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  1. #1
    Senior Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    I have a '74 19' i/o with a 140 Mercruiser. I finally got the prop pitch dialed in with a decent hole shot and we're ready for pulling. The problem I'm having now is that the tow ropes get bogged down in the wake. I have a ski pull mounted to the top of the transom, but the transom on my boat is pretty low. When cornering and trying to make the tube whip around, the rope will often get caught by the wake and all side momentum stops.

    I can't do a pylon setup because it's an I/O and I'd rather not mess with the supports and straps which would block the rear seats. I've seen a few setups that mount to the transom and I've attached pictures of the one I'm looking at. I'm wondering if this one, with a proper backing plate mounted to the inside of the transom, would be enough to pull a tube. If not, is there any other way to get the rope out of the water?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Cadet donmagicjuan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    You might have to get creative with your driving. I've seen something like what you're talking about happen before. In those cases, the rope would catch the water and prevent the tube from getting to the outside of the wake around a turn initially, but if you could manage to get it over the wake before starting the turn, then things got real interesting. If the modified setup ends up falling through, or if you just feel like experimenting, you can try some s-turns and such to position the tube where you want it before entering a turn. Good luck! And don't forget-- the tube has the potential to be going about a million times faster than the boat when you're in a steady-state, tight-radius turn. No matter what, EVERYONE always freaks out when they involuntarily break the speed of sound for the first time.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by cheburashka View Post
    I've seen a few setups that mount to the transom and I've attached pictures of the one I'm looking at. I'm wondering if this one, with a proper backing plate mounted to the inside of the transom, would be enough to pull a tube.
    That looks like it would be a great compromise between a pylon and a normally mounted stern rope eye. However, I have never seen one attached to a boat. There would undoubtedly be a lot of leverage applied to the transom with that. I would think with a sound transom and proper reinforcement that it would be a workable deal.

    It would be interesting to hear what the Mfgr had to say re retrofitting one to an older boat.

    When I installed a normal eye on my transom, I cross braced the inside from stern eye to stern eye, but my setup would not have had the vertical leverage that the one pictured would produce.

  4. #4
    Ensign bhammer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    I saw some tube ropes the other day, online, and they were really thin. I think they were about 1/8" dia and think they were called spider rope. The writing said it was to keep it out of the water and had a better strength too. Sorry I can't be of more hlep but it may be worth a quick google.
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  5. #5
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Be very careful mounting that mini-pylon, or anything used to pull a tube. The tubes really 'dig in', create incredible stresses where your attached. Far more than water ski's....and inconsistently. Your underway, then the tube plunges into wakes wave instead of bouncing over it. I read a lot on installing a tower or pylon to get my rope higher, kids want to wakeboard and we tube a lot. I won't give you advice on engineering yours-do a lot of research online from the tons of info available.

    We had a child die last year on Rice Lake here in Ontario-tube hooked to a rental boat that many people had used for to ski. Pylon broke, snapped backwards killing the child in the boat.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    I have the same problem with my setup, the eyes on the transom put the rope in the wake, it sprays your face and whips the tube bad. I am building a ski pylon.

    Yeah, yeah, I know "don't pull an inflatable with this"

    But I need to get the rope up higher, I can't go much more than an inch or two on the transom.

    I can attatch the rope lower on the pylon I am making vs tube or hydroslide. I will try it and be the judge.

    I fail to understand how an inflatable could impart more stress on the pull than a wakeboarder landing and digging in, or a slolom skier. I am using heavy wall 2" tubing for the pole with 1 1/2" struts, braced to the transom with the pole socketed to the deck, and pinned.

    I'll personally get on the tube and see what it does, be the guinea pig.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    it's the people in the boat that are the guinea pigs... like the story above about the child that was killed. If the pylon fails, it'll go over with mucho force. I met a guy when I was a teen who lost his toe when the bottom mount of the ski pole ripped out off the floor of the boat when someone else was skiing. This guy was in the boat and had his toe more or less sliced off by the mounting plate on the base of the pylon as it got whipped upwards.

