Towing – attaching to the causality

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

The contemporary experts all seem to advocate connecting to a casualties deck lines, (Jeff Allen, Nick Cunliffe and Gordon Brown as published examples – perhaps their actual instruction would provide some clarification).

However I have found in longer distance tows that the carabineer tends to slide backwards and I end up dragging the casualty’s boat partially sideward. Their bow seems to be less well behaved and it is harder to keep the causalities boat tracking straight in my line. This becomes more apparent in side winds and waves.

Over time I have been given different reasons behind attaching to the deck lines versus the bow toggle, including:
1. The deck lines give more points if there is a fixture failing.
2. Towing from the bow toggle creates extra effort as you are pulling the boat down as well as along.
3. It is easier to attach to the deck line in rough conditions.

Out of these 3 reasons only number 3 makes any real sense to me. Does anyone have an opinion on this?

I have concluded that for quick short tows the best option is to go for the deck line. For longer deliberate tows connect to the bow toggle.

I remember seeing a Nigel Foster video ages ago that showed a bridle system that attached around the bow to the deck lines. This was to counter the second point above – but again this seems to be a solution to a non-problem. Happy to be proved wrong on this.

CM2
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:32 pm
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by CM2 »

Do you attach to one deckline or both? If you attach to both decklines then there shouldn't be a tendency for the towed bout to go sideways.

Grahamd
Posts: 129
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:51 pm
Location: South Coast

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Grahamd »

This has been looked at in the past.
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... lit=towing
I personally think the carry handle is a better option and stronger. Others have identified that if you attach to the deck lines in the correct way, coming up with the clip, if the rope then crosses the front of the boat during towing, it can unclip in the same way, as if you had clipped from the top.

scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

All the demos from the pros show attachment to one deck line. Not sure how you would attached to two deck lines with one carabineer.

scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

Grahamd,
I don’t think this has been covered, yes I did look at the previous post. This old post touches the topic but really relates to carrying. Still keen to get some opinions on my original questions.

The Tundra kid
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:35 pm

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by The Tundra kid »

Excuse me..excuse me....

I have an opinion bursting within my chest....lend me your ear that I may pour wisdom upon you like ....
Like a golden warm light...

:-)

I have done quite a lot of towing.
My view is as follows....tow-er is more important than tow-ee.". You don't want two casualties.

Knots are dangerous. Carabiners less so and are quick to deploy.

It's best if all kayaks involved are properly fitted out..if you paddle within a regular tribe that's easier to achieve ..if you paddle with strangers less so.

Use a floating line but not the cheap orange shiny stuff..use spinnaker sheet as bought in chandlers.

I have a small cleat behind my cockpit. I jam my end of the line round it..with 2round turns and then 2figure of eight cross overs..so no knot to jam tight. The towee. I try if poss to put my line through his bow toggle then along to his her cockpit area..and tie to the deck lines that are fixed down by the foredeck elastic eyelets.....but before tying his her end try to make 2 or 3 round turns to absorb shock and give friction..that way the knot doesn't get shocked tight.
If the towed kayak has a cleat aft of the cockpit..so much the better use that

Use a long line and if poss have a paddler act as a go between for communication so that the whole circus proceeds in a steady steady predictable fashion...it is so easy to strain shoulders and stomach muscles if the tower is twisting around and trying to talk..or to see what's occurring and then the boat gets an unexpected yank from the towee and muscles get pulled.

I've never used a specific tow product..just a line on deck dedicated to that use. Try to keep both boats moving at a modest sustainable pace..avoid straining wrists etc with stopping and starting.
It's quite important for the two involved to stay Intouch..the reason for towing can be anything from seasickness to broken arm to vomiting etc.and each case needs are different..but a dedicated paddler acting as go between saves a lot of stress.

Ideally if bodies numbers allow..the leader shouldn't tow..but a reliable known member that will not become exhausted him herself should be "volunteered"..kind of the acknowledged horse in the team.....but remember plenty of hay and a good rub down after....

Thank you for listening... Tundra..."the paddlers choice." Xxx

Owen
Posts: 2152
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Been thanked: 4 times
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Owen »

The Tundra kid wrote:Excuse me..excuse me....

x
Wow, that's the most complicated set up I've come across yet. There's a lot on towing here http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/al ... ipment.htm

The Tundra kid
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 8:35 pm

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by The Tundra kid »

Dear Owen...
Really.?
I simply advocate a rope that's fastened in a manner that won't shock tight at either end..that allows safe steerage.and to have someone act as a go between keeping the situation orchestrated ..is that complicated?.

