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Old 07-17-2012
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Tubing with a sailboat

I'm considering purchasing my first sailboat. I've taken some classes and chartered a bunch.

This past weekend we rented a powerboat and went tubing with the kids (pulling an inflatable tube with someone riding in the tube behind the powerboat). We had a great time and it got me wondering if that could be done with a sailboat.

I think the theoretical answer is yes, but the speed is limited due to the physics. The gauge on the powerboat (who knows how accurate) read around 12 mph when we were tubing. I would only use the motor on a sailboat to tube because of the need to stop quickly and be able to turn around if someone falls off the tube.

I'm looking at boats in the 22-30 foot range (I know that's a big range!), and I don't believe hull speeds in that size range would get me to about 12 mph (about 10.5 knots), right?

I believe this is one plus for a swing keel or center-board boat, because if the keel is brought up, then the boat could plane to some extent, and go faster. But I had been thinking of keeping the boat in the water (not trailoring), so had been leaning away from swing keel because of concerns with maintenance and performance.

I'm not interested in a motorsailer - like a Morgan - because I want a real sailboat first and foremost. I'm just wondering about whether it can occasionally be used for tubing.

All suggestions and ideas welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

Assuming this isn't a joke.... most sailboats will motor at most around 6 or 7 knots, and probably closer to 5 in the size range you are looking at. So yeah, you can tow a tube but it's not exactly going to be a thrill ride. Towing a tube at 6.5 knots under sail might be a laugh though. The only boat I can think of that would meet your criteria would be something like the Macgregor 26M/Xs, or maybe the 26' Hunter which does a similar thing I think. You can throw a 50hp motor on the Macgregor and hit 25mph. They aren't necessarily the best in terms of sailing (or motoring), but they do sail within their limits.
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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

7 mph would be REALLY fast in that size range
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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

One way it can be done, is get a rigid inflatable dingy and put as big of a motor as you can. I think one that will take a 15 HP would work. The problem with the duel purpose like the Macgregor, or the Hunter Edge is that like all severe compromises they miss on both counts. They are horrible power boats, and lousy sailboats. A sailboat is a displacement boat (unless it is a very high performance boat) and power boat is a planing boat, two completely different things. No such things as doing both well. It is like trying to make a 7 seat sports car, just not possible.
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

Never tried it, but the 20-25' "sport boats" (think Melges 24 or similar) will hit 10 knots on a broad reach in 20 knots of breeze. I can do it on a Beneteau first 7.5 I teach on, which is heavier and slower than the Melges.

But, tubing? thing is, if your 'tuber' gets separated from tube, at that speed you'll have a long trip back upwind to get him, so make sure he's a good swimmer, good pfd, warm water
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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

Not familiar with the Hunter but I've seen the MacGregor out on the water under power doing maybe 20 mph. Agree with the above. The MacGregor, being a "hybrid" isn't much as a power boat or as a sailboat, but if you want to do both, it's worth looking into.
Any real sailboat, in that size range, is only going to give you 5-6 mph either under sail or power. My 34' boat has an inboard diesel with 23 hp and I don't think I've ever seen any sailboats with outboards over 15 hp, except for the MacGregor.
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

I have the feeling we are all being sucked in here, but what the hell. I am assuming that tubing at 12 MPH was with small light children. At that speed with a adult the tube would be pushing water and begin to wash the rider off as it goes bow down. Most tubes state that they should be used at 15-20, which gets most powerboats on a plane. I pull adults at around 25.

If you are just wanting to drag the kids around behind the boat at slow speed , or a nasty brother in law you want to banish for a while, people drag their kids around on tubes behind sailboats all the time. However, a traditional sailboat usually doesn't plane in conditions you would be dragging kids in.
Buddy Melges once did a demo where he pulled a skier behind one of his older boats, but he was a pro in big wind making the boat go 20.
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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

If you've got the right boat, no problem!


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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

I tow the kids behind under sail all the time. We attach a line to a cheap boogie board and throw it in. Drag it 30 or so feet behind. The kids love it as much or more as the wake tube behind the powerboat.
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Old 07-17-2012
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Re: Tubing with a sailboat

The Fly Scott ( day sailer ) use to advertise a water skier behind them. I use to tow my son on a boogy boat behind a Hobie16. Get your kids their own small boat. I still enjoy rowing...remembering my first yacht at the age of 8, a small pram.

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