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    Towing large dinghy/support boat-gctid354800

    Towing a large 'dinghy' - help sought

    We have towed a reasonably large inflatable for 5 seasons now with very good results over about 2,500 miles. The boat is 19' long as weighs approx. 1,800#'s loaded and we tow off of both the rear cleats with an Amsteel homemade bridle. The bridle is really two large "V's" at each end so that we have 2 points of attachment on the towed and towing vessel alike. We have seen little affect on fuel use and have had zero problems towing both at hull speeds and cruising at 15-18 knots and even in heavier seas.

    We know there are members on here who tow larger 'support' boats and we certainly could use some real life help and data on your experiences. We may consider towing a support boat weighing as much as 3,300 #'s fully loaded and would like appreciate your input both good and bad.

    We are looking to learn these things:

    - What is the heaviest you have towed

    - What was your tow bridle setup (in detail please)

    - What was the effect on boat speed and fuel usage

    - What were the problems which you encountered along the way

    Thank you ÔÇô

    Ron & Karen

    "NO WORRIES"
    Northport NY

    #2
    I havent' but my dad did tow a 21' trophy center console for a couple yrs, before his aluminum cat was built, both are about same weight/size and drag (based on HP and top speed of those boats). Cat may be a bit more drag than the Trophy. 3000# is the ballpark of both of those boats.

    Bridal was (and is) either a 5/8 or 3/4 floating poly twist from center of the boat to a 35' dock line between rear cleats. With the V-hull he used to drag downrigger balls from the rear trailer tie down eyes to keep it tracking straight. Would tow to 19-21kn.

    He tried all sorts of tri-pointed bridals on the fishing boat none were really an improvement over the single line to the bow eye before settling in on single point attachment and downrigger balls.

    It has been years since I rode on his boat but I want to say it was a little less than 1kn to speed at given rpm and a bit more heat on the pyro.

    He has straightend out the stainless clip on the bridal at least once.
    1999 Sandpiper Pilothouse - Current
    1989 3888 - 2011-2019, 1985 Contessa - 2005-2011, 1986 21' Trophy 1998-2005
    Nobody gets out alive.

    Comment


      #3
      Hello all, we have towed our 19 foot center consul with a 150 HP outboard from our 38 foot tug and our 4588.

      Not sure about the weight of our boat but it is a very heavily built center consul welded aluminum boat with about 40 gallons od fuel on board including 15 gallons in plastic cans.

      The bridal is a super simple 1 inch round nylon triple braid line. I spliced an eye in each end so the line can go through the corner pockets that big byliners all seem to have,... Down to the docking cleats inside the cockpit. In the middle of this I simply tied a loop in the center. The aluminum boat has a relatively smaller tow line that goes back about 50 feet. No bridal on the small boat. Just a shackle through the towing eye. This rope stows in the bow when the boat is not being towed. And we leave the shackle in place as it is safety wired closed.

      We never go past 7.5 knots and spend most of the time at 6.5 - 7 knots. We have played with the speed by toeing the boat to the bridal with a tiny chunk of rope. Of we go at 7 knots and them my buddie goes back and cuts the little piece of rope connecter. Our speed raised by about 0.25 knots. This speed difference would rise dramatically with any rise in speed over 7 knots I suspect. Fuel would rise two I suspect,... if you want to go faster than our sailboat speeds.

      Problems are of course backing over your line, and this is a risk even if you have floating line. We have not suffered this particular shame but it's always available. Docking of course is more difficult. We have 3 large scottsman (big orange bumpers) permanently attached to the center consul ( the good dog) when gassing up, or at anchor, we drop the scoffs en over the docking side of the good dog and use two permanently attached lines with carabiners on the end. Drive up to the big boat (starboard side) and connect the rear one through the stern tie up pocket and onto the center of the cleat. Then walk the boat forward and have to pull hard and snap the forward carabiner onto the midship tie up cleat. With that, the good dog is secure, and the three big scottsmen ensure that it can happily nuzzle the big boat even if it blows hard. We are able to hop on the boat from the swim grid, and be gone in 30 seconds. Having this standard tie up system in place is a big part of making this a sucsess.

      Problems none....... adventures up countless rivers, fishing and much expanded poking around make this a real favorite thing to do when we are out for more than a few days.

