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Old 08-06-2019, 04:48 AM   #1
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Towing a 13' whaler or 10 RIB

Good morning,
I am seeking input on towing a 13' whaler as our dinghy. I have a 10' rib we lift on the stern davits but wanted to tow a 13 whaler. I am concerned about towing it. Do any fellow trawlers tow a 13' whaler or similar?
I do not have a crane on my trawler and just have a concern about foul weather and having it towed astern.
I appreciate all feedback
John
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Old 08-06-2019, 05:01 AM   #2
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:06 AM   #3
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I pull(ed) a 16' Wahoo which is similar to the Whaler. It's been all over with me and across the gulf stream. The boat bobs right along at 8kts even in bad weather. I have taken blue water over the bow of my big boat and the little one is just back there 100' away just floating along.

My set up is simple but I will tell you it's a pain when getting into and out of a marina or a lock.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:26 AM   #4
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I have seen a whaler towed with a hard pin bolted to the towing vessels stern , with a bracket bolted into the whaler bow.

The owner had it built and claimed it towed great.
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:32 AM   #5
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We've towed an 11 foot Whaler to the Bahamas and back twice. No real problems except once off Chub Cay, and getting caught in some unexpected steep waves that it surfed down, narrowly missing us, until we could adjust the towing bridle.

Pick your weather windows wisely, have the right tow rig, and it's easy, from our experience. We used the factory tow eye, and it held fine. Pulled the drain plug so it's self bailing, and Bob's your uncle.

We now have a 13 foot Dell Quay Dory (English Whaler knock off) that we plan to tow there on our next trip.

I will agree with the above post, that the biggest problems are when tying up in a marina, or fueling up. We often pull ours up close to the stern when doing that, but it has got in the way before (I remember fueling up at Staniel Cay in some strong current, and it managed to back itself under the pier (where it just stayed until we were done fueling and ready to go).
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Old 08-06-2019, 06:42 AM   #6
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the right equipment and techniques are more important than what is being towed.


being careful and getting practice in ever worsening conditions is very helpful.


anybody can tow when its nice, the trick is to avoid bad times and if caught, what are your options to minimize the weather/wave impacts.
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Old 08-06-2019, 07:06 AM   #7
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If you search here, there are quite a few responses on tow set ups.


I myself towed from the bow eye using a 10 mm diameter dyneema rope that was attached to a 5/8 nylon bridle via a shackle.

These were all simply cleated to the stern cleats on my boat. I could adjust it using those cleat turns.

Just a hint, Dyneema rope for marine use is the same as synthetic winch line for off-road applications. I picked mine up off of Amazon and it has served me well for the past couple of years.
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:47 AM   #8
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I have a 13' Whaler that I've towed a few times; not as extensively as others though.


I have a pair of tow lines (50' and 75') as well as a bridle for the tow boat. I have good luck with both lines.. 'For the Whaler, I mounted cleats on both sides on the "top deck" and made up a 3-point bridle using those two cleats and the bow eye. I used a company called Top Knot for the tow lines and the tow boat bridle. They do good work using good materials and made the lines to my specs.


I have not towed in any severe water conditions, the largest waves being about 2'. The boat tows like a dream at about 9-11 knots.
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Old 08-06-2019, 12:01 PM   #9
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We towed our 2005 Whaler 13 quite a bit, for a variety of reasons, including in some pretty rough ocean conditions. Mothership was a Hatteras 56MY. The Whaler towed beautifully at 9 or 10 knots (never had occasion to go faster, as I recall), once we got the right positioning behind the boat, which didn't need to be very exact. We towed it using the eye on the bow, NOT the cleats. Worked great.

The hassle comes up when it's time to moor, anchor or dock it, as with any other tow. As others have mentioned, there is a lot in the forum archives on the whole subject.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
We towed it using the eye on the bow, NOT the cleats. Worked great. .
OK, I'm curious about your comment about not using the cleats?


Why not?
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:17 PM   #11
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Not sure of his specific reasons but I would guess that a the very least there are two reasons -

Cleats are normally on top of the boat, which can create a downward pull. That would cause the bow to push into a wave versus a bow eye which would be lower to the waterline.

Cleats on smaller boats would typically not have much of a backing plate. A lot more stress on the cleat that from a bow eye.
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Old 08-07-2019, 02:50 PM   #12
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I made a telescoping aluminum/fiberglass bridle that is 22' long and I tow from the stern cleats. The tow strain is taken up by 5/8 nylon braid that was actually a 4-person tube tow rope. The line passes through the telescoping pieces (one off each stern cleat) with a stainless clasp to the bow eye of the 12' dingy with 20 hp 4 stroke.

