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Old 24-07-2011, 09:34   #16
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Re: Gone Dinghy

Tender/dingy towing might be as contentious as the anchor/anchoring threads, but here goes:

Sure seems to be a lot of unwarranted paranoia about towing a decent sized fiberglass tender (but I can understand if towing the typical flimsy-boat). Never towed from a sailboat, so I can't speak to that, but towing from your trawler should be a non-issue.

Tow it correctly and you will have no problem. I tow my 17' Whaler behind my 42' lobster boat every time I go to the Bahamas, and it has NEVER been a problem, even when the weather went slightly downhill. Just plan your weather window.

Dingy/tender cut-offs and losses while towing usually occur due to towline or hardware failure, exacerbated by failing to maintain a good watch.

Here is a tow rig suggestion based on what has worked for me:

Check the towing eye, and add a second one if needed. Attach a 15' towing pendant with eyes on each end (prob 5/8 twisted nylon) using a quality shackle. You can add a short safety line to the pendant from the second towing eye (or other attachment point) as a back-up in case of hardware failure, but I rely on a single point hookup on solid hardware.

The towline should be made of 100 to 200 feet a high quality floating line like 3/4" Samson Ultra Blue and is attached to the pendant with a quality shackle, and to a bridle on your boat in a similar manner. The bridle (made of same Samson Ultra Blue) is attached to the two stern cleats or other well mounted hardware and consists of two legs somewhere around 12' to 18'. Make sure the shackles are safety wired.

You can tow the tender up short using the pendant when in close quarters, and extend anywhere from 100' to 200' when in open waters. You will need to experiment with the distance towed astern in order to find the sweet spot in your wake in which the tender will ride smoothly.

Use chafing gear where needed and keep an eye on the lines. I tow with the engine up all the way, you may need to see if this works for you, but there is no reason it shouldn't.

Go here to see how some rigs are made and sold for bigger tenders (no affiliation): Towingeyes

That 14' McKee Craft will make your trip really enjoyable, and you will wonder why more don't do the same. Its not rocket science and its not dangerous when done correctly, contrary to many opinions.

Have fun!

50' converted workboat/trawler
42' Bruno and Stillman workboat
17' Boston Whaler Montauk
"only those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly'
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Old 24-07-2011, 09:55   #17
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Re: Gone Dinghy

Thanks Dave I Think when we are ready we r just gonna go for it per your recommendations. what size engine is on your whaler?

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Old 24-07-2011, 12:07   #18
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Re: Gone Dinghy

At least a Boston Whaler is self bailing and unsinkable. At least the older models were..
Formerly Santana
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Old 24-07-2011, 12:22   #19
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Re: Gone Dinghy

I remember reading an article on the "Nordavn Dreamer's" group about a guy trying to retrieve his $10,000. tender after it broke loose from its tow. He very nearly lost the tender and his life. I think he said he would never tow it again after that episode.
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Old 24-07-2011, 12:31   #20
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Re: Gone Dinghy

Dumb question, maybe... but why not cover the thing while towing? Wouldn't that keep it from swamping?
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Old 24-07-2011, 14:13   #21
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Re: Gone Dinghy

If I were travelling more than 5 miles offshore even in calm conditions I would be inclined to ship the skiff either on top of the trawler, on davits or on the foredeck. Things go wrong at the worst time and under the worst conditions. Trying to right or retrieve a skiff that has gone awry offshore is hazardous to your health and your mother vessel.
My experience is years of towing log booms, barges, converted Fairmiles (120 ft logging float camps), beachcombing and other vessels in distress. Just my opinion... Capt Phil
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Old 24-07-2011, 14:23   #22
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Re: Gone Dinghy

I don't know how far you're going but lots of trawlers tow 12 to 15 ft hard dinks, mostly Boston Whalers. The secret is a good strong point to attach the towline and a good substantial line.

The mega yachts tow 30 ft center console fishing boats all the time on a long, long line. Also Bahamian fishermen commonly tow half a dozen dinks behind them on the way to the fishing grounds and home again.

