Towing vs. carrying the dinghy

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markpierce

Master and Commander
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Sep 25, 2010
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USA
Vessel Name
Carquinez Coot
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penultimate Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
Do you prefer to tow or carry your dinghy, and under what circumstances?

Trawler towing dinghy leaving Victoria harbor:

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I carry mine for a couple of reasons.

1. I can feel the drag.

2. Some AH in a Sea Ray will blow by me and try to turn it over.
 
We carry two dinghies. A Montgomery sailing/rowing dinghy that came with the boat and sits on top of the aft cabin in cradle mounts, and a 9' Livingston we added on Weaver davits on the swimtep that we deploy and retrieve with the boom fall.

However the Livingston is not a good dinghy for long-distance, fast runs in choppy water, so when and if the day comes we can start taking longer trips up north along the BC coast and into SE Alaska we plan to acquire a 10' Bullfrog with a 15 to 20 hp motor.

This dinghy wil be too heavy to carry on the swimstep and we don't believe in carrying a dinghy you might need in a hurry in an emergency on a cabin top or boat deck, so we will leave the Livingston home and tow the Bullfrog. I've talked to a fellow who tows a 10' Bullfrog behind his ChrisCraft at speeds up to 15 knots and he has no trouble with it even on choppy days out on the Georgia Strait. But our waters are quite protected. Towing a dinghy on the open ocean is probably not that great of an idea.
 
Towed for years, carry now, also for years. Carrying is by far the better choice, if you can carry a dinghy that is big enough for your needs. If you can't carry a big enoughy dinghy, tow it. It is not that difficult, in most conditions.
Of course, if you are going offshore, you will never tow. But realism is that most of us are boating in protected waters.
I have pix taken of my 300 lb inflatable with its outboard, seats and fuel, surfing along close aboard in 6 to 7 ft seas in Malaspina Strait. Exciting, but no danger of losing it or of flipping it.
This year I moved up to a 700 lb inflatable. Tows well and is much more labour to hoist on the davits, so I tow more than ever before. I will still hoist it if I am going out into rough seas. the only issue with hoisting is the capacity of the davits. That is always adjustable. You just have to add braces, backing plates, tieback cables, whatever it takes to tame the load. Getting it down in a hurry is still not difficult, you just have to plan it out well, so there are no barriers to that speedy deployment.
I agree with Marin as to the extra delays if the dinghy is up on the roof or on the "boat deck". Some locations would be impossible in an emergency and should be avoided.
A very large towed dinghy will be a problem getting to a dock, the towline has to be controlled before you ever go into reverse, the dinghy will need to be tied alongside or at least put on a very short leash before going into the dock. All this messing around takes time.
 
Another large trawler pulling its dinghy; this time in protected waters of southeastern Alaska.


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WE never tow , the dink on the 90/90 goes up into the Simpson Larence davits with such ease , there is nothing to be gained (and lots to be lost) by dragging it.

Same with LUCY the lobster boat , a simple quick yank and its aboard.

That said on the 90/90 we do hoist the dink (9 ft Grumman sailing dink) onto the foredeck where it is chained (quick release levers) for real ocean voyaging.
 
I carry my inflatable in davits. That way I don't have tp think about it.
I have towed on rare occasions when I'm only travelling a few miles and in protected areas, low traffic days.
 
If you look closely it appears both are carrying a dink on the roof and towing one.* We carry the dink on the roof, but have also towed the 19 ft run about as it to big/heavy.* The only times I have towed the run about is on very calm days, open and non crowed water.* A neighbor just got back from Alaska and they carried a 14 ft dink and towed a 20 foot ski boat.* Said the only hazel was in a marina, so they tied it to the side or dragged it side ways behind the swim step.* She did not like it but he dont mind as he did not have to tend/watch the run about.


*
So I think it all depends on the boats and your lifting capability or it you have multiple water toys.* We have a 12 ft Livingston which makes a great PNW boat.* The 12 ft Livingston is for close short runs and the 19 ft go fast run about is for longer runs for fishing and water play.* A lot would depend on the stability of the dink/boat also.* I use the anchor bridle for towing the boat as it forms a V and keeps the boat behind and protected by the big boat.****
 
I towed a 26ft Bayliner all over Alaska for three years, and I can tell you it was no fun.* It was way to big to bring aboard, even though the mother ship was 90 ft, so every night we had to bring it along side without damaging anything, and the anchor hanging on the front made that a challange in anything less than flat seas and calm winds.* When entering a harbor, with the boat alongside, we had to have an end tie.* If one was not available, I had to tie the boat sideways on the swim platform.* Being 26ft long, it stuck out on both sides of the yacht,(22ft beam) so real care was needed.* Only once did the tow line end up in the wheel, and that was due to green crew assuring me they knew how to bring it along side.* My fault completely, but still no fun due to the big winds and strong current just outside Campbell River. Then there was the issue of big seas trying to swamp the boat when turning. I will say though that the owner said if we loose it, he would simply buy another, and it would not be the first time for that to happen to him.* Still, I was really glad when that thing went away (didn't ever loose it though).....Arctic Traveller
 
We carry the biggest dinghy we can lift on top of our Krogen. I will pull it only on legs where I know wind and waves will not make me wish I had loaded it on top. When ever I tow it, I put a clothes pin on the throttle to make me think before I go into reverse and wrap up the tow line on my prop. which I have not done (yet).
 
