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I have a 8ft x 4ft GRP dinghy with a 5hp outboard and although I've seen plently of boats going past towing dinghys I've always been a bit nervous of doing it myself so never actually done it. My boat is 57ft x 12ft so it's a bit of a handful single-handed anyway without something extra to worry about flapping around at the back. 

 

I would take the outboard off first and keep it in the boat, but my main concern is the boat accidentally crushing the dinghy in a lock. I'm generally using two ropes in locks anyway, so I don't see why that would happen. The other concern is the tow rope getting caught around the prop when going into astern. I could have two ropes, one from each side of the stern going to each side of the dinghy, but how long should those ropes be? The dinghy needs to be far back enough so that it doesn't get flooded and sunk by any prop wash. I've heard about crossing the ropes so that the port side rope from the stern goes to the starboard side of the dinghy and vice versa, but I'm not exactly sure what the advantage of that is? I'd have thought the dinghy needs to be able to swing to some extent in case if it does hit something, so having a rope on each side seems the best way without the potential of ropes in the vicinity of the prop

 

Has anyone done this from a narrowboat or widebeam and what do you recommend?

Edited by blackrose
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29 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Has anyone done this from a narrowboat or widebeam and what do you recommend?

 

I've done it from our sea-going widebeam (and I've towed other boats as well)

 

You have a choice of a very long line, or a very short line.

In the case of a canal boat I'd suggest that you actually go for very, very short lines crossed over and the bow of the tender actually pulled up tight to the stern button.

 

Any length to the line, and, if going astern, would result in slack, and as the water is being sucked from the back of the boat it is almost guaranteed to pull the rope into the prop.

 

If the rope is incorrectly tied onto the dinghy (ie tied onto the top of the bow onto a cleat) it can / will pull the bow down under the water, when towing. We had to put towing rings at around the water line (not a problem as its a rubber boat) and set back from the bow, so as to keep the bow lifted and riding over the water rather than ploughing into it.

If you tie up on short cross-ropes than you can actually impart a bit of 'lift' into the bow.

 

If the bow of the dinghy is allowed to swing about then a combination of wind and forward motion could easily end up with it being sideways and flipping as it is dragged thru the water.

 

At least yours is a GRP tender so properly restrained it should not be subject to wind, which can easily flip the dinghy over (another good reason for removing the OB).

 

In the end I actually hang it off the back of the boat - so much easier and problem free. Outboard lives on a bracket on the rail. I wouldn't tow with it in the boat. You just know it'll flip or something and the engine is gone.

 

 

20200723-152732.jpg

 

 

 

CAM00462.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Rebotco said:

Might it be feasible to carry the dinghy on your roof instead?

 

Yes, that was my original plan but it means getting help to lift it onto the roof which I don't have, hence now asking about towing.

 

Direct neighbours have gone away and the moorings a bit quiet at the moment. The only others a bit further away are working must of the time and I don't like to bother them.

Edited by blackrose
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41 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I've done it from our sea-going widebeam (and I've towed other boats as well)

 

You have a choice of a very long line, or a very short line.

In the case of a canal boat I'd suggest that you actually go for very, very short lines crossed over and the bow of the tender actually pulled up tight to the stern button.

 

Any length to the line, and, if going astern, would result in slack, and as the water is being sucked from the back of the boat it is almost guaranteed to pull the rope into the prop.

 

If the rope is incorrectly tied onto the dinghy (ie tied onto the top of the bow onto a cleat) it can / will pull the bow down under the water, when towing. We had to put towing rings at around the water line (not a problem as its a rubber boat) and set back from the bow, so as to keep the bow lifted and riding over the water rather than ploughing into it.

If you tie up on short cross-ropes than you can actually impart a bit of 'lift' into the bow.

 

If the bow of the dinghy is allowed to swing about then a combination of wind and forward motion could easily end up with it being sideways and flipping as it is dragged thru the water.

 

At least yours is a GRP tender so properly restrained it should not be subject to wind, which can easily flip the dinghy over (another good reason for removing the OB).

 

 

Thanks Alan. I get the idea of bringing the dinghy up to touch the stern fender. That makes sense. I'd just have to be careful not to apply too much power as my prop wash might fill it up pretty quick. On the other hand with the bow of the dinghy so close the prop wash might all go underneath.

 

I can attach ropes to each side of the dinghy as well as the bow so I could have a very short bow rope to prevent it going under as you described. However, I'm still not clear on the advantage of crossed ropes going to the sides of the dinghy. What does that achieve that "straight" ropes on each side wouldn't? Less swing?

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Just now, blackrose said:

However, I'm still not clear on the advantage of crossed ropes going to the sides of the dinghy. What does that achieve that "straight" ropes on each side wouldn't? Less swing?

 

Yes, less swing and the dinghy will actually follow the boat rather than 'thrash about' in the prop wash.

 

Cross-straps is the conventional way for towing a butty or broken down boat, that is smaller than the towing-boat.

 

 

Discussions here :

 

Towing Butty long rope versus cross straps? - General Boating - Canal World

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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Yes, less swing and the dinghy will actually follow the boat rather than 'thrash about' in the prop wash.

 

Cross-straps is the conventional way for towing a butty or broken down boat, that is smaller than the towing-boat.

