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Avoiding getting the dinghy painter around the prop

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What is the issue?
Dinghy painters have a tendency to foul props. This happens if the painter falls over the bow whilst underway with an outboard. The painter gets carried underneath the dingy, down and into the outboard prop. They also have a tendency to get around the yacht’s propeller. This can happen if the vessel is towing the dinghy and has to go astern for any reason. The towing tension drops causing the dingy to ride into the stern and drop its painter. It is then pulled down and around the reversing propeller.

Why address this?
Clearly, getting the painter around the propeller is a nuisance and it is better if this possibility can be eliminated. However, the most likely time to foul the yacht's propeller with a dinghy painter is in a grounding situation. Here people power back quickly to attempt a re-float and forget a tender in tow. Thus they exacerbate an already challenging situation by adding a fouled prop into the situation. So following the maxim of 'it's a lot easier not to get into a mess than getting out of one once in it' an inherent method of avoiding this would be more then helpful.

How to address this?
Use a light dinghy painter that floats or if this is not possible place a float or floats on the painter, or both so it cannot sink.

Some general rules of thumb for painter lines:

  • • Nylon = good for stretch but bad for chafe

  • • Polyster braid on braid = no stretch but better chafe resistance

  • • Polypropylene = floats but degrades in Sunlight

The safest line to use then is a polypropylene line which is a low cost, strong, versatile, general purpose line which happens to float. The problem with polypropylene is that it is hard on the hands and degrades quickly in the sun.

These problems can be mitigated somewhat. Being a low-cost line you can buy a large spool and replace the painter each season. Likewise, if you buy black polypropylene line it is much more UV resistant than other colours and you could get a few seasons out of each painter. Another approach is to buy a polypropylene line with a Dacron outer cover on it. The Dacron will last longer, be easier on the hands but check that it still floats

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

Boat Tender Tips - The Painter

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