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Old 03-10-2019, 10:21   #16
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
...towing a dink in the open seas is a recipe for disaster, especially at night, when you can't see back there.

...towing a dink from one anchorage to another....say in the B'mas...is quite acceptable and most cruisers in the Bmas adopt this method.

Rather than towing the dink from the bow and adding unnecessary strain on the single front connector on the dink, I made a bridle on the stern, so that it can fit in front of the outboard, To this bridle I added another towing line.
When towing my dink, I bring both the bridle tow line and front tow line aboard, but will adjust these so that the towing line from the bridle is about an 1" shorter than the tow line from the bow. In this way, the towing strain is taken by the bridle, which is attached to the solid transom of the dink, and the bow line keeps the dink pointing straight ahead. This works particularly well when I leave the outboard on the dink. some experimentation will be required to adjust these two lines, so that the towing strain is on the bridle line and not on the front tow line. I have used this method for many, many years and it has worked flawlessly.

I thought very shortly about that. Than i forgot about it because i Was Too lazy to Balance it out. :-)

But great to hear That it Works!


The 25ft boat Was only a Short term... Cheap buy.. One season.. testmule.

We Are now looking for the larger cruiser brother.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:36   #17
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Originally Posted by Ibetitsthisway View Post
Hi folks,

this summer I made some tests with the efficiency of towing a dingi.

I experimented with length of ropes and speed.
With the correct length (dingi "sliding down" the boats bow wave") the average loss of speed was 0,33(!) kn. Average of both directions (into waves and with waves). Triangle rope with shock absorbers. dingi sliding straight and not "wandering" right and left. average speed 6,5kn

Tow boat: 7,5m / 2,5t displacement motorboat

Dingi: 3,4m / 170kg incl 60kg outboard

Towing a large (500kg) dingi behind a much larger yacht should not pose any problem? and should slow down even less??

But most sailers worry about davids, hoisting the dingi on deck...

From my view that it only neccessary in a storm??

Do I miss something?
I did not have very large long waves from behind - maybe dingi will become faster than the towboat?

OFFSHORE: Never tow a dinghy and a dinghy on davits is problematic. The best place for a dinghy is on deck. Just because some have done it successfully doesn't make it a wise tradeoff for the convenience.

INLAND WATERS: Towing a dinghy or one on davits is generally OK.

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Old 03-10-2019, 13:45   #18
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Have always towed my Dinghy , heavy rib and 9,9hp engine , been is 6 ft swell, 50knot winds, have had it always tied to to the mother ship through storms , never lost it never flipped , never had an issue. use 3 lines to a bridle then one line to mother , as everything in sailing nothing is completely safe and there will be stories of dinghies flipping, but I have also read stories of dinghies on davits been hit by big waves from behind and ripping the dinghy off , sailing is risk and nothing is 100% but I have still to have a problem towing
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Old 03-10-2019, 13:53   #19
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Originally Posted by MJH View Post
OFFSHORE: Never tow a dinghy and a dinghy on davits is problematic. The best place for a dinghy is on deck. Just because some have done it successfully doesn't make it a wise tradeoff for the convenience.

INLAND WATERS: Towing a dinghy or one on davits is generally OK.
^^^^ What he said.

We sail in quite extensive but very protected waters at home and always tow the dink behind. But if we are sailing out of our area, the dingy always goes on deck.
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Old 03-10-2019, 17:53   #20
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

It is quite common for superyachts to tow boats across oceans. I have towed a 17-foot rib with a 90hp engine behind a 55' cat from the BVI's to Bermuda. Had some moderately heavy weather for about 24h and no trouble. 3-point harness is a must, and you must be willing to lose the boat. Keep a sharp knife by the towline and if she flips at sea, cut the tow.

I'm not advocating it, just saying that it can be done and is done regularly and with little detriment. However, I would not say that 3.4m is a 'big' dinghy in this context and I guarantee that if I'd tried to tow that to Bermuda it would have flipped and been lost.
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Old 03-10-2019, 18:35   #21
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Do I miss something?
I did not have very large long waves from behind - maybe dingi will become faster than the towboat?
Yes, you missed something. Try towing a dinghy in open sea with 15-kt tradewinds from behind and you will end up cutting it loose.
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Old 03-10-2019, 23:06   #22
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

