towing a dinghy....

Discussion in 'Dinghies' started by CliffA, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    640 hp (Total)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    please forgive my complete ignorance of this subject....advise and opinions are welcome...

    we have been considering getting a small dinghy to gain access to waterfront restaurants and to use when going to shore when we are camping on the hook....I am looking at dinghy options and have a couple basic questions before I get too deep into this.....we are wanting to pull the dinghy behind the boat which is a 340DA....we don't want to use davits or any other method to haul the dinghy on the swim platform.....most likely we will use a trolling motor for propulsion since we will not be traveling any significant distances in the dinghy.....

    1. if I tied the dinghy to one of the stern eyes with a rope will it track in a straight line behind the boat?....we are on an inland lake so weather conditions are usually not a concern.....we will be traveling at 'cocktail speed' around 9 - 10 mph...

    2. does it mater if the dinghy has a sharp pointed bow with a V shape or a shallow hull with a rounded bow in the way it would track behind the boat while being pulled?

    3. does length/weight of a dinghy matter as to how well it tracks behind a boat?

    4. does a hard shell dinghy track differently than an inflatable dinghy?

    5. does having a hard floor in an inflatable dinghy make a difference in how it tracks?

    6. what would be a good distance to pull the dinghy behind the boat?.....could I use a very short rope say 5 ft?

    thanks in advance for any replies or suggestions....

    cliff
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  2. rcknecht

    rcknecht Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    toms river,nj
    340 Sundancer 2001
    T 454 MPI
    Bad idea, very bad... Only tow a dinghy if you are sail boat... You will regret it... just pull in on you platform, tip it up and strap it down.. put in engine under the helm passenger seat...

    When towing on plane you will experience multiple problems...
     
  3. Alex F

    Alex F Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    See my quick answers in red.

    In general, it's relatively common practice for yachts to tow their tenders. I've done it myself for a while and have seen others do it successfully as well. Whatever your reasons are not to have a tender carried aboard a mothership, you have to realize that it'll require extra prep work and time to get things rolling. Basic things to understand is close quarter maneuvering and then open water cruising. If you have someone to drive the tender in close quarters and meet you in an open area where you can deploy the long line for extensive cruising, then obviously it's the easiest way to handle it.

    When I decide that it's easier to tow my tender, my approach is to have it tied (rafted) to the mothership during close quarter maneuvering and as soon as I get to open area I deploy the long line. The procedure is reversed once I get back to close quarters (mooring field, anchorage or docking).

    In regards to the line, the longer the better. I use 75-80' line, but in some applications 90-100' could be even better. You'll need to experiment and see how your tender stays in your wake. It obviously doesn't matter much at slow speed, but when you get on plane the tender should be nicely in the wake of the mothership. Make sure the line you're using floats. The last thing you want is the line sinking and getting caught in your running gear. Nylon is one of your choices.

    Attaching the line between the boats is just as important. Spreading the load with a bridle utilizing cleats on both side is the best way.

    I've towed my tender at slow speed and on plane with no issues. A friend with a 35'er was towing his 13' whaler in 4-6'ers and had no issues. With proper rig it's very doable.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
    Chris-380 likes this.
  4. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    We've found that towing is easy. There are a few more logistical things that have to be done to get them hooked together and/or tied to the hip of the tow boat, but that only takes a couple of minutes.

    Here's the company we bought out tow lines from. http://www.mooringlines.com/tow_lines.htm Good people to work with. They know what they're doing and can answer any of your questions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2016
  5. CliffA

    CliffA Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Dec 29, 2009
    Lake Norman, NC
    2001 Sea Ray 340DA
    Name: 'Happy Place'
    4.5kW West. Generator
    Purchased Nov. 2014
    Fresh Water Use
    Twin Merc. 6.2L (MPI)
    640 hp (Total)
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drive Transmissions
    thanks for the input gentlemen.....

    cliff
     
  6. Jaybeaux

    Jaybeaux Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    642
    Jan 3, 2016
    Upper Potomac River
    420 Sundancer 2004
    Naught On Call
    Cummins 6CTA-8.3's with V-Drives
    9KW Onan Genset
    There is a good article in the October/November 2016 issue of BoatUS Magazine on this very issue. It is in the Practical Boater section on page 70.
     
  7. jake88

    jake88 New Member

    2
    Mar 13, 2019
    1998 sea ray aft cabin
    8.1 mercruiser 380 hp
    Has anyone see n these solid poles that some are using to tow dinghy's with? Does anyone know how to make them or where to buy them?

    Thanks
    [​IMG]
     
  8. TNT8808

    TNT8808 Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    453
    May 25, 2016
    West Michigan
    2008 48 Sundancer
    Cummins QSC 8.3's
    Avon Seasport 340
    40 HP Yamaha
  9. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  10. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Most that tow dinghies make a bridle that ties to both sides of the boat with a center ring that the line to the dinghy goes to. Same setup on the dinghy if you have towing eyes. They will be under each of the tubes in front. The tow line should NOT be nylon. It sinks. Polypropylene floats. A marine supply store will have what you need. Longer line is better. You want it far enough back that it won’t stray outside your primary wake.

    don’t leave the motor on. The bouncing can loosen it and it can fall off or damage the transom. If you are only going cocktail speed you can leave it on if it is secure.
     

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