Thursday, January 12, 2012

Old Salt New Trick

Marathon, Florida
24 42.40 081 N 05.68 W

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. How about an old salt?  Also, what are the chances of me inventing a boat handling technique that I have not seen before used on another boat.  It all sounds improbable.  Nonetheless, I think I did it.

We always had a problem of where and how to tie the dinghy to Tarwathie overnight.  If we tie it along side the gate in the lifelines, it rubs against the paint.  Even with fenders to protect the paint, it rubs on the same spot year after year until the paint is damaged.  We have such damage.  Not only that, but the dinghy rocks more violently in heavy weather on the side.  A month or so ago it chaffed through the dinghy painter.    

Most sailboats have squared off transoms, or they at least don't have a Monitor self-steering gear hanging off the stern.  They tie their dinghies behind them just fine.  We do that too in strong winds.  However when the winds slack off, or weaken to less force than the current, our dinghy moves forward, it works it's bow under the Monitor, then it starts banging; damaging both the dinghy and the Monitor.  The banging wakes me up.  I have to get out of bed, get the boat hook, disentangle the dinghy from the Monitor, then retie the dinghy on the side.  I'd much rather sleep.

Other friends on W32's tie the dinghy on the side but way back so that the stern of the dinghy and Tarwathie's stern are about equal.  That works better but it still rubs.  Starting from that though, I found a new method.

See the picture.  I tied the dinghy to Tarwathie starboard side with two lines, one in the bow and the other in the stern.  Then I adjusted the lengths of those lines such that the dinghy points about 20 degrees more to starboard than Tarwathie.  That puts the dinghy on port tack.  The wind blows it away from the hull.  It doesn't touch at all.  It almost never bumps into the Monitor.  As Tarwathie swings from side to side at anchor, the dinghy swings with it.  The chaffing load on the lines are much reduced. Tied with two lines, the dingy is more secure than if it were tied with one line.

I've been doing this for a couple of weeks.  It worked every time; all night, no wind, weak wind, and stronger winds.  Last night we had near gale winds for about 3 hours.  Then my method broke down and didn't work. The waves pushed the dinghy against the hull.  I had to move the dinghy astern.  So I guess it can be said that the method works almost all the time.

Is it possible, that this is really new?  Have any of you seen other boats tie their dinghies this way?


  1. I saw a double ended 32 (lighter and smaller than my WS32) using a old fishing pole to keep the dink away from the boat. He tied the line to a aft cleat and tied the line to the end of the pole and on to the bow of the dink. The pole was a surf type rod with the base secured to the boat and the tip out about 6 feet. Ken

  2. How about tethering at the end of a spinnaker or whisker pole?


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