When writing that post I had in mind a tow into a rising headwind in West Sweden..seas were growing and the cloud was literally darkening and racing towards us..we were storm bound for the next two days..we only just made it..i was doing the towing..well "we" truthfully because I we were in a double.
The casualty..had gone down with flu mid trip and was going downhill ..hot cold lifeless etc. at one point another member rafted alongside the casualty for 20minutes for stability ..hot drink and assessment. We were coming from wilderness to a coastal village for shelter and access to roads and a car if needed. In the end we had a great few days drinking tea and eating cakesin a picture post card village port !!,

And another memory in mind was towing someone about 10miles but in lumpy seas..but no meaningful wind....
That time the casualty was simply less enduring and capable than the leader thought or understood..an issue in itself perhaps..it was an open crossing and the leader..not me..decided that if we didn't speed up we would run foul of tidal issues and darkness..so I was kind of harnessed in and asked to paddle at a good pace but not knacker myself

So perhaps serious distances..I don't know..I was also trying to be explicit so to communicate clearly..so that the post had value..
If you really want complicated ...try a two kayak team towing a rafted pair using bridles..it's in all the text books....and it's a bloody nightmare.
Keep it simple... Stick to a long bit of soft pliable floating rope fastened knowingly at each end..and a bloke full of weetabix at the sharp end. Grunting away in pursuit of peer group approval!!

Xx. Tundra

Owen
Posts: 2152
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Been thanked: 4 times
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Owen »

It was the attaching it to the towee's kayak that I meant. far to much faff. I have a fair-lead and jamming cleat just behind my cockpit. I have my end of the tow line already set up and the line in a bag closed with velcro. The other end has a crabainer on it, this is held on a small loop on a deck fitting by my side so I can just grab it. There's a bungee spring in the middle of the line.

To tow someone just get hold of their kayak take the crabainer and clip (either their toggle or deck line) and paddle off, the bag just pulls open. I don't find I need to tow that often but when I have more often than not it's been a rafted pair. For this just put your tow line under the casualties front deck-line and clip onto the supporting kayaks lines.

If you need to drop the tow, just pull the end of the line out of the jam-cleat. If the raft need to drop the tow, you need to stop paddling then the casualty can slide forward and unclip. Simple!

scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

Thanks for the write up Tundra Kid, not sure I would go to that much effort to connect to the casualty. I am looking for a fast simple connection. Obviously because we may be in a hurry, but also to facilitate quick change overs when we take turns in towing long distance. As you describes guys having a break from towing act as runners to pass on information.

Owen, Yep that is my understanding of a rafted tow, easy as. Good description. Seems to track a little better, but I still sometimes get the issue of the tow line sliding along the deck line and I end up dragging the casualty partly sideward.
Here is a bit of footage of my set up if this helps.


pathbrae
Posts: 415
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 30 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by pathbrae »

I agree - there's two types of tow set-ups needed. A very quick, get out of trouble then sort things out sort of tow (or get an empty boat back to a swimming paddler...) which needs an almost immediate hook-up to the boat to be towed. And a longer planned tow of a casualty For a quick,short tow I've often just made a loop through the clip at the end of my tow-line and dropped it over the bow (or stern) toggle and pulled it tight. In theory, there are lots of ways in which this could fail, but in practice, so far, it never has. Try to avoid being at 90 degrees to the other boat, especially if it's swamped, and it's reasonably safe for the rescuer. I find it's quicker than threading under deck lines etc. and is fairly east to release when it's not under strain - but might be difficult to release under load
For a longer, more organised tow with an injured or exhausted paddler - I'd like a system which could be released by the casualty or by a paddler supporting the casualty - and I'm still working on that one. Nothing I've tried so far seems to be perfect.
I was a wee bit confused by "If the towed kayak has a cleat aft of the cockpit..so much the better use that..." as that suggests the tow line passing round the paddler, through a bulls-eye and into a jam cleat (not sure I would want an open cleat on my deck) which sounds like a recipe for rope burn, entrapment types of disaster, or you tow the casualty backwards - which isn't particularly pleasant for the casualty. But maybe I've missed something here?