I can back up, twist, manuever any way I want in port or in and out of anchorages without worrying about disconnecting or wrapping the screws with line.

I normally run 8 knots with this rig behind my 44 Trojan, but have been to 14 knots in testing... rides absolutely beautifully back there.

I can give more details if interested... The pic docked at the floating cafe has the dink still attached. This docking is tight between two long covered docks, and upon departing, I easily backed straight without worrying about the tow, as the dink pivots and the very front of the bow rides along one of the telescoping sides or the other as you back up. Once I backed far enough, I started a twist and pivoted 180 degrees and pulled out forward.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flybull View Post
I made a telescoping aluminum/fiberglass bridle that is 22' long and I tow from the stern cleats. The tow strain is taken up by 5/8 nylon braid that was actually a 4-person tube tow rope. The line passes through the telescoping pieces (one off each stern cleat) with a stainless clasp to the bow eye of the 12' dingy with 20 hp 4 stroke.

I can back up, twist, manuever any way I want in port or in and out of anchorages without worrying about disconnecting or wrapping the screws with line.

I normally run 8 knots with this rig behind my 44 Trojan, but have been to 14 knots in testing... rides absolutely beautifully back there.

I can give more details if interested... The pic docked at the floating cafe has the dink still attached. This docking is tight between two long covered docks, and upon departing, I easily backed straight without worrying about the tow, as the dink pivots and the very front of the bow rides along one of the telescoping sides or the other as you back up. Once I backed far enough, I started a twist and pivoted 180 degrees and pulled out forward.
Nice boat! That's the thing. Once you get out there and start towing it, you figure out ways to make it work!
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:47 PM   #14
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I used a 32 ft Nordic Tug to tow a 16’ heavy aluminum Workskiff that had a 50 hp outboard on it all over SE Alaska. We were using the skiff as a dive tender and usually had a few scuba tanks lashed inside. So it wasn’t light, several thousand pounds at least. Had no trouble at all. As I recall we shackled the tow line to the bow eye of the skiff (where you attach the winch cable when trailering) and lashed the other end to a cleat on the tug. Just used the lines and hardware we had on hand and didn’t buy anything special or do any special mods. We did some fussing around adjusting the tow line length until it settled nicely into the boat’s wake. Of course a tender that heavy you have to tow, no way too get it onboard unless you have a massive yacht.

I don’t think there is anything unique about a small Whaler that would make it difficult to tow. They are bulletproof boats. Just don’t leave anything in it that isn’t lashed down.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirJohn View Post
Good morning,
I am seeking input on towing a 13' whaler as our dinghy. I have a 10' rib we lift on the stern davits but wanted to tow a 13 whaler. I am concerned about towing it. Do any fellow trawlers tow a 13' whaler or similar?
I do not have a crane on my trawler and just have a concern about foul weather and having it towed astern.
I appreciate all feedback
John

How far are you going to tow it, and how fast. I also have a whaler.
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Old 08-07-2019, 04:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by GFC View Post
OK, I'm curious about your comment about not using the cleats?


Why not?
The cleats on the Whaler are screwed into a starboard-like material. No through bolting. They are definitely not designed for towing shock loads.

Quote:
Just don’t leave anything in it that isn’t lashed down.
True for any towed small boat.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:00 AM   #17
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Here are a few pictures of my setups. One boat is a 16' Whaler and the other is a 19' Sea Boss dual console. I used the same setup for each. Towing from the bow eye and cleated to the rear of my big boat. Note that most large boats have reinforced cleats so this is not an issue.







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Old 08-08-2019, 07:13 AM   #18
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Any benefit to towing over using the mast/boom/davit to lift it onto the roof? My 11-ft Gloucester Yachts sailboat is on the aft roof of my 49-ft MT. Using the boom and mast to lift on/off. Or that is the intention. I have not yet done it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:19 AM   #19
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If you are going from anchorage to anchorage and plan on using the dingy...towing sure is a lot easier once you get the hang of it...especially if the anchorages are rolly and crane operations of high mounted dinghies can be difficult.
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Old 08-08-2019, 07:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
If you are going from anchorage to anchorage and plan on using the dingy...towing sure is a lot easier once you get the hang of it...especially if the anchorages are rolly and crane operations of high mounted dinghies can be difficult.
Yep. We've done more damage to our boat lifting the dinghy off the deck in high winds than we ever did while towing it.

That was on our previous boat. We don't even have a way to lift the dinghy onto the deck of our present boat and I'm just fine with that.
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