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Old 07-19-2016, 10:44 PM   #1
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Towing a Canoe at 6 Knots

Our canoe is beginning to become our new dinghy -- as the anchorages we have been visiting have been much more enjoyable to explore paddling with a canoe versus our inflatable Avon with the outboard. I'm looking for some feedback/insight/advice/tips from others who have done this.

We typically cruise at a maximum speed of 6 knots. Our canoe is 15'6", very stable, and (as claimed by the manufacturer) unsinkable, but have no desire to find out whether the latter is true. We have towed it 20+ feet behind us in relatively calm waters and have been fortunate enough to have avoided large wakes. It wobbles considerably when taking small wakes from the beam, but I haven[t been convinced it was anywhere close to capsizing. It was simply making us a bit nervous. Needless to say, it is far less stable than the Avon under tow.

One thought I entertained was side-tying it on the starboard side, bringing it relatively close to the hull, and placing a few bumpers in between. I have never seen it done, but would love feedback on the advantages and disadvantages...as well as potential risks.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:57 PM   #2
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I wouldn't want to try and side tie it. Any chance you can lift the canoe on deck? Not sure how light it would be or what space you might have on your boat.
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Old 07-19-2016, 11:45 PM   #3
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Me-thinks the biggest concern would be gusting winds, in that a canoe is so light the winds could pick it up off the water. If this happens it could go from weighing under a hundred pounds to over a thousand (flipped over, turned sideways and full of water at 6 knots) in a heartbeat.
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Old 07-20-2016, 12:21 AM   #4
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To keep it in line with the tow boat, drag a fender behind it, using a shore line.


To keep it upright, could you rig up some kind of outrigger?


I've been told that Hawaiians swear by outriggers. :-)
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:18 AM   #5
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If you can lift the bow and just hook it onto the stern it will tow like a dream.

The hook will not allow rotation , so capsize wont happen.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:39 AM   #6
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Side tow is almost definitely out.

FFs idea had merit and what I was thinking but might be difficult to make it easy or even accomplish.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:35 AM   #7
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Towing a Canoe at 6 Knots

Pick up some 3 inch pipe insulation and when it gets rough you just lash to the side of your upper hull. If it flips while you're towing it serious damage will happen to whatever you are hooked on to.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:49 AM   #8
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When I first read the heading all I could think is "why?", its light why not even have it half in the cockpit etc. I will say other then that FF's comments also sound plausible.
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Old 07-20-2016, 07:50 AM   #9
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I keep a carbon fiber outrigger on my boat, along the gunwale. If you have room to keep it on deck, I think that would be best. I also don't think towing it would work long term for reasons noted. I have never seen anyone tow a kayak, and there are a lot of them in my area.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:20 AM   #10
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Trying to take along a 15'-6" canoe on a boat that is 27' LOA with an 8' beam, makes no sense. FF had the best suggestion but I would even discourage that. If having it out back in relatively calm waters made you nervous, almost any arrangement is going to be a distraction at best and an event at worst.

I think you want to take it along because you have it. Would you deliberately go out and buy a 15'-6" canoe as a tender to that boat. I think I know the answer.

Bad idea all around.

And...if you really do want to try using bumpers, I like chromed Model A rear.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:45 AM   #11
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At 6 knots, I would certainly experiment side tying it to the hip with fore, aft and breast lines. The experiment could be done just with a forward tie, and then you could play with various lengths. Fendering would need to be payed with too, so when you get waked it doesn't beat up the mothership. My first thought was like FF's, can you bring it up on the swim platform or otherwise get the front a securely out of the water, similar to what a lot of cruisers do with their inflatable soft bottom dinghies. As the OP noted, in the Delta, wakes are really all you are worried about, and kayaking and canoeing are a lot of fun in the less trafficked sloughs.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:03 AM   #12
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I'm about ready to start using one of our 3 canoes as a dink. The 18' fright canoe is a bit large and the Wenona 16' FG high performance canoe too tender. That leaves the 15' Aluma Craft canoe. It's wide and carries it's beam well into the ends even more than a Gruman. Very stable.

