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Old 10-07-2015, 06:32   #1
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Towing an inflatable

Been living aboard dockside for 18 months now (excluding winter) on PAX, a 46' Uniflite power vessel and ready for a change of scenery. Planning a move from Ohio to SC. I will be towing an inflatable at 10 knots.Have a couple questions concerning the inflatable:

1. What do you use to keep the painter afloat when idling down the engines? Not interested in polypropylene line. Need some kind of float that can be secured in place. Possibly pool line floats?
2. How do you secure the tender to the mother ship? I'm thinking it would be OK to just tie the painter to the stern hand rail at the swim platform. Bad/good idea?
3. Where/how do you stow the outboard? Can it just be raised and left attached to the tender? I could stow it in the upper salon/pilothouse, but it would take up valuable living space.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:16   #2
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Others may certainly disagree, but I think the amount of effort to figure out how to stow the dinghy on davits, hooks, deck, etc… will be much less than the hassle, worry, extra fuel, backing up ,etc… of towing that long a distance. Is this a large rib tender or just a typical dinghy?For short distances, we used poly propylene line wrapped around a good towing line, with all the strain on the towing line. The poly will degrade and need replacement from time to time. Floats might work too, but you don’t want any of the line between to be long enough to wrap the prop, or you might as well just have someone tending it. Good luck…hope this helps (stow it!).
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:45   #3
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Re: Towing an inflatable

dthomas,
While Mike (Waterway Guide) makes a good point about towing a long distance, and the hassles, etc...there are expenses and hassles associated with davits, etc. as well...

And, while on offshore passages I keep my RIB lashed to the foredeck (and outboard on the stern rail), when gunkholing thru the islands, etc. I tow it....and have been for years! (no davits)


So, how about I answer your questions....see answers in red...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomas95 View Post
Planning a move from Ohio to SC. I will be towing an inflatable at 10 knots.Have a couple questions concerning the inflatable:

1. What do you use to keep the painter afloat when idling down the engines? Not interested in polypropylene line. Need some kind of float that can be secured in place. Possibly pool line floats?
For the past almost 15 years I've been using "floating dinghy tow line", which is a double-braided, nylon-cover, over polypropylene, line.....lasts FOREVER.....(I replace after a few years, 'cause it starts to look ugly and you end you with some chafe, etc. after that long...)
Not sure why everyone doesn't use it...
New England Ropes Double-Braid Dinghy Tow Rope

NEW ENGLAND ROPES Floating Dinghy Tow Rope | West Marine

{Prior to using that I used 3-strand (or sometimes a double-braided) nylon dockline, and just shortened-up the tow-line/painter when needed (anchoring/docking), and in 45+ years only once ran over the dinghy tow-line...}


2. How do you secure the tender to the mother ship? I'm thinking it would be OK to just tie the painter to the stern hand rail at the swim platform. Bad/good idea?
Do NOT use the stern rail!!

Do you not have stern cleats??

Simply attach the dinghy tow-line to the stern cleats....
I usually recommend a towing "V" (or "bridle"), rather than just one line, as this allows you to place the dinghy in the center, rather than off to one side or the other....some boats tow well from one side stern cleat, but most tow best in the center...



3. Where/how do you stow the outboard? Can it just be raised and left attached to the tender? I could stow it in the upper salon/pilothouse, but it would take up valuable living space.
If your stern rail is strong enough, then securing the dinghy outboard on a rail mount there on the stern rail is typically best....(although actually have a bracket or storage spot on deck, at the mast....but I find that to be a bad idea, as this places it in the way when working at the mast or on the foredeck!)

And, depending on the boat, some have room in a lazarette, etc...

If your dinghy is strong enough (and your tow-line and cleats are as well), for short tow of a few miles, in calm water, you can raise the engine and tow as-is.....but for most situations you remove the outboard and stow it on the rail...


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Here are a few photos, showing my set-up....

---Dinghy on foredeck, ready to head offshore..



---Outboard on stern rail, in Gibraltar (after sailing across the
Atlantic)






---Some photos showing the details of my outboard mounting bracket on the stern...







---And, one photo showing what you can do when you're towing the dinghy on a nice sail in Exuma Sound!!






I hope the above helps...

Fair winds...

John
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:19   #4
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomas95 View Post
Been living aboard dockside for 18 months now (excluding winter) on PAX, a 46' Uniflite power vessel and ready for a change of scenery. Planning a move from Ohio to SC. I will be towing an inflatable at 10 knots.Have a couple questions concerning the inflatable:

1. What do you use to keep the painter afloat when idling down the engines? Not interested in polypropylene line. Need some kind of float that can be secured in place. Possibly pool line floats?
2. How do you secure the tender to the mother ship? I'm thinking it would be OK to just tie the painter to the stern hand rail at the swim platform. Bad/good idea?
3. Where/how do you stow the outboard? Can it just be raised and left attached to the tender? I could stow it in the upper salon/pilothouse, but it would take up valuable living space.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I can't even imagine towing it that distance with all the different conditions you'll encounter. You wouldn't consider going out in the tender in some of those conditions and it's not going to be any better being towed. Plus you have to deal with it in dozens of locks. I'd either get a davit set up of some sort or just get help hoisting it aboard your boat somehow and securing it or sell it before leaving and replace it at the other end
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Old 10-07-2015, 11:53   #5
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Re: Towing an inflatable

As been mentioned, stow on deck if you have room, simplest way to go, no worries. I know of a few stories of dingies being flipped and contents dispearing to the four winds.
I have a mount on my stern arch for the outboard, 2.3 hp, easy to handle.
When I do tow, everything is out, engine is removed, painter is short as possible and tied to cleat and routed through the aft chock.

