How should I tow a dinghy? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 95 Old 02-06-2008
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I cheat.. I just stow the inflated dinghy on the ama deck, where it tucks in quite nicely. One advantage of having a trimaran.
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post #12 of 95 Old 02-06-2008
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I echo Labatt on adjusting painter length. Your boat makes a series of stern wave pattern, especially when under power and hence upright.

If you adjust the painter so the dinghy's sliding "down" the face of one of those small waves, there'll be a lot less drag than if you pulling it "up" the back of one of those waves.
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post #13 of 95 Old 02-06-2008
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I find towing my dinghy requires constant attention. I have both a hard shell and an inflatable. I take the hard dinghy when I'm staying in fairly protected waters. It tows very well but has to be a long way back or it keeps running into me. The inflatable doesn't tow as well but does no damage when it runs into me. It is also a lot more drag. For both dinks I adjust the tow line based on speed to minimize the drag, which is easy to check by just pulling the towline in by hand. You can feel when it gets easier. Regardless of how I attach the towline to the boat there is always significant chafe. The nip needs to be freshened regularly. (change where it is chafing) I always have a safety line from the towline to a second point in the dinghy just in case the attachment to the boat chafes through. I don't leave anything in the boast because even the slightest weight changes the dynamics.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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post #14 of 95 Old 02-06-2008
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Hmmm, I am not sure my opinion is completely inline with others, but I will give it:

For Coastal:

I use a single line attached to the pull (bow) of the boat. I do not like dual lines as it is just one more thing to mess with when trying to get her up to the boat (for any reason). I use an inflateable too. I personally do not use a floating painter becaues I have never liked the line and seems apt to chafe. But many dissagree with me and if you wrap it around your prop it is all for naught anyways. On the painter I put a snubber:



This keeps the shock off the line and makes the tender ride a LOT smoother. I highly reccomend this. I also put a loop in the painter at the point where I can pull the dink up to the back of the sailboat. THis make for easy connection when trying to pull her in for any purpose (especially when moving and you have to connect her quickly).

I have not found a sweet spot when towing the dink. SHe always seems to slide down the wave faces and 'Pop" anyways. The snubber helps, but there (to me) does not seem to be a perfect place. I don't bother trying to adjust that. If I get caught in a storm, I will often try and pull the tender in close (ie, the loop). THis works pretty well unless the seas start breaking behind you. Make sure you have the plug out on the inflateable. Many dissagree with this, but your inflateable should not fill with water if nothing is in it. But the plug will help you get the water out as the rain or seas break into her. Otherwise, you will find you ahve a major situation on your hands when she starts to fill up!! (Don't ask me how I know).

Offshore:

DOn't. If you can deflate her, do it and toss on the foredeck (securely lashed down). Do not leave her on davits either unless you are certain of your weather. I personally feel a towed dink is dangerous offshore - assuming it stays with you the whole trip anyways. Towing her in seas is tough on the hardware and peace of mind.

- CD
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post #15 of 95 Old 02-08-2008 Thread Starter
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I do have experience towing an inflatable who thinks he's a submarine. Its an old style dingly without tow ring so we tow via the life-rope. Big mistake. When the wind picks up and the boat goes 6-7 kts, the ding takes in water from its bow and started diving. Had to jump into the dinghy and bail out the water before he reach periscope depth. You know what they say about a man on a sinking boat with a bucket is worth more than 10 Rule pumps? What a ride!
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post #16 of 95 Old 02-19-2008
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The one TRUE answer

Here's the final answer...

Don't tow your dinghy.

If it's anything more than across a calm lake, towing a dinghy will only result in dissapointment.

It will, however, give you an excuse to go buy a NEW dinghy, so if that's what you're looking for...

S/V Baloo, lying San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

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post #17 of 95 Old 02-19-2008
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I disagree with the do not tow your dink post. Sure, the best bet is the stern garage on the mega yachts. But, since we do not live that life... in the VI, you rarely see a sailboat without a dink behind. And, if you do, it is most likely on davits. Neither is the best scenario. For us, we tow a 12' caribe RIB with a 15 HP 2 stroke. It is a heavy beast. Even though we use a polypro line, we have joined the ranks of those who have wrapped the dink painter on their prop. We have seen 30 knots and 10' seas and she survived... but my nerves did not and no, it was not planned.

The key seems to be a long tow line. 100' is used by others I know. Also, make sure the motor is tied on. My neighbor looked back and saw his motor was gone. When he stopped, he saw it was dangling 3 feet below the surface on a line. He had not secured the clamp screws with zip ties or a lock. Or, if it may be rough, remove the motor.

Our 12 footer will even sit upright on our foredeck, straddling the mast push pit using fenders for chocks.

many ways to get the sports car to town...
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post #18 of 95 Old 02-19-2008
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Towing a dinghy with an outboard motor on it is a pretty foolish thing to do IMHO. If the dinghy capsizes or gets pooped... the engine isn't going to be happy, and either are you.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #19 of 95 Old 02-19-2008
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try a long piece of shock cord or two

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post #20 of 95 Old 02-19-2008
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I towed my Rib for THOUSANDS of miles with the outboard on. You just have to:
1. Have a dinghy that will do that without swamping.
2. Pay attention to the weather and the seas.
Statements like "never tow a dinghy" or "never tow a dinghy with an engine on it" just don't hold water. You just need to be smart about stuff and know your own boat and dinghy.

No longer posting. Reach me by PM!
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