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Old 14-02-2017, 02:06   #1
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Towing a large tender

1. If this is in the wrong subforum mods please move it, I wasn't sure

2. Our boat is a motorsailor (42' design, near 50' actual). It's a good trade winds sailboat and others (saltier sailors than us) use it as a true sailboat but we're impatient and willing to trade diesel for time.

3. This question is specific to towing a large tender at hull/displacement speeds.

2-3 adults, 2 kids, plus payload (either large dog or groceries etc). Florida based, doing a 4-6 months in the FL Keys or Bahamas at a time. We currently have a 12' RIB on davits with a 20hp ob. We've come across several other cruising boats towing 14' console ribs with 40hp outboards and even 15-17' fiberglass console skiffs with single 70-100hp outboard. The added day to day flexibility of these larger tenders (without having to move the mothership) would be big for us.

I know thats outside the norm for this board, but is anyone on here routinely towing a large tender? If so I'd like to talk to you and ask questions like:

Towing concerns in general?
Added fuel consumption?
Decreased overall speed?
Rigging for an offshore passage?
Day to Day Security?

Thanks!
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Old 14-02-2017, 05:09   #2
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Re: Towing a large tender

We used to carry our 3.8meter RIB on davits, although we would mount the 15hp outboard on davits when offshore. When we moved to a 12' hard dinghy (5 person, 900# capacity), we no longer used the davits. Instead we place the dinghy, inverted, on the foredeck (an advantage for flush deck design) and strap it down.

I find that there are different considerations passaging vs. cruising. I would not tow either dinghy offshore. I have towed sit-on kayaks offshore without issue. I commonly encounter sea-states, particularly with following seas, in which towing a dinghy would be a liability.

When cruising, towing the dinghy is a mixed-bag. I have never had a security problem with dinghies, but some have found the need to lift theirs at night to prevent theft. It does often get in the way, though. Maneuvering in tight marinas and med-mooring or backing into a slip, there is often no good place to tie it -- and it takes 1-2 crew members to manage the dinghy in such situations. At anchor we commonly tie it to the hip, fore and aft -- still the larger, hard dinghy manages to ding up the topsides. We have not cruised the Bahamas yet, but many dinghy docks in New England only permit dinghies 11' or 12' and under. There are many places we've been where the ability to haul the dinghy up on the beach (and quickly) has been necessary due to breaking waves, a bottom unsuited to anchoring out the dinghy, or practical necessity to have the dinghy out of the water (some boatyards have asked this when leaving the dinghy for a while).

As far as speed or fuel consumption while towing, it may make a small difference in speed or fuel consumption, but the difference of a 500# dinghy on a 67000# boat is negligible. If we forget to lift the dinghy motor though, the difference is noticeable.

So, overall -- I consider the ability to stow the dinghy out of the water to be essential on passage -- whether on davits, on deck, or some other solution. A larger dinghy has both advantages and disadvantages while coastal. Towing works fine in flat seas, but can present complications in docking.
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Old 14-02-2017, 05:58   #3
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Re: Towing a large tender

People do it all the time, large motor yachts will tow serious off shore Center Console's.
However, in my opinion its a fair weather, close to shore thing, maybe back and forth to the Bahamas, but not an open water crossing thing, and be prepared to lose it, if you can't live without it, don't tow it.
I tried towing mine sailing before I put the davits on, it took off at least a kt, slowed me down way more than I thought it should, then I realized I was towing past the dinghies hull speed, but not yet on plane, right at the high drag speed, and it made sense.
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Old 14-02-2017, 06:14   #4
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Re: Towing a large tender

Friends of ours sailing a 42' Catalina towed a Boston Whaler behind their boat from the Tampa Bay area, through the Keys, to the Bahamas and through the Exumas and back on a 3 month cruise last spring. When they announced their intentions I voiced misgivings but they were determined and reported that all went well during their travels. They used a good bridal with floating line to ensure they didn't get the thing caught in their prop and fendered the Whaler gunnels to keep it from banging up their stern when on short scope for maneuvering.

FWIW...
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Old 14-02-2017, 06:29   #5
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Re: Towing a large tender

The wild card is "sporty" weather, if you can avoid that by being close enough to run for shelter you will be fine, I think.
The normal afternoon squall you will just have to deal with
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Old 14-02-2017, 08:04   #6
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Re: Towing a large tender

Beware of deep forefoots in towed boats. They slew.
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Old 14-02-2017, 09:33   #7
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Re: Towing a large tender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitebread117 View Post
Towing concerns in general?
Added fuel consumption?
Decreased overall speed?
Rigging for an offshore passage?
Day to Day Security?
Thanks!
In our necks of the woods towing a oversize tender is an option. We live in an area where there are locks, so when you transit, a small tender is not costly, however a larger one (our licensed 21') you have to pay a second fee as id it was another boat... this gets costly. If you want to offset those cost for water skiing it is not costly. When we anchor and want to go for dinner that large tender comes in handy! Some of the spots where we go... Parks Canada will want to charge you for the extra boat. For towing costs almost no change in fuel consumption. For docking with that tender in tow sometimes gets tricky. If there is lots of space, we tie it along side, all is good. We did tow in large lakes however never been off shore or in salt water.
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Old 14-02-2017, 10:26   #8
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Re: Towing a large tender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitebread117 View Post
1. If this is in the wrong subforum mods please move it, I wasn't sure

2. Our boat is a motorsailor (42' design, near 50' actual). It's a good trade winds sailboat and others (saltier sailors than us) use it as a true sailboat but we're impatient and willing to trade diesel for time.

