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Flex
28-07-2009, 06:14 PM
Hi all,

Anyone had any experience towing a tinny behind a larger boat?
I have a 4.5m tinny and my mate owns a 6.2 Kevlar cat. We're thinking of heading up into shoalwater area and want a smaller boat for the creeks.

I have never towned a boat before, any guidelines I should follow? things I should or shouldn't do?

Chimo
28-07-2009, 06:32 PM
Tow it with a long bridle with the two ends attached to bollards on port and starboard hulls. Shorten when going slow and let it way out to suit wash when travelling quicker. I use a short line off the winch eye on the tinny with a pulley block that the bridle passes thru. Works with a 12 ft at up to 25 kn.
IMHO the motor on the tinny should be tilted up as the pulley and bridle keeps it nicely centred behind and adjusting bridle length will get it sitting in the best section of the wash.

Have fun

Cheers
Chimo

crabbie
28-07-2009, 06:59 PM
Flex. Chimo is spot on with his advice.When I kept a larger boat at the Manly Mariner a number of times I had to tow tinnies back to the ramp. I didn't use the pulley but recommend it for long tow's

CRABBIE

ifishcq1
28-07-2009, 07:36 PM
Chimo & crabbie

do you leave the motor on and put it up or down?

Flex, now that talisman is over all the AJs have gone home it is a bloody good idea

cheers

Chimo
28-07-2009, 07:40 PM
If you can take the motor off, I would as the lighter the boat you tow the better esp if you want to move quickly. If you have to leave it on I'd lift it and lock it up


Chimo

Flex
28-07-2009, 07:45 PM
Thanks guys,

But I'm a little lost as to what you mean by Bridle? can someone explain the set up exactly?

And what speeds would you consider safe towing? assuming 5-10knot winds?

bigjimg
28-07-2009, 08:03 PM
Flex a Bridle is a length of rope with a pulley or wheel in a block,that rides on the length of rope it will have a spliced loop each end.A waterski rope is a good example the bridle will have a thimble fitted each end which attaches to the ski hooks on the boat,one on each side of the transom. the pulley generally has a swivel with a sister clip on it that the ski rope attaches.Well the setup you want is similar as far as the bridle is concerned you will need a pulley that will handle the load of the trailing tinnie, go down to your local chandler and tell them what you are going to need and more than likely will splice the rope for you with the pulley fitted.Heypresto one bridle.Hope this gives you the picture.Jim

Waraba Mick
28-07-2009, 08:16 PM
Flex, check your insurance policy before you tow, some policies dont cover your boat being towed behind another boat.



Mick.

Chimo
28-07-2009, 08:39 PM
Hi Flex

But I'm a little lost as to what you mean by Bridle? Can someone explain the set up exactly?

Think water skiiing then reverse the ropes. Ie the bridle is the long length eg could be 10mm by 100 m instead of 3m as it is behind a ski boat.

If you try and use a short bridle when towing your in trouble on a couple of counts
1 How do you adjust the line length

2 You have real likelyhood of cutting or wrapping the short line around one or both of your props

3 You can not easily reach the towed boat to get it along side easily while with the setup I described you can and the other risks are minimized.

You fix one end to, say the port side and after passing the line thru the pulley block you adjust the length to suit the speed ie short length when at 6 to 10 kn and longer when faster (you should be able to feel it plus look at the fuel burn) The line on the tinny is about 3 or 4 meters long and has the pully block at one end and a dee at the other to fasten it to the tinny



And what speeds would you consider safe towing? Assuming 5-10knot winds

Speeds need to be comfortable and be viable re fuel burn with outboards so you don't flog them By adjusting the bridle length you can position the towed boat in the "sweet spot" of the wake so it sits stable and straight. Trial and error but easiest to let the bridle out over the non fixed side as you travel til the towed boat is sitting right for the speed you choose.

Is that clearer?

Chimo

Scott79
28-07-2009, 08:57 PM
Great thread guys, have been searching for similar info, for a similar purpose.

