

Whatever you do post it up!

https://www.google.com/search?q=towi...hrome&ie=UTF-8
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Old 05-01-2019, 16:01   #13
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Just don't do it - on a boat that size you can certainly rig a power lifting system. Towing in exposed waters is a really bad idea. First, the hull speed on that speedboat is going to be much lower than the tow boat, so unless you are towing fast enough to get the towed boat up on a plane the loads will be high, slowing the trip and/or increasing fuel consumption. If the towed boat gets pooped it can flood (and the weight of the wave can tear open a canvas cover); once flooded the towing loads will go off the scale. In those conditions you will probably have to abandon the boat - unless you want to risk your life getting a high capacity pump aboard. And has been noted, waves can throw it forward into your transom unless towed on a very long line, is streaming a drogue (how slow do you want to go?), or has the bow secured really well to your swim step. I have known too many cruisers who have lost their dinghies to think it is ever a good idea. One lost a beautiful Fatty Knees dinghy, after I warned him - it started out as a calm day but the building seas pooped her, broke the painter, and then they realized that they couldn't recover her in those conditions. Unless it is a short trip in settled conditions the tender belongs on board. Just my opinion...

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Old 05-01-2019, 17:27   #14
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

Maybe carry a larger RIB, if size matters.

I hate fishing from my 10' RIB, so I am considering bringing a 12' Porta-Bote. It folds flat except that you have a bag of seats. But they are very tough and dependable. And a fish hook or gaff hook will not damage a Porta-Bote.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:32   #15
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Re: Choice of Tender to be towed

You need davits and You know you do ! You have a big hatterus you need big davits or a davit crane. To tow over a open ocean is asking to loose your tender when it swamps.
This is a wrong idea.
No matter how much money it saves you . it will COST you another tender. ! I know a Hatterus owner here, and i could connect you guys. !
If the weather changes half way over to the bahamas you could loose that dink. Bring it aboard some how !
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