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Old 11-03-2017, 07:18 AM   #21
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You are absolutely right ..... I was referring to an inflatable only. In any event, I would never tow an inflatable by it's D rings ! ..... bridle or not ! A friend had a sailboat and had the set up you are referring to .... it was a " dinghy tow " F
Funny, but my inflatable manufacturer says d rings only for towing.

Not sure if that is for failsafe ......say if the inflatable swamps they will pull off instead of pulling the trailer loop through the hull or what?
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:34 AM   #22
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fwiw ... I have discovered a few things over the many years of towing RIBS and hard bottoms.

- The "V" made of nylon rope at the towing boat is a great shock absorber for waves and spreads the makes the chafe problem much more manageable

- Towing back about 75-85 feet should put the dinghy on the backside of the second wave which will limit its tendency to 'wag' and go bow down. That is a guess based upon a 42 AC Sea Ray anyway.

- If you tow off of center the 'wag' is more pronounced.

- Heavy rain is not a problem with decent self bailing hull. A moderate rain can be a problem for a hull that does not bail.

- Larger sized, wet, and sun weathered nylon tow ropes can be heavy, hard to handle and becomes impossible to coil in a season or so.

- Heavy seas , passing large boats and other weather challenges are really not an issue if you have prepared ahead of time.

- Towing at 6 knots is not so bad but towing at 7-10 knots is very hard on the tow bridle , the towed boat and the towing boat. We would travel under tow at either 6 knots or at least 14 knots or more for that reason.

- The smaller RIBS do not tow anywhere near as steady and safely as RIBS just a few feet larger in length/size.

Whatever you do ...good luck and have fun.
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:25 AM   #23
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Funny, but my inflatable manufacturer says d rings only for towing.

Not sure if that is for failsafe ......say if the inflatable swamps they will pull off instead of pulling the trailer loop through the hull or what?

LOL .... Having paid my dues & time in this boating thing, I often think that some manufacturers are full of sh*t .... I see torn D rings on inflatables all the time. I lost my zodiac in an anchorage during a blow a few years ago, the few surges that came through tore them right off .... but what do I know .. FB
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:35 AM   #24
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I have seen way to many inflatables destroyed being towed so I tip them up on the swimstep or put them on a deck for travel.
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:20 AM   #25
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There is a great after-market check-valve that goes over your existing transom drain on the outside. I think it's FlowMax. West Marine carries them. You can leave the plug out of the drain hole all the time, even when using the Wahoo. I have two on my Aquasport. Stays dry in rain, splashing, and on the trailer. (Self-bailing cockpit floor)
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:40 AM   #26
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I think that is the one that uses a ping pong ball to seal the opening. I have seem many sunk boat due to trash not allowing the ball to completely seal the silicone opening, even mono leader.
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:52 AM   #27
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Much like anchoring....many variables.

Slow speed, short term, fair weather towing is easy.

Higher speeds, longer tows and foul weather bring many more variables into the tow.

Each time the mother and the tow may have charachteristics that change tbose variables....practice in ever worsening conditions is the only real teacher for your setup after each of the problem elements have been addressed.
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Old 11-03-2017, 11:55 AM   #28
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I think that is the one that uses a ping pong ball to seal the opening. I have seem many sunk boat due to trash not allowing the ball to completely seal the silicone opening, even mono leader.


Many boats? That's weird since they are for drains that are above the waterline, unless weight submerges them temporarily (as with a self-bailing cockpit). My '76 Aquasport could sit at a mooring forever and it wouldn't fill up even if the drains were left wide open without the FlowMax's. The boat would, however hold water in the cockpit if those drains were plugged closed. But they really should never be closed.

So when the boat's empty they are above the waterline, but if three people are standing near the transom - and especially in the case of sitting in the back of a small dinghy - the cockpit drains will go under water temporarily. Or if a wave comes from behind such as when coming off plane quickly. Or hard reversing, coming off the trailer, etc.
In any of those cases the FlowMax ball closes the drains instantly...no water comes in. People move around, the boat levels back out, transom comes back up. Any water drains right out....rain, spray, spilled beer, etc. Simple and effective. I've had them installed for 10 years.

In a towing situation I cannot imagine a scenario where any significant water would come in through the transom drains...only out.
But then when you get in your dinghy (without the FlowMax's) you have to quickly plug the cockpit drain. Any water can't escape.

Note: obviously the FlowMax's are not to be used over a hull drain, or below the typical waterline. But do people really need to be told that? I guess nothing should surprise me in boating world.

ps - I have nothing to do with the FlowMax company...I'm just a fan.
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:17 PM   #29
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Many boats? That's weird since they are for drains that are above the waterline, unless weight submerges them temporarily (as with a self-bailing cockpit). My '76 Aquasport could sit at a mooring forever and it wouldn't fill up even if the drains were left wide open without the FlowMax's. The boat would, however hold water in the cockpit if those drains were plugged closed. But they really should never be closed.

