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Old 02-27-2019, 01:58 PM   #1
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Towing Hard-shell Dinghy

Hello All,
My wife and I own a 1987 Mainship Nantucket 40 DC. We have a Boston Whaler sport that we want to tow behind us. I know others have posted similar questions regarding the towing of dinks however, Nothing has ever seemed to answer the question of what's best practice or "Just don't do it" So, with that said, Boston Whaler 110 sport w/Yamaha 15 hp outboard. Does this seem to be a towable unit? Anyone have experience with comparable craft? Any suggestions or guidance is appreciated. Thank you
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Old 02-27-2019, 02:14 PM   #2
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What's the problem?
Plenty of us tow far bigger dingies than that regularly.

How fast is the tow?
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Old 02-27-2019, 02:22 PM   #3
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Drumhead, you bet it's towable, but I'd suggest you make acouple of mods to it before you do. I have a 130 Super Sport with a 40hpMerc on it so it's a little larger and a little heavier than yours.


What I did with mine was put a cleat on each side up nearwhere it curves to the bow. If you look on the Whaler website you can geta drawing of where BW put plywood or a similar material between the twofiberglass layers.



Then I had a company called TOP KNOT make up a towingbridle for the tow boat and a bridle for the Whaler, giving them the length ofthe line to each of the cleats. I alsoadded a line to their bridle that went from the junction of the two lines tothe cleats, and I made that long enough to reach the tow ring on the bow of theWhaler. Essentially what I was trying todo was spread the load between three points rather than just the twocleats. BTW, TOP KNOT does excellent work with quality products. I heartily recommend them.







I’ve only towed it a couple of times and both times it wassmooth as silk. The Whaler stayed almostdead center in the wake. If it tendedto swing outside the wake I would just tow a fender behind the Whaler to add alittle drag to it.







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Old 02-27-2019, 03:38 PM   #4
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I just placed my order for a towing rig with Top Knot a few days ago. Very reasonable prices and he will work with you to figure out the best configuration, length, etc. for your particular boat and towing needs.

GFC, do have pictures you can post?
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:45 PM   #5
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We towed our 2005 130 Sport, also with a 40HP Merc, in a wide variety of sea conditions and it tows beautifully. We trimmed the engine so the skeg only was just submerged to help the tracking. We used the bow eye to tow it, which is equipped with a backing plate. I would not use after market cleats (which we installed too) for this purpose. There are a variety of discussions here on the subject of constructing a towing bridle.

In our case we took to towing it when we were going to be docking on a starboard side tie, as that is where the davit lowered the boat from the boat deck (we liked using it after the big boat was tied up), or if we were just going for a very short distance from one anchorage to another. In our opinion, it was kind of a PITA when approaching or departing the docks.
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Old 02-27-2019, 04:17 PM   #6
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I have 240 nm (only) of towing a BW13 behind a 8kt trawler. It went OK.

Keep this in mind, though. Where you will get into serious trouble is breaking seas, usually in an inlet situation. The bow will submerge and aim down with the tow pull, and Bad things will happen. Only one time for me, and luckily, it was an inflatable, and the motor was small enough for us to deal with the salt water inside successfully while at sea.
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Old 02-27-2019, 05:25 PM   #7
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Make sure the attachment points on the boat and dingy are strong enough. Also put a line snubber in the tow line. It takes some of the strain off the cleats.
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Old 02-27-2019, 05:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diver dave View Post
I have 240 nm (only) of towing a BW13 behind a 8kt trawler. It went OK.

Keep this in mind, though. Where you will get into serious trouble is breaking seas, usually in an inlet situation. The bow will submerge and aim down with the tow pull, and Bad things will happen. Only one time for me, and luckily, it was an inflatable, and the motor was small enough for us to deal with the salt water inside successfully while at sea.
We faced those conditions a few times, and mitigated those issues with the engine trim and the fact that the attachment point(s) on the mothership were significantly higher than that on the dinghy. We watched it like a hawk the first few times until we learned how it behaved in various conditions and what the "just right" length of the tow line was.
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Old 02-27-2019, 05:34 PM   #9
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We tow our 11'4" Boston Whaler (with 9.8 Tohatsu) on occasion, but more often than not pull it up on the Weaver Davits. We also use the bow eye when towing. It tracks pretty well, but feel much better when it's brought up.
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Old 02-27-2019, 10:47 PM   #10
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GFC, do have pictures you can post
I'll try to get a couple of pics of the bow cleats tomorrow. The lines I got from Top Knot are on the boat. I have a pinched Sciatic nerve that makes walking a bit tricky and I don't want to risk walking down the ramp in the snowy conditions we're having right now. That being said, they look just like the ones on Top Knot's website.

They do come packed in nice nylon bags with mesh panels so they dry quickly.

