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Old 01-25-2013, 07:39 PM   #1
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Good towable dinghy

We are considering towing a dinghy with our 1981 34' Mainship II. Would like suggestions for a good towable dinghy.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:14 PM   #2
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There are thousands of possibilities with towables...I would have a 14' Carolina skiff with a 20-40 hp outboard...but that's me.

You'll get a thousand (if you wait that long and keep posting) other suggestions.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:26 PM   #3
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Left as a wide open subject I can see that you are correct Psneeld. So, I will add that I plan to use a small HP outboard - 5 HP range. I would like something that may not be feasible, but I would like to have a "lesser" resistance through the water. I will leave open the material of construction.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:27 PM   #4
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Look at what the people in your area tow, find out from them how well they tow, and then get the one that the most people say tows the best.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:33 PM   #5
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if you are going with such a small outboard...I'd go inflatable...keep it all onboard and not deal with towing...if you've never towed a dingy... then take advice in total...not just on what to tow.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:34 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice Marin on observing others. However, in my area (Arkansas River - LIttle Rock) there are very few cruisers and even fewer trawlers. Also, we are not on the "Loop". Therefore, I am turnig to the forum.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:42 PM   #7
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I can help you with the process but not what type. If you need advice on the "how" and not the "what" I will chime in.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:46 PM   #8
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Swampu, that is an interesting looking boat you have. Actually, I have towed before, but with a Hatteras 53 MY with plenty of twin engine power. Towing with a single egnine Mainship 34 appears to be a different experience. I would like to hear from you.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:56 PM   #9
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Well, I use the bridal and put the towed vessel on the down hill of the 1st or 2nd wake. Just feel it out, maybe with one screw you might offset the bridal. Maybe someone might know and enlighten us both. Paul
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice Marin on observing others. However, in my area (Arkansas River - LIttle Rock) there are very few cruisers and even fewer trawlers. Also, we are not on the "Loop". Therefore, I am turnig to the forum.
Good point. My guess is that if you are boating rivers the water is generally pretty nice as opposed to swells and waves. Of course I expect you have some big wakes to deal with from towboats and such.

Lots and lots of choices so I'll give you one to look at which is our favorite dinghy even though we don't have one yet. And that is the Bullfrog. I've got no use for inflatables if for no other reason than once you get into fabric tubes you're into finite lives. And for what the bloody things cost, I would want them to live forever and take virtually any punishment I can dish out.

The Bullfrog combines the floatation of an RIB with the toughness, durability, and long life of a hardshell. Not cheap and not light, but if you're towing-- which is what we will most likely do when we get one--- the weight doesn't matter. The 9' model is the one I am most familiar with as a good friend has one on his lobsterboat. The 9' model is rated for up to 15 hp They are made in Bellingham, WA.

Obviously for us getting one is no problem and our lobsterboat friend is a good friend of the owner of the company. I have no idea how widespread their distribution is or what the cost of getting one to your area would be.

But for what my wife and I want out of a dinghy/shoreboat, it's the only thing worth getting in our opinions.

Website is http://www.bullfrogboats.com/
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:26 PM   #11
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We are considering towing a dinghy with our 1981 34' Mainship II. Would like suggestions for a good towable dinghy.
Our preferred tow is a Porta-Bote tucked up to within a couple of feet of the stern, essentially climbing the stern wave. In that position it is absolutely safe and when you stop, because it is polyethelene, it doesn't mar the hull. Zero drama, and the Porta-Bote has the advantage of being so ugly, no one will steal it. At least not yet. The one in the picture is about 12 years old. Dogs can't harm it, drag it up onto the rocks without harm, and easily folded up to put away when you want to.
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:12 PM   #12
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Something important to consider when towing is that the hull speed of your boat and your dinghy is WAY DIFFERENT.

A full disp hull parent boat will need a dinghy that is at least somewhat semi-planing as it's usual speed will be considerably higher than it's hull speed. So Whitehall and other types w their transom fully out of the water are full displacement and should be avoided. They can be towed but lacking directional stability and w their bows high in the air.

The yellow boat is a dinghy of mine that is semi-disp and good for about 6 or 7 knots. That makes it well matched to Willy, my 6 knot boat. With the clinker style hull it is very dry running. That's important in a dinghy and few deliver.

The bottom pic is of my 16' aluminum skiff that would serve as a great dinghy for a large boat but there are 11' Al skiffs that are light and easily driven. They can be beached and the engine quickly removed. Then the small (5 to 8hp 2 stroke) OB and the boat (independently) can be easily packed up the beach.

Lots of options.

The more I look at that Port-a-Boat the more I like it.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:31 AM   #13
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Eric, your yellow dinghy is very pretty, who made it?
I agree with your comment about aluminum dinghys. When I was a kid I had the use of a 12 foot Alumicraft for a while and loved it. We sold Alumicraft boats and Grumman canoes in our store. The canoes sold well but the boats were never very popular around here (Miami). I think people were afraid to put them in salt water.

I've been thinking of building one of these to use as a tow behind dinghy.