But I don't intend to tow it. I'm preparing the cabin roof for the canoe. Ed the canoe can hang out some aft and/fwd of the cabin. Actually quite a bit providing it's securely mounted or otherwise attached. Side winds will push more or less equally on both ends. If you're cabin is high enough so you won't bang your head on the canoe moving around in the aft cockpit having the canoe several feet aft of the aft end of the cabin should be fine. Again provided it's securely attached to the boat. I carried the same model canoe on an old (57) VW w a Quick and Easy car top rack w no attachment at the ends of the canoe. Went thousands on miles this way. It worked because the rack had an excellent clamp that clamped onto the stout metal gunnel. Hardly moved at all.
And an additional asset mounting the canoe aft on a cruiser is that around the harbor with winds blowing the bow downwind will be less likely. Could even act a bit like sail aft to keep the bow into the wind. And one could put up a rack support on the transom to mount far aft.

Launching can/may be easier than you think. I've been launching dinghys from our roof top stern first to the water. One would immediately think the dink would swamp ... but if done slowly and in calm water it has worked well w/o shipping water for me. The dinghy boats go down at a slight angle on my boat because of the life lines and stanchions below. Our cabin roof edge is inbd of the gunnel and cap rail because of our walk-around cabin design. So the dinghy slides down on the cabin edge and over the life lines (cable like hand rails if you're not a sailor) at an angle suitable for a dry launch.

My problem is putting a drain in the lower end of the canoe's bilge. The aluminum presents a problem structurally IMO.


PS Side tying would be problematic because of the canoe's narrow beam.
Inflatable kayaks suffer from a lack of rigidity. Putting a very heavy weight right in the middle w a long flexible hull is'nt good at all. And kayaks are useless for carrying things compared to normal dinghys or canoes. Canoes are especially good at carrying stuff amidships .. even big dogs.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy;
If you're cabin is high enough so you won't bang your head on the canoe moving around in the aft cockpit having the canoe several feet aft of the aft end of the cabin should be fine.
He don't got no roof, Eric.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:22 AM   #14
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Canoes do not tow well.l Low speed would be OK but use a bridle from under the bow, from the top would contribute to it rolling over.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:24 AM   #15
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I think std small sailboat rudder hardware would be just fine .

I would get 4 of the bearings and mount 2 on the transom a foot? apart.

And 2 at the bow of the boat to be towed .

Either dropping a rod thru all 4 , or as I'm lazy mounting a rod with a 180 bent in on the canoe..

The rod would be fixed in the canoe bearings and simply lifted and dropped into the transom mount.

Canoes don't weigh much so the bow could easily be lifted a foot 2 to engage,

It could swamp from a breaking wave astern , but probably could not be flipped.

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Old 07-20-2016, 09:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
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If you can lift the bow and just hook it onto the stern it will tow like a dream.

The hook will not allow rotation , so capsize wont happen.
Beat me to it! Get it close and lift the bow out of the water and you will be fine. If it has a flat transom and a plug, pull the plug.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:28 AM   #17
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side tie it to the rails above the sheer.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:41 AM   #18
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I thought I was the only one who had used a canoe for a dingy. I used mine last year when I leased a 36 Willard for an extended period.

It never occurred to me to tow the canoe- we always manhandled it in and out of the boat. It's not light, maybe 60 lbs., but it's slippery (rotomolded plastic, like a kayak) and easy to drag over the gunwales.

Lifting the bow sounds like the best way to tow.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:58 AM   #19
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Pulling the bow tight up to the stern is how seiners tow/carry the seine skiff. And they do it in the nasty.

Poker wrote ;
"side tie it to the rails above the sheer."
Turned up on it's side I assume. But one could'nt see out one side of the boat. That would be unacceptable to me but ........
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:22 AM   #20
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Pulling the bow tight up to the stern is how seiners tow/carry the seine skiff. And they do it in the nasty.
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