Should we be fitting jam cleats just forward of the cockpit to be towed by? It would work well but who wants to admit they might become a casualty - we all carry flares, VHF, EPIRBS etc. because somebody else might be in trouble, not because we would ever need them for ourselves, right?? :-)

Looking at the deck-line attachments on modern boats and the solid, through the plug attachment of the bow toggles my instinct tells me that the bow toggle will be less likely to fail - but obviously I've not done any sort of testing to support this as I don't have an old boat to spare!

Just as a BTW - clipping both declines with one clip risks loosing the tow if the forward attachment (which will be under a fair bit of strain) fails, my own preference is under one and clip to the far away side line - then if the front attachment fails you are still attached into a loop of deck-line. Of course - if there's a big enough tug to break the deck-line mount - you might want the tow to release anyway!
So much sea - so little time to see it.

Owen
Posts: 2152
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2005 4:42 pm
Location: Nr Stirling
Been thanked: 4 times
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Owen »

[quote="scratchesinmygelcoat"][/quote]

I've just watched your video and as far as I can see your tow seems to work fine. I can't say I've had the problem of the towed boat turning sideways whilst being towed. If you think it's a problem use the toggle when towing a single kayak.

geoffm
Posts: 387
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:05 am
Location: Tasmania
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by geoffm »

Do you attach to one deckline or both? If you attach to both decklines then there shouldn't be a tendency for the towed bout to go sideways.
If you attach to both decklines at the bow, when the front recessed deck fitting pulls out you have just lost the tow. Think about it.

Tundra Kid. You say knots are dangerous and carabiners are better (correct) then you go on to advocate using a knot at the towee's end and a near knot at the tower's end. Neither are quick release....

scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

There has been some talk in this thread about the casualty being able to release from a tow. In a rafted tow this is fairly easy as the supporter and casualty can slide forwards and back to release the carabineer. In a single tow, there is no real easy option. But in both cases I am not sure that this is important. Why does the casualty need to be able to release in a hurry and is it worth stuffing around with extra bits of gear?

User avatar
Kayaks'N'Beer
Posts: 802
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:12 pm

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

scratchesinmygelcoat wrote:There has been some talk in this thread about the casualty being able to release from a tow. In a rafted tow this is fairly easy as the supporter and casualty can slide forwards and back to release the carabineer. In a single tow, there is no real easy option. But in both cases I am not sure that this is important. Why does the casualty need to be able to release in a hurry and is it worth stuffing around with extra bits of gear?
Maybe the guy towing comes out his boat? If it's lumpy, you don't want to be faffing about trying to unhook yourself from a driverless boat full of water.

User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3352
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by TechnoEngineer »

I would suggest:

1) Feed the towline under the deckline on one side of the boat
2) Feed the towline across the deck and under the deckline on the other side of the boat
3) Clip the towline onto itself - or clip it to yourself if you want a short tow.

Then there would be no bias trying to pull the boat sideways.

If you want the towee to be able to release himself, then make a small loop with a contact tow, that the towee can use to release himself. The main towline is then fed through the contact tow.

For towing a raft - I would clip the main towline onto the contact tow (which holds the boats together - it works nicely).
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8089
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by MikeB »

scratchesinmygelcoat wrote:There has been some talk in this thread about the casualty being able to release from a tow. In a rafted tow this is fairly easy as the supporter and casualty can slide forwards and back to release the carabineer. In a single tow, there is no real easy option. But in both cases I am not sure that this is important. Why does the casualty need to be able to release in a hurry and is it worth stuffing around with extra bits of gear?
It's more about the supporter in a supported tow being able to get out of the raft if needs be.

Ian_Montrose
Posts: 286
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:16 am
Location: Montrose, East Scotland
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Ian_Montrose »

I guess if anyone is concerned about needing to release themselves from a tow one option would be to terminate your deck lines at the cockpit RDFs with a releasable knot. There must be some knot that is strong enough to hold up to the stresses of rescues but also can be pulled clean.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8089
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by MikeB »

And a knife is another way!

User avatar
PhilAyr
Posts: 413
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:51 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by PhilAyr »

Ian wrote :
I guess if anyone is concerned about needing to release themselves from a tow one option would be to terminate your deck lines at the cockpit RDFs with a releasable knot. There must be some knot that is strong enough to hold up to the stresses of rescues but also can be pulled clean.
Highwayman's hitch ?

http://www.thepirateking.com/knots/knot ... aymans.htm



Phil

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8089
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by MikeB »

Possibly - with wet line, under tension, they have been found to lock-up though.