When towing the inflatable, there is nothing wrong with towing up close, on a towline that is short enough to eliminate the risk of fouling on the prop. A quick measure of the distance from the nearest part of the prop to the surface of the water at the closest point, and double it for the length of your painter, and you will never have that worry. Then the only thing you will forget to do is to tilt the outboard up to reduce drag. Towing in this configuration is safe for even rough conditions provided that your dinghy is heavy enough to be stable at the speed that you cruise. I do still hoist to reduce drag, and for long term storage.
 
Always thought the boat would be better with the transom set up like a pick up truck.

The swing down door could replace the usual added on chunk of platform, and would shorten the boat 2 or 3 ft for docking manuvers and fees.
The after deck would FEEL far more connected to the water , at least one end would be open to the water , view and "feel"..

Finally a condom dink could simply be driven into the after deck "Seal style" and a simple lashing would hold it aboard.

There is even the chance that a larger dink motor would serve as Get Home power, if the main steering did not require power.
 
FF wrote:

Always thought the boat would be better with the transom set up like a pick up truck.

The swing down door could replace the usual added on chunk of platform, and would shorten the boat 2 or 3 ft for docking manuvers and fees.
The after deck would FEEL far more connected to the water , at least one end would be open to the water , view and "feel"..

Finally a condom dink could simply be driven into the after deck "Seal style" and a simple lashing would hold it aboard.

There is even the chance that a larger dink motor would serve as Get Home power, if the main steering did not require power.
I saw a thirty eight foot power cat that pretty much did what you describe, however they even went so far as to add trailer rollers to run the dink into. It was about a twelve foot dinghy, so they had to place it diagonally in the cockpit.

*
 
There is a trawler style cruiser which does drop it's transom to act as a swim platform. I just can't recollect the name at present - someone will, I'm sure. It was featured in PMM one time and often had ads there for it. I don't know about FF's idea re the dink, but it would be possible, the only downside being it taking up all or most of the cockpit when on board, and having to leave the back open when traveling.
 
Peter B wrote:

There is a trawler style cruiser which does drop it's transom to act as a swim platform. I just can't recollect the name at present - someone will, I'm sure. It was featured in PMM one time and often had ads there for it. I don't know about FF's idea re the dink, but it would be possible, the only downside being it taking up all or most of the cockpit when on board, and having to leave the back open when traveling.
I believe you are thinking of the Fathom 40. I really like the concept if you can live with not hanging a dinghy off the stern.

*
 
Yes Carey, thanks, that's it - the Fathom 40...absolutely right. Actually it always gave me the impression it was....well....a bit Nordhavn-like, in being a bit 'high in the water' for its length, but that's just me. But the drop transom idea appealed.
 
Dunno about the Fathom 40 but the Pearson True North 38 was built around that idea....




-- Edited by Baker on Saturday 9th of October 2010 09:49:39 PM
 

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......and we tow ours at 15kts!!!!...just don't look back...it is a little unnerving!!! *I towed during the Labor Day weekend and it was ROUGH!!!!....still did fine!

-- Edited by Baker on Saturday 9th of October 2010 10:03:13 PM
 

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Peter....dunno what's "not pretty" about those True North 38s!!! *They are definitely different!!!
 

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Sorry John, I did them a dis-service, from this view I agree, different, purposeful, and quite attractive in a functional sort of way. Did you have a gecko at the Fathom 40?
 
Not up close. And I do think it is not fair to judge based on the boat being out of the water. I just thought it was a cool pic. I do agree, the beauty of the True North is definitely in the eye of the beholder. They are neat boats...expensive. But I like their intended purpose...which is ruggedness. You can put your soft dinghy in the cockpit and then put a kayak or two up on the roof. Lotsa functionality in that boat!!! ANd I have seen them in person and they do look better in person. *Their "scale" is lost in photos. *They look substantial in person.

-- Edited by Baker on Sunday 10th of October 2010 07:43:13 AM
 
Baker wrote:

Peter....dunno what's "not pretty" about those True North 38s!!! *They are definitely different!!!
JohnSince you asked, I'd have to say imho that the vertical or almost reverse raked stem doesn't work for me. I'm just sayin.
Carey

*
 
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