Chimo, regarding speed, what would you expect a likely cruising speed to be? I realise there are so many variables to be considered, but if the towing boat usually cruises at say 25 knots, what sort of a cruising speed would you expect, all safety issues and economy considered? I would have expected perhaps 15 knots with 20 knots max? Do you think this estimate sounds reasonable?

Scott.

Chimo
29-07-2009, 06:02 AM
Flex

I forgot to mention one more addition that seems to make things work easier and that is the old water ski float I have on the end of the line at the pulley block. This keeps the whole thing floating while you get set up and avoids prop / line interactions;) Refer to pic that I took in 2007 and forgot about last nite as I watched tv and wrote the earlier stuff.

Scott 79

I have a feeling your perhaps a little on the optimistic side but I could be wrong. Probably depends on your towing HP, prop size (s) weight of towed boat possibly less on how rough the sea is as you can move the towed boat into the sweet spot in your wake by adjusting the length back.

Have a go and let us know, its all worthwhile knowledge.

Cheers
Chimo

Crocodile
29-07-2009, 08:11 AM
Consider how it will go in rough seas.
A big cat can be comfortable and safe in seas of a metre but the tinny would be getting a terrible beating and may be damaged, dented or split.
Would you be able to give the rig a test to see how it goes.
A lot of mothership fishing boats tow smaller boats, has anyone seen how they do it.

tinman42
29-07-2009, 09:26 AM
Think of the tow rope as a spring. All rope has some 'give' in it. The longer the tow rope the more give and forgiving to the vessel being towed. I agree with the bridle idea and shortening up the tow at slower or speeds.

Be conscious of the fact that the tow vessel may be traveling OK but what is happening to the little tinny.

Motor down (if it can be locked to dead ahead) as it acts like a rudder and helps the towed boat track true.

Ex-VMR Skipper (9 YEARS)

Dicko
29-07-2009, 10:05 AM
Here's a view you don't normally want to see. ;D

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b229/Barry_Mundi/towhome.jpg

I got a tow home a few mths ago when the fuel line from the underfloor tank perished internally & caused untold grief, but anyway. We stayed in the boat & were asked to keep the motor down. (which surprised me, as when I've towed someone else, we have them put the motor up to reduce drag).

The steering input/corrections I had to do to keep us neatly behind the coastguard boat was quite significant. There was no way it was going to track straight on it's own. If you were towing a boat with no crew, you'd have to have the motor up or securely locked to steer dead ahead. It would be too dangerous having it wander around without being corrected . You'd probably end up sinking the towed boat if the outboard went hard lock to one side.

The conditions were a little bit lumpy at first, then good as we came round a cape. We were in a 4.8 tinny with a 90 on the back & got towed about 15nm at 18kn up to about 23kn in good water in the pic above.

The ride we had was far better than we would of had if under our own power at the same speeds, though I don't recommend breaking down just to get a smooth ride home ;D

Chimo
29-07-2009, 10:47 AM
Nice pic Dicko. If we had sampson posts I guess we wouldn't need to worry about bridles and if we were in boats that big we would have out tender where there's is!.

They must have motivated you well when they first took off, "Staying out of trouble in our wake is your job, we'll see you when we get home"

Their observer is doing a b#o#n#z#e#r# job too. (Whats wrong with b o n z e er? as a word other than its a bit old?

Did you / they fasten the tow line onto the winch eye?

Cheers
Chimo

patrol50
29-07-2009, 11:16 AM
fyi chimo - b.o.n.z.e.r.is knocked out by ausfish filters as is the name of b.o.n.z.e.r.i.m.p.o.r.t.s. who sells gps and sounders etc into aus cheaply from usa when a$ is high - good thread re towing small boats this! - see uou rob

Dicko
29-07-2009, 11:40 AM
They must have motivated you well when they first took off, "Staying out of trouble in our wake is your job, we'll see you when we get home"


Cheers
Chimo

That's what I say to people behind my ski boat, I throw them a rope and just say "follow me"

nah, They came alongside & threw us a thin cord line which which was attached to the main tow line with a hook on it. We pulled it across and slipped the hook into the trailer winch point under the nose. (That's a tip, tow from as low as possible to keep the bow up).

