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Old 07-31-2018, 09:04 AM   #21
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We have towed our 16’ inflatable all over the Puget Sound. Everything works well at 9 knots. As the the speed increases we have had more issues. There were a lot of times when the dinghy hit the boat. A hard aluminum boat will hit the boat occasionally just by the nature of docking, locks, etc. You can put it on the hip but even there wave action in and out of the marina will have it bouncing around on the boat. It is easy to do! You just have to be prepared, add the time it will take to hassle with it, and it is awesome to leave the boat at anchor and zip off to do some fishing. I have seen many a 17’ Whaler towed behind a boat doing 20 knots. As long as it is far enough back, they seem to be perfectly happy! Get ready for the workout to pull it in and out. My wife does not love that part...
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:33 AM   #22
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We have towed our 16’ inflatable all over the Puget Sound. Everything works well at 9 knots. As the the speed increases we have had more issues. There were a lot of times when the dinghy hit the boat. A hard aluminum boat will hit the boat occasionally just by the nature of docking, locks, etc. You can put it on the hip but even there wave action in and out of the marina will have it bouncing around on the boat. It is easy to do! You just have to be prepared, add the time it will take to hassle with it, and it is awesome to leave the boat at anchor and zip off to do some fishing. I have seen many a 17’ Whaler towed behind a boat doing 20 knots. As long as it is far enough back, they seem to be perfectly happy! Get ready for the workout to pull it in and out. My wife does not love that part...
"Get ready for the workout to pull it in and out. My wife does not love that part..."


FWIW - we just back down on the towed boat with my wife or daughter spooling in the line. There is no workout at all... often someone (wife. daughter, friends) will collect the line until the towed boat is right at the swim platform then just 'step on' the towed boat and pilot it to the dock or destination.
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Old 07-31-2018, 09:57 AM   #23
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"Get ready for the workout to pull it in and out. My wife does not love that part..."





FWIW - we just back down on the towed boat with my wife or daughter spooling in the line. There is no workout at all... often someone (wife. daughter, friends) will collect the line until the towed boat is right at the swim platform then just 'step on' the towed boat and pilot it to the dock or destination.


Proof that there is always a solution! Go for it
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:30 PM   #24
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Buddy of mine tows a 17 foot Boston whaler behind a 54 Symbol. He has a reinforced tow plate in the Boston Whaler. Custom made to the bow and down low. Looks heavy duty. He travels from Seattle to Alaska fishing and crabbing
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Old 07-31-2018, 01:41 PM   #25
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We have towed a 16ft. outboard runabout behind several boats while in the California Delta and never have had a problem doing so. There are floating two ropes available which give you peace of mind from the dreaded line around the prop although I would warn against complacency.
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Old 08-02-2018, 05:25 PM   #26
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Thank you all for the wonderful input and encouragement. Looking forward to getting on the water; and had a great sympathetic laugh from ABfish's story about the tow boat surfing towards him! That would be exciting indeed.

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Old 08-06-2018, 12:58 PM   #27
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With a mothership that size, I would put Davits on it and carry an 18' dinghy easily. My 34' Tawler carries a 12' dinghy on Davits. The idea of deflating an inflatable to carry it is insane. Carry it across the stern fully inclated.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:26 PM   #28
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I tow my 22’whaler behind my 35’ trawler single engine 135hp, I made up a tow hawser consisting of 30’of 3/4 inch then 30’ of 5/8 chain then 30’ more of line connected to a circle of metal(sorry cant remember what the term is) run thru a 50’ piece of 3/4 one end made fast with an eye to cleat on one side then wrapped to another cleat on the other side this length is adjustable to allow leading the line out to allow towed vessel to follow in step with the trawler. Workers really well.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:37 PM   #29
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We are planning on towing a 24' boat with twin whackers behind a 53' Defever. We just assumed that was too big to have a custom steel davit system fabricated and installed. I think the weight of the 24' is around 4,000 lbs. So it'd be heavy and longer than the beam of the DeFever.

We are also considering a 21' boat that would weigh about 2,000 lbs. with a whacker. Perhaps less as we would have it built for us and could use CF level materials.

Are we correct?

