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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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Old 05-27-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

I am curious to know how rough the sea (bay) can be before the dingy (hard pram) should be brought aboard.
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Old 05-27-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

Long before it swamps and becomes a sea anchor or rides down the stern wave and smashes into your boat. Whats important is the length of painter that allows the dink to ride bow up on the ''backside'' of the first or second wave behind the boat.
Typically about 18-20 kts and waves over 3 ft. .... all depends on the location of the towing eye on the dink ... so that it permits the dink to semi-plane.

If the dink doesnt plane then it will get ''squirrely'' when it exceeds its own hull speed ... and then you will soon have a sea anchor.
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Old 08-01-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

I think this is comparable to reefing. When you start thinking about it, that is when you should do it. Bring the dinghy on deck when in doubt. If it is rough enough to capsize it, you are going to have a hell of a time righting it, and if your painter parts, going back and retrieving it.

I was cruising with a friend in 5 foot Lake Michigan seas and he was towing his dinghy. The painter parted, and he felt retrieving the dinghy was impractical so he let it go. The Coast Guard was very unhappy with that decision and threatened to charge him for the search they conducted when the cast off dinghy was reported.

Bring it on board. Even in calm conditions it slows you down. Your boat will perform better and you won''t have to worry about it.
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Old 08-27-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

I don''t have any place aboard for my skiff. I use a Sumner 9 footer that I''m told is supposed to be the only hard dingy that meets the CG requirements of a life raft. I''ve towed her through some real nasty stuff.

Once I got caught with my pants down in a howling northwesterly off Race Point, Cape Cod in an outgoing tide. I didn''t have her set out far enough for those conditions. She came off the top of one breaker and slammed into the backstay turnbuckle putting a 20 deg. bend in its lower end! I suppose the situation could have been worse and I guess I should have set her out further before we got into that rip. But even though I watched her literally blow off the tops of 12-15 foot waves and race 80 to 90 degrees down their faces, she was dry when we finally made in. Save for a hole in her bow from the strike, she was in better shape then I was!

If you have the means to take your skiff aboard, do so. But if you donít have the space or would be put at some risk getting it aboard in a seaway, by all means, set her out 40-50 feet further astern and hope for the best.
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Old 08-28-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

My slip mate here sails fairly often on vacations between Tahti and BoraBora. He was towing the dingy and had a near miss with it as he was in the trough of a Pacific swell as the dingy started down from the crest. Now he has, what he calls a dink collar. He snugs the bow tight to the transum and tows the dingy in a truck trailer configuration. With lines brought forward from the backside of the dingy to cheats on either side of the cockpit the dingy tracks stright.. He hasn''t had any more problem with a wild dingy chasing him down into troughs.
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Old 12-17-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

I thought I was the only one that did that. I do almost the same thing i use a big fender and pull her stern first way up aginst the fender which is secured tight and I have been in some real nasty stuff with this rig. It only failed me once when the fender came untied on one side and the dink got under the transom the seas came up in five minutes from dead calm to a 50 knot squal and the sea got so steep we stood our Catalina 38 almost on her nose.
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Old 12-17-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

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Old 12-29-2004
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Towing a dingy in chop

Count me in on having the dink bow snugged up to the transom at deck level too. The reason "why" I learned to do this was the wind picked up my dink stern first and flipped it 360 back on it''s bottom while sailing downwind. NW winds were piping at approx 35kts and took it like a feather. This was in the ICW where seas were smooth and we were pushing hull speed with only a working jib up. Towing was ok for the first 25 miles that day. Yep, I was young and didn''t know better. Now I''m old and stay anchored in that stuff.
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