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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to be doing a lot of towing, starting tomorrow. I'm leaning toward leaving the engine on the dinghy in calm water, using two floating lines from my two stern cleats to one point on the dinghy. A ring mounted below the tubes on the bow. I'll probably keep it really snugged up to my boat. I can remove the engine and mount it in my stern when thins get rough. AND when they get rougher still, I'll pull the whole dinghy.

What do you think about my plan, and what do you guys do?
 

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We never leave the motor on while towing, tow by the single bow eye as you're describing; off the quarter to starboard (the engine exhaust is to port.. towing to port gets engine exhaust/soot/grime on the tubes)

We like to tow it in fairly close to keep the dinghy in the flat water immediately behind the boat and of course use a floating line. If there's enough chop that the dinghy is likely to ship water we'll pull the transom plug so any spray accumulation will drain away as long as you're moving.. you may need to reinstall it right away once you stop/slow down - esp if you plan to leave the motor on.
 
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Mermaid Hunter
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We tow the dinghy on a single line a boat length or so back, trying to keep it on the front side of the first wave back. I'll leave the outboard on in calm weather and for short tows otherwise the engine goes on a pushpit bracket.

After a failure of polypropylene tow line due to UV degradation we switched to New England Ropes dinghy tow line. It floats but the double braid cover is more UV resistant. Splicing it is a real job due to the friction between core and cover. West Marine carries it pre-cut and spliced.
 

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Going to be doing a lot of towing, starting tomorrow. I'm leaning toward leaving the engine on the dinghy in calm water, using two floating lines from my two stern cleats to one point on the dinghy. A ring mounted below the tubes on the bow. I'll probably keep it really snugged up to my boat. I can remove the engine and mount it in my stern when thins get rough. AND when they get rougher still, I'll pull the whole dinghy.

What do you think about my plan, and what do you guys do?
I forget what size engine you have, but anything more than the smallest OB is gonna increase the drag of your tender considerably... Just one more of those factors that wind up contributing to people sailing less, and motoring more, in marginal sailing conditions...

Your plan of waiting until it starts to get "rough" to remove the motor, or bringing the dinghy aboard if it gets "rougher still", is NOT a good plan, at all. No need to ask me how I know this :) On a boat the size of yours, depending on the size of the engine, could be a good way to have either the motor, or yourself, wind up in the water. Never, EVER tow a dink with the engine mounted unless you are absolutely certain your trip will be completed in benign conditions, or are sailing in protected waters where you can easily find refuge where you can sort things out... Sure, it's a PITA to remove the engine every time you move, or bring the dink aboard for all but the shortest trips, but it's almost invariably the right thing to do... The conundrum of whether to Tow, or Not to Tow, is one of the best arguments in favor of modest, easily managed size and weight when it comes to tenders and OB motors. And I'm afraid many cruisers wind up often doing the less seamanlike thing, simply because their motors are of a size not easy to manage, and it's simply too much of a PITA to do the right thing :)

I put a snubber in my tow line to minimize the snatching loads that can be put upon the tow ring. Many inflatables have a pair of rings each side of the bow, you can distribute the loads, and minimize yawing a bit, by using those instead...

Whenever I tow my inflatable, I always use a secondary back-up tether fixed to a hard point... Probably the most secure way to tow an inflatable is with a line or pair of lines made fast to the transom, then taken forward underneath the boat (taking care to minimize chafe at the bottom edge of the transom), and then run through the tow ring(s). If your tender should ever capsize while underway, there's a very good chance the drag will become so massive that a tow ring glued onto the tubes will be torn free, and then the recovery of a capsized dinghy can become a difficult proposition...

Most RIBs have a thru-bolted padeye near the bow that is by far the best point on which to fix a towline. If yous lacks one, and you're planning on doing much towing, I'd suggest you add one. It will also be the best lifting point for bringing your tender back on deck...
 

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NoB, this is another one of your: "If you have to ask this question you just don't get it" questions. Jon's answer is quite thorough. Don't. Not where you're planning to go. IIRC, you're planning to cross the SJDFuca. Right? IIRC, too, the winds often come up in the afternoon, so if you leave in the morning, you won't be all the way across by the time the SHTF. Take the engine off the dinghy. Get the dinghy out of the water. You don't have the initial hull speed to overcome the drag. If you lose a knot or two out of the maybe five knots you can move, you're seriously handicapping your movement.

We often sail on the Coho from Victoria to Port Angeles. That ship moves at 15 knots and still takes almost two hours to cross. For you, that'd be a six hour crossing. Chances of the wind coming up would be about almost always.
 

