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Old 09-05-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Towable fishing "dinghy"?

When we were out cruising the Gulf Islands last month we saw a number of trawler folks that were towing a 16'+ fishing boat and it sparked some interest with my wife and I. We love to fish but having a safe, fish able boat and a dinghy is a little redundant for our 36' Grand Banks. We currently carry two kayaks and a 12 Avon RIB center console w/25 hp 4 stroke on the swim step. I am thinking if we decide to remove the Avon and tow an aluminum boat we could fish much safer and better.

I am wondering how many of you out there tow this kind of setup and what boat do you tow. I have been reading about other folks towing setups and stories of wrapped props, been there, done that.....twice. Understand the pitfalls but question things like crossing big water like the Strait of Georgia, what do you do when you come to a marina, side towing and anything to help us make a much more informed decision. I have been thinking welded aluminum but also wondering about possibly towing an Arima, which we really like too.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:54 PM   #2
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You might not want to tow a flat bottom aluminum boat as they tend to flip! The common is the Boston whaler which are wide with a low center of gravity. Livingston are OK. In the marine most tow close to the boat on the side or side way tied to the swim plat form. I tow side ways tied to the swim platform. When out in the open tow about 50 ft behind the Eagle as the Eagle wake tends to protect the dink. I use the anchor bridle and line that floats, tied to the stern side cleats which keeps the dink centered behind the Eagle. .



I have thought about towing the run about if we head north as its comfortable, fast, protect water stable, 30 gallon belly tank, 4 hp kicker, down riggers, and powerfull enough to maybe tow the Eagle as its set up to tow 200+ lbs slolom skier.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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Keith, we tow a 13' Whaler as a multi-purpose boat- sightseeing, crabbing, grocery getting, and water-toy towing. We tow with a 50' poly floating line with a snubber as a shock absorber.

When we go thru the locks, or enter port, we bring the whaler close and stern tie it.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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I have been thinking along the lines of a deep v style boat like a Lund or Gregor and looking for something with more freeboard to raise the level of comfort for my wife. Possible something in the 14 to 16 for range.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, I have never been in a Boston Whaler and have wondered how they would be in choppy water.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:09 PM   #5
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Our 13' Whaler (1967 vintage) is great in flat water, and can beat up up in a chop. The Dauntless and Montauk models are more deep V than mine. One thing about the Whaler is the construction and the trademark unsinkability.

The boats you are considering should tow quite well, since you are not traveling at 15+ knots from place to place.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:50 PM   #6
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Keith, I may have been one of the boats you saw this summer as I just returned from a 4 month trip to Alaska, towing a 19 1/2' aluminum fishing boat. It is built by Northwest Boats here in Washington. The smallest they make is 17 feet. I was really apprehensive about towing across big bodies of water, but after crossing the Strait of Georgia, Queen Charlotte Strait, and Dixon Entrance, it turned out to be no big deal.
We also have a 12 foot aluminum skiff that we used for several years but this new boat really worked out great. It was much safer pulling shrimp pots, and we used it alot for exploring. One of the reasons I chose this boat was the larger fuel capacity (62 gallons), so with that much fuel we could anchor up and explore for 50 miles around us if we wanted.
When coming into a marina we would tie it along side. When calling the marina for a slip assignment I would tell them I had a small boat tied along side and they always were able to accommodate me. If you need help making up a tow rope let me know and I can show you mine. Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:36 PM   #7
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This boat is leaving Victoria BC confidently trailing a sizable boat:

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Old 09-06-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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The "dinghy" next to this boat at West End this summer was 36' long and had 900 hp of out boards on it. And they did tow it!
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolive View Post
When we were out cruising the Gulf Islands last month we saw a number of trawler folks that were towing a 16'+ fishing boat and it sparked some interest with my wife and I. We love to fish but having a safe, fish able boat and a dinghy is a little redundant for our 36' Grand Banks. We currently carry two kayaks and a 12 Avon RIB center console w/25 hp 4 stroke on the swim step. I am thinking if we decide to remove the Avon and tow an aluminum boat we could fish much safer and better. I am wondering how many of you out there tow this kind of setup and what boat do you tow. I have been reading about other folks towing setups and stories of wrapped props, been there, done that.....twice. Understand the pitfalls but question things like crossing big water like the Strait of Georgia, what do you do when you come to a marina, side towing and anything to help us make a much more informed decision. I have been thinking welded aluminum but also wondering about possibly towing an Arima, which we really like too.
We have been towing our 15'6" AMI aluminum floor RIB. I would not call it a fishing dinghy and I continue to ask the same questions as you do. What would a 16' aluminum or 17' BW Montauk be like for towing. Our dinghy only weighs 400 lbs and is basically a large fender. I tow it behind, I rig it straight behind us as we come into marinas or the locks, I tow it on the hip while fishing. With that said, it is awesome to have a large capacity dinghy for hauling people to shore! I wonder how tight qtr maneuvers would work with a much harder and pointier dinghy. We have all sorts of scratched on the stern from wakes, etc, while towing in close qtrs. I long for a downrigger capable dinghy for those mornings when the admiral wants to stay at anchor and you want to fish! I am also able to get away with the dinghy in my slip. Are you going to pay for another slip or just tow it down when you are leaving for a long trip?

