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Old 01-04-2013, 13:52   #1
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Advice on towing a 16 Carolina skiff to Bahamas

I have a 37' Gulfstar with a 50 HP Perkins. A buddy has loaned the use of a Carolina skiff with 25 hp engine for a trip to Abaco. has anyone towed anything like this before and what advice would you have for me? I am reluctant to try it at this point. Sure would be nice to have once there. the other choice is to stick with the inflatable.

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Old 03-04-2013, 05:51   #2
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Re: Advice on towing a 16 Carolina skiff to Bahamas

Pick your weather window carefully and be prepared to lose the skiff if it gets rough. They're tough boats, and not that heavy, but there's not much free board and if it were to swamp it could suck pretty hard. Motor across the stream fast on a day with no wind. Once you're on the bank you should be ok. A skiff like that would make one hell of a tender for the abacos.

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Old 03-04-2013, 07:52   #3
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Re: Advice on towing a 16 Carolina skiff to Bahamas

I've towed an 18' center consul skiff many miles around the caribbean and I can tell you what works for me. Make sure you have very strong towing eyes on the boat, I almost tore the first set out of my boat. I always tow with a second back up tow line to a separate back up toe ring. You need to secure the tow line to the rings with a knot that won't chaff. I use an anchor bowline or a special made bridal with an loop in it. One of your biggest worries is a following sea, the boat will start surfing and will try to run into your stern, or will try to rip out the towing eyes when you jerk the slack out of the line. I tow with the motor down, prop removed, an motor secured on center. I don't do this if I'm just doing a short run in sheltered water. I also have a spare prop nut, spacer and cotter pins, I've found that none of these float very well. This sounds like a lot of trouble, but once you work out a system it doesn't take long.
I also rig a big loop of line from side to side of the stern of the skiff and lay it in the skiff. That way I have it set up ready to go if I need to slow the skiff more.
Towing into wind and waves you can just slow down if it gets too ruff. I also set my tow lines differently depending on speed and sea conditions. Just experiment till it rides the best.
I tow with three strand nylon because I want the stretch to absorb some of the shock. But you have to be careful because it sinks and can get sucked into your prop. Thats why some people like to use polyprop because it floats. I start out with the skiff tied off to the side aft quarter and as I slowly get under way I let it go and slowly let out the tow line. If I'm anchoring or stopping I slow down and stop and bring the skiff back up and tie it off the aft quarter, then anchor or side tie to a dock. Needless to say you need a good set of fenders between the skiff and the boat, longer the better.
This all works for me but I'm sure there are other ideas that work for other people and I don't claim to be an expert. These are just suggestions for you to consider.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:48   #4
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Re: Advice on towing a 16 Carolina skiff to Bahamas

I towed my 11 Whaler almost everywhere I went from the Gulf to the Keys to the Bahamas.

I always used three lines. Two from the stern cleats to the eye, with some floats on them to keep them up. I also had a third, emergency line, so that I wouldn't lose the dingy if something gave way on the main double bridle.

The only thing I ever worried about was losing it crossing the stream in some 5-6 foot, fairly steep swells, and thinking it would be hard as hell to turn around and get it, especially if I didn't notice it come loose right away.

Have lots of line available so you can let it out far enough so it doesn't surf down on you if you get in some big long waves.

Mine was small enough to put on my foredeck and I did that on one passage.

The next time I go back to the Bahamas, I will have a 15-17 foot center console behind me. IMHO, it's worth the trouble to have a fun boat to run around in when you get there.
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Old 04-04-2013, 22:46   #5
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Re: Advice on towing a 16 Carolina skiff to Bahamas

I've towed a 12 footer in some places I probably shouldn't have. I lash a few fenders inside to increase the bouyancy in case of the worst and strap a jerry can of water or fuel down at the stern to keep the bow up, and her towing straight. I use three lines, two from the bow, and a third from the stern that can be used as a drogue line if it starts to yaw or overrun. Things can get very nasty if it goes pear shaped...
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Old 05-04-2013, 02:46   #6
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Agree w group9, second/ spare line in case main gives way.
Powerful automatic bilge pump.
Some way to self bail.
Read an article about some guy who always ran his trolling line with slack to the dinghy, turned clicker on amd drag light if the dinghy broke free it would alert him.
Have nothing in the dinghy that can clog its bilge self bailer etc
Let us know how it goes.
Bring me lobster!

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