They also told us a few things to do, like leave the motor down and to put our life jackets on. The jacket one unnerved me bit, I thought, sh!t, here we go, these guys must have tipped a few over before. lol

All in all they were good, the observer in the pic was usually observing, we must have got him in a moment of yacking. There was also 2 downstairs you can't quite see in the shadows.

I've been a member for about 12 yrs & never used them. It sure beats paddling home.

Reel Nauti
29-07-2009, 01:13 PM
Just one other thing to consider, if the very worst happens and the vessel being towed swamps/capsizes or starts to go under for whatever reason, be prepared to let the tow line go very quickly. As in cut or undo in plenty of time.

Dave

Chimo
29-07-2009, 01:28 PM
Hi Dave

The need to let go in a hurry is addressed with the bridle set up I use. The towed boat bridle is secured by a few loops around the stbd bollard (Port side is more secure) and I just have to let go the line that I can hold while driving to let off the tension. Good point. :-*

In Dicko's case they probably said not to worry we'll be right but you better duck;) (is good to keep low in a towed boat)

I try to tow my 12 ft tinny empty with the motor hung off the bait board between the two motors on the Vagabond, in fact you can see the marks left by the motor mounts in the pic of the bridle etc

Cheers
Chimo

cormorant
29-07-2009, 02:04 PM
If they are towing my boat at that planing speed they can place one of their blokes at my helm and I'll be safe in the cabin of the boat doing the towing. Or bungy the helm and no one in it.
As for towing at planing speed with family or passengers still on board , life jackets or not - no way -

The average tow hook isn't designed for towing and the forces applied in getting a boat on and off the plane and through swells.

Dicko
29-07-2009, 03:54 PM
I wouldn't be too worried about it, keep on the ball and it's surprisingly safe. I've towed others on the plane before, but this was my first time on the other end of the rope.

I just remembered my mate taking the pics put the camera on video for a bit, I just found it & wacked it on youtube. and yeah, before the safety police lynch me, I'll admit I didn't put the jacket on properly, more of a quick symbolic gesture over my head.

nsyLvGahD28

Chimo
29-07-2009, 04:01 PM
Great little vid. Your boat seems a little less twitchy than my tinny, which also sits straight behind and in the wake, perhaps it could be the two men and a motor !

thanks Dicko

Chimo

Flex
29-07-2009, 08:05 PM
Thanks heaps guys, Lot of good info there:)
I'll let you know how I go up in shoalwater:) weather pending!

upstart
30-07-2009, 12:30 PM
I have a 5.3m 'glass boat with an 85hp Yamaha two stroke on it. I've towed two boats.
1- my old old old 12ft Clark tinny. It would just not tow straight!! It would skate all over the place.

2- I towed an old 18 foot fibreglass half cabin about 7nm. Did that with it's motor tilted up and the old couple sitting on the seats. Towed it at about 18knots in calm weather very easily.

Chas & Clarry
08-07-2012, 06:35 PM
Following a frustrating attempt to fish the pine this morning,


(we had minimal fuel on board so filled the jerry can on the way to the ramp... when we arrived at the ramp and realised I had left the full jerry on the servo driveway, I rang them and it had already been stolen by some bastrrrd...short fishing trip, no fish, headed home :( )

I decided to enjoy the fact that we are about to head off on a houseboat for a week very soon by getting organised for the holiday.

We plan to tow our boat around behind the house boat so searched Ausfish for advice, found this thread, spent part of the day making up the gear, splicing thimbles into the tow line and bridle line, etc...all organised now :D

Thank god for Ausfish !

Tim and Trace

BGG
08-07-2012, 07:12 PM
Golden rule of towing a boat-
Really short rope or really long rope.
Nothing in between at any speed.

