Tow line fixing^

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NeilG
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Tow line fixing^

Post by NeilG » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:49 pm

I have had a bit of search through old posts and can't really find the answer to this one.

A lot has been said about tow line arrangements, minimum rope thickness, hooks, boat / paddler debate; but what are you fixing the hook to on the 'victim's kayak.

The bow toggle has been mentioned and deck lines have been hinted at, not a lot of consideration has been given to this it appears. Where is the point in using shock cord and 6mm rope if the attachement point is essentially string with a unknown knot tied in it?

Does any one have a fixing they would use on their own kayak if you needed a tow.

Do you rely on the victim to ensure their own boat can cope with the strains?

I'm asking as i have just made up my own deck mounted tow line and am considering what i would attach it to on my paddling partners kayaks...

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Post by Bertie.. » Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:57 pm

Neil,

I will always try and clip through the deck lines in such a way that if they broke free of the toggle (if connected) my tow line would remain clipped into the now free loop.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Thu Nov 30, 2006 6:46 pm

That's an interesting point! I learned to pass the clip through the decklines and clip back to the towline itself, thus giving the 'casualty' a chance to work along the line so that he can reach and release the clip in the event of dire things happening to the tower. But your argument, Bertie, suggests that passing the clip under just one deckline (ie through the 'loop' normally held securely by the end-most RDF or toggle) gives potentially greater security as well as the aforementioned flexibility.
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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:48 am

Image
However we usually tow two boats, on the grounds that if someone needs towing, they also need support and comfort, it all depends on why they require towing.


Image


Passing the tow through the decklines of one boat means the towed pair can release themselves from the tow. To do this the tow line has to be "clean" for 2 or 3 metres so one boat can slide up the line (unless you get involved with faffy loops and stuff which are slower to set up and use up a lot of line)
I would say that a seaworthy boat is one that, amongst other things, is capable of being towed ie. It has attachment points at both bow and stern.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:12 am

I don't think we disagree fundamentally, Geoff:

i) Towing a single boat can arise as often in my (comparatively infrequent) experience as towing a 'raft' - tired/ineffective paddler rather than ill/disabled paddler.

ii) Agreed, releasing the clip is easy enough for the 'support' rafted paddler in your second photo, but clipping back to the line after passing through the decklines on both boats means that (albeit with a bit more 'faff' and/or use of a paddle to 'grab' a loop of line) either rafted paddler can release the clip.

iii) Both of your photos reinforce the main point that I was making earlier - that clipping to/looping round one line rather than two on each boat means that on most deckline configurations you are clipping into a loop of line rather than depending solely on the integrity of the endmost RDF/grab handle fixing.
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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:26 am

The last two times I towed in anger were to get slightly weaker (or more tired) paddlers through some strong'ish tidal flows, so my tow was more an additional input rather than acting as their only propulsion.

I have towed using Geoff's set up before on a number of occasions. It does have a tendency to pull the bow of both boats together resulting in you towing a fanned out raft - a bit like skiers in a snowplough stance. Obviously, the two paddlers can help keep the boats from doing this, but if you have one debilitated paddler being helped by another in rough'ish water it can become tiring quite quickly.

In the past, I've found that having a short length of line with two clips/karabiners that I could clip the two sterns together. I carry this wrapped across my deck just in front of the cockpit so it's there at all times. Also comes in handy for a paddle park etc..

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Post by Geoff Seddon » Fri Dec 01, 2006 4:45 pm

I wasn't inferring I was talking about a different system as such Dave, I just thought "I can take a picture of that" and having done so felt obliged to write as well. Bertie - I don't really agree that there is a significant "snow plough" effect, particularly when attaching onto decklines and remember you can pass the towline, or hook in nearer the cockpit than the end loop - thus reducing this tendency. But different boats different strokes as they say. By the way if we are lashing up boats what about the over deck stirrup from outside deckline to outside deckline - the boats can clamshell but not tip outwards, another thing not really worth the bother, or is it?
Top tip - if releasing a tow from the towed end whilst being towed in a pair don't separate until you are both disengaged from the tow. The end of the towline has a hook attached and more often than not it does just that.

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Tow clipping on

Post by ThomasD » Fri Dec 01, 2006 5:45 pm

<< Surfaces from lurking to offer this tidbit:

When clipping your carabiner onto one side of the deckline, be sure to orient the gate facing up else it is liable to be levered down against the deck sheer releasing the tow prematurely.

