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Old 10-02-2019, 20:37   #1
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Reverse while towing a dinghy

First Post!



Our new to us '84 Islander 30 is just about ready to take us on a short overnight harbor to harbor cruise (Marina Del Rey--->King Harbor). Transient boats use moorings at KH so we need to take the dinghy for getting guests onshore and exploring the marina. We plan to tow it and have the bridle with the floats for the job. My question/concern is this: We're a 30 foot boat in a 28 foot slip with a correspondingly narrow-ish fairway. Compounding the issue is a ********* cabin cruiser directly behind us that sticks out about 5 feet (3 feet more than the supposed rules). So, what do I do with the dinghy while backing out of the slip both on general principle and in my specific circumstance? We've already seen the damage than can happen from a wrapped prop and am not anxious to have a repeat when the damage will come from my wallet instead of the seller's.



Thanks in Advance
Kurt Z.
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Old 10-02-2019, 20:45   #2
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

Just bring it around midship and cleat or tie there until you have space or time to let it go. In these cases I always leave it stern tied and just bring it around and tie off to a stantion base, once clear of the harbor I let the stantion line go and it floats back until it runs out of line. Just make sure you’re not at cruising speed when doing this or you can rip the tie downs off most inflatables. Keep it under 3 kts and feed the last 5-6 ft out by hand keeping some tension. As always make sure the line is properly coiled and free of obstructions (and crew).

And you are using a floating tow line?
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Old 10-02-2019, 21:32   #3
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

Pick up the slack on the rope so your dinghy is bow-to your boats stem, back out, forward and let out the line again. The alongside option is better if you have the width for it.

You're only trying to keep the dinghy out of the way, and rope out of your prop, so anything that achieves that works.
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Old 10-02-2019, 21:38   #4
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

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Originally Posted by sveinung View Post
Pick up the slack on the rope so your dinghy is bow-to your boats stem, back out, forward and let out the line again. The alongside option is better if you have the width for it.

You're only trying to keep the dinghy out of the way, and rope out of your prop, so anything that achieves that works.
X2 ^^^This is our normal docking procedure but some cases it doesn’t work and the above is warranted.
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Old 10-02-2019, 22:46   #5
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

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Originally Posted by rbk View Post
Just bring it around midship and cleat or tie there until you have space or time to let it go. In these cases I always leave it stern tied and just bring it around and tie off to a stantion base, once clear of the harbor I let the stantion line go and it floats back until it runs out of line. Just make sure you’re not at cruising speed when doing this or you can rip the tie downs off most inflatables. Keep it under 3 kts and feed the last 5-6 ft out by hand keeping some tension. As always make sure the line is properly coiled and free of obstructions (and crew).

And you are using a floating tow line?

Floating line? Pretty sure it's polypropylene and it has 3 foam floats at the bridle. We can't bring the dinghy alongside amidships because of finger piers P&S. Tying it off to the side near the stern may work. I can't keep it directly astern because we don't have the clearance with the ^&*() cabin cruiser's swim step sticking out so far. The dingy would make contact with her swim step long before our bow was clear of the slip.


I appreciate the replies.
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Old 10-02-2019, 23:13   #6
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Reverse while towing a dinghy

If there are two of you, bring the dinghy in bow first tight to the stern side you are turning once you get past the finger (ie stern to starboard, then dinghy to starboard). Have the mate move the painter and bow along side (starboard) - tight and very limited slack - as you exit the slip end pier and continue to walk up the starboard side with the painter as you back out of the slip. Once fully out of the slip, start moving forward and the mate will walk back toward stern, releasing the painter until the dinghy is the proper length behind the boat. Tie off the painter before going to cruise power to avoid excess pressure on the painter.
I recommend you tie some loops at appropriate points on your polypropylene painter and get a couple of snap shackles. You can use the snap shackles to preset towing lengths and let them run with the lifeline during the process above. Keeps you from losing your painter/dinghy and sets the correct distances. Also keeps the painter short during critical backing operations where you must keep the painter out of the prop.