      Cheers all steve

      Comment


        #4
        I have towed a dinghy since my boat was 1 year old (23 years) I have gotten lazy and tow off of 1 cleat. It tows just fine. most of my friends who tow after watching how my boat does have also converted to a single point tow. It sure makes it easy to adjust for sea conditions and speed. We have seen no fuel difference but we do notice about a 1 knot difference at cruise. I tried a 17 foot boat with my 32 and it was a bit too much

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you all - these posts have been helpfull as we are now looking a few possibilities in Fl and Ohio for us to tow at times.

          Thanks again

          Ron & Karen

          "No Worries"
          Northport NY

          Comment


            #6
            Ron, (and others who tow their tenders), you will want to read your insurance policy to see if it covers, excludes, or is silent on towing a tender. Many policies state that the tender must be carried onboard at all time when not in use, and excludes/limits damage claims regarding the tender if it is towed. Further, some policies do specifically exclude damage caused to the towing vessel when a tender is towed.

            This is in part because too many folks do not use the proper type of towing system (bridle, floating line, etc) or tow the tender at too high a speed or too close to the main vessel.

            Read your policy.....

            Comment


              #7
              OK What does my policy say? It should be at your finger tips.

              Bill

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks Pete!

                In our case the one we tow is registered and insured as a separate boat so I guess we still need to ask questions of our insurance but which ones?

                Thanks again
                Northport NY

                Comment


                  #9
                  We towed a 14' McKee behind our 46' Chris with gas engines.

                  We got 7/8 mpg without towing and 3/4 mpg with towing. This was over many years owning that boat.

                  Our cruise speed was 16 mph.

                  Doug
                  Started boating 1955
                  Number of boats owned 32
                  Bayliners
                  2655
                  2755
                  2850
                  3870 presently owned
                  Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

                  Comment


                    #10
                    smitty477 wrote:
                    Towing a large 'dinghy' - help sought

                    We have towed a reasonably large inflatable for 5 seasons now with very good results over about 2,500 miles. The boat is 19' long as weighs approx. 1,800#'s loaded and we tow off of both the rear cleats with an Amsteel homemade bridle. The bridle is really two large "V's" at each end so that we have 2 points of attachment on the towed and towing vessel alike. We have seen little affect on fuel use and have had zero problems towing both at hull speeds and cruising at 15-18 knots and even in heavier seas.

                    We know there are members on here who tow larger 'support' boats and we certainly could use some real life help and data on your experiences. We may consider towing a support boat weighing as much as 3,300 #'s fully loaded and would like appreciate your input both good and bad.

                    We are looking to learn these things:

                    - What is the heaviest you have towed

                    You have probably heard this story before. We towed a 17 foot Arima for several years behind our 47 including to and from Alaska. Then we towed a 19 foot Sea Swirl for several more years. All this towing went a minimum of 700 miles every summer. The Sea Swirl was a cuddy cabiin with full canvas, big kicker with all options including auto pilot. Boat full of electronics all all our fishing gear, tons of safety gear, must have been close to 3000 #.

                    - What was your tow bridle setup (in detail please)

                    We used a Y shaped bridle/tow line. Used a one inch nylon line about 30 feet long between the two rear cleats on the transom. In middle of that line was a loop that I attached a 7/8 poly braided line which was 50 feet long. It was always tied to the towed boat towing eye, below the bow. I always beefed up the bow eye on the inside of the boat with a larger board to spread the load. I used two movable crab pot buoys on each side of the eye in the bridle with pointed ends facing toward transom-with line thru the middle to keep nylon line from props. Never ever had line in prop issues.

                    - What was the effect on boat speed and fuel usage

                    Towing these boats on plane was a job for the engines and slowed us down at least a knot or more at planing speeds. Most of the 19 foot Sea Swirl towing was at displacement speed and I never saw any speed change or fuel usage change.

                    - What were the problems which you encountered along the way

                    The biggest issue was always docking and moving from a dock. I just had my wife and I, and wife did not want to drive the towed boat to and from the dock. My wife finally said if I wanted to keep boating get a dingy that fit on bridge that I could fish from and not need any towed boat. It was a simple decision to give up the Sea Swirl to my oldest son as a fishing overnight boat. The biggest worry is always rough water. Just make sure your towing bridle is strong enough to take anything either boat can take then don't worry about it. Use at least one inch good line, if possible. I could only find 7/8 braided poly that would float.