3. This question is specific to towing a large tender at hull/displacement speeds.

2-3 adults, 2 kids, plus payload (either large dog or groceries etc). Florida based, doing a 4-6 months in the FL Keys or Bahamas at a time. We currently have a 12' RIB on davits with a 20hp ob. We've come across several other cruising boats towing 14' console ribs with 40hp outboards and even 15-17' fiberglass console skiffs with single 70-100hp outboard. The added day to day flexibility of these larger tenders (without having to move the mothership) would be big for us.

I know thats outside the norm for this board, but is anyone on here routinely towing a large tender? If so I'd like to talk to you and ask questions like:

Towing concerns in general?
Added fuel consumption?
Decreased overall speed?
Rigging for an offshore passage?
Day to Day Security?

Thanks!
Have a long enough painter to have it well beyond the stern wave.
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Old 14-02-2017, 11:09   #9
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Re: Towing a large tender

We towed an 11 foot Whaler behind a 42 foot sailboat in our last two trips there. Last year, I was amazed at how many boats had towed 20 to 30 foot tenders to the Exumas.

We are about to pull the trigger on towing our 22 foot center console on the next trip to the Bahamas. If you are going to be there several months, like we will be, I think it's worth the trouble to have when you get there.

Just pick your weather window wisely (good advice with or without a towed tender). Make sure the tow eye can take the strain, beef it up if it can't.

It's being done by somebody as we speak.
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Old 14-02-2017, 12:10   #10
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Re: Towing a large tender

Our current dinghy is 3.5 m. long. We tow it a bit, coastally. We made a short series drogue that we can deploy if running downwind, that slows the big boat even more, but keeps the dinghy compliant astern, not crashing into the mother boat. Towing it without the motor on costs about one knot in boat speed. The 15 horse motor is on a bracket on the stern pulpit.

I think your dinghy is always more secure in davits than behind the boat, and we put our RIB on the foredeck, inverted for passages. For security ashore, we use chain and padlock.

We tow it under sail, more than motorsailing, so I have no idea of whether we would notice increased fuel consumption. With our main engine, we cruise at 2000 rpm, generally, so would just go slower.

WARNING, WE HAVE HAD THE DINGHY FLIP ONCE WHEN TOWING. It was a major pita, fortunately, that time, the fuel tank was stored in the lazarette, with the anchor and rode, seat and paddles. As a practice, it is not without risk, as well as being poor seamanship, it is laziness makes us do it.

Ann
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Old 14-02-2017, 13:07   #11
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Re: Towing a large tender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Our current dinghy is 3.5 m. long. We tow it a bit, coastally. We made a short series drogue that we can deploy if running downwind, that slows the big boat even more, but keeps the dinghy compliant astern, not crashing into the mother boat. Towing it without the motor on costs about one knot in boat speed. The 15 horse motor is on a bracket on the stern pulpit.

I think your dinghy is always more secure in davits than behind the boat, and we put our RIB on the foredeck, inverted for passages. For security ashore, we use chain and padlock.

We tow it under sail, more than motorsailing, so I have no idea of whether we would notice increased fuel consumption. With our main engine, we cruise at 2000 rpm, generally, so would just go slower.

WARNING, WE HAVE HAD THE DINGHY FLIP ONCE WHEN TOWING. It was a major pita, fortunately, that time, the fuel tank was stored in the lazarette, with the anchor and rode, seat and paddles. As a practice, it is not without risk, as well as being poor seamanship, it is laziness makes us do it.

Ann
Ann, I can recall a ten foot skiff flipping in a beam sea. It filled up and the line tension would not let me turn it loose from the cleat. The old man told me to come get the knife since we didn't need a drogue. It flipped again and was left with maybe three inches at the transom. Some times someone or dumb luck is looking out for you? He was a good seaman so in retrospect I wonder why we were in ground swells?
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Old 14-02-2017, 13:34   #12
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Re: Towing a large tender

If you are going to tow a large fiberglass boat, have a proper towing eye fabricated. The usual U-bolt eyes on boats can pull right through causing a lot of damage. Following picture is what it should look like. It spreads the load over a much larger area.
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Old 14-02-2017, 13:58   #13
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Re: Towing a large tender

Quote:
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If you are going to tow a large fiberglass boat, have a proper towing eye fabricated. The usual U-bolt eyes on boats can pull right through causing a lot of damage. Following picture is what it should look like. It spreads the load over a much larger area.
I have towed a 48 ft. boat with a 21 footer some thirty miles. Your suggestion is valid. You don't want the towed boat yanking the stern up of the towing boat. You also should have the towing line centered on your tow boat even if its a yoke. Crabbing isn't good. As said before have the painter/ pendent long enough to be behind the stern wave. MHO
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Old 14-02-2017, 14:10   #14
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Re: Towing a large tender

Yes you can!
Done successfully all the time IF you exhibit good seamanship in choosing your weather, fabricate proper towing points and bridals.

Yes, there is an added risk, but a commitment to managing that is your key decision
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Old 14-02-2017, 15:45   #15
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Re: Towing a large tender

Our dinghy is 3.4m all aluminium ( Sea Craft) with a 25hp. It always goes onto the swim platform - be it evening time, coastal or on a passage. We never have towed since ripping out the dinghy eye.
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