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Freedom 39
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I spend most of my time sailing in somewhat protected waters. Winds in the teens to twenties isn't uncommon and seas of 5'-8' are not out of ordinary. I've towed a dinghy for thousands of miles in those conditions. My previous boat was a 31' sloop towing a 8' Apex rib with a two stroke 4hp engine. The irony of that combination was that under about 5kts the drag from the dinghy was substantial, noted by grabbing the painter and feeling the load. Above 5.5kts the dinghy would plane and the drag would drop to nearly nothing. Following seas were always the worst! The dinghy would surf and veer around before being jerked by the painter when the line became taught. Keeping the motor down to add some drag helped a little. Current boat is a much faster 39' mono towing a 10' rib with a 15hp two stroke. I've been out in 25+knot winds and large seas towing that dinghy. The worst thing witnessed is the dinghy catching air jumping off of waves. The solution to that was just to reef the sails and slow the boat down. I was also tasked with moving a 50' mono across 40 miles of open water towing a 12' RIB with a 15hp. Seas were way up on that trip and winds were 25-30. Finding an angle for the rib to take the seas, beam on was best, was the solution to that excursion. In a perfect world I would have the motor off and dingy lashed down on the deck. I do not like towing a dinghy with OB on a single line in rough conditions. Perhaps I've been lucky or perhaps very cautious and attentive to how the dinghy is riding. Seeing the size of the OPs boat and having owned one about that size and making some longer trips on it, I would definitely get the dinghy out of the water to help with speed. One more knot of gained speed on something with that short of a waterline will more that make up for the time to splash the dinghy upon arrival at your destination.
 

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Shanachie, Bristol 30
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So how long does it take you to assemble and blow up your dinghy on the foredeck? I can do mine (apex 8 with a wooden floor) in 15 minutes. It takes two minutes to use the spinnaker halyard to lower the boat to the water or raise it on deck.

So why in the world would you drag it behind you, robbing maybe a half knot of speed and creating all sorts of headaches? It's just not seamanlike if you are traveling a long distance or encountering sea conditions that will play havoc with the dinghy.

You can buy a 12-volt air pump that will eliminate the aggravation of the manual foot pump. Plug it in, move it around the different tubes while drinking a beer and you're set to go.
 

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dont do it, especially going down the west coast of north america...not even a question...

possible scenarios:

submarining dinghy, flipping, wildly skidding side to side, plowing into waves...

not being able to pull it in since you are solo, when wind picks up it will affect steerage, since you are a small boat it will really affect your boat speed.

solo in any sea it will be near impossible for you to haul it into your boat. Especially if you lose your autopilot or have no means of safely steering hands off...

cheers

ps. In protected waters, flat and with crew yeah...solo maybe again only in protected calm waters.
 

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I much prefer the no-drag situation of not towing, along with the elimination of all the other potential issues.. and when we had a roll-up it was easy. We once were towing a wood-floor soft bottom in flat water and 20+ knots breeze. It flipped over on a tack and promptly 'suction-cupped' onto the surface; our 40 footer's momentum cleanly tore off one of the vulcanized towing eye patches...

NOB is discussing a RIB, which generally should tow better with a more robust towing eye than your typical soft inflatable. I don't like the obstruction to sightlines that an inflated dinghy presents on the foredeck.. for a long, potentially rough passage I'd probably deflate the boat and lash it forward for improved visibility and fewer issues.

The other aspect of towing, though, is that you have a ready-to-jump-into 'lifeboat' of sorts at all times.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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I tow mine about 60 ft behind, engine on, for short trips in the lea of the islands.

But for any interisland passages the motor is on the rail and the dink is on the foredeck.

Having said that I see quite a few people towing stuff interisland.
 

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Ditto on always removing the engine.

In addition to the towline to the hull towing ring, I rig a 8 foot bridle to the two tow rings on the tubes, connected to the towline. The bridle serves to minimize yawing in a seaway, but be sure the towline takes the load or a day of heavy seas will start to de-patch the tow rings from the tubes.
 

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youre going to have to at some point...it cant always be in the water...

thats a big inflatable for such a small boat
 

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first sailed january 2008
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I know, but it has been informed by independent sources that it will in fact be a chick magnet. When I go down to California I will put it on the deck and leave it there for the duration. It actually came with a nice blue bag and packs down pretty small considering.

I would like to get a stern mount for my engine, but I have big oversized rails and will have to come up with something myself.
 

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chick magnet?
cool

I meant in emergencies and stuff if the wind really picks up or you need to stow it etc...
 

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I don't ever town my tender. Too many bad experiences.

BTW they do make a FANTASTIC sea anchor when flipped upside down. Remember that when you're caught out without your sea anchor next time.

Davits for me!

MedSailor
 

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good grief

I guess its a sign of the times

I have a small 7 or so footer, an old zodiac I got for a song...its the color an inflatable should be ORANGE as it serves as a liferaft before the days when you had to have an ice chest on deck...

in any case its like 30lbs deflated...and its on my 36 footer...seems reasonable to me

about the chick thing I never knew big ribs were chic magnets...thats news to me
if they are then cool...

good luck

my point stands...I have no idea what you would do if all of a sudden you are towing your 116pounder sans engine(with engine add another 20-30lbs plus gear) and you get into some high winds chop etc...then you say ok Ill reef or get the sails down...but then you want to save your dinghy from flipping or get it on deck

what system do you have for that?

I guess you could side tie it to the boat in emergencies but your just asking to damage it...

I was about to rewrite a post I made(page went blank!) about my personal bonehead award moment when I actually lost a towed dingy in roiugh seas, I was solo without an autopilot or working windvane and I was tied to the helm or else risk a bad broach and more damage

eventually my dinghy flipped, submarined and snapped...I was flying boat speed wise and as soon as the dingy submarined I almost broached the braking effect was so big...

cause dinghies that are towed like to skid side to side...

on a small boat you are taking big risk towing a big dinghy like that even in protected waters cause you never know...

oh btw davits on a boat your size is a no no too

anyways

be careful
 
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