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Old 06-22-2011, 01:03 PM   #1
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Rescue towing

What is the best way to tow another boat? Snug up tight. Tied like a raft up.

Or back behind you?

*

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Old 06-22-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
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RE: Rescue towing

I think that depends on the conditions. If it is rough, you do not want a boat tied abreast because it will beat the tow boat to pieces. But for max maneuverability, that is the way to do it. What I have seen the towboats do if they do not have a seasoned skipper at the helm of a towed boat is to tie astern if it is rough and then once they get into sheltered water, snug it up abreast.
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:08 PM   #3
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RE: Rescue towing

I have towed both ways, and have to say that my preference is to tow behind; it is much less stressful on the captain, at least out on the open sea. The benefits of the side tie in sheltered waters are improved manoeverability and somewhat less stress on both vessels as you can in theory utilize more cleats assuming that they exist.
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:13 PM   #4
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Rescue towing

Quote:
Conrad wrote:
..*you can in theory utilize more cleats assuming that they exist.
*It's difficult to have too many cleats.* I prefer a limit of one line per cleat.



-- Edited by markpierce on Wednesday 22nd of June 2011 03:14:17 PM
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:20 PM   #5
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RE: Rescue towing

Stern tow in open water, alongside (hipped up) in and around docks/marinas . Go slowly.
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:48 PM   #6
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RE: Rescue towing

Quote:
Sailor of Fortune wrote:
Stern tow in open water, alongside (hipped up) in and around docks/marinas . Go slowly.
*AH HAA*!!! *A new nautical term*to ad to my collection *Hipped up.

Cool.

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:01 PM   #7
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RE: Rescue towing

I prefer the expression "hip to hip."
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:18 PM   #8
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RE: Rescue towing

When I was on a boat that towed another from astern, we also used a bridle. If you don't have one you could make one from a line and a bowline, or if you have the skills, splice one up. It really seemed to help keep the boat that was being towed under more control and took some stress off of the stern.
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:36 PM   #9
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RE: Rescue towing

I have towed friends boats twice. Both times I used a long line, shortened a bit once in the river. Both times when we got near the marina friends came out with a dinghy armada to push the boat into the slip.

Two times I pushed a towboat up the river with a stiff rope....and they re-configured to a bridle to back me into my slip.

*

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Old 06-22-2011, 09:39 PM   #10
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RE: Rescue towing

The attached photo shows us being towed due to engine problems about a month ago. The commercial (C-Tow) operator handed me a 1" line with a loop on the end through which I passed my 1/2" line as I made a bridle. Two learnings:

1) My 1/2" was too light for him to tow me at anything over 6 knots (I'm 32' & 12,000 lbs) which surprised me, especially since the bridle cuts the load in half, more or less.

2) The tow line did not stay centred on the bridle; rather it would bind quite often, causing the boat to yaw significantly to one side or the other. I'm assuming that was due to the lines being wet and not so slippery, but other than that I have no idea why it happened. (I kept the rudder centred.)*
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:53 PM   #11
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RE: Rescue towing

Towed a boat in from about 25 miles out,* Because of the long distance we reached the inlet after dark.* The inlet was very rough with an out going tide.* We were too tired to wait 4 hours for it to change.* We were very leary going in, but soon found that the two boats stabalized each other.* Moving slowly through the rollers if one boat veered off the other boat's drag pulled it back straight.* It turned out to be a piece of cake.

As Capt. Jack said, when close in tow along side or on the "hip".* Much better close quarter control.* Of course Jack is a consumate professional.* He knows a whole lot more about towing than he is telling.
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Old 06-23-2011, 04:06 AM   #12
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RE: Rescue towing

"Tow another boat"

Pulling another 50 ft er would be way different from hauling a dink.

What SIZE boat are you contemplating towing ?
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:10 AM   #13
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Rescue towing

Quote:
Conrad wrote:
1) My 1/2" was too light for him to tow me at anything over 6 knots (I'm 32' & 12,000 lbs) which surprised me, especially since the bridle cuts the load in half, more or less.
Simple physics shows that the load on the individual bridle lines only approaches 1/2 the towing line load as the bridle line lengths become very long (e.g., 10 or more times the width between the cleats).*At shorter bridle line lengths such as seen in your picture, the load is significantly higher.

Also, the instantaneous load on the towing line can greatly exceed the weight of the towed boat as the line slackens and retightens due to wind and wave motion between the boats.

So, for maximum safety the bridal lines*should be as long a practical and*should be rated at least as high in max load as the towing line.


-- Edited by Great Laker on Thursday 23rd of June 2011 08:20:18 AM
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:24 AM   #14
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Rescue towing

Quote:
FF wrote:
"Tow another boat"

Pulling another 50 ft er would be way different from hauling a dink.