(We don't want to give up our water skiing...)
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:05 PM   #30
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We have towed a 16ft. outboard runabout behind several boats while in the California Delta and never have had a problem doing so. There are floating two ropes available which give you peace of mind from the dreaded line around the prop although I would warn against complacency.
Even with floating tow line, we've managed to foul it twice (prop once, stern thruster once) while maneuvering to anchor. Now we just bring it it so close that the line can't reach anything to foul on. (13' Boston Whaler behind 52' trawler.)
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:11 PM   #31
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Comments from an old ocean towing captain:

You may have a time finding a GB-style trawler with only a single engine.

Make this "fishing boat" you want to tow as light as possible.

The smaller the crew, the more trouble it is to tow and maneuver - once saw a tow line get tangled in the darned lock gate in lake Okeechobee!

What happens when the tow begins to take on water in the middle of the night, and it is really too rough to take it alongside?

How will you retrieve it in the night while towing and the line chafes through - do you have a tracking device or light on it to find it in the night?

Even floating rope towline can get accidentally sucked below the surface and into the screw disabling a single screw vessel.

When towing my 13-foot Boston Whaler (with 50 HP Johnson OB) behind my 42-foot GB twin-engined trawler, I lost half a knot.

I have seen a similar heavy 13-foot Whaler (I have seen 11-foot Whalers)lifted onto the cabin top of a 40-foot trawler. The after part of the Whaler stuck clear over the taffrail, and we ducked under it to get from side to side of the trawler back there.

I never towed my 10-foot inflatable very far feeling it was too much stress on a cloth boat.

While delivering a 56-foot Chris-Craft from LA to San Francisco as delivery skipper (with novice owner aboard) with a 13-foot Whaler with 40 HP OB stowed atop the cabin, the Whaler broke loose from its moorings and swung wildly around on its single-point lifting bar. To prevent total loss of it in the heavy seas we were in (later given as 14 feet), I had to run up there and punch the down button to get it down before the sling broke. After nearly losing my life to get it secured with a tow line, I then took it single-handed 500 miles to San Fran - the Whaler towing ring was well wore by the stainless shackle on the end of the tow line. had it broken loose during the single-handed part of the voyage, I would have been powerless to retrieve it.

Towing barges around the Pacific, I never had such problems; however towing one into Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii with huge seas braking astern was one of the more challenging seamanship evolutions of my life. Single screw tow ship 205 feet long with 69-man crew with empty barge astern, all at risk in that narrow channel. At times the barge was on the crest of a wave appearing to come down on our stern. We had hauled it in to one wave length astern as we approached and went up to maximum speed, but wave length had shortened as we got into shallower water. Towing into rough inlets like that is NOT for the timid or inexperienced, and then you hope for some luck.

Bottomline: I know folks here have many experiences successfully towing various small boats behind pleasure boats, but my preference for other than a short daylight tow in known calm water, especially with short crew, is to hoist the smaller one inboard and go with confidence (making sure its moorings are secure ).
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:15 PM   #32
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Quite simply, only tow your small boat if you are prepared to lose it, for you surely will, one day.
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Old 08-06-2018, 02:28 PM   #33
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Selene 53 towing a Sea Hunt 25 CC

We tow the Sea Hunt with a single engine Cummins. The Selene does not even know it's back there. We have a camera mounted so everything can be clearly seen, even at night. Be very certain that you have a tow eye installed correctly on the CC and have a professional build out the tow line. It's very involved to do it correctly so you don't experience the trauma mentioned in some of the previous post's. If you are in the market for both vessels completed and ready to go, and are in the <$800k price range give me a shout.
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:29 PM   #34
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Towing

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We are buying a 46-56' trawler in the near future. Probably a single engine Grand Banks style boat. Not a lot of speed or maneuverability for fishing with the Grand Banks so I am considering towing a 19' boat for quick runabouts and fishing.

We will be cruising primarily between Seattle, Washington and Alaska.

Does anyone have information on towing a smaller boat? Impact on the main boats engines? Fuel efficiency? Other challenges?

Thank you,

steve
We have a 46’ GB Classic with twin 5.9l 210HP Cummins. Towing a 17’ maritime skiff. No issue towing just need to manage arrivals and departures.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:02 PM   #35
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We towed a 15' inflatable through most of the Great Loop. Put it on the hip for the locks and across the transom or under the bow when pulling into a slip. Single screw trawler with no thruster. No problem at all.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:58 PM   #36
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Towing fishing boat

When I started towing 10 years ago, I had the same question. Never got good responses on what you can do. Finding someone with experience with larger towed boats is rare. We have one of the largest towed boats I have seen.