Boat plan details, Fast Garvey 10 (GV10), Power Boats 16' or less
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:51 AM   #14
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One that won`t flip. Tried righting an upside down small f/g dinghy (no motor)? Some sort of vacuum or suction to the water gets created. I got lucky, a wave lifted an edge and I could turn it back over.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:30 AM   #15
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I'm in the process of building a building a 10' tender for an as yet unpurchased cruiser. The tender has a Pram bow, lots of flare and will be suitable for towing or hauling on davits. These types of prams are used by Lobstermen on the North shore of Massachusetts, (where I grew up) and carry weight through chop to the moored lobsterboat. They are regionally known as Swampscott prams or Nahant type skiffs. They feature high bows and robust construction, usually pulled up on the landings by the fishermans pickup truck.
Mine is built with 3/8" marine plywood bottom and sides, with 3/4' bow and stern transoms. The rails (gunwhales) are 4 layers of 3/8' about 2 1/2' wide.
Seams are taped with 4" f/g tape set in epoxy and the outside of the hull is getting a layer of 10 oz cloth set in epoxy. I'm in the process of f/glassing the hull now. The only reason to build your own skiff is to get it the way you want it - there are certainly no cost savings involved. I will have lifting points low inside the hull for davit use and strengthened towing points on the bow. Three water tight compartments will by built in.
Operational requirements are general support duties for the mother ship: shore runs, dog ferry, be able to carry 2 bicycles, groceries, fuel etc. MUST be able to tough it out at dinghy docks, rocky beaches and survive general abuse by ships crew.
Ply construction means easily repaired. Pram style bow means about the same interior room as a 12' conventional dinghy. I hate inflatables (personal opinion ONLY) and am only building this because I have the time. When the mother ship presents itself, it will be ready to go! If anybody cares, I will post building sequence pics when completed.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:56 AM   #16
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I'm in the process of building a building a 10' tender for an as yet unpurchased cruiser. The tender has a Pram bow, lots of flare and will be suitable for towing or hauling on davits. These types of prams are used by Lobstermen on the North shore of Massachusetts, (where I grew up) and carry weight through chop to the moored lobsterboat. They are regionally known as Swampscott prams or Nahant type skiffs. They feature high bows and robust construction, usually pulled up on the landings by the fishermans pickup truck.
Mine is built with 3/8" marine plywood bottom and sides, with 3/4' bow and stern transoms. The rails (gunwhales) are 4 layers of 3/8' about 2 1/2' wide.
Seams are taped with 4" f/g tape set in epoxy and the outside of the hull is getting a layer of 10 oz cloth set in epoxy. I'm in the process of f/glassing the hull now. The only reason to build your own skiff is to get it the way you want it - there are certainly no cost savings involved. I will have lifting points low inside the hull for davit use and strengthened towing points on the bow. Three water tight compartments will by built in.
Operational requirements are general support duties for the mother ship: shore runs, dog ferry, be able to carry 2 bicycles, groceries, fuel etc. MUST be able to tough it out at dinghy docks, rocky beaches and survive general abuse by ships crew.
Ply construction means easily repaired. Pram style bow means about the same interior room as a 12' conventional dinghy. I hate inflatables (personal opinion ONLY) and am only building this because I have the time. When the mother ship presents itself, it will be ready to go! If anybody cares, I will post building sequence pics when completed.
Agree 100% and if I didn't already have a 12 MFG that I got years ago for $100...I would have (and still might ) build my own. The 12 footer with engine is as wide as my boat and tends to clip the dock when I have to kick the stern over to get a line on a cleat quickly.

The only recommendation I have and I plan to do it to my dingy when I'm back in for the summer ....is to gut the bench seats out...and deck her in about 6-10 inches below the gunnels all the way around except for a small foot well centered for 4 pax and scuppers along the deck to shed water. Filled with foam under the deck she will remain unsinkable and will shed water except for the small foot well dead center that could fill up but be no threat to sinking or rolling her if she does take on water. The amount of rain she will collect will be a fraction of what happens now and she has turtled 2x in the last 10 years during storms. The decking and scuppers will also alleviate the suction problem if she does turtle... Having salvaged several small skiffs that went turtle (whalers and carolinas) they are VERY difficult to right due to the suction.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:39 AM   #17
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"The only reason to build your own skiff is to get it the way you want it"
SoF, Not true! It's a lot of fun to build a boat. You're right about the cost.
The boat you describe sounds a lot like the one whos picture I posted above.
Are your building from plans or did you design the boat?
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:56 AM   #18
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It's a lot of fun to build a boat.
About 4 years ago I traveled to Seattle to visit my grandson with the goal of attending the Wooden Boat Festival and building a Union Bay Skiff. The whole build lasted 4 days and was a howling success. My grandson and his dad sail the boat on Lake Washington but I always thought it would make a great tender. It rows like a dream but the sailing is questionable at best.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:14 AM   #19
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HopCar,
I looked that up for Marin once and I think it is a "Holiday". Made in CA. I don't think I've ever towed it but if runs great about 7 or 8 knots ... no faster because of her upturned aft section. You'd think it would be great to row but NOT SO. Stern wants to pass up the bow. Gotta concentrate on keeping it going straight all the time but it is fast as a rowboat. I'd like to get a Trinka to replace it. I don't think Mark ever did post pics of his Trinka. I kept go'in back to the post to see his pics but gave up.

SaF,
That's great. Some of the guys (actually quite a few) post an on-going thread about boat builds and judging by the # of responses those threads are very popular. Sounds hull bent for stout. What do you think she'll weigh? What kind of fasteners are you using? I'd love to see your pics.

psneeld,
One thing about a very cheap boat is that you can USE it any old way you want without worry'in about damaging your precious boat. I like the flotation chambers too. My yellow dinghy was a sailboat and has the typical fore and aft seats outboard that are flotation chambers. I run that boat w a 6hp Johnson or an 8hp Yamadog 2 stroke at half throttle. Very quiet and relaxing. Chris loves the old Johnson. Bought the new Yami for dependability in the wilderness (Alaska).
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #20
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nice thing other than cheap (and there's tens of thousands rotting next to someone's house and available for pennies on the dollar)....

is the unusual hull of the MFGs from this series...like a tri-hull but really just a small keel and two extra large chines with a downward point. Its dry, fast enough with a 4 stroke 8hp, already came with a scratch or two , rows great and did I mention less than $100????
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