    On my ski boat, we have a pylon that is behind the rear seat, and projects up through the splashwell. It's solidly bolted to a reinforced pad on the keel of the boat, and has 2 braces that go to the rear corners of the boat and connect near the top of the pylon. I think it's way stronger than the aftermarket ones that bolt/screw to the floor of the boat. Also if mine does fail, no one will be sitting behind it. I realize that with an I/O you don't have that mounting option... but don't underestimate the force a tube can exert. If it flips over on a whip, it can catch the water and put a big pull on. Way bigger than a strong slalom skier.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Well, I bought the pylon, but I'm thinking it won't be a good option for a tube. I know pretty well how much force a tube can exert. We tried pulling into the dock with a tube behind us and nobody on it. When it submarined, we lost six or seven mph. That's a lot of pull.

    I think I'll mount it anyway (although I suspect it's not designed for transom mount--it looks like the ones designed to mount to the motor mounts on the engine) since I need a bit more height for skiing and kneeboarding. It extends out 12", so it might even be possible to mount the rope to the ski pull on top of the transom, loop it through the eye on the pylon, and then out to the towable. That way, the only stress on the pylon would be straight down, so if it broke off, it wouldn't shoot back to the tube.

    I'd like to give the spider rope a try, but I haven't been able to find it through any online searches. Anyone have any more information on thinner ropes for towables?

    Thanks for your help.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    I wouldn't want to mount that tow ring extension on a fibreglass boat without some serious metal plating under the feet (on the outside of the hull as well as the inside). They're going to put a lot of force onto a very small area without that and I'd expect to see cracking and dents pretty quickly.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by Sondar View Post
    I wouldn't want to mount that tow ring extension on a fibreglass boat without some serious metal plating under the feet (on the outside of the hull as well as the inside). They're going to put a lot of force onto a very small area without that and I'd expect to see cracking and dents pretty quickly.
    That's the plan. An aluminum plate mounted to the inside of the transom and large stainless washers on the outside of the transom. I'd hate to see what would happen if that big a piece of the transom tore out.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Please be careful! Our ski pylon base lifted off boat and through carpet and completely bent pylon and braces last weekend pulling a larger tube that "submarined". Now looking at replacing the whole system, which is going to be around $300 - $400. Towing something when it's going underwater that won't release is totally different stress on the boat than towing a skier.

  12. #12
    Supreme Mariner kenmyfam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Bit of creative driving and a little snaking before making a sharp turn will get them across the wake. I had the same trouble. If I get out again this season I will get one of the passengers to take a video. If this happens I will post it for you all to see.
    Marada 2100 Executive Series, 5 Litre V8 with Mercruiser Alpha 1 outdrive. 2007 K-Z Spree 260 RBH, all = a whole lot of family fun !!!!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Sorry to re-open an old topic, but this one caught my eye. I have an 18'6" fiberglass deep-V with a 1978 Evinrude 2-cycle outboard. It has two "eyes" mounted on the transom. I'm told these can be used for skiiing provided you use something called a "tow yoke" and mount the ski rope, etc to that to get it behind the outboard. I have a 12-year old daughter who is athletic and petite. I doubt she weighs 90 pounds. Our plan for the summer is to have her do some tubing using this rig.

    Are there any issues I need to worry about or address beforehand?

  14. #14
    Chief Petty Officer skibrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    I have a 16' boat with a 120 outboard. And grew up skiing/tubing with the same. the transom eyes bolted through the transom are strong and a good tow point. On my boat the eyes are quite close together (18" ?) and I have towed skiers and tubes from a single transom eye many times. Especially for a lighter load this works great. This is the only tow point we used for 20 years of skiing when I grew up.

    For what you are doing with your daughter skiing or tubing, I tow from a transom eye.

    A yoke, also called a bridle attaches to both, with the tow rope attaching to a slider or pulley on the bridle. I've had bridles made of rope as well as vinyl coated cable. They spread the pull to both eyes so there isn't any odd handling with a heavy load. The down with the bridle is that its a bit difficult to manage/reach the bridle in the water to pull it out of the way when backing or maneuvering around the skier in the water.

