I've posted this several times before, but here goes again:
We have towed inflatables, both RIB
and regular, for way too many miles. Not important why, and of course it is not a particularly good idea, but you can improve your odds of success with some forethought and some simple gear
. For long term success, you must assume that the wind and sea will at some time build up unexpectedly, f/c be damned!
First, if it is a small dink, it may become airborne all too easily. When that happens, it may land inverted, so it is mandatory to remove the motor
, oars, any loose seats and so on.
Second, it should be self bailing, or failing that, have a tight cover to prevent filling with water. If it fills, loss is very likely to follow.
Finally, the biggest hazard is when sailing downwind, the dinghy will surf sooner and faster than the towing boat. This will cause the painter to go slack, and often the dinghy then goes sideways or even 180 degrees off course, followed by the slack coming out with a big jerk. This can break painters or flip the dink... not good! There is also the issue of the dink ramming the towboat... not good for either one, especially if there is an outboard rudder
. The answer is to tow a small drogue
behind the dinghy. We built a short series drogue
, one with only two cones (of the standard Jordan size) on an old dock
line. A metre of 3/8 chain on the end keeps it in the water, and the drag keeps the dinghy tracking straight and at the end of the painter -- a much more stable condition.
Even with these precautions, we had some very anxious moments when the conditions degenerated unexpectedly. Never lost
the dink at sea in a lot of miles, but I still can not really recommend the practice!