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Old 07-10-2019, 13:15   #46
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

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Originally Posted by Capt Phil View Post
A ding should be sized for the. Number of people it is intended to carry.
Which is usually 2-4.
How,any berths do you have on the mother vessel?
What size outboard do you have?
Do you fill the skiff with. Junk to. Avoid stowing it in your primary vessel?
All questions that need answering before asensible reply can be offered.
If you do primarily day sailing with an extra couple once in a while... stick with a smaller sized skiff. Remember, you can always make a couple of trips!
Phil
P.S. please remember... lines are for boats, ropes are for sex!
Actually, for me, from a cruising perspective, the number of people that can fit in the dingy is the last consideration.

Itís about how much fuel and water in cans can be carried along with groceries and provisions and perhaps most importantly, the ability of the dink to move the mother ship when other things go belly up. Largish mother ship = larger outboard motor required for emergencies - larger outboard (mine is 15hp) = larger dink.

The ability to carry more passengers is a consequential bonus.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:17   #47
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

We frequently tow a 17 skiff with a 100 hp outboard and 20 gallons fuel. I installed a stainless eye low on the water and use a commercial dyneema towing bridle with 100 feet of line and heavy ss shackles.

The low bow eye keeps the tow bow up, and generally we tow back on the stern wave at least a boat length behind. I have swamped the tow but also installed scupper drains which drained the water. I also cover the carb with Press N Seal to keep water out.

Mother vessel is a 45 Trawler we go at 7.5 knots, but I never go without adequate weather window.
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Old 11-10-2019, 07:46   #48
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

Towing is likely to get it swamped, in all but the calmest sea.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:42   #49
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

I have lost 2 dinghys towing and would only do it to an island 1 mile away in good weather.
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Old 11-10-2019, 10:16   #50
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

Matter of fact we lost it to... Broken swivvel...
But we got it back easily.



Thought i Was the only one who saw this happen...
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:47   #51
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

Our basic rule is NO TOWING.
Except in very short hauls and protected areas.

Having lost two dinghies in our early years of cruising we learnt the hard way I guess.

P.S. when we do tow we have a bridle plus an additional rope onto the dinghy.
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Old 11-10-2019, 11:52   #52
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

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Originally Posted by timb7734 View Post
. I have swamped the tow but also installed scupper drains which drained the water. I also cover the carb with Press N Seal to keep water out.

Mother vessel is a 45 Trawler we go at 7.5 knots, but I never go without adequate weather window.
One of those statements doesn't corelate with the other.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:11   #53
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

we had an 11 foot RIB for our traditional 30 foot , heavy sailboat. Towed it all the way from Nova Scotia to the Abacos and back. Most of the time the outboard was on our stern rail. Didn't have a problem , though not ideal. Used two lines, slowed us about half a knot. My nutshell pram, same length, towed MUCH better but less carrying capacity and no good as a lifeboat. Have a smaller inflatable now which I can put on the foredeck, though it is more effort than you would think. My admiral prefers to tow it, at least coastal cruising in NS as it is instantly available.
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:45   #54
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

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Towing is likely to get it swamped, in all but the calmest sea.
That must be a terribly unseaworthy tender you have
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Old 11-10-2019, 13:44   #55
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

I tow my tender, but I have a really heavy duty marlin board whose base pivots on the transom, so it can be tied off flat, and just above the surface of still water, or up to 90į, so vertical when cruising offshore.

When cruising locally, I fasten it to about 45į, and pull the bow of the aluminium tender up onto the edge (it only weighs about 40Kg), with the 2.5hp outboard off the tender and stowed on deck.

Arranged like this, there is no loss in cruising speed, and it can't flip. I prefer a aluminium tender as it's much better to row.