                    Thank you ÔÇô

                    Ron & Karen

                    "NO WORRIES"
                    See above for question answers. Concerning insurance, our dingy was always on top during towing and it was insured with the 47. The towed boats always had their own boat insurance policy.
                    Started boating 1965
                    Bayliners owned: 26 Victoria, 28 Bounty, 32, 38, and 47 since 1996

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Thank you mmichellich,

                      The sea swirl information is most valuable for our planning - and we did copy our current bridle from you now that I am reminded by this post.

                      I will print all these responses so we can keep referring back to them in the next few weeks.

                      Thank you
                      Northport NY

                      Comment


                        #12
                        This reminded me we wrapped a 1/2 inch nylon line around our prop on our 46' Chris.

                        It is something you will do once and will make all effort not to have it happen again.

                        I could just reach it with my head above water. Very cold water. You cannot imagine how hard a 1/2 inch line can get when this happens. I sawed and sawed with a sharp knife. I was so cold but I knew I could never get back in if I quit. Finally got it but it took a long time to quit shivvering.

                        Doug
                        Started boating 1955
                        Number of boats owned 32
                        Bayliners
                        2655
                        2755
                        2850
                        3870 presently owned
                        Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I have been towing a 17 foot Boston Whaler Outrage (Centre Console) with a 115hp Honda for the past few years behind our 1997 4788.

                          I had a 20 foot bridle made up with 2 floats (not that this line needs to float but seemed the prudent thing to do anyway) and just attach it to the to cleats on the outside of the transom. The 20 foot length gives it a nice "V" when in use.

                          I then have a 75 foot tow line with bullet floats braided in every 10 feet with heavy duty karabiners braided in on both ends.

                          I then have a 6 foot line that I leave permantently attached to the bow U-bolt (where you would hook it up to a trailer) of the BW with a fixed U-bolt braided in on the boat end and a "teardrop" braided in to the other end where the towline karabiner will quickly attach.

                          This tows beautifully anywhere from slow speed to the fastest I have towed which was 16.5 knots including stretches between 14 - 16 knots in pretty snotty seas where the Whaler was "airborn" several times. I really don't even notice it is behind me and the reality for me is I do cruise mostly between 8 - 12 knots I didn't notice any significant fuel change so for me that is a non-issue.

                          I also spent the last 3 seasons mostly single handing and this was also a very easy setup to manage as when i was going into a marina I would just raft the Whaler to one side and never had an issue.

                          If I remember correctly I believe I am using a 7/8" braided nylon. I am currently in Mexico but I will try to remember to take a pic of it when I return and I will post that as well.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            smitty477 wrote:
                            Thank you mmichellich,

                            The sea swirl information is most valuable for our planning - and we did copy our current bridle from you now that I am reminded by this post.

                            I will print all these responses so we can keep referring back to them in the next few weeks.

                            Thank you
                            I can not find the weight of a 19 foot Sea Swirl Stripper cuddy cabin boat. They still sell the same hull in a walk around center console listed at 2300 # empty with no engines. I expect the cuddy cabin model to be a lot heavier. Mine had a 150 HP 4 stoke Yahama and a 10 HP 4 stroke Yamaha kicker with all electrics, extra batteries, 55 gal fuel tank, and tons of electronics an fishing gear. had to be well over 3000#. As I recall, I could not get within 200 RPM of required max so that is why I usually ran at displacement speeds or if planning, only ran about 12 knots to keep RPM lower than normal planning speed. The only mistake I made with the boat was the kicker. When my son got the boat the kicker only had about 2 hours on it because the main engine trolled so well and was much quieter when trolling. If I did it again I would just put the cheapest 2 stroke kicker on it for emergency get home. That 55 gal gasoline tank was overkill. I could fish a very long time with that tank when full, like many days.
                            Started boating 1965
                            Bayliners owned: 26 Victoria, 28 Bounty, 32, 38, and 47 since 1996

                            Comment


                              #15
                              All of these posts continue to be very helpful - thank you.

                              We do have our past experiences towing but not with a towed boat which weighs what we are contemplating (3,200 lbs).

                              For the past 5 seasons we have towed a 19" Nautica RIB at about 1,700 Lbs.

                              We copied the bridle idea from folks on here at the BOC and utilized amsteel long line , "Y" at each end, and heavy SS carabiners for attachment (4").

                              The boat had the props re-pitched even before towing so that we can reach 3,150 rpm even when towing and with a smaller RIB up top.

                              Looks like mmichellich's one example is above 3,500 lbs and leads for a good observation.

                              Thnak you again - great help
                              Northport NY

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