We began our epic voyage south from Penetanguishene in Georgian Bay (Ontario) on August 3, 1996. A couple of hours and 12 miles later our crankshaft broke, so we turned around and sailed for home. At the narrowest section of Penetang Bay the wind died and the boats were passing us on both sides, our sails were flapping, our depth sounder was going off and the crew (Claire) was panicking (noisily). We dropped our 10 ft OMC dinghy (30 seconds) still attached to the Dinghy-Tow and with our motor already bolted to the transom, we started the outboard (Johnson 8 H.P.), put the motor in reverse and pushed our heavily laden C&C 34 at a speed of 2 knots the mile home. We also found that while the engine was out of our boat being repaired, we used the same method of propulsion from our dock to the crane dock and back, and as long as one person stays in the dinghy keeping the motor well down in the water and the other steers on board, this results in easy maneuverability.
We left Penetang again two weeks later, this time going (with mast down) via the Trent-Severn waterway. On reaching Big Chute, we were surprised to be ushered on to the marine railway with no delay. As this all happened very quickly, we completely forgot about our dinghy only to look back when halfway over to find our dinghy hanging in mid-air on the Dinghy-Tow. While doubtless this is not to be recommended, it does emphasize the fact that one tends to forget about the dinghy when it is secured in the Dinghy-Tow (no harm done either!).
Our third story takes place at Atlantic Highlands (near Sandy Hook, NJ) during an easterly gale. Unfortunately, the harbor was overcrowded and because of this we didn't have enough rode out. The gale force winds and driving rain began shortly before midnight from the east, which of course (Murphy's Law) was the only direction from which the harbor had no protection. Anchors dragged, sails ripped, boats shot down through the anchorage - it was truly a night from hell. We were up from the onset of the storm and even before we started to drag, we had the engine going and it wasn't until 9:00 AM the next morning that we managed to grab the last free mooring. During this whole episode, the only thing we did not worry about was our dinghy, securely attached in its Dinghy-Tow.
One further advantage of the Dinghy-Tow is that it is a great conversation piece - fellow boaters stop by and ask questions and because of our experiences we cannot praise it enough!
Another advantage of the Dinghy-Tow is the permanent attachment of the outboard motor to the dinghy - ours is bolted to the transom. This together with the ease of launching means we actually use the dinghy much more than we would otherwise. Personally we hate heaving an 8 H.P. motor over the rail and back as many do who have davits or who just tow the dinghy. We have heard of more than one lost "towed" dinghy.
John and Claire Hanson