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Old 19-08-2016, 19:13   #1
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Cruiser towing tube from cleats

I have a 310 Chaparral Sig. I know cruisers are not build to tow skiers but can I tow a tube attached to the cleats on the stern ? Or it is a bad idea to be towing anything from cleats ?
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Old 19-08-2016, 19:25   #2
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

Most likely should not be a problem. Just double check that the backing is not some flimsy thin washers or worse yet cleats which are screwed in but rather bolted with beefy aluminum or ss plates. If flimsy washers are present see if you can install the backing plates to take on the load.
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Old 19-08-2016, 19:31   #3
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

This is just a guess. I have towed skiers which put a lot of force on the boat and the 'ski eye' that is specifically built to tow a skiier.

I have also towed tubers. Tubing puts much less stress on the boat and the 'ski eye'.

Now tying the tow rope to a cleat...humm. I know it is not a good idea but I guess the question is how bad can it be.

I would say ok for a little child but for a 250 lb. guy not ok.

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Old 19-08-2016, 19:42   #4
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

If you've already towed, nothing broke and there are no signs of stress or pulling thru, go for it, but keep an eye on the cleat.
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Old 19-08-2016, 20:16   #5
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

I have a Chaparral 190 and the cleats are pretty well installed and should tow a tuber just fine. Haven't tried it because mine came with a tow rope attachment on the transom.

Just in case, look under the deck at the underside of the cleat and see how it's attached. If it has nuts, bolts and big washers or a backing plate of some kind then you should be OK. If the cleat is screwed into the fiberglass with wood screws then don't do it.
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Old 20-08-2016, 02:59   #6
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

So you expect those cleats to hold when a boat weighing thousands of pounds is bouncing around in a windy marina...a tube with a 250lb guy is not going to be an issue.

If it is, you needed to replace those cleats for docking purposes!!!
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Old 20-08-2016, 09:23   #7
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

It the drag of towing a tube pulls a cleat loose, buy a different boat. Doubt it will be a problem.
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Old 20-08-2016, 09:58   #8
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

I was a member of the ABYC Tech Board for six years, but some of my information may be dated or inaccurate. I remember that when standard H-40 was updated, there was lots of concern about what the end use of cleats (and other line securing devices) might be. Would mooring cleats be used for horizontal loads, or would they be used for lifting? What direction would the pull come from (important when the mounting surface is long and slender, for example). Would bow eyes be used for trailering, or mooring? What if someone were to put a 3/4" line on a cleat intended for 3/8" line?

If your boat is built to ABYC standards, I would have great confidence that the cleats are fine for mooring purposes, which would make towing a tube a walk in the park.

You can find an old version of H-40 here.

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Old 20-08-2016, 16:00   #9
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

In addition to the structural issue of strength in the cleat (and attachment), there is the issue of steering.
In a boat, we basically move the stern around the bow (well, actually there is the pivot point sort-of midships). Move the rudder and the wash over it moves the stern.
Hang something off one quarter, or even direct of the transom and you completely change the behaviour.
This is why ski poles tend to be midships
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Old 21-08-2016, 04:34   #10
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Re: Cruiser towing tube from cleats

Oh...one thing that was not mentioned. How are you going to tow the tube? Straight or are you going to start to swing the tube side to side trying to throw the tuber off?

It is one thing to tow straight. Another thing to swing the tube side to side. Swinging the tuber side to side will put a lot more stress on the cleat. I towed tubers and sometimes the tube catches a wake making the engine work harder.

Towing a little girl vs a teenage boy will be night and day on a tube.

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