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Old 09-21-2022, 10:36 AM   #1
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Towing a Rib...Am I overthinking this?

So RIB is on deck when bopping about in potentially turbulent waters. But when inside on rivers etc. I would like to leave it in the water for a period of time whilst going from place to place. The height of the cleat on the aft deck is 6' +. Having always towed a RIB from sailboats, this angle seem a bit extreme.

So I thought of putting a block on the swim platform and leading the painter up from there to deck level for adjustments. Or am I over thinking this and it will tow just fine from "above".

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-21-2022, 11:23 AM   #2
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Hi Osprey69,
It'll tow just fine from "above", unless your towline is very short. My rule of thumb is to slack the towline until the tender is riding the 2nd bow wave astern of the big boat. If your tender is still riding alarmingly bow high, slack the tow line accordingly.
I tow using braided polypropylene for a towline, as it floats, and is relatively inexpensive. But it's ALWAYS in the way when trying to handle the tow at slow speed, and (obviously) when coming to rest, and while backing down.
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Old 09-21-2022, 11:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osprey69 View Post
The height of the cleat on the aft deck is 6' +. Having always towed a RIB from sailboats, this angle seem a bit extreme.

... Or am I over thinking this and it will tow just fine from "above".

Thanks in advance.

It's all about geometry. The longer the painter, the less "above" your cleat will look. Just keep paying out until the dinghy rides comfortably.
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Old 09-21-2022, 02:31 PM   #4
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And remember that poly line degrades in the sunlight so monitor it and replace it more often than you would nylon line.
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Old 09-21-2022, 03:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for the perspective and knowledge Gents!

I can see at speed with a long tow it will behave. I was also thinking about when I choke up the dinghy for close maneuvering (anchoring et) the RIB still behaves?

(Not a big poly fan. Degrades and rough on the hands).
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Old 09-21-2022, 03:10 PM   #6
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Then you can put floats on the line if you donít want to use poly.
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Old 09-21-2022, 06:16 PM   #7
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The Helmsman 38E stern is perfect for towing a RIB. It's low enough that when the bow of the RIB is inches from the swimstep, the RIB floats nicely on the first wave behind the vessel at cruising speed. Towed the RIB (Achilles 11') for hours this way on open water and choppy seas. Never a problem.
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Old 09-21-2022, 10:02 PM   #8
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I have a cleat on the bottom of each davit. That position is only 12 to 18" above the swimgrid. I tow with a short painter at all times, so no choking up and no riding the second wave back, though at 8 knots that wouldn't be much of a wave. I never have to give any angst to maneuvering in close quarters, as the painter is too short to ever find my propellers and my RIB is just a large fender, so can't get into much trouble.
In your case i would think about adding a cleat on the transom about 1/2 the height from the swimgrid to the top, close to the sides, so in addition to being a great towing position, you would also have a good docking cleat. Short of doing that, towing from a cleat on the swimgrid is a close second in good positioning.
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Old 09-22-2022, 09:39 AM   #9
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I use 5/8" MFP Floatline for my bridle and tow hawser. I'm towing a 13 foot Boston Whaler which runs around 1,100lbs loaded, wet. I'm sure you could get away with a smaller sized hawser, but I strongly suggest MFP floatline. No need to deal with floats or potentially fouling the tow hawser.
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Old 10-02-2022, 01:00 PM   #10
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I installed a "bow eye" in center aft edge of my swim step on my Helmsman 38. I use a snap shackle on a short (8-10 ft) painter. I suggest you adjust painter length for minimum drag either by feel or with a fish scale. My RIB with 20HP Honda tows well with minimal bow rise and painter too short to get into prop. Also have never seen a need for a "towing bridle". I've been towing both hard and soft dinghy's that way since 1981 and never had a problem even in some large chop. ⛵⛵��
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Old 10-02-2022, 01:40 PM   #11
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Thanks. That will work. I would add a safety line, just in case.
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Old 10-31-2022, 09:47 AM   #12
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One more thought. My previous insurance company would not insure a dinghy that was towed, only one that was in a davit or otherwise elevated out of the water. So, check your policy!
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Old 10-31-2022, 10:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
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One more thought. My previous insurance company would not insure a dinghy that was towed, only one that was in a davit or otherwise elevated out of the water. So, check your policy!
That is an interesting point. Thanks Capt Ray.
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