When I ordered mine I ordered a 50' and a 75' tow line because I wasn't sure which was going to work best when running on plane. So far we haven't towed on plane with it to test which works best.
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:37 AM   #11
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Thank you for the response

Thank you all for your response,
I am asking simply due to the fact that I've never done this before and was searching for the advice of fellow boaters that have. I knew that it was possible, I just wasn't sure of the procedure.
What does everyone do with the dinghy when they arrive in port? This is another detail that I need to understand the logistics of maneuvering into a slip with a dinghy in tow.
Thank you again for all your expertise.
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:47 AM   #12
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Towing is like boating in general. Most of the time it's a piece of cake, sometimes nerve wracking and if it gets there for for...ends in disaster.


While using the completely wrong setup can be contributing to bad towing, its often the combination of the captain's not seeing the speed, length of tow, conditions, etc that is making th4 tow go poorly. This has no real answer, just what one gets from experience.



So yes....extreme sea conditions are to be avoided (especially rough inlets) as well as making sure the tow points on both vessels are adequate in strength and chafe reduction. Bridles are hit or miss in terms of necessity, especially when the mothership is extremely large compared to the tow.


Unless you are an excellent boat handler, getting into many slips with a dingy in tow is going to be difficult. Especially without a crew that can manhandle the tow when you are concentrating on the docking. Sure plenty of times you can get to a facedock no sweat, but down narrow fairways into a slip, you may have to drop the tow off somewhere and bring it over later. Only you and your boat combo will be able to assess that.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:29 AM   #13
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Before we got to the marina, we had to stop the boat and haul the tow line in so the bow of the Whaler was right up to the swim platform. Since our boat was designed to go bow-in to a slip, this simply had the effect of adding about 15' to the LOA of our boat. We had to be very careful with any sternward maneuvers for danger of swamping the dinghy or getting it at an awkward angle.

Due to the design and as well as the wide beam of our boat, tying the dinghy alongside was only practical (but difficult in our case), and preferable, when going into a face dock. But if we were doing that, we'd have very likely put it up on the boat deck first anyway.

If we has a boat that was designed only to back into a slip, I don't know but my preference would be to drop the dinghy off somewhere first.
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Old 02-28-2019, 09:39 AM   #14
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I successfully towed my 11' Bullfrog with a 30 hp Honda for most of a summer using what is probably "worst practice".

I just got tired of putting it up & down on the boat deck each time and-as mentioned above--if you dock on the wrong side you can't get the dinghy down.


I simply got some heavy yellow floating poly pro line and a stout hook to connect to dinghy. I used a few heavy zipties to secure the knot to be sure it wouldn't come undone. Tied it to the large cleat on swim platform. After a while I marked how much line I needed to let out to get the dinghy best positioned on my wake.



If we came into a marina would either put someone in dinghy and disconnect from boat (often didn't have anyone) or pull it up tight to side of stern away from side we were docking.


Again--I know it isn't the "best way" but it worked.
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Old 02-28-2019, 12:55 PM   #15
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Here are the pics. Nothing special about them but you want to make certain that you put them where it's reinforced beneath that top deck.





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Old 02-28-2019, 01:01 PM   #16
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We towed our 15 foot Boston Whaler quite a bit last year. We use a length of nylon line to absorb shock off of the rear cleats on our sundeck to make a tow point to which we attach a floating polypro to the tender. An end of the nylon line is made fast to the port and starboard side and the floating line attaches in the center to make a v bridle. (Hopefully that makes sense)

When we dock we either pull the tender close to the swimstep, with a fender on the swimstep or tie it along side the rear of our Tollycraft. The second option is my preference, but since we moor in a shed it is not always possible.

I am not an expert by any means but we have had success with this set up.
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Old 03-02-2019, 02:10 PM   #17
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By way of a PS to my earlier post (#19), even after looking at the pics of where the top was reinforced between the top and bottom decks, I was apprehensive about drilling into the fiberglass. To verify where the reinforcements were placed, I used a stud finder to locate the fore and aft ends of the reinforcing material. Worked like a charm.
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Old 03-04-2019, 10:51 AM   #18
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If you have even basic common sense you will have zero problems towing that rig.

I've towed a 18'cc many miles with my 34' Mainship without using any special bridle/towing setup.

I've even done it singlehanded and had to get creative leaving and returning to the dock. Not recommended lol.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:59 AM   #19
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We just ordered the same Boston whaler, I have not received it but am wondering about a cover for it. Do you cover yours and if so is it a custom cover or something you found on the shelf?

Thanks,

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Old 03-08-2019, 06:27 AM   #20
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We just ordered the same Boston whaler, I have not received it but am wondering about a cover for it. Do you cover yours and if so is it a custom cover or something you found on the shelf?

Thanks,

Bill
Boat Covers Direct will have one for your boat. I also got a bimini from them. Great service before and after the sale, in my case extending a few years after the sale. Very good quality too

https://www.boatcoversdirect.com/?gc...hoC-LoQAvD_BwE
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