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Old 11-16-2021, 10:45 AM   #1
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Towing a Dinghy

We decided to buy a Boston Whaler 130 and start towing it. Anyone out their towing there dinghy have any advice, tips and tricks. We have a slip, though we're usually only in it May - June and Sept-Oct. From Late June to the week after Labor Day, we're out on anchor and moorings.

Juggling the boat while docking for fuel and the slip is what we're concerned about (Obviously not concerned enough to NOT buy the boat, but...you know).

We were thinking about side tying it to dock at fuel docks. Then drop the side lines and let the boat drop back once we've pulled off of the dock.

We're not sure if the same will work for anchoring, or if my wife needs to jump in the boat and take it while I dock and anchor.

Any tips, tricks, advise or cautions???
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Old 11-16-2021, 12:47 PM   #2
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We back into our home slip. Before starting to back down one of us walks the dingy forward and ties it in close to the bow. This allows me to back down or maneuver forward as necessary. Other than that we tow on the upside of the second stern wave. In close quarters in the harbor we pull it in close. When on a mooring I find it best to tie the dingy forward along side with a fender separating it from the hull of the mother ship. We sleep in the aft cabin so having the dingy forward keeps any noise to a minimum.
We use a 1/2 inch poly line (you may want to go a little larger for the whaler) with a good carabiner shackle spliced to it. I try and remember to check before each tow for any chafing.
Before anchoring just pull it in close to the stern.
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Old 11-16-2021, 12:51 PM   #3
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So I now have a hard dinghy (Trinka 10). Imo, the soft rub rail would only be useful in the most benign conditions. This summer I have been experimenting with a long fender. There will be changes for next season.

The first part of what you do with a hard dinghy depends on how well it's fendered (don't forget about the bow). While you may or may not care what the dinghy looks like, the mother ship or somebody else's boat will be important. This is the only place Imo, where an inflatable has it over a hard side.

Once you get that figured out, it will be a lot easier to know what your options are. In the beginning, plan on the wife hopping in the dinghy every time.

Sorry if I really didn't answer your question.

Ted
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Old 11-16-2021, 12:55 PM   #4
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If I ever end up towing mine, the close quarters maneuvering plan is the same as we do for getting in/out of the dinghy. Pull it up sideways to the swim platform (with fenders) and snug it up tightly. Then it basically just moves as part of the mothership. It does add length to the boat, however, and won't work well if the dinghy is longer than the beam of the mothership (at the transom).
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
If I ever end up towing mine, the close quarters maneuvering plan is the same as we do for getting in/out of the dinghy. Pull it up sideways to the swim platform (with fenders) and snug it up tightly. Then it basically just moves as part of the mothership. It does add length to the boat, however, and won't work well if the dinghy is longer than the beam of the mothership (at the transom).
Hmmm, not sure I want to push a hard chine dinghy sideways when backing the mothership. If the outboard side dips from the force, you might be lucky if all you do is fill the dinghy with water.

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Old 11-16-2021, 01:29 PM   #6
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Hmmm, not sure I want to push a hard chine dinghy sideways when backing the mothership. If the outboard side dips from the force, you might be lucky if all you do is fill the dinghy with water.

Ted

I didn't think about the outboard part of that equation (as ours is oar powered for now). But yes, that could be an issue unless it's got enough freeboard. Considering we would be tied from the bow eye and the far side stern handle upwards to the stern cleats of the mothership, I don't think it would be particularly easy to swamp the dinghy (the lines should keep it from tripping on the chine and scooping water).
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:30 PM   #7
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I have seen Dock mate mooring whips mounted in a variety of ways, single and in pairs and used for towing and/or maintaining a position of the dink astern of a vessel.
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
I didn't think about the outboard part of that equation (as ours is oar powered for now). But yes, that could be an issue unless it's got enough freeboard. Considering we would be tied from the bow eye and the far side stern handle upwards to the stern cleats of the mothership, I don't think it would be particularly easy to swamp the dinghy (the lines should keep it from tripping on the chine and scooping water).
If you think about the stretchy line to the stern handle, it wouldn't take much to cam the angle over, and now it's working against keeping the rail up.

My history with dinghies isn't good. Most every time I have engineered a solution to a situation, my dinghy makes me look foolish. When it comes to dinghy solutions, the difference between success and failure can be microscopic.

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Old 11-16-2021, 01:53 PM   #9
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You can also side tie while anchoring or tying to a mooring, just as your planning to do while getting fuel. Assuming you'll tie the Whaler at bow and stern.
OR you could tie it off the bow with both bow and stern lines so it won't swing around while you anchor or moor.

And of course polypro line (or other floating line) with a snubber for towing.
And chafe guard where it goes thru the hawse hole or over the rail.

A boating friend towed an 11 ft Whaler for almost 20 years like I described above.
He replaced his line (painter) every year.

Oh and you'll want to side tie it at night, especially at Nap or BI.
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Old 11-16-2021, 02:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrew View Post
We decided to buy a Boston Whaler 130 and start towing it. Anyone out their towing there dinghy have any advice, tips and tricks. We have a slip, though we're usually only in it May - June and Sept-Oct. From Late June to the week after Labor Day, we're out on anchor and moorings.

Juggling the boat while docking for fuel and the slip is what we're concerned about (Obviously not concerned enough to NOT buy the boat, but...you know).

We were thinking about side tying it to dock at fuel docks. Then drop the side lines and let the boat drop back once we've pulled off of the dock.

We're not sure if the same will work for anchoring, or if my wife needs to jump in the boat and take it while I dock and anchor.