We have towed both a 21' North River and now a 25' Offshore fishing boat extensively throughout SE Alaska. We towed the North River with a 44' Ocean Alexander with twins. We now have a 48' Wendon with twin Cats. The 25' boat weighs in around 6,000 with full fuel (180 gal.) We tow around 400 miles each summer.

We put extra strong backing on the mothership behind the tow cleats. Our current boat was custom built and we had a super heavy duty tow eye placed low near the waterline. The low tow point is beneficial to help raise the bow. On the North River we went through the bow eye and then up to the welded cleats on each side of the bow.


We lose about 1 knot when towing, but our fuel burn also increases about 20%. We usually only cruise around 9 knots for max efficiency and when towing it is usually around 7.5 to 8.5 knots max. We could go faster, but the fuel burn and stress on the parts increases quickly.

2' wind chop is no problem. However, I avoid towing when it gets to 3' or more. We have towed in 3' chop, but the stress on the tow line and tow points increases and you very well could break something. If we absolutely have to get there in that kind of weather, we separate the two boats and run them separately.

My 115lb wife and I handle the tow boat well together. It is nice to have an extra man on board, but not necessary. When we anchor at night we hang 4 bumpers on the side of the mothership and tie the tow boat tight with three lines. We have never had issues with this side tie. When arriving at an anchorage, we side tie the towed boat, do a safety circle to check for rocks before anchoring and then drop the hook with the towed boat side tied.


It should not hurt your engine; however, you will be working it about 20% harder for the same RPM. So if you run your engine hard naturally, you could overstress it and the transmission. We have twins, which is probably better than a single. We usually ran 1400 rpm in the Ocean Alexander and only run 1100-1200 RPM in the newer Wendon.

We use a floating tow line with floats built into the system. If memory serves me correct we had the bridle custom spliced and made up at Seattle Marine and Fishing Supply. They did a great job.

Have had 2 issues in about 10 years. Once when a guest was driving the mothership and accidently threw the throttles into reverse instead of neutral. The props ate about 10' of the tow line. Never reverse with the tow line in the water behind the boat. The second time was when a bridle on the towed boat broke. I had a light gauge bridle line with the idea that I would rather break the line than damage the tow points on the boat. We were in 3+' chop and the bridle broke. When those seas it was a difficult challenge to get from the mothership to the towed vessel safely to retrieve and connect. I now use a stronger bridle, but also have strong attachment points on the towed boat.

Coming into dock is slightly more challenging. The wife brings in the tow boat and docks it. I bring in the big boat and dock it, usually by myself. The only a problem when the wind is strong. In those cases, she comes in, and then comes to the dock to assist me.

We also have a 10'6" AB RIB that we carry on the swim deck. For us, the extra adventure of the towed boat and the RIB is well worth the extra effort. We just got back from a week trip with 4 fishing buddies and a 250 mile run and the adventure was great. We went places that wouldn't be possible without the adventure boat. We frequently use the towed boat to run into a bay to check out the anchorage before we bring in the mothership. It is more hassle, but the extra freedom to explore is great, especially if you are in more remote areas. If I was still in the San Juans and only wanted to run into the dock for dinner, it would be way too much effort.

I was going to insert a photo of the boat being towed, but have not yet figured out how to add pictures on this forum. Check out alaskaadventurecharters.com for pictures of the mothership and tow boat.

Have great adventures and be safe. If in doubt, slow is always better.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:18 PM   #37
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We towed a 15’ Klamath Windshield model aluminum fishing boat from Seattle to the Broughtons and back, 800 miles with our Grand Banks 36 with zero problems. A towing bridle and a tow line adjustable for length worked great for us. Went they 5-7’ seas one day with no problems but that was not our plan. We almost always cruised when it was 2-3’ at most but haughty a bad weather report and had large seas one day. Going int9 marinas we tied along side or one of us drove the fishing boat in. There were 4 of us aboard.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:15 PM   #38
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As full time professional tower I have towed many boats. As a matter of convience many times I towed a 13’ BW behind the larger faster boat I was delivering. I have found several things: leave the outboard down and locked pointing straight ahead, adjust the towline so the towed boat rides on the front of a stern wave 50 to 70 feet back, when arriving at the destination shorten up and let the BW go and drift down to the windward side of a dock or bulkhead close to where the delivered boat will be secured.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:11 PM   #39
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DCameron, Welcome. Great information on your first post, thanks.
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