What SIZE boat are you contemplating towing ?
*I wasn't. *It is just that sometimes you run across someone stranded.

Where I boat in Prince William Sound Alaska.**There is no tow boat service. Period. There isn't even a boat yard that you can tow your boat to. There is the very old*travel lift*that the Harbor runs and one hydraulic boat trailer if you can contact the owner. He doesn't seem to be around much. The last time it was used it punctured a hole in a 36 CHB when one of the rams plate fell off.

You either get yourself home or ask someone for help.

*I Always lend a hand if I can. You never know when it will be you.

The coast guard monitors the radio and will effect rescue if needed*but getting your boat home is up to you.

SD

*


-- Edited by skipperdude on Thursday 23rd of June 2011 08:58:41 AM
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:39 AM   #15
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RE: Rescue towing

I use the anchor bridle to two the dink/run about as we do not anchor.* Keeps the center behind the Eagle.* About 50 ft in open water and 10 to 20 in the marina.* I have seen/watch the US Tow Boat hundred of time and they tow with the boat 20 to 50 ft depend on the size, and then shorten up in the marina.* I have not seen them side tow a boat.* Most marins will assist/help docking if you call them.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:46 AM   #16
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RE: Rescue towing

Quote:
Phil Fill wrote:I use the anchor bridle to two the dink/run about as we do not anchor.* Keeps the center behind the Eagle.* About 50 ft in open water and 10 to 20 in the marina.* I have seen/watch the US Tow Boat hundred of time and they tow with the boat 20 to 50 ft depend on the size, and then shorten up in the marina.* I have not seen them side tow a boat.* Most marins will assist/help docking if you call them.
*If the tow is heavier than the towing boat, stopping can get to be a wild exercise,* The tower has little chance of stopping or controlling the towed boat.* In close quarters towing snugged up along side eliminates this problem.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:11 AM   #17
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RE: Rescue towing

#1 I would only tow a smaller boat.
#2 If in open water, towed astern on heaviest hawser available.
#3. Inshore (harbor, marina, etc.) in smooth waters on the hip.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:05 AM   #18
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RE: Rescue towing

Quote:
Great Laker wrote:Conrad wrote:
1) My 1/2" was too light for him to tow me at anything over 6 knots (I'm 32' & 12,000 lbs) which surprised me, especially since the bridle cuts the load in half, more or less.
Simple physics shows that the load on the individual bridle lines only approaches 1/2 the towing line load as the bridle line lengths become very long (e.g., 10 or more times the width between the cleats).*At shorter bridle line lengths such as seen in your picture, the load is significantly higher.

Also, the instantaneous load on the towing line can greatly exceed the weight of the towed boat as the line slackens and retightens due to wind and wave motion between the boats.

So, for maximum safety the bridal lines*should be as long a practical and*should be rated at least as high in max load as the towing line.



-- Edited by Great Laker on Thursday 23rd of June 2011 08:20:18 AM

All very good points; you forced me to dust off my physics knowledge for sure. The other thought I have is that at the point where the bridle is looped through the eye of the towline I assume that the load is 100%. Not sure on that.

So the real learning is to have a long and in our case probably 1" line at the ready for a tow. Not always the easiest thing to do when storage space is at a premium. **
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Old 06-24-2011, 03:53 AM   #19
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RE: Rescue towing

A prudent sailor might try to match the tow line to their assessment of towing the cleats.

I would probably not go over 5/8 line from the bridal back as stretch is desired , and heavy line takes too much force to stretch it .

Towing a big boat (or small one for that matter) does not mean they need to be brought to their dock or slip.

Close enough to anchor in front of the marina , who then babys them should be enough.
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:15 AM   #20
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RE: Rescue towing

If you are going to tow someone in out of courtesy or for safety or whatever, I ALWAYS talk to them and make sure they understand that they are responsible for any damage to my boat(or injury to my or their crew) during the tow. I always tell them before any lines pass. They are usually bewildered and a little irritated by the statement but until they agree, I will not agree to tow. I have turned away from one guy because he was a total prick when I asked for his understanding on this. It was not a matter of safety....he was about 2 fairways away from his slip against a bulkhead(with plenty of water). He was under stress and embarrassed by the fact he didn't get his guests home. We talked later on the dock and got things straightened out and he understood. When you are helping someone by towing them, you have nothing to gain and a lot to lose. I also make absolutely sure that no crew(mine or theirs) is in the load path of the towlines/cleats. If a cleat lets go under load and strikes somebody, it will very likely maim or kill them. Even a tow line that parts without any hardware attached to it can do some serious damage.
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