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Old 08-09-2010, 11:02 AM   #1
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Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

One of the pleasures of cruising is anchoring out at your favorite gunk hole and launching the dingy and taking in the sights of the area or visiting other trawlers; its a good way to meet new friends.* But if your dingy is not very accessible or difficult to launch, you will not likely use it often.

All tenders need satisfactory storage.* Towing is not always practical and can be risky in bad conditions.* The same goes for on deck storage; a big wind and you may lose it.* But if properly setup your boat with the appropriate davit system, your dingy will offer trouble-free service.

Notwithstanding before you choose your davit system, you will need to choose the right tender for your boating needs.* Do you prefer a rigid tender or inflatable?* Remember punctures are very common with inflatables?* Where will it be used? On the high seas or inland waters?* How big do you need her?

Many of the answers to storage locations and systems lie in how large it is and much your tender weighs.

There are four standard davit arrangements ready to store a tender

clip-on, where the dingy lies on its side on the swim platform;
stanchion mounts on the transom, the dingy hangs over the stern;
rotating davit mounts on the decks; and
hydraulic - powered lifts mounted to a swim platform to lift large dingies

Clip-on davits are a good product.* Weaver Davits, one of the lead marketers, are an economical selection for motor yachts with swim platforms and small tenders and outboard motors up to 10 horsepower.* But the motor must be removed from the dingy before hoisting out of the water.* Most boaters have an outboard motor storage rack mounted on the transom for easy access.* Another concern is raising the tender from a horizontal position in the water to a standing position for storage.* Weaver Davits are limited by the weight of the dingy.* I have the davit system on our trawler and I could not be more satisfied.* We can launch and retrieve the tender in less than 5 minutes.

Stanchion mounts fasten to the rails, deck or transom.* Fashioned for heavy dinghy-engine setups, these davit systems come with adjustable riser arms for a custom fit to your yacht.* Heavy dingies may call for optional support kits mounted on the transom or swim platform.* When properly installed, the dingy rests level from the stern of the boat.* On these installations, the dingy outboard can stay in place.* On a negative side, the tender setup involves a fair amount of hand-operated labor to lift the tender using 2 block and tackles.* These are common setups on sailing boats, not so much on trawlers.

Rotating davits raise, rotate and place the dingy onto the foredeck or sundeck.* If the deck can sustain the load, these systems can be directly mounted, or the supporting post may be based on a lower deck.* Most setups are provided with an electric winch to mechanically lower and raise the dingy.* Dingies with big motors (15 horsepower or more) often combine a rotating davit on the transom with a cradle for the tender mounted on deck.* The setups provide lifting for the heaviest of tender/motor arrangements.* On a down side, these setups may place the operator at heights that could be dangerous in rough waters.* In addition, care must be made to keep the outboard motor from striking the mother ship as the dingy is raised or lowered, breaking windows or damaging the gel coat.

Hydraulic - powered lifts have become popular on large yachts to lift big dingies or personal water craft. Most are complicated and not easily owner set up. Prices for these davit systems rise as the lifting load increases the bigger the dinghy, the pricier the davit system.* To use, the lifts are brought down into the water and the dingy is driven onto the cradle.* A negative feature is that these units may not work well in a following sea.

In most cases when purchasing used trawlers, the tender and davit system is already in place.* You will just need to acquaint yourself with it to see if you like it.* If you do not, there are other options for you.

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Old 08-09-2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

Any dinghy storage system that does not permit the dinghy to be deployed easily, fast, and safely without damage or injury to anything or anyone even in very rough water is a liability to my way of thinking. I have seen a boat-deck, lift-launched dinghy take out a main cabin window and injure someone while being deployed--- and this in an anchorage with very little water movement. A dinghy launching system that seems to be just fine in the glass-smooth water of an anchorage can be a damaging nightmare when used in emergency conditions in rough water (which the water always seems to be in an emergency).

So before selecting a dinghy stowage and launching system, think about how it will work in the worst possible conditions you can imagine. Speaking strictly for ourselves, we would rather tow a dinghy (in coastal waters) than carry one on a boat deck where it has to be launched with a crane. In a rapidly-developing emergency like a fire, the odds are slim that we'd ever be able to get the thing in the water.

Actually, we've met and talked to experienced boaters who have always towed their dinghies for this exact reason even though they had boats that could accommodate a dinghy on the boat deck or aft cabin top. And a few of them had tales of how having the dinghy already in the water proved extremely beneficial if not actually lifesaving.

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Old 08-09-2010, 12:28 PM   #3
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler


You mentioned the Weaver Davits and their limitations but you failed to mention the SeaWise system that does use the same principle as the Weaver system but in addition it can be used for much heavier dinks and it has an innovative motor mount for your out board that does not require it to be removed from the dink.*The motor remains vertical to the transom of the mother ship at all times (good for 4 cycle).* It can handle 25 - 40 HP motors without any trouble.* It comes in three flavors, mechanical, hydraulic and a robust slim line that is rated for 600#.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:46 PM   #4
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

The Seawise system is terrific. They're very expensive, particularly the powered version, but they make easy work of deploying and retrieving a swimstep-mounted dinghy.

