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Towing our tender

Discussion in 'Tenders & Dinghies' started by CSkipR, Feb 24, 2013.

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  1. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    I am planning to tow a 19ft tender to the Bahamas. In the past I have towed a 15ft Boston Whaler approximately 130-150ft back cruising at 24-25 knts. Obviously this boat weighs double the whaler 4000lbs and wondering if same distance back is about right. I tow the whaler with o/b engine slightly down in the water to keep it running straight.
    Also will need to upgrade size of line to 3/4 or 7/8" double braid.
    Any comments appreciated on towing the larger boat.
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Don't be in such a hurry to use that Double braid. Although, it is not a comforting feeling to know there is a rubber band behind you, some stretch and giving (I feel) is important. I don't like the idea of cleats or eyes getting ripped out suddenly. Your not running enough line to create a real catenary tow. We drag our 17' Aquasport offshore with 100' 3/4" Polly and a Y bridle made of 3/4" twisted nylon. The Y meets about 50' behind the transom and another 50' before the Polly. Just under 200' stern to bow eye.
    In the ditch we have a 3/4" Polly Y and houser total 100' long.
    In the ditch or St Johns river with just the Polly bridle/houser, the 17'er catches a stern wave nicely and we can still pick up wot.
    Last time in the St Johns inlet, in an ugly following, you could watch the nylon stretch a good bit. Pasty MayPort the lil Aquasport was still there and dry (well, not flooded).
    ,rc
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You have more long distance towing experience that I do, so I just wanted to check your math. We'll be doing occassional towing of an 11' dink, and were also planning to use the 3/4" twisted nylon, but I'm confused with the 200' stern to bow eye number. It sounds like you're making up your bridle with a 100' shot followed by a 150' hauser (50' in the ditch). I'd actually been planing to use a considerably shorter bridle. Could you give us a little more explanation of your strategy. Thanks.
  4. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    I know your question is not directed to me just giving you my experience. When we tow the Whaler 15 we typically run it about 130-150ft back. It seems to run the best there. We have used a nylon 3 strand twisted 3/4" for the bridle" running it from one of the transom cleats to the other with just enough slack so it hangs in the water but would not get into props. We use 5/8" nylon anchor line for the tow line and run the bridle line through the thimble back approx 130-150'. Because of the new tender will use for a stronger line. Might even try the Samson AmSteel blue 1/2" after the bridle.
    This has worked well for us although time to change.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Thanks CSkipR. You picked right up on my concern. That long bridle sounded like a lot to contend with around the props if we have to slow down, and I was also concerned that it may "V" too much to let the hauser slide when needed. (My original idea was to use one of our 40' lines as the bridle.) I think we'll be OK with using the poly for the hauser the few times we'll need it since the dink is only 700 lbs. and will generally be on deck.
  6. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I'm sorry to be confusing. My offshore rig is about 200' long. 100' Polly from the tow's bow. We like the Polly because it floats and bright in color. From the Polly to the first length of nylon of 50', then the splice that makes the Y, then two more lengths of nylon around 50' to our transom corners. We try to attach a crab float at the Y also. This splice usually is way above water under tow but if you slow down or the tow is pushed from behind in a following inlet the float and drag seems to keep it away from my stern.

    In the ditch, we attach a total Polly hawser, 100 feet total. The splice, not slip ring, is just short of half the total length. Again, the Polly floats well and we try to keep a float at the Y splice.
    If needed, I guess I could still ad that other 100' of Polly but not needed in the ditch, nor (I feel) is the need for any stretching nylon.
    I do feel that stretch is needed off shore.
  7. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Probably more of my early morning, foggy old brain than you being confusing.:eek: Thanks for the clarification.
  8. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    FWIW, I always use Spectra/Plasma line for the main line with braided nylon for the lines making up the bridle of the Y. While the Spectra floats the nylon of course does not. So in some cases I'll put a small float at the point in the bridle where the 3 lines come together. That way the float keeps the heaver nylon lines from dragging down all the line and perhaps allowing it to get caught in the running gear when not underway.

    I also tend to put a float on the quick release fitting located where the tow line attaches to the painter coming off the tender. That keeps it from sinking when disconnected. And if a crew member drops it while hooking or unhooking it up it makes it easy to pick up with a boat hook.

    Of course you also should make sure you have good chaff gear on the bridle lines where you attach them to the cleats and at any point where them may rub on anything of course.