There are some good qualty braided floating core ropes to use for painter lines, I have the same painter now for 4 years, looks just as good as new.
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:02   #6
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Re: Towing an inflatable

These are all great thoughts. I should make a couple clarifications, though. First, I'd do the stern rail mount for the o/b in a heartbeat, if I still had my sailboat of 25 years and which I did have that mount (I do miss it so.) However, there is not enough clearance between the back of PAX and the stern rail for that mount (see photo).

I have also considered (as suggested) stowing the dinghy (yes, a standard AVON inflatable) on top of the housing area (also, see photo of boat.) But, it would be a bit of a hassle to deploy every time we want to use it. May be unavoidable. Also, I don't know how often we will be anchoring out on the trip, so it might not be too big an issue.

Have considered selling it and buying a new one - it is quite old, but still functional, but we may need it if we anchor out - quite likely.

Will have to check out the "floating dinghy tow line", even if used only on our short trips to Put-In-Bay and wherever when we settle in at our SC marina.

We do have stern cleats, but they are recessed and the area is full of stern line. Hmmm. I could arrange a bridle setup consisting of just a line from cleat-to-cleat and attaching the painter to a loop formed in the center of that line. I'll have to look in to that.

Several good suggestions have been made. New you guys could shed some light. Thanks!

Doug
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:43   #7
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Doug,
Okay, if you cannot / choose not to hoist the dinghy on deck, then now with this more complete info and photos, the answers become quite clear!!


All you need to do is, remove the outboard and fuel tank, etc. (and stow it where you can, I still think you can use a rail mount....but whatever/wherever works for you, will work for you!), and remove anything else in the dink, and simply hoist the dink up on one of its side tubes on your swim platform, and secure it there, athawrtships....
You can make up (splice or tie) a simple attachment line / bridle, for the swim platform side....and secure the other side to your stern (at gunwhale/deck level or higher-up at the rail, depending on how wide your dinghy is and how much vertical space between swim platform and the deck or rail)

And, then to "launch", it's as simple as letting the upper lines loose and lowering the dink into the water....

I don't see any need for davits, nor any need to tow the dink...but that's just my opinion....



I hope this helps...

Fair winds..

John
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:45   #8
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Store the dinghy on the swim platform like this



You can probably improvise with a few tie dow straps or ropes or get something like this Weaver Industries, Inc.: SNAP DAVIT FOR INFLATABLE DINGHIES FOR SWIMBOARD MOUNT
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Old 10-07-2015, 18:20   #9
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Re: Towing an inflatable

John, I like the way you think. I'll try rigging something up like that. If that doesn't work, I also like the "Dinghy sling davit system" I found here Dinghy sling davit system for inflatable boats and dinghies for only $245.
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Old 11-07-2015, 06:54   #10
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Re: Towing an inflatable

That's the ticket! Be sure to also make a placard with your boat name/port to strap over the bottom of the dinghy so that bridges and other boaters can identify you if they need to hail you on the waterway.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:40   #11
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Re: Towing an inflatable

As hoppy suggested, the Weaver mount system is a joy to use. I've installed several on power boats, and the owners actually use their dinks now. The only challenge is the outboard motor, if you plan on using one. If so, smaller is better. To keep the motor on the boat while in the vertical mode requires a complicated (and expensive) folding mount. If you are using the dink only for transport short distances, then go for the smallest outboard, or one of the new electrics. But, for economy and dependability, you can't beat the Armstrong System:
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:04   #12
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Couple of questions:

1) Why not polypropylene rope for a painter? Sure it degrades over the course of a few years, but so does any rope.

2) Why not deflate and stow in a locker for passages? We keep our 9' inflatable rolled up in the shower, moving it out to take a shower and back in when done. The outboard just goes in there with it.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:27   #13
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Can the Weaver mount system be attached
to a vertical transom without a swim step?
Like on my Catalina 30? I didn't find such in
a quick search.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:42   #14
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Re: Towing an inflatable

Yes, I've done that as well. The part that attaches to the inflatable would then be mounted to the top of the tube. The metal unit that is affixed can then be simply removed and stowed to keep it out of the way (say, if you are diving and want to crawl in over the side. The fixed portion on the mothership's transom is positioned by first attaching the inflatable boat's hardware, then bringing the inflatable to its desired location at the stern of the mothership. Attach the mothership's hardware into position on the dink's hardware, then mark for the attachment holes. It is much easier if you are not in the dinghy and there is no motor attached. That way, when the inflatable is rotated into the vertical position, you now have maximum clearance above the water. You may also want to attach a couple of steps to the transom to make it easier to embark and debark. Be sure to position them where they will be inside the outline of the inflatable hull when vertical. You will love this system. It also makes it MUCH easier to mount the outboard when the dink is securely affixed to the mothership.

OOOPs. I just noticed that it was a Catalina 30. You can't secure a dink like this on a sailboat. When it's heeled, the dink's bow or stern will be submerged and pull the inflatable off.
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Old 11-07-2015, 09:53   #15
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Re: Towing an inflatable

We towed our 14' rib most of the Great Loop. No big deal , just put it along side when docking or if pulling into a narrow slip we just hung it off the bow sprint on a short line. We slid a couple plastic floats down the 1/2" tow line to keep it away from the prop and used a snap shackle to the bow eye. If yours is not a rib better to make a bridle to attach to at least two pads on the dink.
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