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Old 02-05-2008
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How should I tow a dinghy?

Most catalogue advise a bridle be setup on the 2 side D-ring of the inflatable dinghy for towing. How about the motherboat side? Should I run a rope between the port & stbd stern cleats and hook the dinghy bridle to it? Should I make an eye loop at mid point for clipping the dinghy bridle ?
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Old 02-05-2008
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What size dinghy?
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Old 02-06-2008
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We just run the dinghy painter (attached to the bridle on the dinghy side) to a stern cleat. We have a stainless rub strake in the area that the line rubs over. When possible, we try to synchronize the painter length with the wave period, or keep it real close to the stern. For longer runs, the dinghy goes on deck.
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Old 02-06-2008
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No need for a bridle at the boat end. Two points to make.

Add a third line from the dingy bow handle/tow attachment ring to the bridle. Adjust this line so it is just long enough to take up the force of a pull directly ahead. It will then also take up any non-horizontal pull. A problem with the bridle lines to the side D rings is that if you tow the dingy through rough wave action for a day or so, the bridle lines will rip the fabric tabs holding the D rings right off the inflatable tubes - these ring attachments are not designed to take loads off the horizontal. A short center line ensures the only pull on the side D rings is generally horizontal, whether to left or right, but not up/down.

The second is to run the dingy tow line to a secondary winch, if you have one. You can then easily adjust the length of the tow line if necessary even when underway. You should shorten the line whenever you anticipate manovering or stopping, such as when entering a harbor.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 02-06-2008 at 01:02 AM.
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denby, I've the WM RU230 (7.5ft).
sailingfool, so you're saying attach bridle to the 2 D-rings and a rope from bow ring to bridle hook (that makes 3 attachement pt on dinghy).
labatt, ok single line from stern cleat to dinghy bridle is easy enough.
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I use SF's method with a slight refinement: I have a dacron painter on the SS eyelet through-bolted to the RIB, and run to the aft rail, and I run looser polypropylene lines from each D-ring to the stern quarter extrusions.

This is strictly for motoring or light air sailing. Sailing in decent winds, I haul the RIB onto the foredeck. As I am switching to a nesting dinghy and a Portabote, I will likely only tow tenders short distance in the future.

I don't have davits and question their use in anything but tame, coastal sailing, for which they are a nice convenience.
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I lift the bow of the dinghy up to the stern rail and tie dinghy handle to rail. Then run lines from each carrying rope on sides of dinghy to stern cleat on each side. Only the aft end of dinghy touches the water.
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Old 02-06-2008
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If it's an inflatable why not just pop it, roll it and stow it?
I used to tow my cheapo inflatable by hoisting the stern up onto the reverse transom of my Hunter31, lifting it so the only the bow was in the water and the stern tubes rested on the transom.
Reduced drag a bit. Got the engine up out of the water.
Only doing that in the Ches. Bay, no chance of getting pooped and having a dinghy bounce off my head.
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I've a sugar scoop stern so I can put the dinghy bow on it and drag the stern in water. Although RU230 is small and consider light, I'm small built hence is quite a handfull to haul on deck. On short trip, I would tow it. Longer trip I'll stow on foredeck (when I've crew to help me). Thanks for all the ideas guys.
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Just be wary when you tie it up.
I lost chip after chip after chip of hull paint one night to some bozo who did not have a rubbing strake on his outboard.
I wondered what the thumping was.
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