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Old 06-22-2018, 06:21 AM   #1
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Locking through while towing a tender

I'm not sure why I just thought of this, but with less than a week before my departure to the Bahamas pulling a 16' behind, I wanted to bounce some thoughts off the group regarding locking through with a tender in tow.

From my previous crossings, common sense and experience tell me that the tender would be best tied up next to the mother ship during the lock through.

I plan on using several large ball fenders with two springs lines, a bow and a stern line to pull the tender up close for this.

One lingering questions though is how far back I should be towing the tender while in the OWW. Right now, I have everything set up for "ocean towing" and the tender is riding about 120' behind me. Should I shorten this length for the narrower canal or is it acceptable?
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Old 06-22-2018, 07:43 AM   #2
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I'm not sure why I just thought of this, but with less than a week before my departure to the Bahamas pulling a 16' behind, I wanted to bounce some thoughts off the group regarding locking through with a tender in tow.

From my previous crossings, common sense and experience tell me that the tender would be best tied up next to the mother ship during the lock through.

I plan on using several large ball fenders with two springs lines, a bow and a stern line to pull the tender up close for this.

One lingering questions though is how far back I should be towing the tender while in the OWW. Right now, I have everything set up for "ocean towing" and the tender is riding about 120' behind me. Should I shorten this length for the narrower canal or is it acceptable?
Let me start out by saying I have not towed under your intended conditions. I have crossed the OWW several times. To me 120 ft back is too far. Maybe half that. My thinking is boat traffic, bridges, and bends in the waterway risk collision with the tow. You have very little control over the tow up close and almost none back 120 ft.
The real expert here is psneld.
For locking, side tow or put a crewmen into the tow. Phone one of the locks and ask them. Better yet call at least two!
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Old 06-22-2018, 07:59 AM   #3
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When we tow our 15' AB Rib to the anchorage up the ICW i usually keep it about 40 foot behind me. The advantage of that is that the RIB is getting the benefit of my flattened wake and sits nicely inside the two bow waves. I would suspect 120 feet back you would lose that advantage - but I am talking ICW not open ocean where I have not towed it.

When we are towing this RIB and going through our lock (which we must do to get out and in) we shorten the line just before entering the lock and have it's bow right off our swim platform - no issues. We also make sure to tell the lock staff that we have the RIB in tow as they often have multiple boats looking to lock in or out. That makes them aware of our true length when bringing others in.
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Old 06-22-2018, 08:09 AM   #4
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I agree that locking with it on the side makes the most sense. Be sure to tell the lock operator before arrival as they will likely bring you in last. Have a plan B. One door on the Moore Haven lock earlier this spring was inoperable. You wouldn't be able to enter the lock under that condition side tied.

Towing a stern will require you to periodically shorten the tow. The train bridge after the Port Mayaca lock will require a much shorter tow do to it's narrow opening.

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Old 06-22-2018, 08:20 AM   #5
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Thanks all. I forgot about the RR bridge!

Below is what the tow looks like with 120'. This distance includes the bridle. Towing will be less than 8kts.










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Old 06-22-2018, 09:41 AM   #6
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Watched a guy come into Montauk Harbor, then into LAke Montauk with his Boston Whaler back about 100-120 feet. I assume he forgot. As he wound through the day marks, his tender went on the wrong side and it was a mess. He was then out of the channel and on a sandbar trying to untangle the dinghy. It was a rising tide, and he was on soft. About 15 minutes and some adjusting and he was able to get off.

Note to Self. Short scope the tender in tight spaces.
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Old 06-22-2018, 10:20 AM   #7
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Watched a guy come into Montauk Harbor, then into LAke Montauk with his Boston Whaler back about 100-120 feet. I assume he forgot. As he wound through the day marks, his tender went on the wrong side and it was a mess. He was then out of the channel and on a sandbar trying to untangle the dinghy. It was a rising tide, and he was on soft. About 15 minutes and some adjusting and he was able to get off.

Note to Self. Short scope the tender in tight spaces.
That's something I hadn't thought about - but then I never tow anything.

Could see how in the Okeechobee rivers/canals when meeting boats that their wake might push the "towed" boat over into day markers.

