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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #91  
Old 02-16-2014
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Re: How should I tow a dinghy?

Was researching making combo bridle/lifting harness/sling for
inflatable dinghy when I came by this 2 + year old thread.
Thinking I will secure bridle to 2 lifting eye bolts going thru transom
and then run forward passing thru 2 D rings on way to connecting
bridle to tow line, so that D rings are only guiding position of lines
and not really doing the heavy pulling.
Thinking I will put line thru tubular webbing were potential chafe
exists on tubes.
Will pump up the inflatable tomorrow and measure to see if
I will be able to use bridle for nice 4 point lifting sling/harness
as well. Thinking?? of using my soft shackles to secure at transom,
tow line and at halyard when lifting...instead of metal shackles??
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Re: How should I tow a dinghy?

If you are going to tow your dink, then a bridle is necessary. Whether you need to use your method to go back to the transom is questionable, but it can't hurt and it sounds like it would work.

If I were tow a dink then I would do it on a very short line. In fact, I've towed one with the bow essentially on the swim step. I think that this decreases the drag but I'm not sure.

But speaking of drag, that's one reason I would not tow a dink. I've never done a test, but I suspect that it can cost you half a knot. But towing is very common.

As I say with most things, it is a personal choice and there is no "right way" though some people might try to tell you otherwise.
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Old 02-17-2014
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Re: How should I tow a dinghy?

I agree with mlibkind to me short is better to reduce drag and you can maneuver better. You will lose more than 1/2 a knot when towing behind a sailboat.
You must use a slip connection especially if you tow on the second boat wake which is often recommended. Make sure you have that second safety line.
I tow a heavy Achilles 410 (13-1/2 ft) with lifted(and secured) 25 hp OB within 10ft of the stern actualy lifting the dinghy bow a little and found that causes the least amount of stress and speed reduction. My safety line is on the 2 inside D-ring tied off to the center tow ring and my bridle is tied off to the outside bow D-rings and my painter (tow line) can move freely from SB to Port on this bridle allowing to reduce stress enacted by the dinghy movement on the waves.
I even used the dingy transom tow hooks to lift the dinghy back out of the water but the engine could hit the tow boats transom so I gave up on that. Now if I had davits that might work, but if I had davits the dinghy would be out of the water all the time.
Happy sailing,
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Old 02-17-2014
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Re: How should I tow a dinghy?

When I tow mine (a hard dinghy, not a deflatable) it's usually because I am planning on using it a lot. A good example would be cruising down the Exumas chain, where I am hop scotching 4 or 5 miles a day. It really doesn't bother me if I go a knot slower when doing this.

There are so many different ways to tow a dinghy that really the best thing to do is take some of these ideas, and experiment with what works for you best, based on

1. your type of dinghy
2. your type of sailboat
3. your type of sailing

In some places, and on some passages, you will want it on the deck. (In Nassau, for instance, I leave in on the deck, and chained to the mast, to make sure it will be there, whenever I leave and came back from foot exploring).
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Last edited by Group9; 02-17-2014 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 02-17-2014
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Re: How should I tow a dinghy?

Thank you gentlemen, have towed dinghies for only short distances
for number of years and only now making a purpose built bridle
which is looking promising to use for lifting dinghy on deck also
making lifting easy, fast, and therefor will be done more often.
Usually willing to risk the chance of weather coming out of
nowhere and losing 1/2 knot while towing for a few hours along the coast for the convenience. Most of us do it knowing the downside.
Hit home to me years back when towing my wood/canvas Penn Yann dinghy on a 80 ft tow line and it decided to go on its own Nantucket sleigh ride, passing the mothership while we were pushing 6 knots! Hence the inflatable and short distance towing
sometimes with bow lifted up on transom and sometimes
further behind riding down a wave.
Never a problem with pulling out D rings with bridle secured to
transom eye bolts.
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