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Thread: Towed a 27 foot boat with my 17 footer for 9 hours.

  1. #1
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Default Towed a 27 foot boat with my 17 footer for 9 hours.

    Had an interesting evening/night/early morning on Sat/Sun.

    Around 4:30 PM we were down at the back end of Eshamy bay jigging for bottom fish when a 10000lb 27 foot seasport flagged me down and asked for help, his new diesel motor had snapped his outdrive linkage and his old 2 stroke kicker was dead (and wouldnt have had the range to get him back anyway). They were a nice couple so I told him I'd tow them back to Whittier, not realizing how long it'd take.

    We hooked up my little 17 foot boat with its 75 HP motor and away we went. In spite of the size difference I figured we'd be traveling at hull speed anyway so the 75 would be large enough and a bigger boat/motor wouldnt go much faster than I could go.

    We rigged up a 10 foot line cleat-to-cleat and clipped a carabiner to it as a pully and tied a 100 foot line to that. It worked okay but my nose kept wiggling about 5 degrees - made steering a bit of a pain. If I were to do it again I'd rig a much longer cleat-to-cleat line for better stability.

    Going an average of 5.75 MPH it took us 9 hours to travel the 48 miles back to Whittier (took a break in the middle of it). Got in at 3 in the morning.

    3100 RPM gave us 6.2 MPH and 2800 5.65, tried going up to 3600 RPM but all I got out of it was 6.7 MPH and I was burning fuel too quick to make it back with what I had onboard. Made it back on fumes, even after pouring my 10 gallon reserve into the main tank.

    At least the water was smooth as glass, if it'd been rough seas I couldnt have done it safely.

    So, any way I could have done it better? I'd never towed anybody that large or far before.

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    That was a very kind thing of you to do.

    The thing to remember with a small boat pulling a large boat is you can damage your engine as you are putting a tremendous load on the engine and I'm assuming you didn't re-prop with a low pitch prop for pulling the big load.

    I could see pulling someone into a safe anchorage, but I'm unlikely to risk toasting my engine barging someone back to port.

    I hope they paid you for your trouble.

  3. #3
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    Yeah they reimbursed me for the gas, plus a good bit, I didnt even think of the load on my engine being a potential problem.

    The original plan was I'd bring them to main bay where there a lot more boats, then I figured I'd go ahead and tow them back to Whittier, I only expected it to take about 4 hours when we started, I misjudged (badly) how far away it was. If I'd known it'd be 9 hours it probably would have stuck with the original plan.

  4. #4

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    Good for you. Not many would have done that. I imagine it would have cost him hundreds of dollars for commercial tow. If you'd come through Passage Canal earlier in the day you would have had much rougher water and strong winds.

  5. #5
    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Default Good on ya!

    Thats whats known as filling up the Karma tank.

  6. #6
    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    Nice to know that there are some good people out there willing to help another out! That is a long haul for towing that big of a boat! You know, I still have not had the courage to take my 22' riverboat out that far yet! Guess if you can tow a 27'fter with yours I should be alright in mine!
    Good on you for helping out a stranger in need!

  7. #7
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Good to see there are some good guys still around. I almost had to tow back a 26' Osprey back from the south end of knight a few years back. Luckily someone else offered if I would just cough up the 12 gal of extra fuel I had onboard to him. That was a no-brainer for me. Gladly gave them them the fuel, they made it back safely many hours later and we got to stay out and fish another day!

  8. #8
    Member tzieli22's Avatar
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    Default glad to hear as well

    I did the same thing (The Raven) out of Seward july 4th weekend, although my boat is a little bigger at 31' and I only pulled him 18 miles back. Non the less, hats off to you. If we can't count on each other then who can.

    As for the load on your motor, sure a prop would have been nice to have but at 3100 rpm's I think your fine. And yes, you did it all correct.

    Good job once again.
    Tony

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    Default Same Situation Here

    Weekend before last I towed a 24'(ish) fiberglass from just north of Flat Island to Seldovia (his main starter failed). I have a 22' North River Seahawk with a yam 225 and never towing anyone before, i thought there was a slim chance i could get us both on step... not even close! About 3500 rpm got us up to about 8 mph and any increase in rpm could not get us any faster but really bogged the engine. So we just chugged at 7 mph for almost two hours into Seldovia... really sucked the gas though... had thought about towing them all the way to Homer, but I couldn't have made it on the gas that i had.

    No offer of compensation, which i wasn't really concerned with (although i wouldn't have refused any gas $$), but I'm down with the good Karma... i'll probably be in a similair situation someday.

    Good to hear you did the same thing!

    ~AKBoatR

  10. #10
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Kudos to all you folks who go out of your way to lend a hand to those who need it. I hope one of you fellas is around the first time my starter goes out!