 

 

Discussions here :

 

Towing Butty long rope versus cross straps? - General Boating - Canal World

 

Ok great. Thanks for your help. I knew about crossed ropes but didn't know about bringing the dinghy up so close. In effect, for the purposes of handling and mooring, it turns my 57ft boat into a 65ft boat. Should be interesting.

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Take the engine off, the weight and chain out and try it - whats the worst that can happen ?

At canal speeds and flat water I think it would work fine.

 

I'd suggest trying to get a little bit of 'lift' on the side against the boat just to encourage the water to go beneath the dinghy rather that building up on the side.

Is it a cathedral or trihedral hull , or v-bottom ?

 

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43 minutes ago, blackrose said:

However, I'm still not clear on the advantage of crossed ropes going to the sides of the dinghy. What does that achieve that "straight" ropes on each side wouldn't? Less swing?

When towing a butty on cross straps, by crossing the ropes over from the two stern dollies on the motor to then pass on the opposite side of the butty bows you create a 'hinge' where the ropes cross, so the butty bow remains in line with the motor stern, but the two can be at different angles - essential to get round canal bends. Doing with same with a short dinghy in tow might be just fine, or the dinghy might waggle endlessly in the motor's wash.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Is it a cathedral or trihedral hull , or v-bottom ?

 

 

Semi-V catamaran is the best way I can describe it. Flat bottomed with two small Vs.

Edited by blackrose
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12 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

Semi-V catamaran is the best way I can describe it. Flat bottomed with two small Vs.

 

Sideways may generate a bit of a problem as the catherdral hull will 'scoop' the water between the two hulls creating drag which could tip the boat over.

 

But, tie it on tight, try it and see, I cannot imagine anything irrecoverable happening.

 

 

Like this ( this is a trihedral / cathedral - one of our 1st boats 40 odd years ago)

 

 

 

Jamie001.pdf

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

When towing a butty on cross straps, by crossing the ropes over from the two stern dollies on the motor to then pass on the opposite side of the butty bows you create a 'hinge' where the ropes cross, so the butty bow remains in line with the motor stern, but the two can be at different angles - essential to get round canal bends.

 It will be self-explanatory if you try it, but putting this in slightly different words, consider a fairly sharp turn to the right for a moment. As you put the tiller over, the line from your port stern to the starboard bow of the towed craft is the more taut one, and the towed craft is pulled towards the outside of the turn. As that happens it is then the other line from your starboard stern to the port bow that becomes taut, and the impetus of the towed craft actually helps the towing vessel round the turn with less effort than if it had no tow. In the case of a heavier vessel under tow and with a steerer, the steerer will initially actually steer away from the bend to exagerate this action.

 

Tam

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21 minutes ago, Tam & Di said:

As that happens it is then the other line from your starboard stern to the port bow that becomes taut, and the impetus of the towed craft actually helps the towing vessel round the turn with less effort than if it had no tow. In the case of a heavier vessel under tow and with a steerer, the steerer will initially actually steer away from the bend to exagerate this action.

 

I don't think that a 30kg, 8 foot long, tender will do much to help with the turning a 30 tonne widebeam.

I think the problem is more trying to keep the tender being pulled in a straight line to stop it dragging sideways and filling up with water.

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I've always towed dinghies with a variety of boats including narrow boats and wide barges. Not had any problems just put two lines on one to each dolly. Problems can occur with dinghies behind narrow boats when existing from a wide lock using a single gate but other than that not a problem. 

 

Davits as suggested would be nicer for a square stern wide beam although if you catch the dinghy when on davits it is likely to be more of a problem than if it was caught up while towing. 

 

I like to put sensible sized cable ties into the towing lines so if it gets caught the cable ties break off. A third long thin line works as a way to avoid completely losing the dinghy if both cable ties break. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Loddon said:

It's a square stern do why not a pair of davits on the back and lift the dinghy clear of the water. You could also use one to lift the engine off first?

 

https://marinestore.co.uk/davits-for-tenders-up-to-100kg-pl36182.html

 

Why not? I can think of 410 reasons + VAT ?

 

8 minutes ago, magnetman said:

 

 

I like to put sensible sized cable ties into the towing lines so if it gets caught the cable ties break off. A third long thin line works as a way to avoid completely losing the dinghy if both cable ties break. 

 

Interesting idea. Thanks.

 

As you suggest, I think the problem with davits on some rivers like the one I'm on is the amount of overhanging trees. You really want everything as low as possible.

Edited by blackrose
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  • 4 weeks later...

This is how I ended up doing it. I put the anchor, chain and some mudweights on the trailing edge of the boat and lifted the leading edge as much as I could. Cruised for 3 days without a problem.

 

 

IMG_20210612_094645.jpg

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On 19/05/2021 at 11:24, David Mack said:

When towing a butty on cross straps, by crossing the ropes over from the two stern dollies on the motor to then pass on the opposite side of the butty bows you create a 'hinge' where the ropes cross, so the butty bow remains in line with the motor stern, but the two can be at different angles - essential to get round canal bends. Doing with same with a short dinghy in tow might be just fine, or the dinghy might waggle endlessly in the motor's wash.

 A bit late to the party.

 

Cross straps.jpg

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