So when the boat's empty they are above the waterline, but if three people are standing near the transom - and especially in the case of sitting in the back of a small dinghy - the cockpit drains will go under water temporarily. Or if a wave comes from behind such as when coming off plane quickly. Or hard reversing, coming off the trailer, etc.
In any of those cases the FlowMax ball closes the drains instantly...no water comes in. People move around, the boat levels back out, transom comes back up. Any water drains right out....rain, spray, spilled beer, etc. Simple and effective. I've had them installed for 10 years.

In a towing situation I cannot imagine a scenario where any significant water would come in through the transom drains...only out.
But then when you get in your dinghy (without the FlowMax's) you have to quickly plug the cockpit drain. Any water can't escape.

Note: obviously the FlowMax's are not to be used over a hull drain, or below the typical waterline. But do people really need to be told that? I guess nothing should surprise me in boating world.

ps - I have nothing to do with the FlowMax company...I'm just a fan.

Yes - I agree. We have had good luck with them as well in that application and when towing a RIB. You can see it in the center of this picture above the water line....
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:19 PM   #30
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Your expierece does not mimic mine, to each his own. I took a set off a boat I owned because mono leader would not allow the ping pong ball to complete seal the opening and water came in. No proble, jump up on a plane and let the water drain then plug from the inside.
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Old 11-03-2017, 02:07 PM   #31
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Yeah - I've had a leaf or two get in there but easy to remove. The upside far outweighs that. Maybe I should "invent" a little cone-shaped screen to insert in the hole from inside the cockpit. I'll retire comfortably and live next-door to Mr. Keurig! !
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:32 PM   #32
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Thanks guys, GREAT thread and you have given me invaluable tips. I am towing my 17 Boston Whaler Montauk to the Bahamas for the first annual, F the Family Flotilla made up of 4-7 boats out of Harbortown, Fort Pierce. We all love our adult kids, but agree they can be a real PIA so this Christmas us oldsters are rebelling.

So my 6 knot boat with a primary tow line, a secondary, a radar reflector and a Penn 6/0 with clicker on as a warning if she gets loose. Only going in PERFECT crossing weather. Great ideas. Fingers crossed.
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Old 11-03-2017, 04:38 PM   #33
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Good luck, pick your weather window.

BTW have you been to the Ft. Pierce gathering around the 22 of February? It a fun group of guys and gals.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:42 PM   #34
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If the tow is a good bit smaller that the big boat, no need for a bridle on the big boat. Just a single line to one of the stern cleats. Asymmetric drag not a big deal. That way you can adjust the length of the tow line to get it into the most favorable spot of the wake.

And at night, you want a light on the tow. That way if you lose it, you can find it. Been there, done that. We did lose it and we did get it back under tow. Twice. LED won't kill the battery.

Tow speed is an issue. At 6-8kts the skiff will be plowing, might get over the hump at 8, depending on its weight. A heavy skiff plowing is a LOT of drag. That's why I like a light inflatable. But those can flip with enough wind.


+1. Towing a 2004 (heavy) Whaler 13 w/ 40 hp 4-stroke behind a 36 wooden lobster boat at 10-12 knots I do exactly this. Tried to make it more complicated the first time, but then just started using the port corner stern cleat and dont even know its there. Adjusting line length with speed to keep the tender climbing one of the stern waves is key. If it gets in front of the wave and starts to surf toward the tow line it could get messy very quickly. And yes, going fast enough to get the dinghy up on plane makes a big difference in reducing the load (easy in the lobster boat, maybe not in a trawler).
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:25 PM   #35
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Last summer we were off the coast of Vancouver island, coming home from Barkley sound, and heard someone calling the coast guard trying to get help with their 16' dingy they were towing that had swamped. The Coast Guard asked if anyone was in immediate danger, and when they answered "no," the Coast Guard quickly blew them off. They sounded like they were freaking out. We felt very smug to have our dingy on the roof. It was pretty rough out. I don't know how you possibly could have saved the dingy in those conditions without a huge ship with a crane or something. Have a good knife ready if you try it, and be ready to cut it loose if something happens that is endangering your boat.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:50 AM   #36
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Thanks for the replies guys.

I'm still trying to figure out the best options but I am almost positive that I am overthinking things. By the time I'm done I'll have $500 into a rope to pull a $1800 boat when a $50 rope would have done the same thing

My "new" thoughts are a nylon bridle connected to some type of rope...

Is there any reason I would not want to use 3/8" dyneema rope? It looks like it might be easy to handle and it's a lot smaller in diameter.
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