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Old 03-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #1
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Prepare to tow or be towed.

The only experience I've had towing a boat was a 5.5 meter racing boat.* Just tied the line to one of*my Dad's 4-ton auxiliary sailboat's stern cleats and went.* Like pulling a surfboard.* It was Winter-Series sailboat racing on the Bay, and the winds had failed.

Are you prepared to offer towing assistance to a fellow boater in trouble?* Got solid cleats and a towing line, preferrably with a "Y" harness?

What are your recommendations for the two line for towing and being towed?

I had extra cleats installed, between stern and mid-hull, primarily because I dislike multiple lines on a cleat.* They would also seem to be a good place to attach lines to tow another boat, as they are forward of the rudder.* Also, the forward bitt looks ideal for attaching lines when being towed.* Your thoughts?

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Old 03-10-2011, 04:28 AM   #2
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

First , you purchase a Lyle gun.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:24 AM   #3
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

When I had my 34 Mainship I pulled a 25 Bayiner home to our marina when his one year old rebuild blew. I just hooked one 5/8 line to one stern cleat, thru the hawse and to his boat. When we got to the marina the dinghy patrol put him in his slip.

Then I towed another 34 Mainshipfrom Fisher's Island sound up the Pawcatuck River to his marina. Towed the same way. The fun part was going smack dab thru the center of a 15 foot sailboat race. *I was the topic of conversation for a while I'm sure.
I was able to tow him close enough to a T dock and his marina buddies did the rest.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:18 AM   #4
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

I've towed a number of boats that found themselves in distress.* They were almost always either out of fuel or had electrical problems.* I did most of those tows back when I had a 23' sailboat pushed with a 8 HP outboard.* I'd rig a bridle to the stern cleats and a line off the bridle to the other boat.

But I doubt I'll ever do it again in less than a life-or-death circumstance.* I read an article from BoatUS that said that almost always you are not going to be covered by your insurance company if anything goes awry with the tow.* Simple things like a line parting and swacking someone, a cleat pulling loose damaging either or both boats or persons, etc etc.* The article stated that if your boat is not set up and insured for towing you're on your own if ANYTHING goes wrong.

Or, maybe BoatUS was just trying to keep good Samaritans from taking some of their tow business.* But, I'm going to go with their recommendations.* Which were; call for help, stand ready to lend assistance and take personnel onboard if things get bad, but don't tow the other boat.
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:27 AM   #5
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

Quote:
BaltimoreLurker wrote:

I've towed a number of boats that found themselves in distress.* They were almost always either out of fuel or had electrical problems.* I did most of those tows back when I had a 23' sailboat pushed with a 8 HP outboard.* I'd rig a bridle to the stern cleats and a line off the bridle to the other boat.

But I doubt I'll ever do it again in less than a life-or-death circumstance.* I read an article from BoatUS that said that almost always you are not going to be covered by your insurance company if anything goes awry with the tow.* Simple things like a line parting and swacking someone, a cleat pulling loose damaging either or both boats or persons, etc etc.* The article stated that if your boat is not set up and insured for towing you're on your own if ANYTHING goes wrong.

Or, maybe BoatUS was just trying to keep good Samaritans from taking some of their tow business.* But, I'm going to go with their recommendations.* Which were; call for help, stand ready to lend assistance and take personnel onboard if things get bad, but don't tow the other boat.
********* BaltL,* As soon as I read this thread my thoughts ran right to liability issues.

******************** I am glad you brought it up, because it is a big concern.

******************** In the old days they use to say never offer the tow line always take theirs, so you can't get sued.* But those day are gone.


******************** So standby, call for help, If their boat is sinking, don't let them drown.

******************** Thats about it.** JohnP

*
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:17 AM   #6
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

We always want to help our fellow mariners in distress, but keep in mind there are limits. Any time you don't feel comfortable in your knowledge or skills in a towing situation, it should be left to a professional. At times it might be more helpful to stand by for assistance until a tow arrives rather than creating a worse situation. Towing another vessel can be downright dangerous under certain circumstances. If you don't know how to do it or are not sure of anything, especially the integrity of your or the other boats cleats, don't do it. Having said that, I wrote an article a while back on towing and posted it on our site and published it in Sail Magazine. The article is here, http://tinyurl.com/6kjaunx . Chuck
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:27 AM   #7
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Prepare to tow or be towed.

One situation where a bit of knot work comes in handy like a monkey fist.

Used to get a line to another boat or to shore for hauling a heavier line to the boat being towed.

