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Old 05-05-2016, 20:13   #1
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Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Hello,
I am buying an older 26 ft swing keel sailboat, and would like to be able to get to shore after anchoring or mooring somewhere away from my home port, but I don't have an inflatable tender. I was wondering if it is feasible to use a regular fiberglass rowboat as a tow behind tender or if that would be crazy (I already have one).

I was thinking that I could attach some outside flotation (small sponsons) to the boat which would reduce likelihood of tipping, and keep water from splashing in, but it might not be enough to keep the boat afloat if it did capsize (gotta have room for the oars to row!). I was even wondering about putting two rows of sponsons on This is just one possibility

Any one have experience with towing a fiberglass dinghy?
I have never traveled anywhere before such that I needed to bring a tender along.

Thanks
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Old 05-05-2016, 20:28   #2
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Not that small of a boat...

We had to tow a 16b ft whaleboat behind a retired 103 ft WWII mine tender in Sea Explorers.

It was possible only in good weather with pretty smooth water for SF Bay. And we had to go slow or it flipped. All of the sailboats were passing us....

We were towing the whaleboat for use in whaleboat races. Every Sea Explore group either towed or carried their whaleboat to the event lashed to their ship's deck.

Our ship's boat davits were out of commission so we couldn't get the thing up to be carried the way it should have been.

I don't recommend towing your tender other than short distances in smooth conditions.

Cheap inflatables until you can get a better quality one... that can accept a small outboard.
Should be one that will serve for a while as you read up on which you really want.

http://www.sevylor.com/Boats-C40.aspx
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Old 05-05-2016, 21:09   #3
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

I towed my 10' dyer dhow for a season. In 2-3 foot seas she remained dry, anything more than that was a pain. I really hate the look of an inflatable so I bumped down to a 8' lightweight tender I can hoist onto the foredeck when passage making and to deter dinghy thieves. Chesapeake light craft makes a small 2piece nesting dinghy kit to consider.


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Old 05-05-2016, 21:47   #4
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Personally I wouldn't tow anything that I could not throw/stow on deck if I had to. In calm weather its ok, but then if it gets rough it is all the more difficult to pull it on board. Do you have any budget for an inflatable? After trying many different types I have settled on a pretty tough inflatable kayak. It holds a lot of stuff and weight and it is easy to paddle into a wind. Stays pretty dry too. Drop stitch floor is pretty rigid, you can stand up on it. Rolls up into a manageable size. Downside is its about $1000. This one is from Sea Eagle, there are others. My 10 year-old daughter loves it!
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Old 06-05-2016, 05:34   #5
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Unfortunately, I have two dogs that will need the ride to shore as well, so a kayak won't work. Not sounding good for my idea either though.

Steve
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:24   #6
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pirate Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

I towed a GRP pram dinghy behind my 21ft Ballerina from Poole to Cherbourg and back one summer.. but it was fair weather.
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:14   #7
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

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Originally Posted by Snowdog2 View Post
Unfortunately, I have two dogs that will need the ride to shore as well, so a kayak won't work. Not sounding good for my idea either though.

Steve
Well my brother has two Newfoundlands and I am pretty sure I could fit them both in my kayak, and still paddle, as long as they lie down. It is rated to hold 850 lbs. I have the "Expedition" size. Good luck in the search!
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:25   #8
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Issue with dogs and inflatables is toenails. Line the inflatable with a good canvas tarp.
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:41   #9
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

A yoga mat works really well to protect the bottom of the boat. It doesn't slide around at all. I have used a towel on the tube while they step in.

But currently I don't have one.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:14   #10
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Here is a novel idea-no personal experience.

Davron Marine Products (Dinghy-Tow)
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:20   #11
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Quote:
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I towed a GRP pram dinghy behind my 21ft Ballerina from Poole to Cherbourg and back one summer.. but it was fair weather.
There's only so much you can do with a lightly loaded tender. Firstlyl, take it as a given that an errant wave will flip it, so have NOTHING (like oars or bailers, unless tied in) in it. Secondly, have it on a bridle as well as a painter. If you can tie even 1/4" lines to little cleats partway aft on the tender led to the boat's sternquarters, you'll keep it from wandering. Lastly, rig a topping lift so if the weather goes pear-shaped, you can haul it aboard quickly and lash it to the foredeck.

The only other alternative is a very short line on the stern so that the tender's end is the only thing in the water, but I would still want the means to quickly bring it aboard.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:21   #12
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Sponsons will help, but will also make it more difficult to invert back to normal should the boat turtle. Sponsons are a good idea for boarding, however.
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:23   #13
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Try it and see. Does your dinghy have built in flotation chambers? Many do. Mine does. If there are enclosed spaces molded into the interior (transom seat, bow platform, middle seat) they may be filled with foam.
Pick your day, rig a floating tow line (mandatory!), insure the bow eye is sturdy enough and see what it does. Experiment with set back distances and speeds and sea conditions. Is it a good idea offshore in 6 ft seas? Nope. But inshore? At the speeds your 26 footer is likely to do? Should work ok.
A 26 footer definitely poses restrictions when it comes to dinghy selection. Your best long term option may be to keep an eye out for a used 8 foot roll up inflatable and a 12 volt high pressure air pump to inflate it. It will likely come with a foot pump. It's good exercise, but kind of a pain. especially if you (or your dog) is in a hurry...
The roll up can easily be lashed on the fore deck or cabin top. And can be stored inside long term. In the mean time, take what you have and make it work!
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:36   #14
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pirate Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
There's only so much you can do with a lightly loaded tender. Firstlyl, take it as a given that an errant wave will flip it, so have NOTHING (like oars or bailers, unless tied in) in it. Secondly, have it on a bridle as well as a painter. If you can tie even 1/4" lines to little cleats partway aft on the tender led to the boat's sternquarters, you'll keep it from wandering. Lastly, rig a topping lift so if the weather goes pear-shaped, you can haul it aboard quickly and lash it to the foredeck.

The only other alternative is a very short line on the stern so that the tender's end is the only thing in the water, but I would still want the means to quickly bring it aboard.
Not much room for an 8ft hard pram on a 21ft boat.. if the weather had kicked up it would have sunk (no flotation) and been abandoned.. as a matter of fact it sank in Cherbourg marina when my 15stone 'mud friend' stepped into it kinda heavy after a night on the tiles.. he was not amused.. I laughed my tits off...
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:47   #15
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Re: Can an 8' fiberglass rowboat/dinghy be used as a tow behind Tender?

You can tow it for local use, but be weather watchful. It can be a big problem in rough weather. It will slow your boat down quite a bit in lighter weather. a folding Port A Bote would be great on your size boat.
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