Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Muskegon, Mich
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Re: How to dock while towing dinghy
When pulling into a slip, I pull my dinghy right up right to the stern of the boat. I have a ladder hinged up on the stern and the dinghy rides on that. A fender will do if you don't have a ladder. When pulling up alongside I do as Gladrags said, I tie the dinghy to the other side with lines bow and stern to keep it alongside.
The tow line arrangement you described could be described as a sliding bridle, which would not normally be needed for a dinghy. If what you are towing is big and heavy relative to the tow boat, a sliding bridle is helpful as it keeps equal pull on each stern cleat. Towing off just one stern cleat will affect your steering, the boat will want to turn toward the side with the tow connected. I've towed boats much larger than my own and lacking a proper tow bitt, that's about the only way to make it work.
Many will advise to use poly propylene rope as it floats and can't get caught on your prop, but I don't like it as it's not very strong and the sunlight eats it up, especially in the easy to find yellow or white colors. If you can find it in black, that will last much longer. I use 3/8 or 1/2" nylon and I'm careful not to back down on it.
Last edited by capt jgwinks; 04-19-2015 at 08:07 AM.