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TOPIC: Towing a dinghy

Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 16:29 #1

  • vinomaker
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I am towing my dinghy for the first time. Zodiac 12.5 feet with 40hsp Honda. I bought the harness with 75 feet of line. The dinghy is riding with the bow up just behind the 2nd wave of my wake. Some have suggested 100 feet. Looking at the video does it look like a right fit? The movie didn't load so here is a photo.



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Cheers!
Vinomaker
Jerome Robbins
Rear Commodore, Fidalgo Yacht Club
Anacortes, WA
2001 Bayliner 4788
Twin 370 Cummins
1994 Bayliner Ciera 2855 454 V8-7.4L
1994 Bayliner Classic 2252 V6-5.2L
Last Edit: by vinomaker. Reason: Add a photo

Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 16:57 #2

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Yes - bow up on the second wave looks good.
I think we are out at 80' when we tow so just about the same.

Hope this helps
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Northport NY

Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 17:02 #3

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Looks good to me as well. I have tested the strain on the tow line at different lengths by tugging on the line. When the boat is sitting in the right position you can notice a significant difference in the resistance on the line.

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Patrick and Patti
4588 Pilothouse 1991
12ft Endeavor RIB 2013
M/V "Paloma"
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Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 17:24 #4

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Our boat towing at 80' out.....


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Hope this helps

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Northport NY

Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 18:25 #5

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We towed our dinghy for the first time this year up in Desolation. Boat ran better but not sure if I had it set up correctly.

Is the dinghy supposed to be on the uphill of the second wave or just beyond? We were cruising 11-12kts and I just measured my line that we used from the cleats back and we were at 105'. Want to get a bridle made up so I don't have to mess with two lines (admiral will be happier) but wondering if I had it riding correctly.
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Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 18:32 #6

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You want to be on the backside (further away) on the second stern wave.
Just like in Vinomakers picture.

Hope this helps

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Northport NY

Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 18:43 #7

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I have a similar question if anyone has any experience with such things. I would like to tow a 12.5' inflatable w/20 hp (110 lbs) outboard from my 2452. Since it a planing hull, and I want to minimize drag I was thinking about putting the bow of the inflatable up on to the swim-step so that only the rear of the inflatable is in the water. Or would it be better to just tow it from a distance? Anyone have any suggestions? I'm new (and ignorant) to this sized boat and I'd rather learn from others' experience before doing something stupid..

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Towing a dinghy 24 Aug 2015 21:47 #8

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"I would like to tow a 12.5' inflatable w/20 hp (110 lbs) outboard from my 2452. Since it a planing hull, and I want to minimize drag I was thinking about putting the bow of the inflatable up on to the swim-step so that only the rear of the inflatable is in the water"

A few thoughts on these questions....
- you do not want a towed boat that close to you at any speed
- you need a plan for rough weather towing with the boats you are considering
- select your tow points carefully as there is a bunch of load on them
- construct your two bridle with 5-6 times the estimated weights on them
- Your towing boat needs to be propped correctly for the towed load(s)

Hope this helps

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Northport NY

Towing a dinghy 25 Aug 2015 03:39 #9

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Hey Jerome,

Did you notice any difference in the way the boat handles when towing the dinghy? The water in your photo looks nice and calm. Did you encounter any weather or boat wakes to test the boats ride? I'm curious because having a 550lb (ish) tender on the highest point on the boat it's gotta effect the balance point on COG etc. When we were on our trip most of the boats we saw towed their tenders. I would be really nice to hop in and go when you get to your destination.

Thanks,
Derek

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Family Boater
1997 Bayliner 4788 w/330 Cummins - Phoenix
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Towing a dinghy 25 Aug 2015 03:49 #10

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I've towed my 10' dinghy a couple of times behind my 2452. Towing it off a bridle at 25kts, some distance back, resulted in a lot of water in the dinghy and seemed very stressful on the dinghy overall. Bringing the bow up on top the swim platform and snugging it up to the transom seemed very stable and easy to maneuver. At speed only the tail end of the side air chambers was in the water. I didn't try it with an outboard on it, so that might make a difference.