Any tips, tricks, advise or cautions???
"We were thinking about side tying it to dock at fuel docks. Then drop the side lines and let the boat drop back once we've pulled off of the dock."
We would side tie as well.
We would collect the normal tow bridle up until we had a length suitable to attach to the mid cleat.
There was also a line attached to the dinghies stern which was draped over the seat towards the bow that we would typically pick up with a boat hook and tie to the stern.
With inflatables we did not concern ourselves with fenders but when we had a hard bottom we also used long fenders along the hull.
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Old 11-16-2021, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jleonard View Post

Oh and you'll want to side tie it at night, especially at Nap or BI.
That is kind of what we were thinking. In confused wind and tide, we'd sometimes find the inflatable up along the side of the boat.
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Old 11-18-2021, 06:55 AM   #12
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The first part of what you do with a hard dinghy depends on how well it's fendered (don't forget about the bow). While you may or may not care what the dinghy looks like, the mother ship or somebody else's boat will be important.

YES this is a hard problem with whalers, great tenders!

The two solutions I have seen are a line strung with fenders thru the center hole that goes totally around the boat . They have a turnbuckle to make the tension strong , and usually 1 or 2 midpoint ties so they can't roll out of place.

Almost as good for adults is,

Perimeter Gunnel Guard 3/4 Round
  • Diameter: 1-1/2", Tab Size: 3/4"
  • Material: Polyester Covered Foam
  • Sold Per Foot, Maximum Continuous Length: 50'
Model #: GG1.53Q.50
Item #: 000947

The Perimeter Gunnel Guard - 3/4 Round is a polyester covered, flexible, long wearing cushion that covers the gunnels of vessels including Whalers, dinghies, work boats and launches. It's ideal for protecting other vessels and surfaces you don't...

List Price: $425.95

Our Price: $8.99
Defender 1st Price: $8.40

Neither way is inexpensive , but an overnight of rubbing with a whaler alongside might be a repaint for the parent vessel.

Of course if your boat is big enough , hoisting it aboard solves most hassles.
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Old 11-18-2021, 08:51 AM   #13
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Get a rib, and NOT the 13' whaler. They have "built in" fenders. Just the ride difference is amazing.
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:15 AM   #14
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I have towed our 9' Caribe with 8hp outboard for years and when fueling or docking side tie it to swim platform with never an issue, even while backing into a slip. Usually tow it with 1/2" poly line 75' behind boat at speeds to 8-9mph. For speeds greater I carry it hanging from my twin boom davits above the swim platform.
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Old 11-18-2021, 02:51 PM   #15
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I towed dinghies with my sailboats all the time, usually pulled right up tight with the tow line actually lifting dinghy's bow out of the water. There seemed to be less drag that way. That probably wouldn't work on a faster boat. If I had to back into a slip I'd walk the line to the bow and tie it off there. The dinghy would ride alongside till I started backing then would fall off the big boats bow and follow me in. I could get into a slip no wider than the big boat that way. You couldn't do that with it tied fore and aft alongside.
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Old 11-20-2021, 05:53 PM   #16
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Get a rib, and NOT the 13' whaler. They have "built in" fenders. Just the ride difference is amazing.
while i absolutely love a 13' whaler, i have to agree with a rib. i had a 14 foot rendova for many years, it was the best tow behind rig i ever had. wish i hadn't sold it now. fast, stable and soft sided. i made up a bridle for towing instead of using the bow eye. it can take some adjustment regarding how you rig it for towing, so it rides flat instead of pointing at the sky. wonder if the whaler would be the same?
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Old 11-22-2021, 01:54 PM   #17
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Towing Dinghy

Most people that now have proper davits or a crane/chocks used to tow. Until that day when the weather went bad quickly and the dinghy became either full of water or upside down. Neither easy to deal with as a squall line passes. Mine was a flying Zodiac spinning around on its towline in 40k, gusting 50k+. On a lovely day with NOAA forecast of "12-15k from the SW."
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Old 11-22-2021, 02:05 PM   #18
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We have been using a Boston Whaler 13' as our main dinghy for a few years.

We usually tow it using half-inch nylon. We have used polypropylene in the past which, while it floats, it does not guarantee it won't get caught by the prop (ask me why I know).

This set-up requires somebody at the stern at the beginning and end of the tows.

When at anchored, we always tie it to the side of the mother ship and board it through the mother ship's swim platform. We use forward- and backward-leading springs from the bow of the Whaler to the mother ship. In fact, it is the same line with a carabiner in the middle that we attach to a short loop of line around the forward corner of the railing in the Whaler.

We tie the stern of the Whaler with a line to the farther corner of the stern of the mother ship.

We use three or four of the mother ship's fenders for protection.

We side-tie this way for fuelling and docking as well. (We dock at the end of a pontoon and have free space to starboard.)

Sometimes, when we have enough crew, someone will take the Whaler to the pontoon before we dock.

The system has worked well for us. Having said that, an inflatable is a lot easier to deal with in these manoeuvres.
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Old 11-22-2021, 03:27 PM   #19
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Experience

Towed a 13 foot whaler for 15 years or more. Long tow line to put the dinghy just A bit closer than the lead edge of my wake. Pulled in tight for head in docking in slip. Tied along side while on moorings. Replaced standard rub rail with soft cushioned rub rail all around, left the outboard lashed in straightahead position to reduce “wander“
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Old 11-22-2021, 07:27 PM   #20
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I tow my 17' center console all over for fishing. Have pre setup lines and side tie it for docking and anchoring. My towing boat doesn't make a big wake and my tow line is only 70 ft, 5/16" buoy line used for longline fishing. It's very strong with no stretch, stiff line that coils easily and doesn't tangle.
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