  11. #11
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    for you guys that have towed or may tow...


    towing is VERY hard on the boat doing the work as evidenced by the statements here... ..

    some times when conditions are okay for it. it can be easier to take the boat on the hip... especially when towing with a smaller boat...

    in a sense you become the disabled boats drive system with his bow out in front of you...

    in short..

    you tie to the side of his boat. with TWO lines to pull against and one to back on... this works well in small leading seas. flat water and marginal following seas... never take a larger boat on the hip with crossing seas.

    you accomplish two steps ... one you can have coffee together. and get to know all the ladies on board

    two... you conserve fuel by reducing the drag of the bow of the other boat in your wake. you will NOT gain much speed as heavy is heavy. but you will save on your engine components to a large extent.

    also he can help you steer by swinging his rudder, out board, or out drive with you to neg. tight areas or rocks.

    so to accomplish this line up your sterns... bring a line from his (to be towed)stern to your (doing the tow) mid or rear quarter ships cleat. take a line from his midships cleat and run it to your bow... and one from HIS bow back to YOUR midships cleat.. to back on... ( this allows you to stern into him and pull his bow around.)us a few bumpers to soften the blows and pull it all in tight..

    in reality you can PUSH better then pull it through the water ... but unless you installing push bumpers on you bow... this is the next best thing. especially with an incoming tide, and following breeze.. you can make good time and not beat you both up...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  12. #12
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Great insight. The detailed directions (and just as detailed cautions) are appreciated.

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    Default CG Aux in Whitter

    Was the CG Aux in Whitter notified - they might have come to the rescue and towed the guy back. They have a boat all setup for towing and twin 225 Honda's. They routinely tow people back and get reimbursed for the fuel from the Coast Guard.
    How stupid is it to be wasting tons of salmon and halibut as bycatch in the Bering Sea and then have the coastal villages hollaring they have no food? It's got to stop!

  14. #14
    Member Maast's Avatar
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    No, I thought about it (my boss is a CG Aux member and talks about it all the time), but we were already towing him along and I'd already made the offer to take him all the way back.

    If I had known ahead of time it was going to take 9 hours I'd have probably went ahead and called them, I probably will if the situation happens again.

  15. #15
    Member Dupont Spinner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBoatR View Post
    Weekend before last I towed a 24'(ish) fiberglass from just north of Flat Island to Seldovia (his main starter failed). I have a 22' North River Seahawk with a yam 225 and never towing anyone before, i thought there was a slim chance i could get us both on step... not even close! About 3500 rpm got us up to about 8 mph and any increase in rpm could not get us any faster but really bogged the engine. So we just chugged at 7 mph for almost two hours into Seldovia... really sucked the gas though... had thought about towing them all the way to Homer, but I couldn't have made it on the gas that i had.

    No offer of compensation, which i wasn't really concerned with (although i wouldn't have refused any gas $$), but I'm down with the good Karma... i'll probably be in a similair situation someday.

    Good to hear you did the same thing!

    ~AKBoatR
    It's not a good idea to try and tow a "V" bottomed boat or a bottom with any significant amount of deadrise on step. You stand a very good chance of rolling the towed boat over if they happen to catch your wake while being towed. The other thing is the strain on cleats, hooks and lines could cause them to fail when plowing thru a wake or waves endangering everyone on board.

    Flat bottom boats are a little different story. I have seen it done on the Yetena and Su by Larry and Ron, to mention a few, you just really need to watch your cornering as not to slingshot them into the shore on a narrow channel or the same deal as not to get them caught up in your wake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dupont Spinner View Post
    It's not a good idea to try and tow a "V" bottomed boat or a bottom with any significant amount of deadrise on step. You stand a very good chance of rolling the towed boat over if they happen to catch your wake while being towed. The other thing is the strain on cleats, hooks and lines could cause them to fail when plowing thru a wake or waves endangering everyone on board.

    Flat bottom boats are a little different story. I have seen it done on the Yetena and Su by Larry and Ron, to mention a few, you just really need to watch your cornering as not to slingshot them into the shore on a narrow channel or the same deal as not to get them caught up in your wake.
    Thanks for the info!

    ~AKBoatR

  17. #17
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Default Aux Coast Guard

    SO, How does this work? Do you owe the CC anything if they pull you back to the harbour? Not that I wouldn't mind paying out the money to get my family/friends and boat back safely, but I was always curious of that.

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    Default Bad Fuel - CG Aux Towed

    It hasn't been more than two weeks ago that I was in a bad situtation out at Culross passge and needed assistance. I hailed the CG Valdez to pass a message to a friend for assistance. The CG Aux responded and offered a tow back to Whitter. Before they hooked up I asked if there was going to be any fees and they replied "No Charge". They get reimbursed from the
    CG for there fuel.
    Question: How many boaters out there know there hull registeration numbers by memory? I would suggest you take a label maker and place the numbers on your dash somewhere. Sometime you may need them in an emergency an not know them.
    How stupid is it to be wasting tons of salmon and halibut as bycatch in the Bering Sea and then have the coastal villages hollaring they have no food? It's got to stop!

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