Connection Points for Dinghy Tow

Discussion in 'Dinghies' started by potis, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. potis

    potis Member

    105
    Oct 15, 2006
    San Ramon, CA
    2000 340 DA Sundancer
    "Soggy Dollar"
    7.4L V-Drives
    We have upgraded from our old (small) dinghy to a 14' Zodiac with 50HP OB. Total weight is around 625 lbs. We will be towing it behind our 340 Sundancer. I do not trust a single connection point at the bow eye (U-bolt) for towing, unless in calm water at no wake speeds. My goal is to be able to tow this boat when on plane at 25-28knts when necessary.
    So, I will be using a three point bridle to connect to the Zodiac. The center will go to the U-bolt boy eye. The other two will connect with one of the following options:
    1. Use the SS eye pads thru bolted into the rigid hull of the Zodiac. Two of them, mounted on the forward quarters of the hull on the Zodiac. This is the most secure method, but the idea of 8 bolt holes at or below the waterline does not excite me.
    OR
    2. Use the large glue on D-Ring tow eyes attached to the tubes and then either:
    A. Connect directly to each of those D-rings for 2 connections, plus the 3rd on the bow eye.
    OR
    B. A method I have read and heard about but never tried, Run the 2nd and third bridle line thru the D-rings but don't connect them, simply use the D-ring as a "rigging pass thru", then run the lines all the way to the stern of the dinghy and attach to the two U-bolt tie-down tow eyes. The D-rings keep the lines aligned and help keep the bow up.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Newport, RI
    300 Sundancer
    5.0MPI Bravo III
    When I towed mine on plane (10'2" avon RIB with a 9.9) I had the best luck almost 100' back with a line connected to the "D" rings glued on the tubes and allowed the tow rope to "float" on that bridle - allowing it to slide assures there is always pressure on both "D" rings and avoids jerking the dinghy back and forth so much......as a "safety" I hooked a line between the bow eye and the tow line (with plenty of slack so it still floated on the bridle) so if something broke, the line (and more importantly the stainless clip), did not come shooting back at me......The other end of the tow rope was a "Y" the went to the mothership's stern cleats.......I would definitely just bite the bullet and install the thru bolted (and dont forget backing plates) rings to your setup as its much heavier than mine.....Also, my setup was made with NE ropes floating line and custom spliced by The ships store in Portsmouth RI......More tips - keep the motor half way down and locked straight OR add some fins to the bottom OR hook a couple of 4' pieces of chain to the back of the dinghy to keep it tracking straight.....when backing into a slip, I pulled the dinghy alongside and tied off the front cleat....once you pivot the boat and start backing in, the dinghy stays in the fairway.......It takes planning and diligence to tow a dinghy at speed, but it can be done....
     
  3. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Not me, but a friend did a lot of towing of a Dinghy back and forth to the Bahamas. Will share his experience and research.

    Definitely do some type of strap attachment to the bow of the Dinghy. Strap should come back a 10-12 inches and be solidly attached to the hull.

    His research led him to the conclusion to not trust just the bow ring, but to add the additional connection point.

    The other thing he did was put a pole mount vertical in the center console area. Could be low below the normal sight line over the tubes.

    When he was towing he inserted a pole vertically with a radar reflector to a height of 10 ft. His comment was if he ever did lose the dinghy crossing the gulf stream, it would show up easy on radar.

    Just thoughts from what someone else did.

    Mark
     
  4. superwa

    superwa Member

    81
    Jul 27, 2013
    Rhode Island
    2001 Sea Ray Sundancer 380
    Mercruiser horizon 8.1S
    Learning from this thread. Can I ask if not towing is an option? Too heavy for the platform?
     
  5. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    SuperWA, that's my situation. I have a 13' Whaler with a 40hp, 4 stroke Merc. Way too heavy for my platform.
     

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