Here is the dinghy in tow:
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In the locks it makes our LOA 65':
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At Bell Harbor, if you stay under 16' it will not be an issue at the stern but longer makes the stern tie harder to fit in slips.
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Good luck shopping! There are some sweet end of season deals right now. One last thought, make sure the dinghy is self baling. You hear and see all the time 13' whalers knee deep with water. Yes, they are still floating but not much use if they are full of water.
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Old 09-08-2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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6-pack, you nailed several of the many reasons we want a fish able dinghy. Go out early and let others sleep in, carry more passengers, carry crabbing gear etc. I have been looking at Gregors, Klamaths and some Bayrunner boats. Heavy duty yet not as heavy as the Hewes, Weldcraft like boats, though we do consider a 15' Arima as a possibility too. We are not in a huge hurry so finding the right boat at the right time is our desire.

We love to go north and want the boat to be our personal workboat for the chores we choose to use it for. Our current 12' Avon RIB is very nice with console steering and 25 hp Yamaha 4 stroke, but it does not really fit the workboat title we desire. Would consider trading it if the right trade was presented.
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Old 09-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #11
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I'd be surprised if a 17' Montauk would be much fun to tow. Ours weighed almost 1,000 lbs. empty and pounded like hell in a moderate chop. Riding in your wake might smoothe things out a bit, but I'm guessing you'd notice it back there in any kind of weather.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:15 AM   #12
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I am planning to build an 18ft Carolinian skiff from Spira International. Fairly light and seaworthy. Would have a bilge pump in place whenever towing. We want a "car" for messing around our area, and pulling over to the Bahamas. We've had a RIB for years and I have grown allergic to them (yes, they are very practical! and stable). I just like building boats out of wood. The dory style skiff is quick with low horsepower - easy and inexpensive to build, and will carry a large payload.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:26 AM   #13
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We tow a 17' Dusky CC. It's about 3000lbs. Tows quite nice, and actually just got a beefier tow rope made since we've been caught up in some nasty weather and the old one didn't seem adequate. Usually when we come into Marinas we put it on the hip or have someone hop in it and go park it temporarily till we dock depending on how many people we have on board.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:43 AM   #14
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I am planning to build an 18ft Carolinian skiff from Spira International. Fairly light and seaworthy. Would have a bilge pump in place whenever towing. We want a "car" for messing around our area, and pulling over to the Bahamas. We've had a RIB for years and I have grown allergic to them (yes, they are very practical! and stable). I just like building boats out of wood. The dory style skiff is quick with low horsepower - easy and inexpensive to build, and will carry a large payload.
Great little boat you are planning...but not necessarily the best to tow. Their stability is derived from being loaded...not empty.

Towed vessels for fun (I tow for a living)....need a bow that if it swamps, won't pull apart if it takes a few minutes to notice it. It should be self bailing if at all possible....while a bilge pump is OK....you are betting you dingy/motor on it. If you tow motor up, it will need an attachment point (s) for some kind of drove to keep it from overrunning you in some conditions.

I also suggest that you plan on strong points along the rail that if it does swamp and roll, you have easy attachment points to roll it back over.

If you are a fair weather boater like I have become...less of the points I made are necessary....but at some point we all can get caught in a bad situation sooner or later and towing is NEVER fun when things and or weather are going bad.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:59 AM   #15
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Find an old Hobie Skiff. Self bailing, stable, will plane off with a 30HP motor.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:01 PM   #16
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I've looked into towable too but we have an older dog. Beaching a fibreglass runabout, 3 times a day, getting the dog over the bow, into the boat. Can't see it. Once we no longer have a dog, perhaps.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:50 PM   #17
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I've looked into towable too but we have an older dog. Beaching a fibreglass runabout, 3 times a day, getting the dog over the bow, into the boat. Can't see it. Once we no longer have a dog, perhaps.
Check these out;

takacat.com - The new generation of rigid inflatable catamarans

We'll see how much is left in the bank after our home renovation...hopefully this year.
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Old 01-24-2015, 02:08 PM   #18
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We have met people with a GB32 who routinely tow the same kind of fishing boat we have, a 17' Arima (photo). I've ased them how well it tows and if it's a problem in rough water and they said it tows well and is not a problem in rougher water.

When we are able to take longer trips north we plan to either buy a 10' Bullfrog or possibly tow our own Arima. The problem is that the Arima is not a shore boat--- taking it to the rocky beaches up here would damage it in short order. So we would still need a shoreboat to take the dog ashore, etc. This is why we will probably go the Bullfrog route since it has much more interior volume than an inflatable/RIB and with its rigid-tube construction can have fishing gear (downrigger/rod holders) easily mounted.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:15 PM   #19
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Thanks to everyone that replied to this read. We finally made a decision and are buying me. 16' Lund Alaskan for our fishing boat and will work on the towing details. So far, I think I would like to have a bridle attachment on the bow instead of just using the trailer attachment. Currently there is not a set of cleats on the bow, but that is not a big problem to attach with the proper backing plates. Then a tow line connected to a bridle off our stern should complete the package.

Really looking forward to getting in some fishing, crabbing and prawning this year. It comes with an electric crab/prawn pot puller and electric downrigger a so I feel pretty well set up.
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Old 02-10-2015, 07:19 PM   #20
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Tow eye...little or no chafe....bridle...lots of chafe or at least chance of it if not addressed.


Why do assistance towing companies usually use the tow eye over a bridle?


What possibly is the advantage of a bridle other than disconnecting?
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