Boat Hog
08-07-2012, 07:45 PM
Hey Tim and Trace, down on the Murray River the houseboats there are used a lot to tow ski boats around. They even have the ski boat docks at the rear of the houseboats. Most people don't use them, but tie their boat or tender alongside the houseboat with some solid fenders in between (this was how our tender was attached when we picked up the houseboat).

Since you're not going to be going very fast in the houseboat then this would be a suitable alternative. Advantages are you don't have to worry about the towed boat when you come to a stop (or even if you want to back up), plus it's so easy to get in and out of the boat from the houseboat as it is tied fore and aft alongside. You just have to remember the extra width you have.

82171

Cheers,

Alchemy
08-07-2012, 07:59 PM
I towed my 3.9m tinnie behind Alchemy for over 300km during last years Gulf trip. The bridle Chimo described is a great idea and I'll definitely copy this next time I tow. I locked the tinnie outboard down and tied it off so the tinnie tracked straight. I found a long-ish tow rope good and I positioned the tinnie on the back of one of the pressure waves once at planning speed, which was 18 knots.

Regards,
Dave.

Chas & Clarry
08-07-2012, 09:48 PM
Golden rule of towing a boat-
Really short rope or really long rope.
Nothing in between at any speed.


Most people...tie their boat or tender alongside the houseboat with some solid fenders in between (this was how our tender was attached when we picked up the houseboat).

Since you're not going to be going very fast in the houseboat then this would be a suitable alternative. Advantages are you don't have to worry about the towed boat when you come to a stop (or even if you want to back up), plus it's so easy to get in and out of the boat from the houseboat as it is tied fore and aft alongside. You just have to remember the extra width you have.

82171

Cheers,


I towed my 3.9m tinnie behind Alchemy for over 300km during last years Gulf trip. The bridle Chimo described is a great idea and I'll definitely copy this next time I tow. I locked the tinnie outboard down and tied it off so the tinnie tracked straight. I found a long-ish tow rope good and I positioned the tinnie on the back of one of the pressure waves once at planning speed, which was 18 knots...

Thanks for the info guys.

Definitely won't be going fast! I really am not expecting much of a problem at 6 knots (the 38' x18' house boat only has a 60hp motor ::) ).

Jim, I thought about tying up alongside as you describe, and suspect that we will do at times, especially at anchor at night. My main concern with that configuration is that when a big cruiser goes by kicking up a decent wake (plenty in the area), there would be a chance of knocking the boat about a bit even with fenders. What do you think? did you experience that at all?

I decided that on balance that it is likely to be safer towing out the back. We will have the gear with us to do either option now :)

Tim and Trace.

WalrusLike
08-07-2012, 11:09 PM
Love the gear you made up but for a houseboat I have just tied directly to a stern cleat with no play.... Tracks fine and no wake issues... Mine or other boats.

Only prob you have is if you reverse so when I am about to anchor i just let out a dozen meters of line till done then pull in again.

Richo1
08-07-2012, 11:30 PM
All good tips above, I prefer to leave the outboard tilted up. Weight in the tinny should be towards the back as this will help it to track straight. If the tinny is trimmed to the bow it will skate all over the place.

Be careful when tying up over night as aluminum tinnys love eating gelcoat!

Boat Hog
09-07-2012, 05:17 AM
Thanks for the info guys.

Definitely won't be going fast! I really am not expecting much of a problem at 6 knots (the 38' x18' house boat only has a 60hp motor ::) ).

Jim, I thought about tying up alongside as you describe, and suspect that we will do at times, especially at anchor at night. My main concern with that configuration is that when a big cruiser goes by kicking up a decent wake (plenty in the area), there would be a chance of knocking the boat about a bit even with fenders. What do you think? did you experience that at all?

I decided that on balance that it is likely to be safer towing out the back. We will have the gear with us to do either option now :)

Tim and Trace.

The biggest thing we experienced on the Murray was other houseboats doing 6 knots. ;) Plenty of wake boats though!