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-- Edited by skipperdude on Thursday 10th of March 2011 10:47:46 AM
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

If your boat needs to be towed in any sea , the usual deck hardware is not suitable


Your heaviest anchor line around the boat , held up by any deck hardware , with a few life preservers or other padding at the stern is the best most can do.

WE have a ,Lyle gun , a USN modified version of a 35mm flair gun , but locating the shot line is very difficult.

For those that dont know the term,,here's wikki

A line-throwing gun is a short-barreled cannon designed to fire a projectile attached to a rope to a boat or victim in distress. Experiments in shooting tethered projectiles dates back to around 1800. A mortar device was credited with saving lives as early 1850.

One of the first actions of Superintendent Sumner Increase Kimball, the only superintendent of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, was to find a better line-throwing device. Kimball realized he needed the best artillery expertise available, so he engaged the help of the Army Board of Ordnance and in 1877 they assigned David A. Lyle, Captain, U.S.A (18451937), a West Point and MIT graduate who began research and testing that resulted in reliable efficient designs. Lyle developed 3 bronze, smooth-bore guns of different sizes and the 2+12-inch-bore (64 mm) gun became the USLSS standard line-throwing gun.[1]

Projectiles for the gun were made of cast iron with a wrought iron eye bolt screwed into the base as an attachment point for the shot line. The projectile for the 2+12-inch (64 mm) gun was 15+34 inches (400 mm) long and weighed 19 pounds. It was placed into the 24-inch-long (610 mm) gun barrel so the eye bolt with the line attached was sticking out. After firing, the projectile rotated so that the eye bolt and line were trailing. The gun had a large recoil from firing. A standard charge of 1.5 ounces (43 g) of gunpowder would knock the gun back 6 feet (1.8 m). The maximum rescue charge of 8 ounces (230 g) would send the gun flying back even further.

The type of gunpowder used was also critical. It was a variation of black powder,uniform grain size, marketed as Hazards Life-Saving Service Powder and DuPont Life-Saving Powder.

Shotline was also just as critical to the accurate operation of the Lyle gun. Hemp line was found to be too brittle. Braided linen was usable, but it was too heavy with sea water after it was fired and had to be dried out before firing again. The best rope was waterproofed braided linen. It cut through the air best and provided improved range. New lines were too stiff and were difficult to properly flake (to wind in a pattern so the line could be shot without getting tangled), so a new rope needed to be fired several times to make it more flexible for faking. One of the critical drills of the U.S.L.S.S crew was faking the rope. If the first shot failed to go over the stranded ship, the rope would have to be hauled in, refaked, and shot again. An efficient faking crew could minimize the time required to get ready for the second shot. On average, a crewman with two assistants could fake 700 yards of line in about 25 minutes.
[edit] Operation

These line guns are used primarily for shore based rescue operations. The Lyle Gun was hauled to the shoreline usually by U.S.L.L.S. surfmen in specially made beach carts. The iron wheels that supported the cart had wide bands outside the wheel to keep it from sinking into soft sand.

The Surfmen would set up and fire the Lyle gun, aiming over the stranded or wreaked vessel and then pull the line within reach of the victims. The line fired to the ship in distress was a messenger line that was in turn tied to a heavier line, the Tally Board (with instruction in English and French), and a Tail block designed to support the breeches buoy. Once the breeches buoy lines and the Crotch Pole(an A frame) assembled, the survivors could be removed from the vessel by hand hauling the breeches buoy lines.

The Lyle Gun could shoot the projectile about 700 yards (640 m), although in actual rescues the practical range was much less.[1] Rescues at greater distances were to be accomplished by lifeboats.
[edit] Manufacturers

There were about 30 companies who made line-throwing guns from the late 19th century to 1952. Famous names included American Manufacturing, Galbraith, General Ordnance, Naval Company, Sculler and Steward. Production of Lyle Gun's ceased in 1952 in favor of line-throwing rockets.
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:23 AM   #9
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

When towing a boat we using the anchor bridle cleat to the two stern side cleats*which keeps the boat being towed tracking in the center.* We been towed once by US Boat. they threw us a heavy line with an eye, put it over the Samson Pole and with the deep keel we track straight behind them.** *
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

Quote:
FF wrote:


WE have a ,Lyle gun , a USN modified version of a 35mm flair gun , but locating the shot line is very difficult.

For those that dont know the term,,here's wikki ...
I'll look for one after locating and installing a 20 mm cannon.

*
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:27 PM   #11
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

We have a line throwing gun aboard but I have never used it. We use rockets. It was what we passed to this ship just before Christmas. I kept the tug 300' away in 15' seas. Shoot the rocket, pass the messenger lines and shock chain- hooked up drag her to town.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:28 PM   #12
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

Great pictures, Jack.* I want you on hand when I get in trouble....