I don't like towing a dink because you have to keep an eye on them all the time but if you want to, go ahead. It's done all the time.
Rick I
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Old 24-07-2011, 14:48   #23
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Re: Gone dingy

Originally Posted by mad dawg View Post
How far back is "way back there"?
Just behind the second hump in your wake... I've towed a 13 Whaler THOUSANDS of miles behind a 28 Bertram and a comm'l tug. I found it able to take anything either of the big boats could. Pull the plug and go for it!

Before the flames start.... this is real-world experience, towing behind a POWER boat, with an over-engineered bridle rigged painter. I once even towed a 19' hard bottom Nautica.... ON PLANE behind the 28 Bertram from Sarasota to Key West. I have found that having the motor down and in neutral towed the best.

Naturally, weather can make the towing difficult... but IMHO if it is too rough to tow the dink, it's too rough....PERIOD; stay in port (But I'm an admitted fair weather sailor... YMMV)
Any fool with a big enough checkbook can BUY a boat; it takes a SPECIAL type of fool to build his own! -Capngeo
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Old 11-08-2011, 17:38   #24
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On the Mississippi river I've towed my 17' Logic Marine with 50 merc. & I've rafted it along side while going thru locks. Just have to pay attention, can't forget it's there.
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Old 11-08-2011, 18:00   #25
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Re: Gone dingy

Originally Posted by mad dawg View Post
How far back is "way back there"?
100 feet

"When the bow be in the trees we'll be running out of seas"
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Old 16-09-2011, 16:11   #26
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Re: Gone Dinghy

Towing is not too bad, I've done a 18' Whaler behind a 36ft trawler, slowly up and down the BC coast, through all the big tidal areas, had to have the dive boat with me I was on holidays

My one thing to note is have the hatchet ready and use it if you need to should the s*$t hit the fan, be ready to cut it away, which means you have to have a watch on it all the time, kinda like a water-skier, boat handler looking forward tender watcher looking back.
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Old 16-09-2011, 16:22   #27
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Re: Gone Dinghy

Where's my dinghy?

Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
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Old 16-09-2011, 16:37   #28
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Re: Gone dingy

Originally Posted by mad dawg View Post
How far back is "way back there"?
The best "way back there" is a full wave length. When you're in the trough, your dinghy should be in the following trough,- or crest to crest, etc.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 16-09-2011, 17:39   #29
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Re: Gone Dinghy

we towed our 12' fiberglass dinghy everywhere... no issues except when in reverse.

we have towed our 17' mckee craft (boston whaler clone, unsinkable, etc...)...we had an issue only once...biggest issue is when in large seas is will surf down the waves and get slack in the line then violently snap it tight, breaking things....

we had gone to cape lookout for a weekend trip (maiden voyage on the new to us boat) and took the mckee as we wanted a tender to go the long trip to harkers island if needed.

on the way there we motored as there was no wind... well that change.. 35+ knots while there. we were returning in 8' seas with waves coming broadside.. the mckee came loose about 1 mile offshore.

well, I asked the wife to take the tiller and just make circles... it was her first time at the helm of anything larger than out 21' motorboat, and first time at the tiller.

i came about and came upon the mckee at what i thought was a reasonable distance and dove in... BIG MISTAKE... i quickly realized that i was a fat old out of shape fool... and the waves and water were pushing the boat faster than i was swimming. Well i gave it everything i had and barely reached the boat..

After i caught my breath i climbed aboard, started the boat an went to the sailboat.. i caught the line we were still dragging and re tied the mckee...

as i came up to the sailboat i realized that we were both bobbing so bad there was no way i could get back aboard..

My wife had to run the sailboat about 10 miles in the 8 foot seas as i motored beside her... she was NOT happy........
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Old 16-09-2011, 20:07   #30
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Re: Gone Dinghy

as i came up to the sailboat i realized that we were both bobbing so bad there was no way i could get back aboard..

My wife had to run the sailboat about 10 miles in the 8 foot seas as i motored beside her... she was NOT happy..

At least you had some piece and quiet before the storm. Bet you heard about that one for hours after you got to port

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