Originally Posted by LarryandSusanMacDonald
We used a dinghy tow for probably several thousand miles - several times up and down the ICW and in (not to) the Bahamas. We had it swamped once by a Gasshole on the Cape Fear River who thought it would be prudent to run his 6 foot wake right next to our boat. Busted one of the clips that hold the dinghy to the bracket.
Had it come loose on the Albermarle once - same clips came loose in a nasty chop.
And the final straw was in the Bahamas. We were anchored on the Banks between Bimini and Nassau. The wind picked up at about 90 degrees to the rollers that were coming in off the Atlantic. We had tied the mizzen halyard to the painter to hoist the whole dinghy out of the water, but we were bouncing so much it was slamming into the water with a horrible crashing noise about every sixth wave. One of the square pipes of the dinghy tow bent, and the dinghy turned and snugged its side up to our transom - rubbed part of the name off the boat. And ruined the dinghy tow. Needless to say, sleepless night - and I could do nothing - it was as dark as the inside of a cow out there and the boat was a carnival ride.
So we towed or stowed the rest of the trip and we now have a davit system which I'm going to install next chance I get.
My advice echoes a lot of what was said above. Double up on your lines if you're towing and connect to different cleats on the deck and tow points on the dinghy - lines break and so do cleats, d-rings, etc.
I don't think I would purchase a dinghy tow again, though in calm waters it was handy, I don't always sail in calm waters.
Just a warning as I have also pulled a dink on davits and behind for many, many miles - I doubt under most circumstances I would take my tender to sea on davits. It is even sometimes tough in the ICW. If you get into a rolling sea of better than 5+ feet or so (depending on your boat), that thing starts slamming around back there. If you get pooped, it is gone along with part of your transom.
I am not contradicting you at all. Just sharing my experience. But the davits are great at night... cause it is still there in the morning!!!!! I would buy them again in a heartbeat (and did). Just make sure if you raise it on davits for any long runs you really lash it hard for lateral movements.
Good posts and enjoy your contributions.