On a sail I did earlier this year from Tortola, BVI to the Turks & Caicos Islands on a big Beneteau we lost and then found our escaped dinghy. The full story is perhaps not a BFS as the winds were not much above 'normal' or force 3 - 4 but more of a normal ocean sail (NOS). Here is my full writeup: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/cruisi...gry-ocean.html
The thumbnail account has to do with the dinghy which had a bridle line on it but no official towing bridle. The owner had used a bowline tied around the line at the bow of the dinghy instead. After 3 days of being on normal ocean sailing waves (4 - 6') the line chafed and the dinghy left us. Fortunately the motor was safely attached to the stern rail or push pit. However, the new Walker Bay gray inflatable began to get indistinguishable from the white caps in our wake. I was the sole smoker on board out of a total crew of 2 and hence I was smoking in the cockpit. I noticed the sound that was missing rather then the sight of the missing dinghy first. I called the skipper off his seat of ease below in the cabin with one word: "dinghy".
He came back to the cockpit and we bashed back up wind less then 1000 yards form the point the dingy's lines had let go and we snagged it and retied the line as we were within 10 miles of our intended destination on Providenciales.
To be fair, there were no dinghy davits on this 50+ foot boat and stowing it on the foredeck would have been something of a pain but I learned a few things about towing a dinghy (or dink as us Yanks sometimes call it) in any kind of swell.
1 - It is always best to haul your dinghy up in davits or up on the deck if possible.
2 - If you must tow it be sure to check the towing lines regularly and I would even recommend an extra 'rescue' line to it.
3 - Spend the $100 for the official bridle package as a bowline tied across another line will part eventually due to chafing, no matter how high tech that line may be.
Chall, since the charter company said not to do anything about the dinghy you did what you needed to do. They pay insurance money to cover the eventual loss of the dinghy and their insurance may not cover renters doing other damage to the boat whilst trying to stow the dinghy on deck - which could have come out of your pocket.
It always amazes me how an owner of a $100+ K boat would skimp on the small stuff but I guess that after you have paid that much you would rather replace an item (dinghy) then risk damage to your expensive property. On the other hand (OTOH) you can see the boat bucks piling up sooo much faster with a big boat - multiple heads, thicker lines for running rigging etc, etc. That is why charters are not cheap as being cheap means you are skimping on something that you probably should have.