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Old 30-10-2017, 17:45   #1
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WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

The "dingy tow line" manufactured by New England Ropes is a bad choice for towing your dingy.

I bought 30' of this stuff in Maine this spring:
7/16" (11mm) Tow Line Yellow with Blue Fleck

High visibility floating line perfect for towing your dinghy.

MANUFACTURER: New England Ropes
MFR PART #: 2383-14-00001

I paid a local rigger $105 to splice in a stainless steel eye.

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Guess what? The very first time I used it in an anchorage, the damned stuff was sucked into my propeller where it fouled badly. Had to get a diver to clear it.

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A boat anchored nearby later told me they had the same stuff on their dingy and had also found that it didn't float as it should, and was a danger to be sucked into their prop.

New England Ropes should not be selling this stuff as good for a dingy tow line. It most certainly isn't.

BEWARE!

I went back to the 3-strand yellow poly line I'd used for many years without problem.

Bill
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Old 30-10-2017, 18:22   #2
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

Interesting, I've used that rope for years without a problem. But I've never actually watched how it behaved backing down. Perhaps I have a different stern shape or just blind luck.

I noticed that Samson also has a floating tow rope that has both a polypropylene cover and core while the NER has a poly core and nylon cover. Presumably the Samson floats better.

I was told to stay away from polypropylene because it breaks down in UV. Great for things like water ski tow lines but not a dock line. Do you find the three strand polypropylene lasts?

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Old 30-10-2017, 18:43   #3
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

I just keep the painter short till under way.

Floating line gets under transom then prop sucks it in. Proper physics I believe.
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Old 30-10-2017, 19:51   #4
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

Yes, it's certainly good practice to keep the dingy pulled up short when maneuvering at anchor or mooring. I try to do that, but sometimes when singlehanding I don't get it done properly, leaving opportunity for mishap.

Still and all, in many years of sailing and singlehanding I've never sucked a dingy towline into the prop before. There's definitely something different about this stuff, and the boat which confirmed my experience is a very experienced guy as well.

So, back to the yellow poly stuff. Yes, it's susceptible to UV breakdown, but in my experience it lasts quite a few years. And, it's cheap to replace. I'd never use it for docklines....only for towlines.

Bill
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Old 30-10-2017, 19:54   #5
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

Hmmm,,,,, Stainless steel eye (thimble) - looks like it was in the end that got chewed up in the water!

It's nylon over propylene so S.G. probably around .95(?)

It weights 0.05 lbs ( 8 oz) per foot. So buoyancy is about 0.04 oz per foot.

Stainless steel thimble about 1 oz in weight.

Guess how far that eye will drag the end of the tow line below the surface!
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Old 30-10-2017, 20:07   #6
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

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Originally Posted by StuM View Post
Hmmm,,,,, Stainless steel eye (thimble) - looks like it was in the end that got chewed up in the water!

It's nylon over propylene so S.G. probably around .95(?)

It weights 0.05 lbs ( 8 oz) per foot. So buoyancy is about 0.04 oz per foot.

Stainless steel thimble about 1 oz in weight.

Guess how far that eye will drag the end of the tow line below the surface!
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Old 30-10-2017, 20:29   #7
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

No, Stu. The s/s thimble was attached to the s/s towing eye on the bow of the dingy, way above the waterline. It played no part in the line chewing.

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Old 31-10-2017, 08:02   #8
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

hmmm $105 to splice a rope...... maybe i should practice my splicing. i need a new source of income....

What would you pay someone to service a winch?
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Old 31-10-2017, 08:10   #9
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

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hmmm $105 to splice a rope...... maybe i should practice my splicing. i need a new source of income....

What would you pay someone to service a winch?
Yep, I found it kind of pricey, too. But, I'd already spent hours -- yes, hours -- trying to find someone to splice it for me, and I can't do double-braid splices.

I've done 3-strand splicing for decades, and did so with the new/replacement poly tow line.

Winch servicing? I do my own, but if you don't know how or are afraid you may drop a critical part overboard it would be well worth it to pay whatever the going rate is.

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Old 31-10-2017, 08:21   #10
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

I normally pull and tie the RIB alongside when anchoring or maneuvering where tight turns or backing down are expected. With a short painter neither the dink nor the line can cause trouble.

One time, though, we left it there and went to sleep....and we're boarded by some juvenile delinquent types who approached in the dark from the opposite side. Seeing no dinghy they apparently thought us to be ashore and the open hatches too easy pickings....until my light-sleeping Admiral scared the bejeezus out of them with her screams of outrage as she chased them overboard!
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Old 31-10-2017, 08:21   #11
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

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Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
I just keep the painter short till under way.

Floating line gets under transom then prop sucks it in. Proper physics I believe.
That is the correct answer.

I use the very same line on both my sailboat and my lobster boat. I have to keep the line short on the lobster boat or this is exactly what happens.

It really surprised me at first when it happened, but as you say, proper physics.

It is still a much better line than regular poly and will not part when you need it most!
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Old 31-10-2017, 08:26   #12
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

floating line?? home depot sells it. may as well buy it from them as it lasts hardly any time, not even one season.
i have always snugged dink tight when i am backing down with it behind boat, or i will tow alongside for the exercise of backing down for whatever reason. i donot tow my dinghy on passages as that is giving it away. we have 1-2 meter swells even when pacific is calm. towing could possibly work in flatter water for a while. the load on a tow line is impressive, and tugs and jerks cause breakage of line and towed item as well as boat towing it all.
i also use 3 strand for stretch
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Old 31-10-2017, 08:43   #13
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
are afraid you may drop a critical part overboard it would be well worth it to pay whatever the going rate is.

Bill


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Old 31-10-2017, 08:58   #14
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

I have been using the yellow stuff for at least 4 years in Floridac with no problem except for the bit I tied through the dinghy eye bolt. Annual inspection showed it chaffing so I reversed it. I do shorten for maneuvering/docking.
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Old 31-10-2017, 09:05   #15
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Re: WARNING - DINGY TOW LINE

I've noticed that floating line, because it is lighter with less inertia, is more susceptible to getting pulled down with current flow. If you backed down hard on your anchor (which is what I assume happened as you said "first time you used it in an anchorage") it's not surprising that it got sucked down with all that water flow.

"Floating line" does not mean "never sinks". It means that in mostly undisturbed conditions it will stay on the surface.
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