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Towing a tender. Your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Tenders & Dinghies' started by CTdave, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    I have an 8' Rib which I carry on the deck of my 50 bertram but it is a royal pain to lift it out by myself (after I take the Johnson 15hp off). I also have a 13' Boston Whaler which my wife & kids prefer. Question: have you ever seen someone tow a 13' Whaler at around 22 kts? I figure I could make up a "Y" to attach to both stern cleats & then run the line back to the Whalers bow eye. I figure 1/2 to 3/4" line would do the trick. Do you see any problems with this? Any ideas?
  2. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    I have done it, but not in the open sea. The problem is if the weather changes so you will get more water in than goes out, the Whaler will be very heavy and difficult to keep centered behind. A good cover may prevent this.

    You should also check the bow eye, maybe an additional is needed. We got a tougher one fitted just above the water line. And you should tow at a distance in meter corresponding to the speed, like 10 m at 10 knots, 20 at 20 knots.

    The real problem however comes if you will have to recover the boat in a heavy sea...!?
  3. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    I would only be towing this in Long Island Sound. Seas are normally 1-3'. It can get very rough in bad weather but I wouldn't be out with the kids in that anyway. There wouldn't be an option of recovering it & getting on board if the going gets rough.
    I didn't think of the water getting into it. I'll hook up a bilge pump.
    You feel the 22kt cruise is ok?
    Thanks
    Dave
  4. MYCaptainChris

    MYCaptainChris Senior Member

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    boston whaler

    I tow our 13ft boston whaler (great boat) but we don't go as fast.

    We cruise at 10 knots and normally the boston sits on the bow but sometimes we just throw it off the stern. At ten knots it is almost planing so it actually keeps the nose well up. Don't forget to lift the engine and remove the self drain plug. At a guess at 20 knots you'll kick out a good size wake so make sure you use a long line to get the boat way out of the wash.

    I would suggest getting a stronger eye made up on the bow.
  5. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    We used to tow an 11 whaler around Nantucket Sound behind a bertram 28 and the problem we had when going fast it would start steering side to side and almost flip, especially when it got near the wake. We solved this by towing a hawser with a loop in behind the whaler. I have towed small tenders at slow speed behinds yachts with no problem, you might also try leaving the engine down and locked in place.
  6. nilo

    nilo Senior Member

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    towing a tender at high speed

    my experience is that towing tenders is a risky affair. at the speed you are intending to pull, you will be looking for trouble!!!

    nilo
  7. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    Randy is right about leaving the engine down. As a matter of fact, our insurance company requires that we have ours down.
    You will want to rig your tow line so that the boat rides on the back side of your stern wave at your preferred cruising speed. This will stop it from surfing. I would also use nylon line (maybe two lengths of 30'-50') to make your "Y" and then use spectra for the remaining length of the tow line. The nylon will give you some strectch for shock absorption and the spectra will be lighter and easier to store. You should also use a reinforced pad-eye on the whaler. Additionally, it would be a good idea to have a short line (about 5') which stays with the Whaler all the time. That way when you are hooking up the tow, you don't have to lean all the way over the bow. You can just clip your tow line to it.
    These are just some things that I've learned while towing tens of thousands of miles.
    Good Luck,
    Ken
  8. marcusra

    marcusra New Member

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    My experience is higher speed means longer distance to the tender.
    I place the tender in front of the third or fourth wave (almost at the bottom) And NOT in the centerline! like 3-4ft to one side of it.

    Front end of a wave from the boat itself helps surf the tender forward and the ofcenter-trick keeps it away from (in my case) the 600hp of water rushing away from my stern. (1-2 knot difference for me)


    If it's possible to lock the steeringweel of the tender, parhaps you can lower the powertrim so only the bottomfin of the engine is in the water and helps it from going from side to side, this wouldn't make to much resistance in the water!
    ( Never had that problem but maby Whalers has quite flat hull!? )
  9. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    Dave,

    A Whaler is only good for one thing... exchanging horizontal velocity for vertical trajectory! If you're towing a Whaler at 22 knots... behind a 50' Bertram... your son is missing a whole lotta fun.

    How is he suppose to follow in his father's footsteps if you don't let him prove a Whaler is unsinkable? Isn't this you in the picture below? Like father, like son... ;)

    [​IMG]
  10. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Dave--
    Can't help weighing in here since this thread has devolved to Whaler Tales.

    You haven't lived 'til your '60s vintage 13 falls off the front of a wave in the entrance to Port Everglades and she stuffs really good.
    With presence of mind to quickly pull the drain plug and enough luck for the 20 Merc not to quit, you gingerly cruise around dewatering the boat and to retrieve the extra gas tank and the dead fish caught earlier and hope nobody saw what happened.

    Not that I would ever admit this actually happened to me...:D
  11. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    I'll admit it...

    Have I flipped a Whaler? Yes, but the hard part wasn't bailing out the boat... it was coming up with an excuse to keep from getting grounded by my parents! Would I do it again? Hmmm... the chance of meeting a cute nurse doesn't outweigh the taste of hospital food anymore, so... probably not.
  12. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    As a matter of fact Carl, if you look closely at that picture, you will see the tow line behind my old race boat. We would tow the whaler during the race "just in case":rolleyes:
    I know I'm going to hear "daddy, I want to ride on the whaler" when it's behind us.
  13. CTdave

    CTdave Senior Member

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    LOL!!! I would pay to see that!!!! Not that it ever happend to you though:rolleyes:
  14. rhodemon

    rhodemon New Member

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    towing a tender

    I've had good luck towing my 11' inflatable tender at speeds of up to about 20 knots in 2 to 3' seas, but it really seams to be happier at about 17 knots. I usually leave the engine down just far enough to provide steering stability, and the only time I towed with it all the way down, the engine got flooded internally with sea water that got forced up through the salt water cooling system and entered the engine through an exhaust valve that was open. The engine got hydro locked which I cured by removing the spark plugs and turning it over. The engine also required a couple of oil changes as the sump was full of water as well. Fortunately it's been running fine ever since.
  15. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    Is Everything!
  16. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    What outboard are you running on this 11 footer?

    I have never heard of an outboard filling up with water when being towed on a tender = the flexible impeller in the water pump normally acts as an isolating valve when the engine is not running.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree with what most everyone said. It shouldn't be an issue. You'll probably want the whaler 75' behind the Bertram. Leave the outboard motor up. It's best to use 30' of chain, probably 3/8" dragging in the water off of the stern of the whaler tied to a break-away piece of nylon rope where it ties to the whaler. It will create enough drag to keep it tracking plenty straight and slightly off of center.
  18. sagharborskip

    sagharborskip Senior Member

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    Dave, Take a look at WHERE the tender rides in your wake. You can either take it in or let it out so that it rides in the smoothest part of your wake. I've seen lots of people towing tenders at crazy speeds when done with a little thought/planning...but certainly make up a bridle and make sure the eye on the tender is tough enough. I've seen HUGE stainless eyes pulled out of $200,000 Intrepids.

    And have a plan for recovering (or the telephone of your insurer) in case you lose it!
  19. When towing a small boat, a portable set up of approved towing lights for the boat doing the towing should be available. You may not plan to tow at night, but these are boats we are dealing with. Of course the small boats should have lights also and maybe an additional yellow srobe on the small boat. Many boaters would not notice towing lights on a yacht or know what they are.
  20. Irish Wake

    Irish Wake New Member

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    Towed tender advice

    We towed a 27 outrage for a while but found it too tender for our liking. It's sold and thinking about a replacement. Would appreciate feedback on center consoles in the 30' range. Thanks

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