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Old 11-01-2012, 18:32   #1
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Towing a Dinghy Behind a Cat

We are thinking about taking our larger dinghy ( 12' apex, 200lbs) with us on trips. We want to use her for fishing and possible dive, snorkle excursions. The dinghy we keep on our davits is a bit small and feels squirrely (10' achilles rib, 110 lbs) We dont feel our davits are quite strong enough to support the 200lb Apex, especialy in rough water.
I know there are many schools of thought on towing them. I have read the snatch loads can be Enourmous and damaging with a lengthened painter/ bridle. my thoughts are what about having the nose of the dinghy up on the steps of one transom resting against some bumpers lashed into place. The weight loads wont be much on them, and I am thinking the hull splitting the water will make it more hydrodynamic or have less drag. Any input on this would be appreciated.
We do not think it would be very easy to lift the larger dinghy onto the front deck, though we should probably try at some point.
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Old 11-01-2012, 18:41   #2
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Re: Towing a Dinghy behind a Cat

It will work, until it stops working and you kiss your dinghy goodbye mid-storm.
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Old 11-01-2012, 18:56   #3
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Re: Towing a Dinghy behind a Cat

I will add that most of our trips are/will be coastal for the most part. Doing the crossing from Marco to Kw probably the most offshore we want to go in our current boat with the larger dink, for other Bahamas etc trips we plan on just settling for the smaller dinghy.
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Old 11-01-2012, 18:57   #4
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Re: Towing a Dinghy behind a Cat

It's amazing what you can lift easy with a haulyard, and a winch,lift the nose and turnover and haul aboard Im old and can still do it Really Bob and Connie
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Old 11-01-2012, 19:54   #5
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Re: Towing a Dinghy behind a Cat

We've done several 4-10 day outings towing a 14' boat, it dropped our boat speed by about 40%, and there is no way I would do it outside the confines of bay islands / protected straights. The 14 travelled (ex Brisbane) to and from Tin Can Bay on a trailer up the highway, no way I would tow it the ~130nm up the coast behind the cat. Strongly recommend either modifying the davits or as suggested top loading dont tow.
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Old 16-01-2012, 02:22   #6
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a cat

I towed an Avon soft bottom 90 lbs the from the Chesapeake Bay south to Palm Beach, Florida then put it on deck sailed to the Bahamas to tow it for four more months. We used a long tow of floating line to allow stretch to absorb any shock from drag or jerks. Ten years later the dinghy up at our cabin in Minnesota still had the original D-rings holding strong. We used the D-rings attached to the main halyard to lift it on deck so they got the load test of the 90 lbs and some water. Does the long tow create more kinetic energy from the momentum (mass and velocity) than it absorbs I guess is the question. Tugs put heavy loads on a long tow at sea but for a number of reasons, a mechanical engineer may need to be brought in.

It was a pain in the neck at every bridge and both while docking or anchoring. It sold us for ever on davits that you already know because you have them for your smaller dinghy. I never like to over load davits so you're right to no try to put too much dinghy in them only to lose half pulled out of your stern as you cross the gulf stream.

You might be able to deflate and stow it forward if room is an issue, but for us fliped over and lashed down fully inflated we could alway find room on the fore deck. I have seen quite old people pull them up with a main halyard and winch. One couple we know did so for four years while sailing the Caribbean before breaking down and putting davits on their stern. You always knew when they were leaving an anchorage by the squeal of their halyard as it lifted their dinghy on board, that had to cause wear to both halyard and pulley, perhaps a spinacker halyard would be better used. Forward it can make coming about a hassel if it gets in the way of your head sail. rich
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Old 16-01-2012, 03:55   #7
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a cat

ICW Chesapeake Bay to Palm Beach not off shore, but still on the bays and sounds. rich
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Old 16-01-2012, 05:24   #8
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a cat

I am betting that the major problem you would have with the dinghy-snugged-to-the-transom steps approach is going to be chafing. Hour after hour of even the slightest bit of movement between the inflatable and the boat is going to cause problems with that spot on the inflatable. Relying on additional rigging, lines, knots, etc. to keep the situation stable is eventually going to let you down somewhere. too many stressed, shifting pieces in this scenario. Even flexing wrinkles eventually wear through on those things. With all the winches and the mast and boom, there must be SOME way to lift it aboard.

What would be involved in beefing up the dinghy davits or maybe taking this opportunity to justify installing that arch and solar/wind/sling seat setup you always wanted...

you KNOW how boat mod thingys always are....it's either do it right or do it over.
and doing it over gets freekin' expensive.
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Old 16-01-2012, 06:56   #9
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a Cat

The biggest issue we have with lifting is Its heavy and Wide. Maybe someone would know if our mast can handle that load. We have a fractional rig and the stays all attatch about 10' below the top of the mast. Is that 10' of mast going to be ok, hoisting 200lbs when the object being lifted is near 8' off the center of the mast?
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Old 16-01-2012, 06:57   #10
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a Cat

I did a charter once and the boat didn't have davits, so the dink was towed. The lesson I learned is that I would, no matter the cost, have davits installed as a priority.

PITA to deal with the dink and it really killed performance.

Your mast is just fine - the loads under sail are far beyond 200lb. What you do want to do, though, is make sure the pull is square with the halyard block so you don't jump the block or eat the line.

If, as you say, the davits aren't beefy enough, you can incorporate more purchase when you modify the davits...
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Old 16-01-2012, 07:10   #11
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a Cat

Keeping the line square would be a problem. Only have the main halyard, and topping lift up top. The spinnaker Halyard is too low, level with the forestay I think. I'll post pics of the Davits,
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Old 16-01-2012, 07:17   #12
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Re: Towing a Dinghy Behind a Cat

Think about your boom in this way. Next time you are under full sail and clipping along at your average speed, put your weight on the very end of the boom and see how far you can pull it down toward the deck with just your weight. I am thinking your weight probably won't overstress the rigging, as long as it's loads are in the right places.

What does your dinghy weigh? Probably in the same ballpark. Soft inflatable sides work in your favor here too.

doesn't Maine Cat or one of those NE cats put a 'stinger' extension in the end of the boom specifically for lifting a dinghy?
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