Click for Cheoy Lee Click for Mag Bay Click for Nobiskrug Click for Burger

Size limits for towing a center console?

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by zen, Jan 20, 2019.

You need to be registered and signed in to view this content.
  1. zen

    zen Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Delray Beach
    I'm planning to tow a center console tender and have been doing my research. I've found great information on the line materials, bridle setup, towing distance, tow eyes and such. What I haven't found is a rule of thumb for various ratios of the towing boat to tender. I'm sure this is dependent on multiple factors excluding conditions: vessel size, cruising speed, engine size and fuel burn.

    I'm looking for ~55-65ft motor yachts and hoping to cruise around 18-20knots, we have the list of potential vessels narrowed down. I was originally planning to tow something in the 23ft, 5000lb range which shouldn't be a problem. However the tender size is now creeping up toward 27ft and 8000lbs loaded as I consider something more useful when we're at home. I recently put an offer in on a smaller main vessel (52ft) which didn't go through, but I realized it would completely alter my towing expectations, perhaps down to 20ft and maybe not at all. So I'm looking for some rough rules of thumb, if they exist, from people who have done this before. If the opportunity pops up to buy a center console, I don't want to mistakenly get one that's too big or undersized.

    As an example, a neighbor in my marina has a 52ft Viking and has towed a 21ft Regulator (4000lbs) successfully around 20 knots with his typical cruise being 28-30 knots. It seems to me this is probably easier on a 60ft-ish convertible as you could just back down the cruising speed depending on the center console size and still get them both planing?
  2. Danvilletim

    Danvilletim Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Messages:
    497
    Location:
    isleton, ca
    I do know that insurance companies do have a ratio so youn,any want to ask an ins broker. I've also heard many ins companies won't insure the boat while under tow. That's what happened to us. Centerconsole was fully insured except when towing.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    10,999
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    They definitely don't want to see anything 1/2 the length of the boat towing. BUT, there are so many variables of determining what size boat you can tow. I used to tow a heavy older 24' Robalo with 2-225 hp 4 strokes behind a 52' Searay sedan bridge......it was pretty hard on the cummins in the Searay, but it towed it fine and never pulled or steered the searay around. But we never towed it in more than 3-5', and that was only once off the stern. I always towed it at around 22 knots.

    23' and 27' doesn't always get you much more in a center console. For example the 23' Contender with it's stubbiness, I've found to hold just as many people and be just as capable and preferred to the 27' Contender. That's probably what I'd tow for a lot of yachts with a single 300 HP Yamaha on it or verado.
  4. zen

    zen Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Delray Beach
    Capt J thanks. Agree on the size, unfortunately most of the brands I'm looking at size their smallest models over 25ft. Part of the problem is that I'm trying to get something that is suitable for light offshore use so I'll be happy even if towing turns out to be more hassle than it's worth. The safe tow choices on my list are an Albury 23, an Intrepid 245 and a Regulator 23, but going one size up to ~27ft makes them all fantastic boats for local use but more difficult to tow.

    I did come across one suggestion: "don't tow a tender larger than your beam", which would be tough. I'm guessing the weight considerations matter less as long as I'm willing to tow at displacement speeds?
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    10,999
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    The larger than your beam thing is total BS. Let's take an older 80' Hatteras, beam is around 21', a 21' tender would be nothing behind it. I've seen those tow much larger tenders than that, no problem...…… I would skip Albury, I ran one extensively for 3 days. They have no chines so they slide around corners (very wide) rather than turn sharp, and they were just an average riding boat and crudely finished off.