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Steve
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Towing a dinghy 25 Aug 2015 06:34 #11

  • LeePTI
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I made the mistake of towing an older 10', soft bottomed, PVC, Chinese made dinghy at about 18 mph for about 2 hours. Looked like it was riding fine. When we stopped it started taking on water. The ride had torn the bottom seal strips loose. Tried to reseal it but ended up buying a new dinghy. I won't be towing soft bottoms any more. :blink:

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Lee
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Towing a dinghy 25 Aug 2015 12:29 #12

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"Did you notice any difference in the way the boat handles when towing the dinghy? The water in your photo looks nice and calm. Did you encounter any weather or boat wakes to test the boats ride? I'm curious because having a 550lb (ish) tender on the highest point on the boat it's gotta effect the balance point on COG etc. When we were on our trip most of the boats we saw towed their tenders. I would be really nice to hop in and go when you get to your destination."

Hello Derek,

I never noticed a difference with or without the dinghy or jet ski up on the fly bridge when underway in any kind of seas. I do notice a slight difference in handling when I have large changes in the fluid levels (fuel/water) on the boat as that changes the low level weights by 2,000-3,000#'s.
Towing a RIB type dinghy below approx. 16-17' in length can be problematic if you end up in heavier sea states but the larger RIBS do much better even in the heaviest stuff.

Hope this helps

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Northport NY

Towing a dinghy 25 Aug 2015 14:36 #13

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If I run my 4788 at 14knts using 100 ft of tow line my 12' Rendova wanders back and forth across the prop thrust pattern. The wander is so much that we avoid towing fast.....What should I do differently.

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1997 4788 with Cummins 5.9 (315 hp)
12 ft Rendova with 40 hp Merc 4 cycle
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Towing a dinghy 25 Aug 2015 15:23 #14

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"If I run my 4788 at 14knts using 100 ft of tow line my 12' Rendova wanders back and forth across the prop thrust pattern. The wander is so much that we avoid towing fast.....What should I do differently."

To a certain extent the smaller dinghies will 'wag' back and forth a bit no matter what you do. A few questions....
- are you on the back of the second wave?
- do you have the outboard down at all?
- Do you have a single attachment point on the dinghy?
- Is that attachment point raising or lowering the bow under tow?

Having two attachment points on the dinghy with a wide "V" helps, being on the back of the wave helps, having the bow up helps, having the outboard down a bit even in the water helps but can cause other problems.


Hope this helps
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Northport NY
Last Edit: by smitty477.

Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 00:10 #15

  • Coastrider
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The pic was taken on Saturday cruising to Nanaimo from Pender Harbour 14 knots.



It is about 85 feet back and whether we tow at 8 knots or 16, which we rarely do, I don't even notice it behind us and it tracks great. I have the engine tilted up with just the skeg in the water.

Cheers,

Mark

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 02:42 #16

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I normally carry a hard bottom inflatable on weaver davits on the stern, Reason is as noted. for rough water consideration, think this is the best place for it for me on 38. The times that I have towed it I have always found that there is far far less strain on the line if the boat rides the on the front (or downside) of the stern wave, I adjust length of tow line to have dinghy just on the top of the downhill wave and it tracks fine.
So I am wondering what the reason to be always towing It uphill is for?
I will admit that we don't go more that ten or so knots towing so things may be different at much higher speeds that seem to be talked about in the post

RDO

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 03:39 #17

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I don't try to tow uphill. If we are only going about 8 knots I don't find it matters much at all exactly where it sits. If we go 10-11 knots it does tend to sit in behind but that is never a speed I cruise at.

We either go slow 7-8 knots or pick it up to 12.5 knots in most cases because at that speed our boat sits great and the whaler sits just at the top of the second wave.

In the pic I posted we were going 14 knots just because the strait was perfect and we just felt like getting across quickly.

I don't understand any benefit to towing our whaler uphill actually but it does happen on occasion

Cheers,

Mark

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 15:43 #18

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Mark,
Which cleats on the back of the 47 do you use? The ones on the transom or through the scuppers inside cockpit?

Are the bridles for a RIB a double "V" then? One V for the back of the towing boat then the other V on the rings under the bow of the RIB?

Thanks,
Derek

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 15:55 #19

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We have always run a "Y" on both ends with the towing boat end going to the inside cleats. This has worked well on progressively heavier dinghies as the years have gine by.

Hope this helps

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Northport NY

Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 16:01 #20

  • Coastrider
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Simonsen wrote: Mark,
Which cleats on the back of the 47 do you use? The ones on the transom or through the scuppers inside cockpit?

Are the bridles for a RIB a double "V" then? One V for the back of the towing boat then the other V on the rings under the bow of the RIB?

Thanks,
Derek


I have always just used the outside cleats on the back of the transom with this exact setup for the last 9 summers.

