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Ian McColgin
01-16-2014, 12:57 PM
The terrific running suppliment "Getting Started in Boats" has a nice addition with this piece. The only weakness is that it could have used a bit more about being towed, especially being prepared for tow by the Coast Guard or any other professional and the transition from towed astern to port and alongside to get to a berth. But given the space and given that pros will give instruction as needed, that's not important and the rest of the information was excellent.

Jan Adkins
01-16-2014, 03:41 PM
Thank you, Skipper McColgin, for the praise and the critical eye. I agree with you and I'm sure Andy would concur. There's much to be said on the skills of the towee (the bird is a towhee, right?). There's also more to say on the subject of reaching the inner harbor and arranging one's barkie gently against the dock. Who among us hasn't been towed into harbor for one damn reason or another? Ignominious, admittedly, but nearly unavoidable over time. I suppose the trick is to be towed with grace and dignified chagrin. Hubris isn't a wise posture for sailors. We may add to this subject by and by but I hope we continue to emphasize the joyful and spiritual satisfaction we get from sailing. "Getting Started In Boats" is an encouragement to draw new generations onto the water. If we retitled the series "Eighteen Fatal and Grisly Things That Can Happen Afloat," we might discourage the fainter of heart.

Mad Scientist
01-16-2014, 03:57 PM
...If we retitled the series "Eighteen Fatal and Grisly Things That Can Happen Afloat," we might discourage the fainter of heart.

You did a pretty good job of that in 'A Sailing Blade', Volume 43:d

Tom

Ian McColgin
01-16-2014, 04:10 PM
In "Learning to Sail" Callihan had a chapeter entitled "(Some number, I don't remember, maybe) Eighteen Ways to Get Into Trouble". The chapter after was "(Same Number?) Way to Get Out of Trouble". It had most of the usual new sailor errors and common sense (and thus remarkably rare) ways to do things right.

Someone might review it for inspiration and then do three Getting Started pieces for human powered, sail, and petropowered.

And if the editors had a dime for all the bright ideas that start with "someone might . . . " they'd have built their dream boats and sailed away.

rbgarr
01-16-2014, 05:30 PM
Jan,

My experience (and it may have to do with the shape and size of our tender) is that it will tow easier and drag less if it's trailing directly aft such that it's on the forward side of the wake aft of the boat. Ours is a displacement powerboat though, moves at a steady non-surging speed through the water and has a distinct transverse wave pattern. The peak of the second transverse wave aft of the stern is about a boat length back (unlike in the diagram) and the tender rides straight, easily and docilely on the wave's face, sometimes on an almost-slack painter.

Perhaps sailing yachts don't have wakes like that?

http://i43.tinypic.com/2ypkb60.jpg

Ian McColgin
01-16-2014, 07:44 PM
All displacement hulls make a wake. The next to last paragraph in the towing a dink page covers the idea of putting the dink on the back of the wave, bow just over the crest, to keep it from surging ahead down the wave but also to tow lightly. Especially with a sail boat - less power and lower speed - it's well to get the dink as perfectly placed as possible. I get her in the general position and then hold the towline in hand moving back and forth a little to feel where the pull is lightest.

G'luck

Binnacle Bat
01-16-2014, 07:59 PM
Thank you, Skipper McColgin, for the praise and the critical eye. I agree with you and I'm sure Andy would concur. There's much to be said on the skills of the towee (the bird is a towhee, right?). There's also more to say on the subject of reaching the inner harbor and arranging one's barkie gently against the dock. Who among us hasn't been towed into harbor for one damn reason or another? Ignominious, admittedly, but nearly unavoidable over time. I suppose the trick is to be towed with grace and dignified chagrin. Hubris isn't a wise posture for sailors. We may add to this subject by and by but I hope we continue to emphasize the joyful and spiritual satisfaction we get from sailing. "Getting Started In Boats" is an encouragement to draw new generations onto the water. If we retitled the series "Eighteen Fatal and Grisly Things That Can Happen Afloat," we might discourage the fainter of heart.


Jan

If no-one else will do it, let me say welcome to the board. I'm sure I'm not alone in having enjoyed your work for years.

Allan

Breakaway
01-16-2014, 09:56 PM
Dave and Ian are both "right." In the case of having the tow on the face gently surfing at equal speed to the boat, just one wake back, I have experienced that. I have also experienced the dink running up on the boat and slamming the transom ( "Dinging" it in the process LOL), so most times I'll prefer the wee boat to ride just aft of the crest, and at least two wakes back. More if its rougher.

There is no " set it and forget it" when towing. Adjustments need to be made for the day, the hour and with course changes relative to the direction the swell is running.

Kevin

Hunky Dory
01-17-2014, 12:24 AM
I have a tow story from 2 years ago. My brother calls me for help with his 36 ft. Novi fishing boat disabled a few miles off Hyannis. I was rowing when called in Cotuit and rowed to his skiff in Osterville. His skiff is an 18' Brockway 40hp' outboard. I get to him an hr. later and we hook up with a bridle he had rigged while waiting. It took a while to get the tow to settle to a straight course and we ended up at a nice 6 kts. into Osterville. Just before the bridge I came up to his hip and made up fast and was surprised how well we could manuever up to Prince Cove. Then we learned that a 40 hp. outboard will get a much bigger boat going but it takes a long time to stop it. I couldn't see anything from the skiff and was just answering commands from him. Approaching the dock I hear go reverse. then go reverse harder, then hard reverse. I felt the not so gentle bump of the piling that stopped us. It was late fall and no boats left at the marina or spectators to witness the ungracefull landing.

rbgarr
01-17-2014, 04:57 AM
The next to last paragraph in the towing a dink page covers the idea of putting the dink on the back of the wave, bow just over the crest, to keep it from surging ahead down the wave but also to tow lightly.

That's the paragraph in the article I was responding to Jan about. Our tender tows with greater drag than on the face of the wave when placed there. We've never had it surge ahead enough to approach the stern even downwind in waves. But that's just us and our boat, of course. Jan's suggestion makes me want to try using a fish scale or something like it to compare drag in different placements! (It probably won't make a helluvalot of difference :D )

Hwyl
01-17-2014, 06:12 AM
I agree, one of the best GSIB articles, my beef is so minor it almost faux beef, but I like two turns around the standing part on my tugboat hitch. I've had fun towing boats onto moorings in a current, but those are stories best told over suitable libations.

Ian McColgin
01-17-2014, 06:49 AM
The exact spot a light boat tows best from can be partly analyzed from the length of the dink, the separation of the waves crest to crest, and the speed of the tow. The nominal "backside of the second wave back" mentioned in, for example, an old Chapman's, is a good start to keep the dink back but it's also about the highest resistance point. With some boats the first wave back is far enough and the second wave is close enough to it and the dink is long enough that you can get the dink's transom on the front of that second wave and have the dink's bow just over the crest of the first wave. You can practically hold the bow line in one finger then.

Towing in a following sea puts most bets off since overtaking waves will be outrunning your wake and your boat and will want the dink to surf up your transom. If you have a dink that absolutely won't trip and roll in a broach (like a breadbox or such), maybe just towing her from one corner of your transom will suffice for her to range up alongside rather than up your stern. But mostly some drag like a bight of line or a towed fender will be needed to hold the dink back.

Anything works sometime and nothing works all the time, so build a repartory of tricks to meet the different occasions.

G'luck