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Old 02-13-2017, 10:48 PM   #1
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Towing a big tender

I know some here on TF tow fairly big boats as tenders from time to time. My dad is in his mid 80s and he has given up on using his older 1990 vintage Triton 17' bay boat, so he gave it to me to do whatever with. It has a 115 Hp 2 stroke Yamaha on it that's pretty troublesome. Hard to start, noisy, not very reliable.

The boat itself seems to be in decent shape however, so I was wondering about sticking a newish 4 stroke, smaller engine on it in the 70-90hp range and using it as a tow behind tender if I ever got towards the Bahamas. I'm just not sure how much that would drag down my fairly lightly powered (100 HP Yanmar) cruiser. Seems like a lot of boat to tow but I know others do it, but maybe with bigger boats than mine.

What say you? Is it worth the effort and money, or should I go onto the next idea?

It looks about like this
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Old 02-13-2017, 11:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cardude01 View Post
I know some here on TF tow fairly big boats as tenders from time to time. My dad is in his mid 80s and he has given up on using his older 1990 vintage Triton 17' bay boat, so he gave it to me to do whatever with. It has a 115 Hp 2 stroke Yamaha on it that's pretty troublesome. Hard to start, noisy, not very reliable.

The boat itself seems to be in decent shape however, so I was wondering about sticking a newish 4 stroke, smaller engine on it in the 70-90hp range and using it as a tow behind tender if I ever got towards the Bahamas. I'm just not sure how much that would drag down my fairly lightly powered (100 HP Yanmar) cruiser. Seems like a lot of boat to tow but I know others do it, but maybe with bigger boats than mine.

What say you? Is it worth the effort and money, or should I go onto the next idea?

It looks about like this
Attachment 61606
many boats in my YC tow largish boats behind but that is mainly in protected waters in the PNW and almost all the towing boats are over 45 foot MV or if you like MY types not sail.
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:52 AM   #3
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I've got no experience in the Bahamas but....
I'd think twice about towing it in unprotected waters.

If the boat is too small to cruise the waters, it is too small to get towed in the same.
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:54 AM   #4
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Pro fisherman tow multiple dories out and around the great barrier reef and have done forever.

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Old 02-14-2017, 04:54 AM   #5
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Towing a largish tender to common practice here in South Florida. There is a small industry here that makes the accessories for this specialty market and many FL boat-builders offer a reinforced tow eye option.

You need to make sure it's worth the extra effort, like going to the Bahamas or the Keys where they are invaluable. Also, this is not for the shorthanded cruiser, most put a crewmember on the tender and untie for docking or course quarters.



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Old 02-14-2017, 05:20 AM   #6
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https://www.ropeinc.com/cat-mighty-tow.html
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:23 AM   #7
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I think if you are a cruiser that spends time at destinations.....probably a great idea and worth the effort.


If you are always on a light schedule, moving, spending a lot of time at marinas or anchorages where the run is short to the beach or dock....not probably worth it.


I plan on doing it at least one year snowbirding to see how it goes.


A large dingy will make anchoring out the vast majority of the time a lot easier/nicer for getting back and forth and doing "other" things in than just the short, get to town runs.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:27 AM   #8
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We have a 15' AB RIB that we tow up to the local anchorage via the ICW. Great for wake boarding and towables and getting around in comfort.

But I would NEVER tow it to the Bahamas. The Stream can be a very unfriendly place.

But then I have a 11' tender on the boat deck with a davit.

There was an article in PassageMaker a while back about a boater having to be rescued after his tow ran down the back of a wave and holed his stern. I'll see if I can find that.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:59 AM   #9
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Towing to, from and in the Bahamas is very, very common.

We tow a 34' Grady White.

On another boat I towed a 24' inflatable with a 250hp outboard on the back from Ft. Lauderdale, through the Panama cannal to the west coast of Costa Rica and then back to Fort Lauderdale with no issues.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Capt.Bill11 View Post
Towing to, from and in the Bahamas is very, very common.



We tow a 34' Grady White.



On another boat I towed a 24' inflatable with a 250hp outboard on the back from Ft. Lauderdale, through the Panama cannal to the west coast of Costa Rica and then back to Fort Lauderdale with no issues.