    I've also used bridles and have shortened them from 8' to about 2' for my boat so they allow good clearance around the motor but are not long enough to get fouled in the prop.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    That pylon shown in your pictures is built to bolt directly to the engine, you'll see them on old circle boats SK style boats the ones with the big chrome engines with upsidown headers, like the one John Candy skied behind in 'Vacation"

  16. #16
    Chief Petty Officer AguaSki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by axeslinger1957 View Post
    Sorry to re-open an old topic, but this one caught my eye. I have an 18'6" fiberglass deep-V with a 1978 Evinrude 2-cycle outboard. It has two "eyes" mounted on the transom. I'm told these can be used for skiiing provided you use something called a "tow yoke" and mount the ski rope, etc to that to get it behind the outboard. I have a 12-year old daughter who is athletic and petite. I doubt she weighs 90 pounds. Our plan for the summer is to have her do some tubing using this rig.

    Are there any issues I need to worry about or address beforehand?
    From a safety standpoint you will be fine using the two transom eyes. You might run into the same issue that started this thread, which is you might find it difficult to sling your daughter across the wake because the rope gets caught in the water. If she is athletic, and she has athletic friends, they will be asking for an intense ride that will be difficult to produce with the rope buried under water. I have used a reinforced pylon to pull tubes for 3 years. I have not had a problem yet, but it does make me nervous. My reinforcements are overbuilt, but I was just thinking of things I can do to make the pylon even stronger. I also wonder if there is a way that a tow rope can be manufactured to break at a given stress level. I get that a sudden snap of a rope presents its own danger, but I think it is better than a pylon being ripped out of the boat and hitting a passenger. It seems that if the pylon is properly reinforced, the rope would be the first thing to give anyway.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    See thats where I think the bungee rope shines, to me I didn't really notice a big difference in the slingshot effect being the strech is only a few feet before it goes rigid, for me all it does is soften the jerkyness of take off and rough water, there isn't really that much of a slingshot effect.
    As for the rope dragging the water yea it happens, 60' of rope vs 75' could make all the difference.

  18. #18
    Chief Petty Officer skibrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    The problem with stress on the pylon is a driver issue.

    Apologies if I've posted this before: For water skiing, managing slack in the rope is the skiers responsibility. For tubing, managing slack in the rope is the driver's responsibility.

    I skier will let go of the handle or have it torn from their hands before major damage is done to a boat or pylon.

    With a tube on the other hand, because the rope is TIED to the tube, the tube riders can't "let go". If you whip the tube out to the side, as a driver you can either speed up to catch up and not allow slack, or if you miss it and get a bunch of slack, you need to slow down, match speed of the tube (maybe zero MPH) to avoid the big hit.

    When a big, wet tube with 2-3 adults comes off plane and the tow boat is still going 15-20 mph, something has to give.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Getting the rope out of the water--Skiing and Tubes

    Quote Originally Posted by AguaSki View Post
    From a safety standpoint you will be fine using the two transom eyes. You might run into the same issue that started this thread, which is you might find it difficult to sling your daughter across the wake because the rope gets caught in the water. If she is athletic, and she has athletic friends, they will be asking for an intense ride that will be difficult to produce with the rope buried under water. I have used a reinforced pylon to pull tubes for 3 years. I have not had a problem yet, but it does make me nervous. My reinforcements are overbuilt, but I was just thinking of things I can do to make the pylon even stronger. I also wonder if there is a way that a tow rope can be manufactured to break at a given stress level. I get that a sudden snap of a rope presents its own danger, but I think it is better than a pylon being ripped out of the boat and hitting a passenger. It seems that if the pylon is properly reinforced, the rope would be the first thing to give anyway.
    Agua, I inadvertently left out what is probably crucial information. My mistake. The Evinrude is a 70 horse 2-stroke. Does this change the "sling across the wake" equation any?

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