    I use the nylon soft light weight anti chaff gear instead of heavy ss thimbles in the eye of the lines where they come together where needed.
  9. glashole

    glashole New Member

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    BOATING magazine did a big feature on this a couple months ago -- will try to dig up the month
  10. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    Towing Bridle & line

    Talked to a rope company today and they recommended I go with 3/4or 7/8 double braid nylon for bridle and use the Sampson Amsteel 1/2" blue for the tow line. He said the SA 1/2" is stronger than steel and it floats. No stretch.
  11. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Imagine this; with out something to absorb the shock of the seas, Your cleats and tow eye will get HAMMERED on every tug. IMO, Something WILL give when you don't need it to happen. Why subject your equipment to un-necessary abuse.
    Twisted nylon is our friend when not abused. It makes a great shock absorber up to and just before it's max load (working?) rating.
    Next question could be, What load is given while towing & what is the max working load of a twisted nylon line angled to a Y houser? I dun no, But I have watched my 3/4" work, stretch, ride well and not found any abuse or damage to it dockside, yet.
    Long ago, I did witness the after math of a few tow failures. Eyelets and glass getting ripped rite out of a small boat bow stem, cleats getting yanked off.
    And I did see where the rubber band idea backfired, a cleat ripped out, flew with line, and embedded in the transom of the tow boat ahead like a missile. Little higher and people could of been hurt.

    I guess the bottom line here is; think well, check your equipment well, Think about it some more and be careful out there.
  12. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    RC
    I actually talked to two rope companies that specialize in building these and both recommended this combo. Most of the stretch comes from the bridle lines. Yes it does require being very careful and it is stressful. Here is one of the quotes.

    NER2014-28 NYLON DOUBLE BRAID BLACK 7/8", New England
    Ropes
    136 2.75 374.00
    SWEAV1234-116 Chafe Gear, Black for <7/8" Line 12 3.00 36.00
    SPDB-22 Doublebraid Splice 7/8" 4 22.00 88.00
    SAM872-12 Samson AmSteel Blue 1/2" 122 4.67 569.74
    nerchafe Dyneema Chafe Sleeve 3 9.00 27.00
    SPL.625M Splice in Single Braid Line 4 20.00 80.00
    ELI-LT12 Fed Spec 316 Thimble 1/2" 3 4.10 12.30
    ELI. 16BLUE 5/8" Blue Pin Shackle Galv. 2 15.78 31.56
    2 x 60' Leg Nylon Bridle w/ 2' Cordura Covered
    Eyes... 1 x 100' Spectra Hawser w/ thimble end....1
    X 10' Spectra painter w/ Stainless Thimble end &
    Galvanized Anchor Shackle
    $
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Double-braid, while it doesn't stretch as much as 3 strand it still stretches quite a bit. I've witnessed a 30' length of 3/4" double-braid stretch 18" during hurricane force winds many times.
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    It at least seems all understand my concerns. I'm in no hurry to replace my gear or change my ways, BUT, Let me know how it works.

    Skip
    When you heading down? I have a window in June and then July.
  15. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    RC,
    Heading down somewhere around the end of May to Spanish Wells, Harbour Island for a week or so, then up to Abacos for a few days at Seaspray and then on to Green Turtle for a month.
    Skip
  16. DS_GreatLakes

    DS_GreatLakes New Member

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    Hello Skip,

    This is my first post and your thread is the reason I joined this forum.

    I am looking to tow my 17 montauk @ 20 mph for cruising the Great Lakes.

    My recent search activity has led me to a similar solution as above,

    What did you ultimately do and how is it working ?

    Thanks, DS
  17. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    DS
    Ultimately I purchased a slightly larger tender and now towing a 19ft Pioneer. I purchased a bridle & line and have been towing the Pioneer the past two years to the Bahamas. When I towed the BW the way I towed it above worked very well. Just remember to set the motor down to where the prop is completely submerged and maybe slightly more. With the Whaler having a pretty flat bottom it will have a tendency to move around if motor is not down enough. Also be sure to tie the steering straight or use another method to keep motor straight.
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I tow a 24' Robalo behind a 52' Searay SB and do the same method as above and practically the same hardware. As Cskip said, keep the motor down somewhat to help it track straight and the steering straight. Just get going slowly and once the line is tight and you get moving about 7 knots or more you don't even feel it back there. I'd run at about 75% load in your boat and it shouldn't be a problem.......just don't slow down Super fast.......but the tender slows down as fast as the big boat, unless you go from cruise to neutral in an instant......
  19. Fish Catcher Jim

    Fish Catcher Jim Member

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    Thanks Guys for the education !! I have been doing more reading and following threads then posting but then thats what I am here for....to learn and remember......:cool:
    Jim