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Old 28-09-2010, 12:19   #1
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Dinghy as Emergency Tugboat

I've never had to try this myself, but it has always been my plan, if the diesel quits, to use my inflatable dinghy as an emergency tugboat to get me either into my slip, or onto a mooring in a crowded field.

Assuming that this has already happened to others, I was hoping to learn some hard-won wisdom regarding how-to.

?
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Old 28-09-2010, 12:28   #2
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Unfortunately did it many times when I had a Volvo in my CS36M. Also towed a friend in a couple of times when we traveled together. His dink was useless. For a long distance tow from the bow. For close quarters put the boat "on the hip". Tie your dink on one of the quarters, make sure the engine of the dink is well aft of the transom of the big boat (for steering). Tie the dink fore and aft, the aft line going to the opposite quarter. Towing picture from my early days.


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Old 28-09-2010, 12:29   #3
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Don't try to tow boat with dinghy,tie it alongside near cockpit then you can move easily between steering wheel(or tiller)and dinghy o.b. throttle.Wait until tide and wind is favorable.Have done this with inflatable and 4hp.
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Old 28-09-2010, 12:47   #4
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+1 to highseas. Works a treat.
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Old 28-09-2010, 18:57   #5
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Mine quit mid channel 2 weeks ago headed towards the marina . Dingy rolled up in the lazerette, dingy motor at my house. Luckily wind although blowing 15+ was in a almost favorable direction, I rolled out about 5 feet of head sail and ran it up to the slip about 2.5 knts Rolled the sail as I turned into the slip (dead down wind) And floated into the slip. I make it sound a little easier then it was, I was on the rail with a boat hook as soon as i was pointed in the slip and I did stop the boat using the spring line but it wasnt so bad nothing broken nothing hurt . I think Im going to sail in whenever possible (with the engine idleing just in case ) just to get more pratice. Seems that the engine only dies when Im in the channel.
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Old 28-09-2010, 19:07   #6
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Practice sailing into a slip if your marina allows it. One day it may save you and your insurance company a lot of money if your engine quits inside the marina.
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Old 28-09-2010, 19:13   #7
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Don't try to tow boat with dinghy,tie it alongside near cockpit then you can move easily between steering wheel(or tiller)and dinghy o.b. throttle.
Highseas is correct. This works just fine.

It is important to use four lines to tie the dink securely alongside. Just like alongside a dock: Fore, aft, and two proper springs. I use fenders, too. At high power it helps to have someone heavy in the dink. For slower work it's not necessary.

Plan ahead as to which side will be best if docking is in your future. Don't plan on using the outboard to brake excessive speed. Go really slow near expensive stuff - as you always should.

The outboard will be best pointed toward the center of the ship...the center of resistance.
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Old 28-09-2010, 21:13   #8
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It wouldn't hurt to experiment...in open water on a low wind day......

Just like a MOB drill, having the experience in how to set it up and how the boat behaves....make you look like a pro.

The line leading forward is your stopping line
The line to the aft is your towing line
You will have one line at the bow of the dink...tieing the bow of the dink against the hull.

In an ideal "on the hip" the dink should be angled in towards the boat with the stern kicked out somewhat....not parallel

Keep the rudder of the vessel being moved amidships

It takes practice/patience....slow is pro
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Old 28-09-2010, 22:22   #9
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Dingy as tug has long been one consideration I use in my choice of dinks. You may not use it as a tug for your own boat, but there will be plenty of chances to help out others. Like when a boat drags anchor and no skipper is aboard that boat, you'll see dinks gather to assist. Part of the fun of it all.

I saved myself a few $$ by not calling for a tow once. That's all it took for me to justify the idea.

As others have said, tie up to the quarter for and aft.
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Old 29-09-2010, 00:23   #10
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Makes me wonder if its worth it to install a small outboard bracket on the stern of your boat if practical...
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Old 29-09-2010, 00:58   #11
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Mine quit mid channel 2 weeks ago headed towards the marina . Dingy rolled up in the lazerette, dingy motor at my house. Luckily wind although blowing 15+ was in a almost favorable direction, I rolled out about 5 feet of head sail and ran it up to the slip about 2.5 knts Rolled the sail as I turned into the slip (dead down wind) And floated into the slip. I make it sound a little easier then it was, I was on the rail with a boat hook as soon as i was pointed in the slip and I did stop the boat using the spring line but it wasnt so bad nothing broken nothing hurt . I think Im going to sail in whenever possible (with the engine idleing just in case ) just to get more pratice. Seems that the engine only dies when Im in the channel.
My son and I took the Basic Keelboat course in San Diego at Harbor Sailboats. We trained on Catalina 22s, and the relevant part of the post is that they required you to master the art of bringing the boat into the dock under sail - no power allowed ever on landing. I likened it to learning to glide and land your plane before being allowed to try to use the engine on your plane.

I must say it was great training. I'd done a fair bit of sailing, but this was the first experience for my son. We did the course, and then spent a couple of summers sailing San Diego harbor. Five years later we took my Force 5 out on a lake and even though he hadn't sailed for at least a couple of years, I let him "bring us in". He did great, judging his speed perfectly, kissing up to the dock.

I firmly believe everyone should learn this skill - it will serve you well.
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Old 29-09-2010, 01:11   #12
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if you need to tow, then an alongside on the quarter with the dinghy well secured to the boat works well. I moved my catalac over 2 miles using a 2hp yamaha (engine was running a little warm for some reason.

If you need to tow from ahead, then turn your tender 180 degrees so that the two boats are bow to bow, and secure the towing line to the bow. then drive the dinghy by pointing the engine where you want to go - note this will only work on the small engines that can be swivelled through 360 degrees.
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Old 29-09-2010, 09:46   #13
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We found it easiest with two zodiacs - one alongside as a tug, the other pushing and pulling as necessary.

I observer the coast guard tow craft with their huge ribs and they did it alongsides too.

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Old 29-09-2010, 09:59   #14
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Here is a photo to prove a large yacht can be towed by a small dingy.
This 50 foot yacht ran aground with no one on board. In calm conditions as was able to tow it off the sand and back to owr boat with only a 5hp outboard on the dingy
I tied it to our stern and until the owners returned we had a great new 50 foot tender.

BTW if you tow with a rope (instead of tying the dingy alongside) reversing the dingy works better (the motor pulls instead of pushes the dingy).

Also a dingy can be used as a bowthruster if necessary.With an inflatible you can just push directly on the bow or stern.
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Old 29-09-2010, 10:13   #15
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Towing picture from my early days.



Nice picture Vasco, whats the name of the tug??
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