ALWAYS bring the painter in and make the bow tight to the stern BEFORE BACKING UP. This will keep your painter short and in control and DO NOT LET IT GET UNDER THE BOAT.
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Old 11-02-2019, 05:17   #7
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

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Originally Posted by KayZee View Post
So, what do I do with the dinghy while backing out of the slip both on general principle and in my specific circumstance? We've already seen the damage than can happen from a wrapped prop and am not anxious to have a repeat when the damage will come from my wallet instead of the seller's.

Would it help to dock stern-to instead of bow in?

I'd imagine that'd mean leading the dink to the bow before you begin backing into the slip... but then the dinghy would already be at the bow when you leave, maybe more manageable around that other boat?

??

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Old 11-02-2019, 09:45   #8
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

Put the dinghy on the bow?
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:21   #9
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

We have the same issue in our marina. Also, no room to tie the dinghy midship. What everybody does is what other posts have said, tie it near the stern on the side, very short line, then back the boat out of the slip. If you have a tight corner to go around to get into open water, as we do, wait to release the tow line (or release it only partially), you want to avoid the tow line getting wrapped somewhere else as you negotiate the corner!
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:26   #10
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

Back into the slip, put the stern against the dock. Easier for you to get off and on the boat, as well.

Docking stern first.

Before you go astern, tie the dink tight to the bow. After , once you are in the dock, use another line to bring the stern of the dink over and cleat it down to the end of the finger slip cleat. It should be pretty well alongside your forward hull and not too far into the fairway. No problem for other boats.

When you leave the slip, bow first, dead slow, have someone walk the dink back, to your stern, tie er down , and tow that puppy back to your home port.

Narrow fairway, use backing and filling in close quarters with the gear shift and engine. Or from the harbor, back into the fairway astern and steer in .

Another plus about stern first, is that you can motor OUT bow first and have more control , than backing out of the slip, especially with a wind or current.

Practice your skills.
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Old 11-02-2019, 10:28   #11
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

Perhaps it's not the answer you're looking for, but we never tow the dinghy in or out of a marina, we always have the dinghy deflated and stowed while underway (unless it's a short day trip) and when entering exiting marinas. The only time it's in the water is while we're at anchor or on a mooring.

Just our preference, but it avoids issues.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:08   #12
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

A bit of out of the box thinking may help you get out of the box you are in. In a similar situation I found it better to tie the dinghy to the bow of my boat while I backed out of a tight slip into a narrow fairway. Then, when in the clear, I could move to dinghy painter to the aft for towing.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:57   #13
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

I dock bow in because of the winds and currents in our marina. It's a lot easier to tow the dinghy out in reverse when its tethered to the bow. I have barely enough room to get the dinghy in between ours and the boat next to me in the slip so that's where I keep it, and it's ready to be towed out from there. Took me a while to figure that out. If you can't start with it at the bow, you'll need a crew member to walk it there while you're turning. Not sure how far you reverse or how well your boat does it. I back out of the slip and down the fairway, then bring the dinghy to the back when there's more room and I dont have to worry about wind/current as much. Way more relaxed. A lot less likely to crunch the dinghy. And no painter to worry about getting sucked into the prop.
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Old 11-02-2019, 13:13   #14
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

If things are really that tight and awkward, you don't have room on deck etc. Why not have your dinghy at a convenient (to you) place somewheres else in the marina that you can just come alongside and pick up after you leave the slip?
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Old 11-02-2019, 13:18   #15
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Re: Reverse while towing a dinghy

If it's an inflatable dinghy and you have an extra halyard (spinnaker), you could try hoisting it onto the foredeck (from the bow of the dinghy) leaning it upright against the front of the mast. When you're in the clear, draw it up and over your lifelines, lower it and then walk it back to the stern.
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