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Old 20-08-2009, 11:21   #1
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Painter Length for Dinghy

Painter length for dingy
Hi Every one I just got back from sailing around Vancouver Island. First experience with large swells. About 12 days around because of fog and what not I found myself
surfing 10 foot swells with confused sees. I would normally have the dingy on board but in this case not and I wondered what is the best length of tag line between dingy and ship.
I tried about 30 feet and what would happen is the dingy would surf down a wave stop and then the ship would whip lash the tender and the poor dingy went flying with a jerk side ways etc. I found in the end I pulled the dingy close to swim ladder tied some rags around rope and hoped for the best I had decided it was too dangerous to try and bring on board (RIB dingy)
So if I lost then good by. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 20-08-2009, 11:27   #2
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My rule is that the painter at the bow should not be able to reach the propeller if it falls in the water.

For a towing line, there is no hard and fast rule. Experiment with what works. Sometimes putting the engine down to increase the resistance and to act as a skeg helps.
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Old 20-08-2009, 11:47   #3
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Davit's. People talk about davit's being an issue, and maybe they are in "the Perfect Storm", But once I acquired a boat with them and used them, I havent had a boat without them since. I had the same experience as you in the Sea of Cortez on a quick 20 mile location change. Ended up in 15 foot seas and barely saved the dingy. Basically, "dont tow the dingy". It sounds like you did the right thing by bringing it up tight to the stern. Davits allow you to: 1) Leave a problem anchorage immediately. (try that at 3 am with the dingy hoisted along the spreaders and the wind blowing 35) 2)Stop on your way from point A to point B for a quick exploration of a non-overnight anchorage. (how many times have you decided not to stop at an interesting sounding exposed anchorage due to all the work of getting the dingy off the foredeck and rigged?) 3) sail safely from one anchorage to another. Let's face it, if you are caught in the "Perfect Storm", cutting your dingy free from the davits will be the least of your worries.... It is my humble opinion that not having davits is a safety concern far more than having them...
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Old 20-08-2009, 13:57   #4
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Some people rig a small drag on the dinghy to help stop it from surfing. I almost never tow my dinghy so I can't speak from personal experience. I would imagine one or two drogue cones would do the trick.

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Old 20-08-2009, 14:07   #5
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If you are towing, you want to "trim" the dink so it is riding DOWN the face of a wave. The distance and size of the wave will change and so you need to adjust the tow line length. A bridle will diminish the yawing.
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Old 20-08-2009, 14:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef View Post
If you are towing, you want to "trim" the dink so it is riding DOWN the face of a wave. The distance and size of the wave will change and so you need to adjust the tow line length. A bridle will diminish the yawing.
I recommend UP the face, Excactly OPPOSITE of defjef.

I keep the dinghy riding on the back side, or uphill part of the wake of my sailboat, or, in rougher conditions, on the back (uphill) part of the second sea swell/wave back from the sailboat. This will prevent the dinghy from surfing down a wave, and crashing into your sailboat stern.

I also like to rig a pair of bridles with two lines attached to the sailboat (and another, my permanent "painter", at the dinghy) and connected to the long single line so that the dinghy follows directly behind the boat and not off to one side. No matter where you attach your dinghy towline to the boat, make sure it can be quickly thrown off in an emergency and make sure the tow line is at least 100 feet long so you can adjust it for varying conditions. In busy harbors or while docking, you may want to draw the dinghy up to within a few feet of your stern, or actually tied to the stern rail (bow elevated).

I wouldn't argue with the advice to never tow the dinghy, more than a "few" miles; but like many others living on a very small boat, I was forced to ignor that good advice.

Then, there's the "Dinghy-Tow"
(I've never used the device - just the concept)
Davron Marine Products (Dinghy-Tow)
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Old 20-08-2009, 15:16   #7
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The painter length should be short enough not to get caught in the dinghy motor. The tow line length should be long enough to adjust it to ride up the second wake wave back.
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Old 20-08-2009, 15:20   #8
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On large waves, the dingy will surf faster than the mothership. It will either plow into the stern or come alongside the mothership and then snub up tight on the painter causing the bow of the dingy to dip into the water, go slack, and then snub up tight with a terrible jerk as the mothership passes..
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Old 20-08-2009, 15:36   #9
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I use the word trim because the tow CAN and does slow the boat and if you trim it correctly it slows it less. I have literally observed this in moderate conditions with a speedo which reads in hundredths of a knot.

The dink riding up the back of a wave is definitely causing more drag. If you can trim it to ride on top of the wave that may work too.

I have not seen a wave steep enough when towing for the dink to ride down into the stern.

I stand by my experience towing a 10' RIB in winds up to 20knots.
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Old 20-08-2009, 17:24   #10
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Thanks everyone
I am a bit confused as I read ride the front of the wave ride the back of the wave??? The swells are always moving and if on the back of one wave when it passes the next wave will lift and then the dingy will surf down. I was motor sailing in this instance and the there never seemed to be concern of dingy hitting mother ship as the ship was also surfing away but the dingy stopped in the through but the ship kept on going and then the action happened when the stopped dingy was jerked. I will try a bridle if there is a next time
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Old 20-08-2009, 18:00   #11
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Everyone is going to have an opinion and here is mine :-). 1) If you are going to tow a skiff in a following sea throw a drogue out with a float on it. (If your tow line parts you will have something to snag when retrieving your skiff). 2) Use a floating (Ployprop) towline - it decreases the chance you will get the line in the wheel when you forget the skiff is back there 3) Put some sort of shock absorber in the towline (we use a car tire when we tow herring skiffs up and down the coast - They provide a bit of 'spring' and help prevent the skiff from passing the towboat. (I would experiment with a trailer tire for a dink) 4) The heavier the sea the more line you are going to need to let out : the last thing you want is getting a hole punched in your stern by your own skiff, it is hard to explain how it "really was not your fault".
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Old 20-08-2009, 18:16   #12
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I am referring the the wave your BOAT creates. It is moving at the same speed. If you are going hull speed your stern is riding the crest of the wave, the trough is midships and there is a similar wave astern about a boat length. When you are going slower than hull speed the wave is shorter than the LWL. It is the wave crest behind the boat that you want the boat on the down hill side or just forward of the crest.

For follwoing seas it may be hard to trim to any distance since the wave pattern is not consistant. At times your dink will surf down a wave and at others it is dragged up the back of a wave acting like a break.
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Old 20-08-2009, 19:23   #13
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If at all, then a small drougue from the dinghy's stern stabilizes and smooths her ride. But if there is time to deploy the device then there is probably time to just lift it onboard and avoid the whole mess.

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