Calm water + quiet backwater areas then alongside would be okay. Open, choppy water + large boat wake areas then out the back with that good looking bit of gear you've got would be the go for piece of mind.

Have a great Houseboat Holiday and may the fish be with you. ;D

tigermullet
09-07-2012, 06:06 AM
Tim and Trace, for towing a dinghy by houseboat, go with 'Boathog's' suggestion. We towed our dinghy beside the houseboat every time for over twelve years at the Pin. No problems - and it was out of the way for fishing without having to bother with hauling it in and re-fastening it to the side. Stout ropes, tied front and back and cushioned by correctly placed fenders makes towing easy and comfortable. No chance of reversing over the towing rope either.

myusernam
09-07-2012, 07:06 AM
you can trim the motor down to make it tow true. trout boats sometimes tow a tyre behind their dories etc. stops any wandering but they dont have to worry about fuel burn/ aren't going fast. If you can trim the motor up and have it run ok much better. try and get as much weight out of the nose as possible. if you have too much weight in the nose it will knfe around out the back from side to side. I would only let out as much as you need to (I reckon 30ft) if you let out too long you have the possibility of it getting knocked off course and s ing around everywhere like a bitch. likewise with too spogy a rope. you dont wont a lot of give because it encourages the s ing. If you get it balanced right and its calm enough you wont even know it's there in the cat. It might take you a while to build up speed to you're confident. weight down the back - nose out of the water. You can experiment with the rope down low or from the top. - the lowest point is a good place to start.

Chas & Clarry
24-07-2012, 02:05 PM
Just back from the houseboat holiday; picture of the bridle in action:

Chimo
24-07-2012, 04:49 PM
Looks like it worked OK, I ended up with about 12 ft from the bow of the tinny to the pulley on mine.

C
C

choppa
24-07-2012, 06:03 PM
as a late post to the thread,, the FIL gave me a tip years and years ago,, which I still use today

he always had a coil of "braided" rope aboard for the purpose of towing another vessel,,, (also works well in other areas)

by braided,, I mean,,, take a length of rope,, string it out,, and return it back on itself twice,, and braid it,, (like hair)

the benefit of this rope is that it provides "flex/stretch",, whilst under load,,,(so you don't get that "impact" when breaking through wash etc) another benefit is that you don't have to "lock/attach" the towed vessel via a knot,,, you simply pass the towed vessel's tow line through the loops of the braid (dependable on the size of the said tow vessel) and it becomes a secure tow hitch under it's own pressure

what I personally have found with this "accessory" rope on board,, is that you can use it for more than just towing,,, and there is a report here (or two) of me bringing in others who have broken down in the Passage with me in a 12' open tinny, 9HP Johnno,,, and 18' half cabins behind,,

also you don't need to fuss about with untying and retying knots on the tow boat,,, slacken the rope,,, and adjust the "loop" in the braid

this could be a case for MythBusters,,, but it does work,,, I personally would not use it opposed to the other good advice above,,, but if your towing a tinny over short distances,, and need quick "hook" up and release often,,, it works

Boat Hog
24-07-2012, 06:18 PM
Just back from the houseboat holiday; picture of the bridle in action:

Jeebus ... I misread that at first.... thought you were showing pictures of the bride in action! :o

Glad to see your boat bridle gear worked!

Cheers,

WalrusLike
24-07-2012, 06:30 PM
Choppa great idea thanks... Any chance of a picky sometime? I can't quite see how you do that.....

Maybe it's because I have short hair??

Chas & Clarry
25-07-2012, 11:39 AM
Looks like it worked OK, I ended up with about 12 ft from the bow of the tinny to the pulley on mine.

C
C

Ours is about the same as yours, it just looks longer in the photo.

