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  #1  
Old 08-24-2012
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dingy towing

I have a Catalina 25 that we are planning to take to the Gulf in the early spring for a two week trip. I would like to have a small dingy with me. What are the problems when towing one? Installing davits is to expensive for the very limited use it would get. In my opinion an inflatable is not the answer as it takes up room on board that I do not have available.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: dingy towing

Mercury marine inflatable tows great, does it all ,Can be had cheap. rows well ,motors good! Light and I tow it ,stow it , hang it, found two places it can be on deck...Dale
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: dingy towing

Things to look out for when towing a dinghy:

1. Overstressing the towing points on the dinghy. Dinghies have attachment points to attach the towing line. On inflatables, these are usually sewn in "D" rings. It's best to spread out the load by attaching to both port and starboard "D" rings and then feed the lines thru to "D" ring at the bow. If you simply attach the tow line to the bow ring, you risk pulling it out.
2. Shock loads on the tow line could pull out the attachement points. Even if you spread out the load to multiple attachment points, you could overstress them with shock loading as the dinghy is surged forward/aft. What we do to minimize the shock loads. From #1 above, a line is tied to an attachment on the stbd and the port side of the dinghy. This line is fed thru the D ring on the bow and forward where we tie a bight. This arrangement is called a towing bridle. From the sailboat's stern cleat, we tie a line and run it through the bight on the towing bridle and back to the stern cleat on the other side of the sailboat. This towing line is long enough that we can ease it out so that the dinghy rides far enough back for the tow line to take the shock loads instead of the attachement points. Also, you can reduce shock loading by having the dinghy ride the troughs of waves when the boat is in a trough, and not having the dinghy at a crest when the boat is in a trough.
3. Be careful not to foul your propeller on the tow line. When coming to an anchorage/marina, we pull the tow line in so that it is not longer in the water. Also, the tow bridle we use is made up of floating polypro line. Some attach a float at the end of the towing bridle to assist in keeping the arrangement from getting under the rudder.
4. Flipping the dinghy. We make sure there is nothing in the dinghy when we tow it. Outboard, thwart, oars, everything, is on the sailboat and not in the dinghy. If it flips over while being towed, you might lose this stuff.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: dingy towing

If you have to tow it be careful, particularly regarding the conditions that you find yourself in. Every dink and every boat will behave differently when towing or being towed but there are some commonalities. You should consider having two attachment points on both the dink and your sailboat. If you are in any kind of swell or waves it is often best to have the dinghy far enough behind the sailboat to ride on top of the wave behind, keeping a trough between the sailboat and the dink. Before starting the motor on your sailboat you want the tow lines arranged so you can't foul your prop (for me this means I bring the dink in tight against the transom which allows me to reverse without fouling as well). Don't load ANYTHING in the dinghy when towing it. Motor, life jackets, oars, gas can, etc. should be carried in your sailboat.

Have a good trip!
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: dingy towing

I tow a KL Industries Water Tender 9.4 behind my Seafarer 26.

WEST MARINE WaterTender 9.4 Rowing Dinghy at West Marine

I don't have a lot to compare it to, but find it to be a great dinghy. Lightweight, easy to row, stable with up to 3 adults and gear. So far, no problems towing. I am, however, on Lake Champlain and doubt I could get into swells that make towing a problem. I do give it about 20' of line when underway and let it ride on its own without any gear inside. I tie into the D ring in the front and have not noticed any signs of wear/stress. It really doesn't give much drag when it's empty. It's really been very easy to use.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: dingy towing

I also have the WT 9.4; it's a great little tender.

Have you joined the C25/C250 association?

Catalina - Capri - 25s International Association

Lots of good people and info there!

Good luck in the Gulf; it's my dream destination!

Ken
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Old 08-24-2012
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Re: dingy towing

We used to have a nice 10' fiberglass Whitehall style rowboat we towed as a tender. It rowed beautifully and was pretty well behaved under tow due to it's keel. The down side was that if it did capsize or swamp, recovery could be difficult. Not only that but when it came to using it, I cringed every time it banged into the hull of my boat, and I was paranoid about it banging other boats when coming into docks! We ended up picking up an Aquapro RIB and has been great! It is not the greatest rowboat compared to the Whitehall, but with a small outboard it is very good. It is one of the lightest rigid hull boats I could find at less than 100lbs, so it is easy to lift onto the foredeck if necessary, but we prefer to tow it. Initially we towed it from the bow eye on the hull, but it tended to hunt around behind us. I then made a bridle that connects to the towing d-rings bonded to each side tube and have found it extremely well behaved even in big seas. The trick is to adjust your tow line to get it surfing on your stern wave. As soon as you find that sweet spot the load on the tow line drops dramatically. (the boat is so light there isn't much load anyway.) We were forced to tow it for a distance with the outboard on it once this summer, and it was fine, but I wouldn't make a habit of it, because there was alot more drag that way! The nice thing about the inflatables is that they won't ding your boat up when they bump it; they are just like a giant fender!
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Old 08-27-2012
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Re: dingy towing

A dingy should only be towed in no more than 15, or so, knots of wind with seas running no more than 3 to 5 feet. Anything more blustery than that and you risk loosing your dingy if you can't get it on board. I was towing a 9' home-made wood pram behind my '81 Hunter 30 in 15-18 knots and 4-6' seas in the Florida Straights with no problems. Suddenly the wind picked up to 30-35 knots and the seas almost instantly increased to 12-15'. The dingy began wildly swerving from side to side and I had to cut it loose.
I'm getting a nesting dingy next and stowing it on deck in anything over 12 knots.
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Old 08-27-2012
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Re: dingy towing

I have a hard dink and tow it in the chesapeake and have a means to stow it if it gets too rough. Honestly though other than running over the painter and getting it caught in the prop dont over think it. These forums will have you loosing sleep at night over sh!t. I still can't sleep soundly at anchor after reading these forums.
Under moderate conditions 15-17kts on the bay...no issues. I ran the dingy back about 25-30 ft and brought it on close when I was getting ready to dock, anchor or maneuver in tight spaces, again to avoid fouling the prop...yes in have poly line so it floats and that prop will still get it.
My biggest issue was the noise....man towing my wooden pram makes a lot of noise....
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Old 08-28-2012
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Re: dingy towing

I looked at an inflatable that is small. I don't think I can place it on the deck. If I do the head sail and sheet will get snagged. Not sure I will get a motor as that creates another storage problem for our small boat. Towing is probably the only option if I want to take a dingy along.
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