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Convenient way to tow a boat from a yacht

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by theav8r, Nov 24, 2008.

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  1. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I was waiting for that! It is amazing how many people don't think they're "towing" if it's not a barge behind them. Can you imagine meeting someone at night who has a 32' boat 400' behind them with no indication. Forget just the yellow light on the stern. You need full tow lighting and you also need dayshapes.
  2. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    I have yet to see a tender towed at 200 meters
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Speaking of towing, in recent years I've been noticing what I consider to be a new phenomema, i.e. boats (professional and otherwise) running flat out with boats in tow. Am I just an alarmist thinking this is incredibly dangerous?
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    True enough.
  5. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "Can you imagine meeting someone at night who has a 32' boat 400' behind them with no indication."

    It's not just at night you should worry. Back in the bad old days when I worked on tugs towing from Seattle to the Bering Sea, Aleutians, and everywhere in between, we used to regularly experience near disastrous crossings with pleasure boats of all sizes, even when shortened up to wait tides in the inside. It was not uncommon for sailboats to snag a towline trying to dash between the tug and tow in Vaqncouver's English Bay. The stories I could tell of tugs and yachts on that run in the Summer ...
  6. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    "I have yet to see a tender towed at 200 meters "

    There is nothing in the regs that says you can't use a dayshape with a shorter tow. Since few recreational boaters know anything about a tow, anything that gets their attention is a plus.

    If it's daylight and they can't see a towline they may quite reasonably assume the following vessel is just that and not being towed. Who would try to cut between them with only 400 feet spacing? Do you really have to ask? The point is you can't do too much to protect yourself and at the same time give the other guy a sporting chance.
  7. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    You're right of course. But then neither will poly. :)

    And in fact what I've done in the passed is to shackle a small ball fender to the junction of the tow line and bridle lines so they will float. And then when we disconnected the tow line from the tender we would clip on another small ball fender to the tow line so it would stay on the surface as well.


    By the way, if anybody is interested, there is a large diameter Spectra tow line with bridles and clips set up at Sailorman right now that looks in good shape. Asking price $1200
  8. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I would think displaying the proper dayshape would help cut down your liability as well.
  9. leek

    leek New Member

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    What do you all think about towing a 22' Grady behind a 55 Fleming in the waters from Seattle to the north end of Vancouver Island? Speed roughly 10 knots. Grady is dual Console, T 225
  10. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I think you would be just fine if you use the correct equipment.

    I towed a 26' Contender behind my 42' GB from the west coast of FL to and through the Bahamas and back with no problems.

    I would get one of those large tow-able tube water toys that you could use to put a crew member in and send them out to the tow on a line in the event it gets to rough to pull the tow in close to the mothership.
  11. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    RU kidding. You need only get the bow close enough that he can grab the bow and push off as he leaps aboard or have someone else hold it off. You'd consider it too rough to do that without risking a scratch and instead would float a crewmember out on a toy, where he at least is getting wet, and is certainly risking injury as he stands up on a heaving, unstable, flexible platform to get his body from that onto the boat?
  12. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    Yes of course it's easy in calm seas. I'm not concerned so much about a scratch but a broken bone or two. And no I'm not kidding about the tube. I got the idea from another captain who has been doing just that successfully for years.

    If you think grabbing the bow of even a small 22 foot boat and holding it easily/safely in 3+ foot seas while standing on the swim platform or in the cockpit of another boat moving up and down in those same 3+ foot or bigger seas is only risking a scratch to the boats, you must be Superman. That is at least as risky, if not more so, than sending some one out in a large floating soft sided tube. Factor in an even larger tow and bigger seas and you have increased the risk of injury and damage while fending off exponentially.

    Sending some one out in a large tube is really no different from sending them out in a small inflatable boat. The other alternative is to have some one swim out and get in the boat via a swim ladder.

    And if a crew member has an issue with getting wet once in a while, perhaps he/she needs to find another line of work.
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    The 62 is a much more stable (predictable) platform than the toy. Assuming the crew has been taught to never put a body part between boats it's much safer, especially if the 22 is brought in on the downwind side. An inflatable, unless a RIB, may be no better than the toy. A RIB would probably be the safest. I've gone boat to boat more times than I can count and have the scars to prove it. The odds of a safe landing on boat 2 increase with knowing how your feet will leave boat 1.
  14. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    A lot of times there is no way to get both boats close enough to jump from boat to boat without banging both boats together. You're not going to stand on a swim platform and fend off or hold onto a 22' in any decent sea either. I've swam out to the towed boat before with a lifejacket on an climbed in it, unhooked it, and was on my way. It is the safest way to do it in a rough sea.

    RIB's tow absolutely horribly.
  15. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Absolutely. Regarding the RIB, I meant to launch a RIB to transfer from that to the 22. I agree they tow badly.
    Unfortunately that is often the main consideration over the crew's safety. Better to lose a boat than a crew member, although many owners will take exception to that.
  16. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I'll have to disagree on that. We tow a 23' Nautica with a 250 OB on it and it tows just fine with a bridle coming off it. And the soft sides make it a very forgiving boat to use around the big boat.

    As to putting a person in the water or in a tube to get to the tender, it would be safer to at least start in the tube and then get out of it if need be than to start swimming right off the bat. Also if something goes wrong the swimmer has the tube to fall back as a means of staying afloat and connected to the big boat. Just a safer deal all around IMHO.

    And just to be clear, I am not suggesting that this is the standard way to transfer some one to the tow. But one of the best ways I've heard of for rough conditions.
  17. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Good thinking Bill. Hadn't even thought of floating out on the toy and then going into the water. I was concerned with the idea of going directly from a flexible, bouncing toy onto a hard, bouncing boat. As for towing the RIB I guess (like most boats) it depends on the boat. I've run some very light, unstable RIBS, but I've also run some that were quite stable and had some weight. Just never tried to tow the heavier ones. That's the great thing about YF; different opinions and ideas to learn from.
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I have also seen someone use a large stainless ring (like the kind you use to lift an anchor with a polyball) snapped over the tow line with a lot of floating poly tied to them, a life-jacket on, and they worked their way down the tow line, yet would never get seperated because they are tethered to it.
  19. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    Thanks. But like I said it wasn't my idea. :)

    But I think you may still be underestimating the usefulness of a tube. The large ones are pretty stable with one person in them. And you don't have to stand up in it long to get in most tenders with their low free board aft. Just kneel, get a hold of the tenders side and then stand up a bit (if at all), lean over the side and flop in. With a ski type vest on you even have some padding for your ribs/stomach as you slide in.

    It's at least as safe as trying to climb up a small swim ladder on a bucking boat with perhaps outboard lower units and props moving up, down and around near your head I would say.
  20. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    I like that idea too.

    In Fact I think I'll pick up a ring and some extra poly just in case I don't have a tube handy. :)

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