My tow setup is in 3 parts. The bridle between the cleats is 20 feet so that gives me the V with the 15 foot beam. I have a 6 foot section attached to the single bow eye on my whaler with an eye splice insert on each end. I then have a 75 foot "towline" with a heavy duty carabiner on each end which one snaps into the eye splice on the whaler side and the other rides along the bridle. That sets me up with about an 85 foot towline.

I just took these pics now. I left Nanaimo and am just on my own and heading to Montegue for a couple of nights and the whaler is currently being towed at 8.4 knots.













I hope these pics help.

Cheers,

Mark

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Last Edit: by Coastrider.

Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 16:18 #21

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My original tow config was a bridge as shown by Coastrider, but my line was of a floating type made by Top Knot. However, we found the bridle to make it more complicated to shorten or lengthen our tow depending on the conditions and for entering and exiting a port. So did away with the bridle config and just ran a single line to the inside cleat. This allowed us to shorten or lengthen easily from inside the cockpit.

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Patrick and Patti
4588 Pilothouse 1991
12ft Endeavor RIB 2013
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MMSI # 338142921

Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 16:28 #22

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Papa Charlie wrote: My original tow config was a bridge as shown by Coastrider, but my line was of a floating type made by Top Knot. However, we found the bridle to make it more complicated to shorten or lengthen our tow depending on the conditions and for entering and exiting a port. So did away with the bridle config and just ran a single line to the inside cleat. This allowed us to shorten or lengthen easily from inside the cockpit.


There are definitely times when I want the whaler on a short leash and this morning was one of them as I came through Dodd Narrows.

I leave my setup exactly as shown and then when I need the whaler on a short tow I just pull it up to about 15 -20 feet behind our boat and without disconnecting anything and just tie the main towline around one of the outside cleats. This morning it was the starboard cleat. Then once I was through Dodd and clear of traffic I just released off the single cleat and the whaler was back in towing position.

Cheers,

Mark

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 17:04 #23

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Coastrider wrote: I have always just used the outside cleats on the back of the transom with this exact setup for the last 9 summers.

My tow setup is in 3 parts. The bridle between the cleats is 20 feet so that gives me the V with the 15 foot beam. I have a 6 foot section attached to the single bow eye on my whaler with an eye splice insert on each end. I then have a 75 foot "towline" with a heavy duty carabiner on each end which one snaps into the eye splice on the whaler side and the other rides along the bridle. That sets me up with about an 85 foot towline.



Mark,

Thanks for posting these photos and your explanation. I will be towing my 13' Whaler next season and I'm planning the tow line setup. I'm also planning to install cleats on the transom of my 3788.

I have a question regarding the bridle you use. It looks like it does not have have an eye splice in the center. If that's the case, do you get any wear or fraying as the carabiner on the towline moves back and forth?

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 17:15 #24

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Norton Rider wrote:

Coastrider wrote: I have always just used the outside cleats on the back of the transom with this exact setup for the last 9 summers.

My tow setup is in 3 parts. The bridle between the cleats is 20 feet so that gives me the V with the 15 foot beam. I have a 6 foot section attached to the single bow eye on my whaler with an eye splice insert on each end. I then have a 75 foot "towline" with a heavy duty carabiner on each end which one snaps into the eye splice on the whaler side and the other rides along the bridle. That sets me up with about an 85 foot towline.



Mark,

Thanks for posting these photos and your explanation. I will be towing my 13' Whaler next season and I'm planning the tow line setup. I'm also planning to install cleats on the transom of my 3788.

I have a question regarding the bridle you use. It looks like it does not have have an eye splice in the center. If that's the case, do you get any wear or fraying as the carabiner on the towline moves back and forth?


This is my 9th summer towing my 17 foot BW Outrage. I have no wear at all on the bridle. at tow speed it just sits where I initially set it up and moves very little. When we first start to tow if the line is off centre I just put in neutral momentarily and if on my own make a turn to centre it and if my wife is on board she just pulls easily on the bridle to centre the main towline then back in gear and away we go.

I will be in Montegue Harbour this morning and once set up I will take a pic of the centre point of my bridle so you can see 9 seasons of wear. I am very comfortable with it. And my whaler setup is not light as It has a 150 hp Honda so no lightweight haha.

Cheers

Mark

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Towing a dinghy 26 Aug 2015 18:07 #25

  • Coastrider
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What you are looking at in this pic is the centre of my 20 foot bridle with the carabiner on my mainline and the other is a pic of one of my bridle ends that attach to my outside transom cleats.

This setup is 9 summers old now.





Cheers,

Mark

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