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Old 02-10-2019, 07:30   #1
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towing a large Dinghy - or not?

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?
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Old 02-10-2019, 15:23   #2
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

How well did it work in a Squall?
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Old 02-10-2019, 15:33   #3
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

I learned to dislike towing anything. I used to tow, but got caught in one too many squalls. One of the reasons I have the dinghy I have I never have to tow it.

These days we only tow if we know for certain we are only travelling a short distance, and there is no chance of a weather surprise so almost never.
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Old 02-10-2019, 18:37   #4
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

We towed our dinghy happily on one trip for about 15 miles. Then, going through a narrow channel between islands, currents set up a nasty set of standing waves. This caused the dinghy, which had been towing without any problems, to flip over. We had to pull it in and turn it right-side up while plunging through waves that were four to five feet high. The engine did not enjoy getting dunked - though we were lucky and got it going again afterwards. We stow the dinghy on deck now when we change ports.
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Old 02-10-2019, 18:44   #5
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Towing a dinghy is great...

Until it isn't.

Then it is whatever the opposite of great is.

I avoid it at all costs. I had one go sideways on the front of a wave, overtake its own tow rope, which then snagged on the rollick holder, which flipped the dinghy sideways. Suddenly I was towing a great big sea-brake. I actually felt the deceleration on a 17 ton boat. And that was a pleasant day on the Gulf St Vincent, which is hardly a demanding stretch of water.
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Old 03-10-2019, 01:16   #6
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Squalls were no Problem.



I cant imagine how it Would be on an 4-5m dingi With heavy outboard attached.



Tackling sea... Is it the correct Word?

Waves coming from two different directions...

Had it going left right left al ltime... But the shock Absorber did quite well.



An elastic rope Would maybe better...



The sliding down Thing is what i also assume could be a problem.... A real problem.



But Then... In case of Real weathter... It could be hpisted to Deck anyway...



I think davids Are Bad in extreme Storm as well...?
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:20   #7
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Never. The comment that towing a dinghy is fine until it isn't is exactly correct. The same applies to leaving a dinghy in the water at night. When sea conditions or the wind changes and fast action is required you will wish your dingy was on davits or on deck. We learned.
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Old 03-10-2019, 08:28   #8
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

towing a dink is not seamanship. A dinghi has to be on board or in davits.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:09   #9
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Try an experiment. Ask to borrow a friend's small dinghy (<4 meters). Take off the engine and fuel tank. Take it to a handy beach. Flip it over in shallow (< 1 meter) water. Wade out to armpit deep water and try to flip it back up. Then imagine trying to do it in the open ocean with waves, no bottom to stand on and the added weight of the fuel tank and motor. Now imagine trying to do it with your dinghy.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:24   #10
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

I know... It is impossible.



The thing is That i dont Mind slow boats as long as i have a fast long range dingi.

But space and weight on Deck is limited.
So towing is Nice.

Anyway... In a Storm it needs to be on Deck...

So... I have to live With That.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:27   #11
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

By the way... We used to have the towline very very Short at night.

Works fine.. Also in harbour. Does Not Hinder at All.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:36   #12
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

...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.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:38   #13
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Don't!
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:51   #14
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

Just glad I have good davits with a four sheave pully system and a light inflatable/outboard which I can raise by hand in under five minutes which makes this whole thread nothing but a quick read for me.

Anyone who has ever been in any kinda seaway knows why towing anything is a bad idea, unless it is a drogue in a bad storm.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:04   #15
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Re: towing a large Dingi - or not?

OK, I just realized you are a 25 ft motorboat, and a 12 ft, 60 hp dingy!

Of course you should only be going out in FAIR weather, in unsettled weather I would suggest a very short tow for the dingy, right up to the stern, and with a bridle if any threat of a squall or other bad weather in your area.

I only have second hand info on the short tow to the stern, anyone have more info on using this very short tow ??

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