    Most 65's MY could tow a 27' center console if it's on the lighter side, but it would be right at the upper limit in size unless it was a 65' SF
  6. Trak

    Trak Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2014
    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    Lighthouse Point, FL
    I think 2 of my insurance companies said 1/3 the size of the tow vessel. However, they both allowed me to tow a 29 ft Everglades behind a 78 ft boat. I think the also had a Force 5 wind maximum for towing. One company actually made me have the bridle surveyed.
  7. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2018
    Messages:
    285
    Location:
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Wow! this topic still blows my mind away. Capt J your a towing machine! Zen do it to it! send us a photo when you do the entire deal.
  8. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,880
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Not an expert but ratio up the numbers if needed.
    Our Bert is 58 x 18. We can cruise at 20 but usually operate at 10.
    We have towed a 17' Aqua-Sport CC behind us for a many years now.
    Up to an ugly 5 with various winds it towed well all up / down the FL east coast.

    However, on past schedules, we have had to make approaches in various inlets when I thought we would loose the 17. Sudden ugly inlets make you curse the tow.

    Calm off shore, evening approach in the St.Johns river inlet, then the following in and breaking on our asp started, I was just about to cut it loose.
    200+' of tow polly out and it missed our transom a couple of times surfing in on us with our hammer down.
    I would then slow down not to yank the houser then speed back up to ride the next swell in and there it was again, surfing back on us.

    You kids are talking about best case towing. When it gets ugly, you don't want anything back there.
    Probably why some comments involve insurance questions.
    We still have the 17. Josie's faverate lil boot.
    I hate that lil F**&^r
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,880
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Rethink about what you want to loose when that sudden squall line comes in from nowhere or faced with an unexpected inlet.
  10. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Location:
    New Smyrna Beach, Fl
    I've been towing my 19 Pioneer behind my Cabo 43 for 7-8 yrs. Do it every year to the Bahamas for a month. Cruise at 22 knts. Never leave unless forecast is less than 2-3ft although have run into higher when forecast was off.
  11. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,880
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Before I retired the first time, Had 2 weeks. Could not wait for a weather window.
    I remember coming back and boats were still waiting to cross.

    Later, we had some time but moved anyway. When on vacation, who wants to be tied to any dock.

    I'm fixing to retire again. Gravity is winning more these days. Da Ole Bert is always ready to go, my ole back and legs are not in Ole Bertram form anymore. Could be some waiting in the better lounges on my horizons.

    AND, I'll be dragging Josie's 17. I hate that Lil F%&*ng boat.
  12. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    So towing a 12' RIB with a 40Yamaha with a 50' Californian is no issue. But here is my question.
    I am on the Columbia river and towing in current seems dodgy imagining a downriver run. The current based on tide, water release by the Corps of Engineers and the powers that be, recent rains, water levels is so variable there a times with significant current.
    Advisable to tow downriver?
    My stern is set with a fixed davit for the Seadoo so I would have to tow if I wanted the dink for junk holing and bass fishing excursions.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    10,999
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    When towing you always leave the motor on the tow partially down......maybe at a 45 degree angle where the prop is at the waterline. This creates plenty of drag so that the tow slows down before the big boat and tracks straight. Small RIB's usually don't track well and you might as well leave the engine all of the way down and motor locked straight.
  14. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I told my wifey that you meant to say I need an 18 foot center console:)
    Thanks for the great advice.
  15. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Location:
    New Smyrna Beach, Fl
    When I'm towing on the intracoastal there is also current. 2-3 knots
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,880
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Speed thru the water is speed thru the water. Speed over the bottom here is effected.
    Now, with the ditches currents, counter winds could be a large effect also.

    We run the St.Johns river a lot. Amazing the current, wind and trim changes we go thru just in 15 miles south bound.
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    10,999
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    Well yeah, that too. You need an 18' center console instead of some silly little rib!
  18. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I knew it! Capt J to the rescue. My Saint Bernard will like the extra walkaround space too!
  19. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    6,880
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Well,, Now your going to need a larger mother ship to tow (or stow) the 18 with.
    I'll take care of the puppy as long as I can bring my kats.
  20. gr8trn

    gr8trn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Kitty Kats and a Saint Bernard, bigger boat for sure. Now let me see, I have the Californian Veneti 50, my wife has a 37' sail boat. Can I convince her that 87' is the way to go with one vessel instead of two?...That would hold plenty of kritters.

Share This Page