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Jim
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Re: Tow line fixing^

Post by Jim » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:12 pm

NeilG wrote:Do you rely on the victim to ensure their own boat can cope with the strains?
Frankly, yes. Thats one of the primary functions of the decklines. If the victims decklines aren't up to the job, well you be well advised to have spotted this before getting on the water. You will find that you do subconsciously check out the standard of other peoples rigging whilst moving boats to the water and stuff - especially if you are using padded straps threaded under the decklines.....! Anytime you are paddling with a novice in an older boat you will probably naturally tend to check the decklines, and help them replace or tension them if they aren't up to scratch - in fact sometimes even with brand new boats you will spot the lines are too loose or not tied off well and offer advice.

The end toggles are generally only used for aligning a tow (sometimes) - we certainly don't lift laden boats by them so it makes no sense to use it as the actual fastening point for a tow. I would actually question why we still put toggles boats, I mean apart from a tick on a BCU checklist, what purpose do they serve? Decklines can be used for handling afloat and ashore, empty or loaded (although the latter is best in combination with straps), and are easier to grab from the water, considering they are all around the periphery of the boat.

Jim

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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:47 am

When the B*****D Phil wimps out of a rescue he makes me hold onto his rear toggle and my front one (as well as my paddle) then paddles to somewhere more pleasant. I think this is more of a punishment for me than for any other reason. It does work quite well though - if the "pleasant place" is not far away. I have to say that being in between two boats is not a good place to be however.

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Post by Dave Thomas » Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:33 pm

Hmm - two hard places, better or worse than a rock and a hard place?
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Post by Rockpool » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:04 pm

I'm a fan of clipping the toggle. Toggle rope is usually threaded through about an inch of solid GRP which is unlikely to fail. The rope is 500kg breaking strength and is easily replaced should it fray. I've never known the toggle plastic to fail, but have made nice pocket money repairing broken deck fittings over the last 20 years!

Would you tow a car by the door handles, roof rack, bonnet grill or even the plastic bumper:-?

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sat Dec 02, 2006 2:45 pm

Rockpool wrote:I'm a fan of clipping the toggle. Toggle rope is usually threaded through about an inch of solid GRP which is unlikely to fail. The rope is 500kg breaking strength and is easily replaced should it fray
Maybe the ones you fit are, but I bet a survey of a wide spread of boats of different vintages from different manufacturers will show that the decklines are generally more reliable than the toggle ropes! Expecially those with plastic toggles because most people struggle to find stuff thin enough to go through the little holes and are more likely to go for cheap B&Q line than a good bit of spectra....

There are other practial reasons for not using the toggles, mainly that the decklines are easier to clip onto.

Geoff, the first time I ever went surfing (in a dancer, so quite a while back) Jacko towed me in through the surf like that, I felt as if I was the towrope and shock abosrbing system. I pretty quickly learned to roll after that and have always managed to avoid getting in a similar situation again. Could I therefore offer the following tip for avoiding such painful experiences in the future: DON'T GET IN THE WATER, STAY IN YOUR BOAT!!!! Trust me, it always works. If you don't bail out, you never have to be a towline.

Jim

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Post by Dave Thomas » Sat Dec 02, 2006 5:07 pm

Rockpool wrote:I'm a fan of clipping the toggle.
Just to be awkward, my toggles are fitted onto a loop of deckline extending beyond the end-most RDF!

Interesting comments about repairing RDFs - I've always been reluctant to use decklines to lug a loaded boat around on land (eg over boulders, down mini-cliffs, etc on difficult landings) but I've never seen or heard of any failure attributable to such misuse - till now!
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Geoff Seddon
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Post by Geoff Seddon » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:18 pm

Jim wrote:
Geoff,.........: DON'T GET IN THE WATER, STAY IN YOUR BOAT!!!! Trust me, it always works. If you don't bail out, you never have to be a towline.