Wow ,34 feet, what size boat are you towing with?
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:29 AM   #11
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Towing a big tender

Dang-- towing a 34' Grady. That's big.

How much drag does towing a bigger tender put on the boat? I know it probably depends on the boat that's doing the towing.

I might just get the stupid 115 Yamaha running again and try it out on my boat before I invest the money. I have a feeling it might slow my boat down quite a bit, and my boat is already slow.

Wonder if a big rub rail can be added to a boat?
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:46 AM   #12
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Wonder if a big rub rail can be added to a boat?

Sure it can, just sell a few extra cars that month.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:10 AM   #13
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Towing a big tender

Found this, if I wanted to put about a thousand screws in the boat.

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I sold the car lot so maybe that's why I'm looking for a project. The more I think about it however, it looks like too much work and expense for something I don't need or won't use much.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:25 AM   #14
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We have towed a 13', 14' and 15' inflatables with an early 34 Mainship and a 38 Flybridge mostly at lower speeds. After that we towed a number of inflatables between 15' and 24' behind 45 and 47' boats mostly at speeds between 15-18 knots. Maybe near 5,000 miles of towing or more over the 10 or so years we towed at the faster speeds. The towed inflatables had self bailing cockpits , the tow was set back on the second wave and we never had any issues during towing or at ports.
In our case we did not have a slip so the tow often took us out to the boat for each excursion - I think if you plan well it will go well.
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:56 AM   #15
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Wow ,34 feet, what size boat are you towing with?
82'

On the 100' Broward I used to run we towed a triple OB 43' Intrepid.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:51 AM   #16
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I crewed on a 90' MY that cruised at 10-14kts. Sometimes we towed a 35 Contender. The amount of tension in the tow line was unreal. The contender was half planed out, right where drag was highest. I figured the burn rate on the 90 was about 25% higher with the tow. And the 90 was a very sleek full displacement hull shape.

We towed in 10-12' confused seas for one passage, and I figured we would lose the tow. Never did.

The issue with the OP is that your big boat will have a much higher hull speed than the tow, and probably not enough hp and speed to get the tow to "break over" and reduce drag. So the whole rig will be a good bit slower and burn more fuel than alone.

But it should tow pretty safely. At tow speed of say 6kts, bow will be up and should handle most seas. But be aware that bad things happen with tows, and sometimes for no obvious reason. Look back and Whoa??? Where's the tow?? Things like that like to happen at night, too. For some reason. Make sure it has good lighting.

But it is super nice to have a skiff in the islands. Anchor the mothership in a nice spot and go exploring with an easy to handle skiff. It's a huge improvement in the island experience.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:01 AM   #17
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Boating buddies with a 32 Nordic Tug have been towing on the Inside Passage for some years. Starting with a 14' Whaler, now an 18' Hewescraft. They wanted a more capable taxi and fishing/exploring boat that could take 4 people comfortably and keep them dry.

Traveling at 7 knots, they found that the longer boat was easier to tow, because the shorter one's hull speed was so much lower that it was trying harder to get up on plane.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:12 AM   #18
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I towed my little 10' RIB from Key West to Fort Myers and it was bouncing and bobbing all over the place. I was constantly fiddling with the tow line to try to find the sweet spot. Not sure I ever did.
Now that I think back on it, the tension on that tow line was pretty strong, so strain on a line pulling a 17' skiff would be considerable.

Again, I guess I need to try towing the boat as is to see if I like it before spending the money.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:24 AM   #19
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We would almost always tow our 10' rib behind out sailboat as hoisting it on deck was a bit of a hassle. The issue for us is that it made getting in and out of slips much more of a hassle, particularly if we were short handed. Towing when out in a an area where we were anchoring most days was not a problem.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:40 AM   #20
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On the flip side of tender towing question, I've done it and don't like it. At every anchorage, marina and fuel dock, you are bringing it up along side and then sending it back out when you leave. Lots of opportunity to get the painter tow line in the big boat's props. Tying up at marinas is a hassle with a tender. Every year I see big tenders being towed to Alaska. If any of the weather choke points get really rough unexpectedly, you are now trying to take care of two boats rather than one and tenders have been lost in this scenario. You would also be surprised at the incremental fuel required to tow. Yes, once you're anchored, having a big tender to fish, dive and explore from would be great, it just isn't worth the downside, IMO.
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