Have seen some large sportfishers come scream through.
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Old 06-22-2018, 11:25 AM   #8
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We towed the dinghy all last year. Into and out of the anchorages or mooring fields, we were at headway speed (Idle around 3.5 kts) and had the towline at only a few feet. I kept it short enough to prevent the towline from being able to be caught in the prop.

The trick was to actually stop well outside of tight navigation and wait a few minutes for momentum to slow you. 3.5 kts will strip the tow line from the admiral's hand or want to haul her over trying to control it. I'd have to wait until we were under 1.5kts before I would tell her it's ok to "payout/haul-in". Once re-cleated, she'd advise we could make way again.
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Old 06-22-2018, 02:08 PM   #9
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We just completed a pulling a 14 ft Carolina Skiff and as first mate I can tell you I was constantly adjusting the distance to meet conditions and circumstances. We did side tie in a couple of OWW locks but had room to tow at about 8 feet back in the others.
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Old 06-22-2018, 03:15 PM   #10
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When we tow our small rib in confined areas and maybe 6 knots max we set the towline very short, so the bow of the rib is maybe 5' from our swim platform.
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Old 06-22-2018, 03:24 PM   #11
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There was someone who posted here on TF about a year ago about being struck by a dinghy on a similar long towline. I tried searching for it but came up with too many hits.
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Old 06-23-2018, 05:35 AM   #12
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Most "tight" places are wide enough , tied on the hip , works in most locks
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Old 06-23-2018, 07:23 AM   #13
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Locking through while towing a tender

When towing in the ICW when I know I will have to idle around waiting on bridges, I suck the RIB way up close to the stern so if I have to reverse for a second I don’t run over the tow rope. I tow with a big yellow floating poly line tied to each side of the stern in a sort of bridle.
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Old 06-23-2018, 09:43 AM   #14
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Best tow rig I have seen:
On a big Hatteras Sport Fish, the transom is almost 1 ft thick. In the top of the transom, at center, was a reel winch, on which was enough tow line to tow at any distance up to 120 ft. The tow was an 18 ft CC, so happiest far back, but adjustable by the press of the "in" button.
When stowed, all that showed was a small opening, lined with rollers, with the hook on the end of the line hanging out.
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Old 06-23-2018, 11:19 AM   #15
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Both doors are open at Moorhaven. Called yesterday to confirm.


We are crossing a couple of days ahead of K9medic - hit the Okeechobee waterway on Thursday.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:47 AM   #16
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"enough tow line to tow at any distance up to 120 ft."


And the proper day hoist to allow others to know what was happening?
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:28 AM   #17
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Thanks guys.

I’m making up a smaller 30’ rope today.

If it wasn’t for the fact that my wife would have to trailer the boat 5 hours down the interstate by herself, I wouldn’t even both towing it to the east coast.

I can’t risk her being on the side of the road with a busted axle or bearing and me being somewhere between the two coasts.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
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From my previous crossings, common sense and experience tell me that the tender would be best tied up next to the mother ship during the lock through.

Preferable of course are davits.



I run a long tow offshore and in open water (Chesapeake Bay, Albemarle Sound, Long Island Sound). I bring it in to the front of the second wave back in more confined water.



For locks I would side-tie on the hip where I can reach it if need be. I would not use ball fenders. I'd rig small cylinders horizontally attached to the tender. Use at least two and preferably three on each side - you don't know if the lock will ask you to switch sides at the last minute and you want to be responsive so you don't lose a locking.



For a painter or other tow line there is nothing better than New England Ropes dinghy tow line. https://www.neropes.com/products/anc...nghy-tow-rope/ If you are going to splice an eye in it yourself send me an email for tips. The first one I did took an oak tree and an F250 4WD to bury. Now I do it with a screwdriver and a hard point.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:15 PM   #19
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We’ve been underway since yesterday around noon. So far so good.

Weather has been really crappy on the West Coast of Florida and going across Tampa Bay and I thunderstorm was not much fun.
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Old 06-29-2018, 03:24 PM   #20
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We’ve been underway since yesterday around noon. So far so good.

Weather has been really crappy on the West Coast of Florida and going across Tampa Bay and I thunderstorm was not much fun.

Have a good trip.
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