Jim
Smart **se. Trouble is I'm a founder member of the not very good club and I find that solution is not always available to me. I'm better than I was though but there's still an awful long way to go. It's HIM he's the problem, left to my own devices I could find plenty of quiet, calm, maybe even sunny, places to go and probably look fairly competant. He does squeak like a girl though when he's towing me and my boat, which is amusing and as I can't resist taking the p*** I daren't let go cos he probably wouldn't come back.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:48 pm

Geoff Seddon wrote:
Jim wrote:
Geoff,.........: DON'T GET IN THE WATER, STAY IN YOUR BOAT!!!! Trust me, it always works. If you don't bail out, you never have to be a towline.

Jim
Smart **se. Trouble is I'm a founder member of the not very good club and I find that solution is not always available to me. I'm better than I was though but there's still an awful long way to go. It's HIM he's the problem, left to my own devices I could find plenty of quiet, calm, maybe even sunny, places to go and probably look fairly competant. He does squeak like a girl though when he's towing me and my boat, which is amusing and as I can't resist taking the p*** I daren't let go cos he probably wouldn't come back.
Hmm, I was getting trained in using EBS (rebreather) this week, I reckon we should try and get hold of some. We only used it for a few seconds in the water but in dry training we were able to use a single breath for a good 30 seconds, so if you prime it with a couple of breaths when conditions get rough you could easily spend a minute sorting out your roll - that must be about a dozen attempts! and even if you couldn't manage to roll then, you can just wait for his nibs to paddle over and help you up! Have you tried EBS in any of your MR training?

Jim

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NeilG
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Post by NeilG » Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:57 pm

It would seem that there is a reasonable split between toggle and deck line. Personally, based on the fact that the toggle line is the same diameter rope as my deck lines and passes through the bow, i would prefer this rather than the deck lines which use recessed screwed on fittings. Perhaps better still, both if you can. Clearly each of us needs to ensure our boat is up to the job else an accident can become a disaster or even more embarrasing. Imagine being towed home backwards because the bow fittings had failed.....

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Post by Jim » Sun Dec 03, 2006 1:30 pm

Ah, I see the issue here, my decklines are threaded through recessed built in fittings not screw in fittings recessed or otherwise. I have topcleats on my elastics but my deckline fittings are every bit as sound as the toggle tube. If either ripped out on my boat it would be a serious issue, but as I say the decklines are easier to clip to and spread the load over more fittings....

Presumably newer boats and polythene boats have bolted or screwed fittings for the decklines?

Either way the optimum solution when setting up a tow is often going to be to thread it through the toggle or decklines at the bow and then run it aft and clip to a piece of deck line that the victim can reach to unclip it should a situation arise.

The times when you are most likely to just clip it to the end of the boat are when you are towing multiple boats as Geoff describes with one clipped and the line threaded through the others (attached boat can slip back and let another paddler unclip the system) OR when you are in a hurry in less than ideal conditions, in which case you would only commit one hand to the towline so it will be clipping to whatever you can push it through quickly with one hand. Read the thread on the inland forum for an idea of whether that's going to be the toggle or not! The crossed over decklines as illustrated in Geoffs photo are going to be the easiest things to get a carabiner round in such a situation - Mine aren't done that way because I have a fitting on the centreline at each end, mind you there's usually so much stuff clipped to my decklines that you would be pushed to find a space to clip a towline, but still easier than clipping the toggle.

Jim

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Post by Pelagic » Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:29 pm

He does squeak like a girl though when he's towing me and my boat, which is amusing and as I can't resist taking the p*** I daren't let go cos he probably wouldn't come back.
You'd squeak like a girl if you were towing a soggy old bloke in toe-tecter wellies holding on to a snap-on tool chest.............

Phil

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Post by Dave Thomas » Sun Dec 03, 2006 11:12 pm

Girls, girls ..... !!
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Post by NickB » Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:29 pm

There has been a lot of talk about failure of deck fitting or toggle, but there was a time (and I wasn't there!) when I believe a member of our club was having his new (swamped) Comanche towed just off Bolt Tail in fairly trying circumstances when the toggle and toggle rope and a section of the deck became detached from the rest of the boat! the boat was never seen again!
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Post by NickB » Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:30 pm

There has been a lot of talk about failure of deck fitting or toggle, but there was a time (and I wasn't there!) when I believe a member of our club was having his new (swamped) Comanche towed just off Bolt Tail in fairly trying circumstances when the toggle and toggle rope and a section of the deck became detached from the rest of the boat! the boat was never seen again!
Cheers
Nick Benny

Arguments are extremely vulgar, for everybody in good society holds exactly the same opinions!

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