Please come back tomorrow and vote again
Boston Whaler 370 Outrage
In addition to Intrepid, a select few boats are built strong enough to do the job of a megayacht tender.
Boston Whaler 370 Outrage
Captains love it because it’s built like every other Whaler; it won’t sink. They also appreciate the portside dive door that opens inward, making it easier for guests to get on and off the yacht without climbing over gunwales.
“See that coil of line?” Loveall asks. “That’s $8,000 worth of the best rope there is.” Not only is it made from the finest line, but it’s also put together in a way that has taken decades of failures to figure out. Right now, the go-to guys for making up a towing rig like this are at Rope Inc. (ropeinc.com) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They made the one for Annastar, and while there are many variations, this is a good example.
Starting from the yacht’s stern there is a bridle with 60-foot legs made of 1½-inch braided, highly elastic nylon to absorb the thousands of pounds of shock. The two ends that come back to Annastar are spliced into lines made of Spectra for about four feet and then formed into eyes large enough to fit over the yacht’s massive aft cleats. Spectra is 10 times stronger than steel, has zero stretch and is soft and pliable so it’s easy to handle, plus it floats — so it is less likely to get fouled in a prop.
To prevent chafe where the bridle touches the deck and passes through the hawsepipes, there is protection from a sheath of Spectra, covered with an additional layer of Kevlar, the stuff they make bulletproof vests of. This might seem like overkill, but chafe is a major factor in tow-line failure, and Loveall says he has seen line wear out after only 10 hours.
Each leg of the bridle and the 120-foot main hawser of one-inch Spectra are eye-spliced together. Each eye has a Spectra sleeve covered by nylon to — once again — reduce chafe. On the tender’s end of the hawser is a Tylaska T30 snap shackle that’s critical if a quick release is needed, but at the same time it’s the rig’s weakest link. Not that it’s engineered or made poorly. It looks tough as hell, is big enough to hold in two hands, is rated for a 50,000-pound working load and costs $3,000. So you have to believe (and pray) that it’s up to the job with no possibility of jamming.
The snap shackle clips onto a stainless-steel eye that has two Spectra lines eye-spliced onto it. These lines are the tender’s pendant, making the final short run to the two massive bow eyes. The lines have spliced eyes with stainless-steel thimbles that are connected to the bow eyes with 1½-inch shackles. The pendant stays on the tender, draped over the anchor chock when not in use.
“Over the years I’ve broken almost every fitting,” Loveall admits, “but we don’t break anything anymore.” Hard-won lessons: ones that have led him to an improvement of his own that even we small-boat owners can use. He makes up hard, low-friction, plastic Delrin shim washers to keep the shackle pins from sliding back and forth, which can enlarge the holes they pass through, allowing the pins to bend and fail.