What kind of a line thrower do you have?* I own a SS Mossberg 12 gauge that used to have a line launcher attachment available, but they don't make them anymore.* Love to get my hands on one of those.

I hadn't heard of a Lyle gun until FF mentioned it, but how would you like to be on the receiving end of this baby?* "Honey, could you go out on deck and catch the line when they throw it to us..."


[img]download.spark?ID=888228&aBID=115492[/img]
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:42 PM   #13
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

we have towed. A bridle tow line, from the stern quarters, to whatever the towee finds as the strongest attachment point. One boat we towed into our own marina, had to thread the needle to get to an available side tie, and we had to give him enough way on to glide in, without giving ourselves too much way for the available space. Very interesting!
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:02 PM   #14
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

I will stop and tow any vessel that needs assistance.

So long as:
doing so won't put my own vessel in danger
the weather isn't getting bad (hurricane)
My boat isn't having trouble
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Old 03-12-2011, 05:29 AM   #15
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Prepare to tow or be towed.

Carl
We use a Ikaros line thrower by Hansson Pryrotech. Rocket is shot over the ship. You wouldn,t want to be on receiving end of the projectile. The casualties crew retrieves the line and hauls aboard until they get the messenger aboard, then to winches on bow.

This casualty was picked up a week before Christmas, 450 NM east of Cape Hatteras.

-- Edited by Sailor of Fortune on Saturday 12th of March 2011 06:31:54 AM
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:37 AM   #16
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Prepare to tow or be towed.

Several years ago we had an emergency situation which required a tow. We lost our engine while entering Seymour Narrows in B.C. This is an area where slow boats like ours need to proceed with much caution! When I say that we lost our engine I mean Siezed Up! We sent out a May Day and were very lucky to have the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter "Race Point" in the vicinity. They first sent out a "Fast Boat" with a mear 500 HP but they were not able to handle our full displacement vessel*accompanied by the currents so they handed us over to a 110 footer. When I say they handed us over, the 110 pulled up along side our 40 footer and a Coastie boarded us. Then the 110 pulled foreward to take the line fron the Fast Boat.Well not really, the Cutter towed the Fast Boat which was towing the Lady Anne.*We were towed back to Campbell River where we spent the next month repairing our boat. I learned quit a bit about towing very quickly that Day!

-- Edited by Rob on Saturday 12th of March 2011 10:39:25 AM

-- Edited by Rob on Saturday 12th of March 2011 10:42:08 AM

-- Edited by Rob on Saturday 12th of March 2011 10:43:43 AM
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:19 AM   #17
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

That is a VERY dangerous way to tow. The fast response boat is lucky she was not "tripped".
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:49 AM   #18
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Prepare to tow or be towed.

Are you saying that the Canadian Coast Guard didn't have there act togather? They acted very swiftly most likely preventing us from entering a very serious life threatening situation for sure. The currents it that area build to 12 plus knots. What do you know about Seymour Narrows?*

-- Edited by Rob on Saturday 12th of March 2011 04:03:09 PM

-- Edited by Rob on Saturday 12th of March 2011 04:11:21 PM
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Old 03-12-2011, 01:56 PM   #19
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

Jack,

I have seen the Canadian CG rescue boats up close and they have a towing post located forward of the engines, with a bar over the tops of the engines to keep the tow line out of the engines. The boats also have an auto inflating bouyancy bag attached to the 'roll bar' to self right the boat if it should roll over.

The Canada CG is a rescue and safety agency, and is not a law enforcement agency. They are well trained and will respond in any weather. If I am in serious trouble in BC, those are the guys I want to come get me. I have watched them in action, they do a good job.

What did you mean about the tow looking unsafe?
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Old 03-12-2011, 03:55 PM   #20
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RE: Prepare to tow or be towed.

Rob, Larry, I didn't take Jack's comments as a criticism of the Canadian Coast Guard, but as an observation that towing one vessel by towing another vessel isn't optimum.* At a minimum, it puts the human beings in the middle boat in a awkward position.

The conditions obviously warranted a sub optimal towing configuration to the officer in charge, but that doesn't alter the fact that no one would do it this way if they felt they had a reasonable choice.* From the photo, it looks like you're heading south in Discovery Passage, so perhaps you were very close to the Narrows astern, not shown in the pictures.

Towing boats is what Jack does, so I'm sure he has great appreciation for the skill and courage of the Coasties, as do all professional mariners.
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