Paddler101
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:28 pm

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by Paddler101 »

I attach a highway mans hitch to the toggle. Put the release end in the casualties hands and they can release anytime they want to. Works a treat and towed for hours with this set up.
read about me and my boat at:
http://www.wimbal.com

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8089
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by MikeB »

Paddler101 wrote:I attach a highway mans hitch to the toggle. Put the release end in the casualties hands and they can release anytime they want to. Works a treat and towed for hours with this set up.
I refer the honourable member to my earlier post.

Each and every time I've had to tow in anger / for real, trust me, the last thing I had in mind was fecking around with knots. Getting a tow hook on and getting under-way and moving was paramount.

User avatar
PhilAyr
Posts: 413
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:51 pm
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by PhilAyr »

Each and every time I've had to tow in anger / for real, trust me, the last thing I had in mind was fecking around with knots. Getting a tow hook on and getting under-way and moving was paramount.
I agree with you Mike. The H.hitch is a good knot but a good tow hook has got to be better.

Phil

scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

I think I am ready to draw some conclusions from this discussion and a very recent towing incident. Thank you for all the input.

1. For long distance deliberate tows on a single casualty there should be no problem with hooking up to the bow toggle. All good quality modern boats have a strong enough attachment point at the bow toggle and this should reduce the side drag effect you get with towing from the decline, especially in beam on conditions.

2. For a short quick tow attach to the most convenient point near the bow. This may be the deckline.

3. For a supported tow attach to one deckline through the other. This draws the boats together and can be released by the casualty/supported by sliding backwards and forwards.

4. Don’t stuff around with fancy quick release knots, get a carabineer. Trust me, tying a knot is not an option in rough water with the bow of the casualty bouncing 1 m + next to you.

5. Don’t be concerned that the casualties cannot release – they can always use a knife if it is a rare emergency, or simply paddle up to the tower and release the quick release. If the tower gets in trouble they should release anyway.

6. As a tower get a good quick release and a nice big carabineer for your quick tow.

bjoern
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:14 pm

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by bjoern »

I have had toggles break when carrying boats. (I know that I shouldn't do this) So I always connect to the decklines. They are attached to multiple points on the boat (less stress on the boat) and usually not worn (more reliable).

If the casualtys boat is going sideways, ask them to deploy their skeg...

rhysie
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Been thanked: 3 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by rhysie »

I was part of the paddling group in Scratches' recent towing incident. As one of the lesser experienced sea kayakers on the day I, came away from that experience with 3 thoughts.
1). Little things can cause a chain reaction where things can go from an unexpected controlled rescue to a potentially serious incident in a very short time.
2). If anyone in a group has reservations about a paddling plan, sea conditions or the abilities of the individuals in the group they should speak up and make their thoughts known.
3). A good quick release on your towing system is essential. I have just today taken Scratches' advice and ordered a kite surfing bypass leash which has a simple integrated foolproof quick release and shock cord system.

I use a deck mounted Valley Sea Kayaks Tow bag attached to stainless steel ring mounted just behind my cockpit. Up until now I have used a snap shackle as my quick release but it can be particularly hard to find the cord that opens the snap shackle when blindly fumbling behind your back for it especially when a stressful situation. The quick release on the bypass leash is easy to grab and as Scratches' explained you can use it for either your short quick tow or dedicated long sea tow with fast and easy change over between each.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8089
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 10 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by MikeB »

which all goes to show the benefits of learning what works for you, and taking advice from people in possession of enough knowledge and experience to be able to offer informed advice. I'd recommend a cam cleat myself, by your side, probably on the left, rather than anything actually behind you. As to faffing around with any form of quick release knots, forget it. Mike.

rockhopper
Posts: 777
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:55 pm
Location: Essex
Been thanked: 22 times

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by rockhopper »

I am intrigued by Rhysie's mention of the kite surfing bypass leash... I have not come across these before and the websites don't give too much information. Has anyone used these before, can they be released when under tension and how reliable are they.
Is it not the ideal sort of thing for including on a tow possibly close to the towee or for use as a short contact type tow?

Rog.

scratchesinmygelcoat
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:35 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Towing – attaching to the causality

Post by scratchesinmygelcoat »

I demo it here:


Post Reply