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The Ultimate Dinghy Painter

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For many years I had a 10mm floating line about twice the normal towing length with a large loop in each end but It was through a small block shackled to the bow of the dinghy

When we towed it any distance or in away sea state we we simply attached one loop to each aft cleat on the yacht

The dinghy then found its happy place to follow, plus it self tacked

The floating line was good as it didn't go anywhere here the prop

But, there's always a but, the floating line was great at wedging between the rudder and the hull which was a bitch to get out, probably if we had gone up or down a size this wouldn't have happened, maybe ?

Current dinghy I've just got an one piece of 10mm line which we tie off to the centre line on the stern.

Endlessly adjustable and self tacks from centre line, but does need to be shortened up when anchoring to keep it clear from the prop.


We have a wide boat with a wide transom now so think all I'd do differently is add 3 net floats about every metre form the dinghy bow

If I had a narrower or pinched stern then I'd go back to the double system we had before

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I use a piece of  10mm braid. Take out about a meter of core, near the free end,  replace with bungy, stitched to the core at each end. Splice a safety harness clip to the end. My painter is about 20m long, and tied into a sennit, so reduces to abut 3m (Just too short to get in the dinghy prop). Can extend to any length in between. Its too short when towing the dinghy to get in the yacht prop in reverse (unless extended of course!). The bitter end is fastend to the dinghy with a 3 point harness  - on on the centre hull mount, and one to each pontoon - helps it to tow properly. I've towed it like this at over 20 knots (yes, behind a launch) with no issues.


The bungy takes out shock load when towing.. The spliced on safety harness clip removes all possibility of someone not tying it up properly, (and possibly losing the dinghy!)and the sennit allows short or long painter as required. 

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IT, what's a "sennit"?


Rgds Tb

A sennit it a knot that reduces the length of any rope, and can be easily undone. It's kind of like finger knitting!

The first pic shows it secure and ready to be loaded

DSC_0026 (Small) (2).JPG

This one show it ready to undo - just pull on the free end...


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Double braided polyprop (PP) is what many use. Usually 10mm but I'd use 12mm, it is super light, does not hold water, can be spliced and it floats. You can buy it in many places, it's often yellow and white striped like the toothpaste. Some special places have it in a range of colours.


As a interesting FYI - A few years back I was doing a regatta in my Frostbite, came 2nd, and they have long mainsheets. I got pissed off with the heavy wet rope pulling the boom inwards in the light winds. So Monday morning I went to the factory and said 'make me this rope please' and gave them the specs I wanted. They did and it proved a magnificent mainsheet. The rope proved that popular we made more and it is now a standard rope found in most chandlers and race boats, mostly smaller ones.


That mainsheet rope is the very polyprop double braid I mention at the top.


You can use a simple 3 stand PP as well but it is usually stiffer and no where near as nice to use.


Oh and if you do go shopping for stuff like this in PP make sure you know where it's made. PP and sun aren't mates so we, NZ, have extra UV inhibitors added to make it last better, like using sun screen. If you go for the double braid make sure it is NZ made, which is common so easy peasy, or you run a big risk of buying cheap ex asia and I wouldn't tow yours with that crap.  And don't assume just because the place is a bigger name or chain it has the good sh*t, more and more they are replacing NZ made with high margin sh*t ex the east.

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