How should I tow a dinghy? - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 95 Old 06-22-2008
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Please go back to the snubber suggestion. We have a RIB- aluminum, so it's light-tow with outboard- raised all the time. I use a towing bridle, but also attach a line to the built in ring on aluminum bottom and then again on the ring where the bridle becomes one or meets to the single line of the painter. What is the proper length of the snubber line? Should it be shorter to just absorb the shock or since it's attached to the rigid bottom, should it be shorter to pull most of the weight?

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post #52 of 95 Old 11-13-2008
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Dinghys

The most important part of towing a dinghy is to have the proper towing lline...It HAS to be a FLOATING line...WHY...Because when you drop anchor...and start backing down on her...The dinghy doesn't back down but goes foward...If your line is not of the floating variety you are playing Russian Roulette...maybe not the first time..but it WILL catch in the prop..If your prop doesn't break the line...The dinghy will be drawn in and you will hear an awful screach as the prop will put a nice big gash in your Zodiac..

I do not recommend towing dinghys...At anchor dinghys lagging on towing lines get stolen..Need to be attached to a sling and a halyard raised from the water ..They rarely if ever get stolen in this posture....If your hallards can't handle it...Get a davit..to take your engine off and raised...This of course lightens the hallyard..."No one said that cruising would be easy"....a lot of deck work..

"When it starts to blow... your dinghy will go"...especially at night under heavy sailing conditions. That is not the time to get "the damn thing" on deck

Get your crew to put it on deck.. BEFORE you weigh anchor..That's what crew are for..LOL
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post #53 of 95 Old 12-01-2008
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Just a note of experience: While towing our C-12 w/15 hp in 6' seas/23 kts off the S side of St. Thomas this weekend, the snap link that connected the thimble eye on the tow line to the towing ring failed. It looks like the spring broke. And thus, we noticed our dink going the opposite way of our boat. It was an interesting rescue in those conditions. I ended up diving overboard and jumping into the dink as it as very hard to get the 2 boats side by side at the same level (dink rides side to wind and swell).

I had crew attached a shackle to the tow line and toss me the center part of the tow line, came up close to the stern of the sailboat, then had 100' of float time to attach. Then it came time to get on the bucking transom... good timing and all was done. It was a good drill.

Lessons: No more snap links for convenience. Heavy shackle only. Those conditions were a bit big for towing... sail elsewhere or haul dink.

Happy Towing...
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post #54 of 95 Old 02-21-2009
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Getting Better

This 'ol' thread [Feb. 08] has a lot of good ideas. I got the Portland Pudgy and love it. It came with a nice bridle system. We have to tow and made two 250 mile vacation sails last summer and it towed fine. We put the little Tuhatsu outboard on the rail for traveling. I appreciate the suggestion of using a snubber...will do that. I also like the idea of using a funnel to keep it from bumping...though it may look like a hardware store ad but the time we put it together.

I learned early on to never, ever back down while anchoring with the tow line in the water. That prop nearly gobbled the dink. I take up the slack, then back down.

My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.
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Last edited by Joesaila; 02-21-2009 at 06:54 AM.
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post #55 of 95 Old 02-25-2009
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Towing Experiences

I've towed mine for thousands of miles without any issues....Until one night off the coast of Cuba in 4'seas. My wife was on watch. I came up to take my watch and the dingy was gone. One line totally missing and one parted. We now keep the inflatable stowed unless we are going to be in port for a while and use the 2 piece nesting dingy which we keep on the fore deck when under way.
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post #56 of 95 Old 12-05-2009
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I have an Avon inflatable. coastwise I do not remove the well secured 4 hp outboard. On s/v "Fianna", my Pretorien, with a slight reverse transom, I use two independent nylon towing lines which go through port and starboard stern chocks to cleats. Each is tied independently to my nylon towing bridle, which is led through the midships handle on the bow of the dinghy and then to the port and starboard towing rings forward, near the dinghy's waterline. This is a belt and suspenders towing rig with two independent componets, but has the downside of needing to manage two lines at the stern of the yacht instead of one. This year I intend to install an outboard lift (Garhauer, removeable) and mount the outboard on the tern pulpit when not in use. In general the whole dinghy issue for me has become a bit of a muddle. Frankly, for my purposes, I could get along nicely with a hard dinghy that rows well.. I have looked at peapods and considered shorter hard dinghys. I do not have the ability to store on deck due to the interference with my baby stay. But I am increasingly distressed by the profound ugliness of inflatables and by running an outboard for all of 5 minutes to get ashore in most situations. I'd love ton know what others think about the hard dinghy versus soft dinghy choice, and how a 35' yacht with no deck storage might finesse these choices.
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post #57 of 95 Old 12-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastSailR View Post
... I'd love ton know what others think about the hard dinghy versus soft dinghy choice, and how a 35' yacht with no deck storage might finesse these choices.
That's an interminable debate here and in sailing circles.

We get along real well with our hard rowing/sailing dinghies -- after a decade of cruising the Chesapeake we still haven't missed an outboard. Of course, we could put a small outboard on them if we ever needed to. But the rowing and sailing has always met our needs. That's where the hard dinghies really shine.

But it depends on your cruising grounds, too. In more exposed areas, with longer runs ashore -- sometimes even through moderate surf conditions -- outboards and inflatables have their use.

We are currently running a Dyer Midget (7'10") and a CLC Passagemaker Dinghy (11'7"). Sometime in the next year or two, we'll probably build a CLC Eastport Pram (7'9") as our primary sailing dinghy for the mothership (currently we switch off between the Dyer and the Passagemaker).


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post #58 of 95 Old 12-05-2009
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Originally Posted by FastSailR View Post
I do not have the ability to store on deck due to the interference with my baby stay.
Is your baby stay removable? I've seen a setup where the dinghy was modified to have a removable bung put in it that lined up with the baby stay. For long passages it was stowed on deck and the baby stay re-attached to run through the dinghy. See The Australian S and S 34 Owners Forum - S&S34 DINGHY/TENDER - YOUR THOUGHTS?

When my current inflatable is done I may look into this.
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post #59 of 95 Old 12-09-2009
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I think Sail Magazine just did an article on this exact topic... within the past few months. They had a few pretty good things to say.
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post #60 of 95 Old 03-13-2010
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This is probably a "gimmie" but just for the record, we used to tow our zodiac behind a 36' morgan, and it was incredible how much that little bugger slowed us down! Maybe your boat would handle the increased drag better, but we would consistently lose about a fifth of our speed, and probably more than that in fuel efficiency.
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