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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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  #11  
Old 12-19-2011
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I have towed sailboats bigger than my own 30 footer.

Be aware of what is going on behind you and be prepared to abort the tow. Make sure the towed vessel is doing what you expect.

I once towed in a 40+ racing boat. The captain decided to let his son take the helm. Several times the son set his own course and yanked my boats stern, they left their jib up so if I slowed the apparent wind would bring them up along side me, etc.

Finally I had to tell them what for.

Still, as I approached a mooring for them the son took over again and ended up dragging my boat sideways for one last time.

On another occasion I refused to tow a power boat because everyone on board was so drunk they could barely stand up. They where in no danger and I stood by till they got a tow.

Hint, use THEIR LINES for the tow so if you decide to abort all you won't lose any cordage
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Last edited by RobGallagher; 12-19-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 12-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobGallagher View Post
I have towed sailboats bigger than my own 30 footer.

Be aware of what is going on behind you and be prepared to abort the tow. Make sure the towed vessel is doing what you expect.

I once towed in a 40+ racing boat. The captain decided to let his son take the helm. Several times the son set his own course and yanked my boats stern, they left their jib up so if I slowed the apparent wind would bring them up along side me, etc.

Finally I had to tell them what for.

Still, as I approached a mooring for them the son took over again and ended up dragging my boat sideways for one last time.

On another occasion I refused to tow a power boat because everyone on board was so drunk they could barely stand up. They where in no danger and I stood by till they got a tow.

Hint, use THEIR LINES for the tow so if you decide to abort all you won't lose any cordage
When you do tow someone into a slip, how do they stop. On the occasion I towed in a sailboat, I released the line (we were going very slow) and he just went into the slip, I did not see how they stopped the boat, I think we just got lucky and she slowed to a stop. On the fishing boat the other day, I was in the harbor when the tow came in. I was surprised how fast he was being towed into the harbor. The slip he came into was too far for me to see how he was able to stop- but did so apparently without any drama. Seems one of the hardest parts of the tow is what to do once you reach your destination. I have a hard enough time keeping my own boat under control let alone an engineless vessel I am towing. I guess I could always just get them to anchor in the harbor until a dingy is available to take them into a slip.
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Old 12-19-2011
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I have been towed in and I have had to sail to a dock. You stop yourself the same way; with a dock line attached to a stern cleat. Then get a centreline tie on to the dock.
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Old 12-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
.... His boat was about a 35 foot offshore fishing boat. I told CG I had some oil and would head his way. On the way out found I only had 1 qt- not enough to refill. ...
Question: Could I tow a 35 foot off shore fishing boat with my 15,000 lb, 34 foot sail boat with a 20 hp diesel? Seas were 3 foot wind swell with an 8 foot ground swell running..
i would expect that vessel to have twice your displacement and far more drag....while you could tow it, I would not have offered to in your circumstances. It would be a very slow and difficult tow. This circumstance is s what SeaTow is for.

If you are not comfortable with a potential tow, don't take it on.

If you are going to tow a boat in a situation requiring manoeuvrings, such as into a marina, you need to switch to side-by-side, preferably them on your port beam. If possible, better to drop them at the end of the dock, or on an open mooring.
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Old 12-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Make sure that you tow from a strong part of your vessel. Rather than using the cleats, use the primary winches and a bridle. I would use the dock lines and anchor rode as they will be nylon and therefore stretchy.

Are you sure the winches are stronger than the cleats? On the Hunter 33 I sail, the manual specifies the cleats as the strong points with 9000lb breaking point.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
i would expect that vessel to have twice your displacement and far more drag....while you could tow it, I would not have offered to in your circumstances. It would be a very slow and difficult tow. This circumstance is s what SeaTow is for.

If you are not comfortable with a potential tow, don't take it on.

If you are going to tow a boat in a situation requiring manoeuvrings, such as into a marina, you need to switch to side-by-side, preferably them on your port beam. If possible, better to drop them at the end of the dock, or on an open mooring.
Problem is with my location Vessel Assit is available, but they need to trailer their boat which is at least 1 hr away then launch and get to the vessel that needs a tow. Could be several hours until they are actually tied up. I am signed up with Vessel Assit, but in many cases I will need a private tow to keep me from going into a reef, if I am unable to sail away or get a proper anchor set. I was not comfortable with towing this boat, but given no other option for the man, I would give it a try, rather than have him drift into the night towards a reef.
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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
I have been towed in and I have had to sail to a dock. You stop yourself the same way; with a dock line attached to a stern cleat. Then get a centreline tie on to the dock.
How does a power boat with an outdrive steer with no engine?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninefingers View Post
Are you sure the winches are stronger than the cleats? On the Hunter 33 I sail, the manual specifies the cleats as the strong points with 9000lb breaking point.
I would have a hard time towing with my main winches. Probably would rip off my stern rail and maybe rip off the winches. Think I would rather rip out my stern cleats as would be less repair work to do.
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Old 12-19-2011
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Towing isn't that hard just have to keep an eye on every thing thats going on. you could have a 100' tow line but unless your a assist boat you don't keep that on board like we do. you want the boat about 80-100' away that gives you plenty of room between the vessels incase your motor was to die too. Also there two ways to tow when towing for long distances you tow from the stern. theres two ways you can tow from the stern from a bridal to keep the tow rope in the middle of the stern or you can tow from one of the stern cleats if it is well supported. for a sailboat a bridal would be better off.
Also when you get into a harbor or place with other boats you start to tow from the hip. you hook up like as if you were to keep your boat at the dock but your boat being the dock and the other boat being the boat tieing to the dock. this will give you the ability to stop the other boat and safely manaver it.
Also i wouldn't recomend towing from winches keep all your ropes at the stern and keep a knife redially acesseible to cut incase something happens save your boat over the the boat your towing. you can always help them out after there boat sinks not if both are sunken. also when towing sailboats and powerboats. you keep all steering controls centered and do not touch them when towing. your in control not the boat being towed. i have some experiience towing. so this all stuff i was tought how to tow safely. Also just rememeber your not forced to tow that boat or put your self in danger.
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I have a light weight 24 foot yacht.

I have towed heavier yachts for a couple of hours to get them to a comfortable location after their engine failed.

I use a bridle across the stern and have a nylon rope that has proven excellent for control and stretch.

The bridle allows my yacht to steer easily while maintaining full power for the tow.

When I first started sailing, I was cautioned about recieving a tow from the police or local volunteer rescue services. Yacht club rescue boats were prefered for safety. The reason was many power boat operators were not aware of the effects ofhull speed for displacement hulls. The larger planning rescue boats did not steer properly without a lot of power which would overload the yacht being towed.

Its important the person towing understands the characteristic of the boat being towed.

In calm conditions, I helped 3 yachts (engineless) return to the club with a sick 6hp outboard on the J24. They had no option and I was not in a hurry so the yachts formed a daisy chain and I powered the little 6hp at about half throttle for an hour or so to return everyone.

My point is you can move a lot with a small engine providing the conditions are suitable.

Additionally you can damage a yacht too easily when towing it with a high powered craft, particularly if the towing craft has trouble holding course at the displacement speed of the yacht.

When towing, always have a knife ready to cut lines in an emergency.
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