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Thread: Towing runabout behind the houseboat

  1. #11
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    I'm betting the wife wouldn't allow for that in my boating budget.
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  2. #12
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    This is just theory, as our dink is an inflatable kayak snugged up against the overhead of our stern deck, and I've not investigated the commercial options. But here goes this old bat's thought: What if you took two 8- or 10-foot lengths of pvc pipe (depending on your beam), threaded a line through them and maybe a pvc Y connector in the middle, attached to a third PVC pipe to make a Y-shaped bridle stiff enough to keep the runabout from bumping the back of the boat when you stop? You'd make sure to have some extra line at the "top" ends of the Y that could be fastened snugly to your sternmost port and starboard houseboat cleats. Then, according to my untested theory, you could clip the line that forms the stem of the Y to the bow of your runabout? When it's time to bring the little boat alongside for boarding, you'd just free one side of the bridle, and bring the whole assemblage on-board, hanging onto the bow-line of the small boat, which I'd fasten to the junction of the three pipes so you could reach it when you've shut your houseboat motors down, without risk of entangling the line in the prop. Or maybe you could drill holes in the third PVC pipe, and attach spring clips, so that the painter of the small boat could be drawn up along the third part of your bridle, and fastened in the middle, between the two arms of the Y, for easy securing and retrieval. OK, maybe that's dumb, but it'd be cheap to try. Let me know if that works?

  3. #13
    Senior Member Stmbtwle's Avatar
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    The PVC/rope system works, and the price is right.
    She's a tired old barge but she's paid for!

  4. #14
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
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    It will work until you have to back down hard, then you will break the PVC.

  5. #15
    Senior Member GoVols's Avatar
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    I made a diagram of what I'd like to do. What do you guys think?
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    Last edited by GoVols; 09-15-2014 at 08:03 AM.
    Formerly owned a 16X69' Sailabration

    Bet On Another Thousand

  6. #16
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Backing down hard? Tell me about that? I'm still learning the rudiments, here. Would you not bring the dink or runabout up snug along the non-docking side before you did any abrupt maneuvering or got in close quarters? I would be concerned about loose line being entangled in the props otherwise. disclaimer:my main boating experience was long ago, and limited to one-design sailboat racing. I have much to learn about these unwieldy powered contraptions.

  7. #17
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
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    My slip is 21' wide with 80' fingers. There are fingers on both sides, so there is not a non-docking side - the whole boat fits inside the slip. Sometimes when docking, you just have to back away from the slip, circle around, and try again. Sometimes you have to back down hard (put it into reverse and back away quickly). In that scenario, the PVC pipe would break. If I am single handing it, I pull the runabout about 60' back and take it slow. If my wife is with me, she will either pull the rope in and keep the runabout from floating all over the place, or she will bring the runabout in separately.

    My tow rope floats, but I have sucked it into one of the outdrives twice now.

    There is not a perfect solution.

  8. #18
    Senior Member easttnboater's Avatar
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    GoVols, The geometry looks right on what you are trying to do, but my concerns would be:

    1. The size and weight of your runabout
    2. The strength of the cleats that you are attaching to

    Both of these will come into play when you are in reverse. If you have to back down hard, then I think that the PVC will snap and your runabout will turn sideways to your houseboat. It will still be attached with four ropes and you will not be able to push it off to the side. If that happens, then it will get ugly pretty quickly.

  9. #19
    Senior Member Endurance's Avatar
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    GoVols, you're onto something that would solve a lot of the problems of towing at a low cost. I don't think I would give it a go, however, because of the same issues I raised with the Towdster. I really liked your idea to have someone build something more along the lines of the Boathitch. If you can find someone to make them for a good price, I'm in. If EastTN is in, that's three of us. On the other hand, if you look into this and find that we're approaching Boathitch's prices, at least I can feel better about dropping $750 for something that looks like it ought to cost half that.

  10. #20
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoVols View Post
    I made a diagram of what I'd like to do. What do you guys think?
    That looks good, what size and schedule PVC.
    I would guess at least 1" schedule 40.

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