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Old 05-03-2012, 17:45   #1
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Towing a Fishing Boat

I will be cruising the Inside Passage through Southeast Alaska this summer. I have a 44' Ocean Alexander (twin 300hp Cummins) and would like to tow my 21' aluminum fishing boat (Northriver Seahawk with 175 Suzuki). It would be great to have the fishing boat while we are up there. I am aware that I will have to be very weather conscious. Does anyone have real experience with towing a boat of this size? Any suggestions on the best way to raft the two boats together at anchor and not cause damage to either?

Thanks for the input.
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Old 06-03-2012, 13:16   #2
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Re: Towing a fishing boat

Welcome to CruisersForum, djcameron
I have no practical experience with towing this kind of boat. Personally, I avoid towing any kind of dinghy for more than a few minutes. However, before leaving for a long cruise, I would suggest making a short test, to check stability issues and find the best towing speed.

Regarding rafting at anchor, I feel that 1 bow line, 1 stern line, 2 springs and a good provision of fenders should be adequate. You will have to be ready to cast off if the conditions deteriorate.

Alain
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Old 06-03-2012, 14:10   #3
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Re: Towing a fishing boat

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, djcameron.

I used to tow a 13 Ft Whaler (behind a 29' sailboat), on occasion. Towing was very "variable", and not always successful.
When anchored, I usually tied to the stern, with a longish tether (20' - 30'?), and (sometimes) a small bucket off the whaler’s stern; which worked well.
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Old 06-03-2012, 14:35   #4
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Re: Towing a fishing boat

One thing to think about is to have the proper lights for towing at night, both for your vessel and the fishing boat being towed since it is fairly large at 21'; probably would be helpful to have the day shapes as well. At any rate check out the Colregs as well as Canadian regulations as the differ in some respects.
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:26   #5
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Welcome aboard djcameron
I have seen boats your size and larger towing fishing boats behind them up here in the PNW, most of them seem to have no problems but every once in awhile you will here the coast guard advising boaters to be on the look out for a lost dingy that was under tow.
TM
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:46   #6
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

We have seen a twin engine, 30+' fishing boat in tow at planing speeds behind yachts in the ocean down here. It can certainly be done. You will need to adjust your tow rope length to match the speed you are traveling, you want to have the boat in tow riding on the back side of one of your following wakes. If it is on the front side, it can surf which will create a jerking on the tow line every time the tow line comes tight. Make sure to tow with the engine tilted up to avoid snagging on crab trap bouys and the such (don't ask how I know about this one...)

Sounds like a great trip!
--Eric
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:04   #7
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Friends of mine have a 51 foot power boat and tow a boat in the 20-25 ft range all the time. They use a very long painter... 100 ft? works very well they claim. I dont know about all those rapids and whirlpools though. The rafting damage is a real problem. Fine until a big wake pops the fenders out and the aluminum makes a nice scrape on the mother ship.... You need a big inflatable!
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Old 07-03-2012, 09:38   #8
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Friends of mine have a 51 foot power boat and tow a boat in the 20-25 ft range all the time. They use a very long painter... 100 ft? works very well they claim. I dont know about all those rapids and whirlpools though. The rafting damage is a real problem. Fine until a big wake pops the fenders out and the aluminum makes a nice scrape on the mother ship.... You need a big inflatable!
Sorry but i would never tow a boat on 100ft painter. When was a pro fisherman i towed boats on a regular basis. As the post prior to the quoted said, sit them on a following wake. A boat on a 100ft painter will wander, taking direction from wave interaction with its bow. Typicaly this could be in the range of about 15 to 30 degrees under power and more as a lead boat reduces its speed. Going under bridges or operating in close proximity to other boats may be interesting under these conditions. This problem increases as the load in the towed boat is moved forward, so keep more weight aft than you would if operating that boat under its own power.

I used to lash a car innertube as a snubber into a length of the painter to help absorbe the shocks. This not only reduces the change of the second boat breaking free but also makes it easier on the steering of the primary boat.

Experiences and opinions will differ.

Rafting, if you are going to raft the towed boat along side my recomendation is fenders off both boats with a "plank" located between the boats
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:10   #9
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Yeah, I wondered too. I cant remember if it's 100 ft or 150 but it's real long, I think it is adjusted to the proper wake. They've towed all the way to North BC too. Tows straight as an arrow, no wander etc. Since I first learned this I've kept my eyes open and others with big boats do it to.
Anyway... for the OP, if you want more info I can get the details from them. PM me.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:52   #10
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Im with Justwaiting on this one ! towed plenty of Purse net boats at 25 / 30 ft with heavy engines behind a number of different lenght boats !! Snub em up CLOSE on a good bumper of tubes or tires, or a real line bumper if ya have one and tow it anywhere at most any speed ! as far as currents are concerned, ya need to watch the tides running the inside passage anyway !! so if your under powerd watch closer !! LOL it works this way really well !! Just my 2 cents
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Old 07-03-2012, 17:55   #11
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
You will need to adjust your tow rope length to match the speed you are traveling, you want to have the boat in tow riding on the back side of one of your following wakes. If it is on the front side, it can surf which will create a jerking on the tow line every time the tow line comes tight. Make sure to tow with the engine tilted up
I was going to suggest the exact opposite.
When I towed (under sail) I experienced what you say with motor up, surf and jerk.
With motor down, tilt lock off it created enough drag for it not to surf.
But it did not have much load on the tow line either, so speed increased.

Quote:
to avoid snagging on crab trap bouys and the such (don't ask how I know about this one...)
If you havent picked these up with the props/boards/keel of the main boat first.
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Old 07-03-2012, 18:01   #12
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

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Old 07-03-2012, 18:50   #13
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Well however you tow it use a bridle, not a single bow hook up ! just a thought
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Old 07-03-2012, 18:54   #14
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

To avoid excessive chafing, every other day the Seahawk should tow the Ocean Alexander.

Fair is fair.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:24   #15
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Re: Towing a Fishing Boat

Thanks all for the input. I went to a local Coast Guard detachment. They tow all time. He indicated that when they tow in the open water they but the towed boat back +- 300'. The long lead reduces stress, since the tow rope never clears the water at this distance. In the bays he recommended 30' to 60' depending upon conditions and traffic. They also supported adjusting the line to ride on the back side of the stern wave. I haven't figured out how to easily adjust the line once we are under way and there is pressure on it.

I hope to get the two boats together in a couple of weeks and test a few ideas. I will post how it goes. If anyone is interested, they can PM me.
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