OK, here’s what happened.
The waves were on the port quarter when we got things headed toward the harbor, so I wanted the dinghy
on the starboard hip. There was a wind vane
on the stern, but it was way too rough to try to push without lines until we got into the harbor. Unfortunately, there was also a sharp exhaust
pipe sticking out about where I wanted to put the dinghy
The first try was putting the dinghy forward of the exhaust
, using the dinghy painter as a spring, tied to a stern cleat on the sailboat. That didn’t work for two reasons. First, the midship position put too much turning torque on the sailboat, stalling its rudder
. Secondly, the cleat was too high, which pulled up the bow of the dinghy and threatened to flip it when I applied power.
Second try was to rig a bridle
from the dinghy lifting sling and tow from forward. That definitely didn’t work, even shortening up the bridle to where the ring was right behind the outboard
. The steering
response under load was backwards at times, forward at times, and basically uncontrollable. Since I didn’t have the means to rig a towing post forward of the outboard
, I went with Plan C.
The successful rig was behind the exhaust pipe, with a line from the inside bow (sling attachment point) of the dinghy, around the sailboat transom and tied to the lower stern ladder attachment. The lower position of the attachment to the sailboat eliminated the tendency to pull the dinghy bow up, and the inside attachment to the dinghy minimized chafe on the tubes. We were able to make about 3 knots (the sailboat bottom was quite fouled), and while the dinghy slid up and down a bit, it worked out pretty well. No bow and stern lines (no place to tie them to the dink, and no need).
We used the same arrangement inside until the sailboat set an anchor
, then put the dinghy in reverse to pull the sailboat stern into the quay. I have towed with the dinghy in reverse before, as it gives you good directional control, but it won’t work for open water
, as the waves slop over the dinghy transom, and I’m not sure how well the outboard cooling
system and prop work in continuous hard reverse.