I'm one of those cruisers that may anchor 3 times a day. To hoist the dink up that often is not practical. So I learned from others, books, and the hard way how it can be done safely.
I installed 2 cleats low on the transom, for towing and handholds while disembarking passengers beam to the swimstep. 2 docklines with shock absorbers for towlines. I prefer to tow as close as possible to the transom as possible favoring the leeward side. The engine is down in running position to keep it straight, and thru bolted on. Gas tank tied on, oars same, slippers, in a canvas bag, anchor in it's spot. 90% of the time it works fine until dead downwind. Then it surfs and bumps the transom! Then I throw out a small drouge attached to a tow line. Problem solved. On overnighters I do hoist it on deck, right side up, engine attached, with everything in it, and set it on the foredeck on removable chalks, engine beside and secured to the mast. On passages, this is my go to life boat. I also have the 8 man liferaft but after seeing it inflated, would not trust it for long.
Bear in mind I have a12' rib and 20hp eng. Smaller lighter dingys will flip in high winds unless properly weighted with a 5 gal water jug or 2.
I did flip mine once in 45kts, because I had it on a 50' towline. Thats why I tow it close now. To right it I tied a line to one side and stood on the other. It righted right away.
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Old 04-10-2019, 00:23   #23
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

I appreciate that this thread is about a Large Dinghy but most of the replies are adamant about not towing any dinghy. I disagree. We tow our 9 foot dinghy pretty much everywhere (behind a 40 foot yacht). We use a short bridle (attached to both sides of the dinghy). Weve been in all sorts of weather and its been just fine. We always take the engine off though.
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Old 04-10-2019, 00:52   #24
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

You've been given all the advices needed, but just for another real life example:

We have a 3.3 meter all metal rib style dinghy, about 50kg + another 50 for the engine. For anything overnight or out of protected water, it ALWAYS is hoisted upside down on the foredeck and lashed (engine on pushpit). Even here in the Med we've been through enough cr@p that towing it would have been very scary.

When we do tow between anchorages or day sails, it's on a 15 meter reverse bridle (two lines cleated on mothership converging on one point on the dinghy. Ours just tracks far better like this. Outboard on, engine down to give a bit of drag. With engine up it skitters around a little more than I like to see....
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:20   #25
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

I agree with GILow and single speed. Towing any dinghy in any sort of rough water is dangerous. I lost my dinghy in a beam sea wave which swamped it. Trying to retrieve it in that beam sea was impossible. Once submerged the drag on the tow line was incredible so to trying to secure it and bail it out became dangerous and I finally had to cut it loose and advise the coastguard of a navigation Hazard. It finally was found on a beach and was able to be retrieved days later. I now always carry it on deck.
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:24   #26
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

Towing a dinghy can be done. But, if cruising means not having a schedule, cruising while towing a dinghy means really not having a schedule.

You really have to learn how the weather works, and be a servant to it, to tow one successfully. And, that means you can only plan relatively short passages with any certainty.

Short, but intense, squalls, as pointed out by others, can be another exciting, but thankfully, usually short lived, event when towing.

And, we've had the fun of being out in large swells (or entering an inlet with wind against tied) and watching our 11 foot Boston Whaler tender surf down waves, and pass by our stern quite smartly.

The upside is, that once you get where your going, a larger dinghy is a really big improvement in the cruising experience. It's just getting the damn thing there.
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:46   #27
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Originally Posted by moseriw View Post
towing a dink is not seamanship. A dinghi has to be on board or in davits.
BS.

Professional fisherman tow several in line for hundreds of miles regularly in this part of the world

We've towed our near 15ft alloy dory for thousands of miles with never an issue but of course choose our weather.
We can pull it out on davits in minutes if needs be.



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Old 04-10-2019, 04:58   #28
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Yes, you missed something. Try towing a dinghy in open sea with 15-kt tradewinds from behind and you will end up cutting it loose.
You might.
Just another day for us and others.
On passage ours runs behind us on 100ft or more of 16mm rope, outboard leg down, happy as.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:31   #29
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

We almost never tow and we never tow with the OB on the dinghy.

Roxy has a motor lifting hoist with four-part blocks, OB motor bracket on the rail, stout davits with six-part blocks.

We can strip the 15 hp motor off, lift the empty dinghy and tie it securely in less than ten minutes.

We can hoist the dinghy including the OB and lock for overnight in the anchorage.

Remove the dinghy from the water daily to make it secure and to prevent sea growth on the bottom.
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Old 04-10-2019, 06:01   #30
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

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Originally Posted by Apollo366 View Post
OK, I just realized you are a 25 ft motorboat, and a 12 ft, 60 hp dingy!


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60 kilograms not 60 horsepower.
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