I have a Zodiac with the ply floor (and same outboard) I use when travelling further offshore, and this gets lifted out of the water and left on the rear deck. The zodiac is nowhere near as good to row, and the outboard only pushes it along at fast idle (no planing!) but it works when we are well away from home waters.
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Old 11-10-2019, 15:43   #56
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

Whats with the absolutes - never tow. How safe it is to tow a dinghy depends entirely on the sea worthiness of the dinghy. I'd agree never tow a small lightweight dinghy. If it can be blown or bounced over, its not safe. Someone suggested flipping a dinghy and see how hard it is to right it. I couldn't flip my 11.5 ft 160 lb rib by myself even without the 120 lb 20 hp engine, let alone right it. It is perfectly sea worthy in any seas I'm likely to be in. I do tow it occasionally, when I'm too lazy to remove the outboard and lift it onto the davits or foredeck and it tows just fine.


I tried towing my 12 ft, 160 lb hard dingy (Gig Harbor Boatworks Pt. Defiance) and while it towed nicely, after 15 miles in fairly calm waters, it was half full of water. It was not fun pumping it out while bouncing around in the middle of Puget Sound, even on a calm day. I think the water came in trough the centerboard trunk, but I'm not sure. So, I won't be towing it again; seaworthiness issue.
The PO asked about towing a big heavy dinghy behind a big heavy powerboat. I don't see a problem in any weather/waters he'd be comfortable driving the dinghy in.
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Old 11-10-2019, 15:59   #57
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

I've had a ton of problems towing a dingy. The big powerboaters tow them well at 100-150 feet behind. That way the dink is not effected by the tow boat. Sometimes these are more like ski boat size.

Towing a dingy close behind for a mere 15 miles trip I found myself in 15 foot breaking rollers going across a channel. The mothership would surf down the face of these steep monsters. The dingy would try to pass the mothership which was wallowing in the trough. It would snub up tight alongside the mothership and nearly flip filling with water. Then, with dink waterlogged, the mother ship would take off again down a wave face. When the painter snubbed up tight we would duck in the cockpit in fear it was going to snap. Eventually we had to heave to and pull the dink aboard. What a mess. Lost one good spruce oar with decks awash that was tied to the mothership.
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Old 11-10-2019, 20:07   #58
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

When towing a dingy I have always asked the question of myself: would I put my mother, my wife and my children in that dingy (to transfer to another boat for example) in the harbour or sea or ocean that I plan to tow it? If the answer is no I put it on-board or leave it behind.
I've recently gone to the dark side and bought a large motor cruiser and I've been talking with other motor cruiser owners about the (often very large) boats they tow behind. The answers always include three things: 1) At least one experienced crew member dedicated to the tow at all times 24 hours a day; 2) A tow line of at least twice the mother-ship length; 3) A drogue, normally an old tyre, to stop the towed boat surfing into the mother-ship. Here's a video of a typical setup that would never work for my wife and I:
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:46   #59
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

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I have lost 2 dinghys towing and would only do it to an island 1 mile away in good weather.
I've towed ours all over the place (to the Bahamas and back twice, and across the Gulf of Mexico, once, for instance) and never lost one, but if I had lost two, I have to admit, that I probably would re-evaluate my towing practices and policies.
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:19   #60
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Re: towing a large Dinghy - or not?

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I've recently gone to the dark side and bought a large motor cruiser and I've been talking with other motor cruiser owners about the (often very large) boats they tow behind. The answers always include three things: 1) At least one experienced crew member dedicated to the tow at all times 24 hours a day; 2) A tow line of at least twice the mother-ship length; 3) A drogue, normally an old tyre, to stop the towed boat surfing into the mother-ship. ]
1) if shorthanded as we always are, a cheap reversing camera can work as a dedicated crew member, think I paid $50 for two with infra red and a screen, one in engine room one out the back.

2) we have not found that necessary on our 8 knotter and usually run approx 1 boat length 60ft but the rope is sufficiently long enough to run out 50m if needed.

3) we simply leave the leg down out of gear and find that gives more than enough drag.

Tender also has all nav lights and at night displays an all round white under tow
It also has a bilge pump with float switch.
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