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Old 05-24-2018, 04:25 PM   #1
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How Best to Tow my 10' Gig Harbor Navigator

I just acquired a 10' Navigator dinghy from Gig Harbor Boat Works.

The boat weighs approx 75 lbs.
I average 8 kts unless I'm getting a nice push from current (I like that!).

There is a single attachment point for towing.

My previous dinghy had 2 attachment points so I'm unfamiliar with the handling of a tow-behind dinghy with just the 1 point.

The boat is lightweight and the builders say it is designed to tow, so I'm wondering...

Does anyone see a problem with using a simple single line towing setup as in the attached pic 1?

Or what about the single line V-tow in pic 2?

Potential chafing would need to be addressed (snap shackle or similar), and I stow the dink when crossing big water, but other than that, what should I be concerned with?

What I am trying to avoid (if not necessary) is the more involved setup as in pic 3. Numbers 1 & 2 are just so easy for me to put together.

If you have experience with setup 1 or 2, please chime in.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-24-2018, 04:56 PM   #2
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A simple single line will work in benign conditions, but i'd recommend #3 as it allows for easy adjustment of the angle to account for a cross wind or current.

I am hesitant of using heavy duty rope and hardware for a towing harness. There is always a chance the dinghy encounter a large wave due to bad sea conditions or a large wake, and takes water over the bow. This will place great force on the tow line and attachment points so something will likely break. If it's just a rope, its not a tragedy. If there is a large shackle at the end of the rope and the attachment point breaks, it it will be fired back at your boat like a slingshot. Just something to keep in mind.

I only tow my dingy in very calm water, after losing it in rough water a couple years ago.

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Old 05-24-2018, 06:57 PM   #3
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How’d you loose it AC?

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Old 05-24-2018, 07:08 PM   #4
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Mary, I have the same dinghy and have yet to tow it. However, I may do that this weekend. My plan was to use a very simple single line setup. I have three strand polyprop line that I use to tow my RIB on occasion. It is cheap, has some stretch, floats, and is easy to see since it is bright yellow. For the rib I made up a 3 point towing bridle, but for the GH dink I'll just use a single line. I figured I would take a piece of spare double-braid (being an old sailor I have lots of line laying around) and use it to tie a loop through the tow point on the bow and then attache the tow line to it using a soft-shackle.

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Old 05-24-2018, 07:18 PM   #5
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If it doesn't self drain, a rain shedding tarp/rainfly gizmo is suggested.
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:32 PM   #6
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Most of us, before actually doing it, overthink the "problem".
Towing is simple.
there are a few simple rules to follow.

1 Unless you have extra crew to keep you out of trouble, use a towline too short to foul your prop. It matters not whether your towline floats. A fast turning prop in reverse will suck in a floating line just as quickly as a sinking line.

2 unless your tow weighs enough that you are concerned the line or the attachment point won't handle the weight, a single line is sufficient.

3 If your tow wanders back and forth, drag something behind it. That extra resistance will straighten out the path of the tow.

4 If you are towing a hard dinghy, some padding on the pointy part will help reduce damage to either the pointy part of the dinghy or the vulnerable part of the mother ship. This is where inflatables shine.

Since you plan to tow at 8 knots, you won't need #5: If you tow at speed, you need to let out some line, to get the tow back on the rise of a following wave. So much for rule #1! You also need to double up the padding in #4, as you now have a missile following you.
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Old 05-25-2018, 12:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by koliver View Post
Most of us...overthink the "problem"....
I have thousands of miles of tender towing behind me from my days on a tourist yacht in South America. We had heavy wood "pangas" that were 12 to 16 feet long with 40 hp outboards. Towing? A single line from a stern cleat to the bow ring on the panga. Done.

No bridles, no complicated rigs...just a rope. Open ocean, bad weather, you name it. We would rarely hear of one being lost, but there were never really any problems.
Anson & Donna

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~The Dalai Lama
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Old 05-26-2018, 02:05 PM   #8
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Today I am towing my GH Navigator. I also have the RIB on the SeaWise Davits so getting a clear tow line was a problem.

On the way to the boat I stopped by the local sailboat surplus outfit (my office basement) and picked up a snatch block. I used a dyneema loop around the base of a rail stanchion and snapped the block to it. The towline runs through the block and down to a hawse hole cleat. The line clears the RIB just fine. I just need a longer length of poly line as the next Stern wave back would make it ride a bit better I think.

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