We often see some boats towing their tenders. This is certainly comfortable, especially if you often use your tender, but let’s not forget some precautions.
First of all, weather must be good, with no storms coming: a tender full of water which risks to capsize in the gusts is not a pleasant situation, especially if the crew is facing some other troubles.
Then, the tender must be towed only for short distances and without an outboard on its stern. In long navigations, the risk of bad weather is higher and an outboard attached to the tender is more dangerous than one fixed on the boat stern.
Finally, we must consider the rope we use and its length.
Many tenders are often towed with a single rope fixed on the central clevis. This way, traction is always applied on a single point and the tender obscillates a lot. Moreover, a single coupling point can be unreliable and unsafe.
The best solution is to distribute traction on three different points of the tender: in the middle and on both its two sides.
To do that, we need a rather long rope which can help us to graduate the distance between the tender and the boat and a shorter one we’ll fold in two equal parts. In the middle of the fold, we’ll let the long rope pass through and we’ll make two round turns in order to fix them.
This way, the long rope will go into the central clevis of the tender which divides the shorter one in two parts that, in their turn, will be fixed on the laternal rings.
In order to fix the three parts on the tender, the central longer rope must be tied on the central clevis through a bowline, while the other two ones will be fixed on the lateral clevis through two bowlines with the same tension than the first rope. This way, when towed, the tender will suffer a traction spread over three points to the benefit of a greater stability.
Finally, there’s the matter of length. Some think that the tender must be towed with the bow hoisted on the astern sun bridge in order to offer less resistance and avoid risks in water. But we think that, at this point, it’s better to hoist and tie it in the deck.
If we decide to tow the tender, we only need to regulate the rope length so that the tender bottom remains on the wave created by our boat.
If sea is rough, we should abandon the idea and fix the tender well in the deck.