Has anybody towed kayaks behind.... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 25 Old 03-07-2015 Thread Starter
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Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

New to sailing so just wondering if anybody has ever towed two kayaks behind their tub while sailing? I would love to tow my two kayaks so when we anchor and relax near the shore or on the many islands on Saginaw Bay, we could just kayak around for awhile. I wasn't sure what effect this would have on the sailboat while sailing.
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post #2 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

I haven't. But, I'd probably differentiate between a sit-on-top and a sit in style.

If you have the sit-in style, what's the plan for keeping them from filling with water and becoming an anchor?
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post #3 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

We've towed our sit-ins on rare occasions for short hops. For some reason they seem to randomly capsize now and then... Dragging an inverted kayak is indeed slow. This mainly seemed to occur when we towed two of them.. Unfortunately never happened to be looking aft when it happened so not sure of the cause.


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post #4 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

Short distance towing in calm water is OK.
Towing a kayak in waves can be a disaster, as you will soon find out how much weight of water can fill a kayak. As Faster states, they have the propensity to capsize at random.

If you do tow, I would very strongly recommend to add a stout and waterproof cover/skirt, and be sure that any kayak hatches are tightly fitting.
I would also recommend towing a hanked up or coiled length of 'rope' as a 'warp' from the kayak ... to keep it straight and less 'frenetic'. Without some drag behind the kayak to keep it straight, it will 'dance' all over the place and will include 'surprise' capsizing and swamping.
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

Another problem with towing something as light as a kayak is the possibility of them running into your stern in following seas. Just had a bareboat come into Admiralty Bay towing a dinghy with the motor prop straight up in the air, resting on the cowling in the boat. He said it surfed into his stern with such force it broke the bracket and flipped it over the transom to land upside down in the dink.
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post #6 of 25 Old 03-07-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

The replies are what I thought. I think I will just tow them out the channel that I have to go through and then anchor in calm waters and kayak from there or just motor up the shore a tad and anchor.
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post #7 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

For towing two kayaks in calm-ish water, I wonder if it would make sense to lash them together, spaced a couple feet apart like a catamaran. Like mutual outriggers.
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

Speaking as a fossil, coming from the era when there were "canoes" "kayaks" and "boards", a sit-on kayak is a "sityak", it ain't a kayak. My friend Quinn, the Mighty Eskimo, will be glad to let the walrus explain that to anyone who can't figure it out.

Kayaks are DESIGNED TO BE TIPPY AND EASY TO ROLL OVER. This is so they can be very maneuverable, which requires leaning (heeling) into a turn. And, they are also conveniently tippy so you can do an "eskimo roll" and quickly and easily get an inverted one rightside up!

So, towing it without anyone in it? I'd expect it to do what is natural and INVERT itself pretty quickly. Of course, if you have the spray skirt in it, no big deal, it will probably roll back up before a lot of water gets in. Maybe.

But if you had two, you'd be better off bolting on some deck hardware, lashing them up as a simple catamaran, and then letting them be stable in that configuration.

Otherwise...I think we've all seen how that movie ends.(G)
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

Kayaks are really light. Put them on your bow, or side deck. Play around a bit to find the position where they don't interfere with your jib sheets, tie them down, and then go from there. Many people like to use the kayak racks that attach to the stanchions. I prefer not to use those, since side loads can loosen the bedding or even bend the stanchion.

Last edited by Scotty C-M; 03-07-2015 at 03:26 PM.
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-07-2015
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Re: Has anybody towed kayaks behind....

I used a 14 ft. Sit-in kayak as my dinghy around SW Florida and the Keys for a couple of seasons. Towed well in calm waters but carried on deck mostly. (Bristol 29.9) Towed from Naples to Ft. Myers Beach once. Kayaks, Canoes, etc. are not meant go thru the water at 5-6+ knots!

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