Join Date: Sep 2011
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I have a light weight 24 foot yacht.
I have towed heavier yachts for a couple of hours to get them to a comfortable location after their engine failed.
I use a bridle across the stern and have a nylon rope that has proven excellent for control and stretch.
The bridle allows my yacht to steer easily while maintaining full power for the tow.
When I first started sailing, I was cautioned about recieving a tow from the police or local volunteer rescue services. Yacht club rescue boats were prefered for safety. The reason was many power boat operators were not aware of the effects ofhull speed for displacement hulls. The larger planning rescue boats did not steer properly without a lot of power which would overload the yacht being towed.
Its important the person towing understands the characteristic of the boat being towed.
In calm conditions, I helped 3 yachts (engineless) return to the club with a sick 6hp outboard on the J24. They had no option and I was not in a hurry so the yachts formed a daisy chain and I powered the little 6hp at about half throttle for an hour or so to return everyone.
My point is you can move a lot with a small engine providing the conditions are suitable.
Additionally you can damage a yacht too easily when towing it with a high powered craft, particularly if the towing craft has trouble holding course at the displacement speed of the yacht.
When towing, always have a knife ready to cut lines in an emergency.