Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 310 Times in 240 Posts
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Whether sailing or motoring, your displacement hull pushes a lot of water and much of it is piled into a mound behind the boat. That is the wake. That wake follows us whether we tow our dinghy, or stow it on deck. Like all mounds, it's easier to go down them than up them. That's why ski resorts have chairlifts to take us up, and skis to slide down. If you position the dinghy so it skis downhill, it gets a free ride. If you position it so your boat becomes a chairlift and constantly drags it uphill, then you lose boat speed and perhaps the D-Rings pop off. Why people struggle with this obvious concept is beyond me. It works--I do it every week.
Towed dinks can be adjusted to the hull speed and stern wave to reduce drag but ti still does not eliminate it. The stern wave moves a lot depending upon your hull speed so we adjust the painter length many times per day when towing. When it's surfing the stern wave there is a drastically reduced drag & load on the dinghy and your vessel but not eliminated.
This only works well however in calmer seas and in following seas the dink can surf up and bump your stern requiring a longer painter length. In slightly rough weather, when already sailing at hull speed down wind, I will often deploy the dinks beach wheels (Pellican wheels) which creates a sea brake like action and stops it from surfing & yawing. It also keeps it from snatching when it surfs and gets sideways. We regularly tow ours in up to 20-25 knots and have never lost a dinghy (40 years of myself and family towing dinghies). Above that it goes on deck. In real light winds it goes in the davits to make the best speed we can. We tow with a single point attachment to the bow ring of the RIB. If we had just an inflatable we'd two with the two d-rings but our fiberglass hull is far stronger than our hypalon glued on d-rings.
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 09-27-2011 at 09:17 AM.