Tim and Trace

Chang Jiang
25-07-2012, 01:58 PM
Great advice from Chimo and the lads, if you are out and the weather is turning nasty ensure you set the length of the rope so that when you are on top of the wave the dinghy is on top of a wave depending on size of swell but i normally set towed vessel to 2 waves so when you are on top of a wave there is one wave between you and the dinghy. This is working on a wave timing between 7-12 seconds

choppa
04-08-2012, 12:46 AM
Choppa great idea thanks... Any chance of a picky sometime? I can't quite see how you do that.....

Maybe it's because I have short hair??


Made this up today to give you an idea

83041 830428304383044

some spare rope i had in the shed,,, used the pin in the drawbar to hold the starting end,,,, gives an idea of length I'm braiding,,,, braid up close


as you can see via the last pic,,, if you need to "attach" another rope,,, instead of tying off,,, you simply pass it through 4-6 loops of the braid,,, once you have the braid under pressure it will never let go,,,, in swell when the tension becomes slack,tight,,,, fold the attached line back onto itself

as mentioned,,, this is not to replace the excellent idea's above,,, just another version

I normally latch this onto a fixed loop/bollard on the boat and make it permanent,,, simply hangs on the side,, comes in handy when your anchoring as well as you can move the achor line to whatever point of the braided rope to fish side on

if you need to shorten the rope,,,, make a loop and pass it through the "loops" of braid etc etc etc

Oh,,, to hold it all together,,,, number of ways,,, after I splice a loop in each individual rope,,,, bind them together with heavy mono,,,or sail thread and tie off

WalrusLike
04-08-2012, 06:33 AM
Good stuff Choppa. Now I get it. I can see that being useful in lots of ways as you say. Thanks for the piccies and explanation.

WalrusLike
06-08-2012, 04:54 PM
I have a rope I don't like that I was thinking of turning into this jack of all ropes that Choppa has.

I thought to myself that I would be cunning and instead of three ropes use this one long one tripled over. I further thought that I could then use one section at each end to loop back forming a eye for going in cleats.

Laid it out.... Looked at it... Scratched my head... Scratched the dogs neck.... Scratched my head some more.

So now I have a useless tangle of rope on the driveway and fleas in my hair. :)

It can't be done as one rope. :(

choppa
06-08-2012, 05:17 PM
yes it can,,,, the rope in my pics is one length,,,, the trick is to have someone standing behind you as you plait it,,,, (not shown in pics),,, as you plait,, they reverse plait to keep the 3 lengths from twisting up,,, (a close look at pic 2 shows this,,, theres the "end" of the rope with a loop spliced already,,, the other 2 lengths are doubled over)

adding a cleat is also easy,,,, i leave mine generally "uncleated",,, as I normally fix one end directly to the "U" shaped bollard on the bow via a cheap cable tie,,, and use the rear/aft bollard as per pic 2 above so it's permanent

i didn't do this on this occassion,,,, thinking of upsizing the boat

Horse
06-08-2012, 07:14 PM
I have towed tenders at displacement speed for thousands of NMs. We always run a single tow rope (as do rescue groups and commercial dorys) as extra string and hardware in the water will eventually find a home around props or rudders. We tow from the side that is opposite to the direction of swell so the vessel provides some protection. It is critical to get the setback on the correct pressure wave. A planing hull may be more tender and require a bridle to perform best
We tow our 17' glass boat out to Musgrave etc with few issues. Keep the weight in the stern and the motor locked (and tied) up. Tow from the lowest point on the tender. Some vessels use a huge amount of extra fuel when towing as the prop pitch/motor combo is all out of whack.
If you are heading to Shoalwater Bay Area you might be better driving the 4.5m to stanage and running out to the mother ship. If its too rough to get there then you probably should not be towing behind a 6.2m boat

WalrusLike
06-08-2012, 11:58 PM
Thanks Choppa.... I knew if I baldly stated it couldn't be done then it would turn out it could.... Win, win!

You have inspired me to have another go.... One use I am thinking of having for it is a draped length along the hull on the opposite side to fenders in case I am single handed and ever need to tie up opposite to initial plan. Sort of insurance.