We've rigged up a "poor man's" Seawise on our boat using the multiplier-block boom fall to lower and raise the dinghy (on Weaver Snap Davits), and we use a dirt-simple rotating engine mount from Canada to keep the motor on the dinghy but rotate it to an upright position when the dinghy is stowed. So launching and retrieving our Livingston is a one-hand operation now, but still not as slick as a Seawise setup.
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:16 PM   #5
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

We found the Sea Wise system*prohibitively*expensive.* An alternative is to*use the Weaver Davits along with an additional device the "Weaver Lever"* Details are available on Weaver's website.* This device allows you to manually tilt your outboard from the dinghy transom before raising the dinghy.* Once the dinghy is*raised on the swim step the*outboard is vertical as it would be using the Sea Wise.**One caution is that the vertical*tower which supports the inboard end of the motor the the raised position seems a little weak.* We resolved this with a custom made fitting attached to a stanchion.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:06 AM   #6
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

My next "big" project will be to modify the stanchion mount style davits off the stern of my boat. as marine trader said they are a big hassle to use. the pulley system 4 part fot the dinghy bow and 6 part for the stern are a pain require lotst of line and handling to get the dingy launced or retrieved. The dinghy tube then hangs over the swim platform by about 2 feet so when being lowered it hangs up on the platform and must be pushed off in stages as it is lowered. when being raised the dinghy rub rail hangs up under the platform causing problems there. I'll be trying to modify the existing Kato davits to pivot from the lower mount so the entire assembly swings out as it is lowered, hopefully enough so the dinghy tube clears the platform on launching or retrieving. The dighy will hang by fixed lenght cable bow and stern. I'll use the boom tackle for the trials if it works out I'll fit a hand boat trailer type winch on the stern to do the lifting. I'll be "borrowing" the system made by Ocean Marine Systems, it can be seen on their site www.oceanmarinesystems.com
HFT500 power operated transom davit system. My Kato davit looks just like the one pictured but fixed, not pivoting.
Any one had experience with this system?
Comments or suggestions are always appreciated.
Steve W.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:45 AM   #7
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

You are correct the list price for the least expensive SeaWise is $4900 US + shipping from the West Coast.

But if you want to see pricey have a look at the Roskelley/Olsson RS-5 Deluxe Davit. These bad boys are in the $7500 range. Granted they are Stainless Pipe and electric but pricey none the less.

Steve, the Roskelley/Olsson RS-.5 Deluxe Davit system does what you want to do with your Katos. There is a less expensive knock off of the RS-5 that American Tug uses but I'm thinking that they are in the $5k range as well.

The problem I see with the Kato and for that matter Garhauer (less expensive) Davits is exactly what you describe. In addition that really aren't built to take the out board still attached. You can get a 1 1/2" system built from Garhauer for just a few hundred more than the 1" system. But the problem I found is that on the back of a sail boat (and I'm thinking that the trawler won't be any different) it is a pain in the rear to get the dink tied down so it doesn't bounce and sway all over the place when under way.

The Garhauer does mount in a bottom bracket that will allow for you to swing it out as you describe. I also know that Garhauer will weld loops on the top of the system (at the bend) so that you can attach your lifting bridle as you want to.

All and all the SeaWise might be the best answer. I do know that if one could get the SeaWise idea to Garhauer they would do it for half the price. But the SeaWise does have all of the tube sizes worked out for the inflatables and even the custom made brackets for the hard sided dinks like a Livingston available. There is something to be said for the engineering being done.

They do send out a nice set of instructions that I think most anyone with any mechanical skills can follow.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:16 PM   #8
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

Just bought a new(to me) dinghy. It was fitted up for a sea wise system, and was definitely too heavy for that application, as the mounting of the transom fittings had seriously damaged the fiberglass just fwd of the transom on the dinghy. Granted, I have seen several other heavy dinghies using the Seawise system, but unless you are never going out in serious weather, you will be in for some damage to the heavier dinghies. Mine weighs about 700 lb., all in.
I beefed up my sraight lift davits to take the weight. Lift from the transom and the bow, with 4 part tackles, and secure with wire to prevent swinging in sideways or fore and aft directions. Just returned from a three week trip, including punching throught some real snotty weather and all performed well.

Marin's concern about quick deployment is valid. On my boat, I have to crank the dinghy up a couple of inches to release the safety lines, but then it can drop quickly, as it is a straight drop. All I need to do is quickly release the lines from the (sailboat style) winches.

A few years ago I added 13" to the swimgrid, so my dinghy would land on it and hang up, This wasn't a problem with a 350 lb dinghy, but now I had to put in a temporary ramp to slide the stern end down and out over the edge of the swimgrid. I also need to push out on the dinghy when raising, to get the rubstrips clear of the edge of the swimgrid. A hassle, but worth it to have the dinghy securely raised and not have to consider it slowing me or getting in the way while towing.

The fellow who bought my old dinghy was looking for a way to hoist it on the stern of a SeaRay, and told me the SeaWise for that size (10ft, 350 lb, 20hp) was $6500 to $7000, without modifications to the swimgrid. More if those were needed. Marin and Doug have a more reasonable system.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:11 AM   #9
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

We just ordered a set of Lester Davits from www.powerdavits.com for the transom of our GB 42'. Cost is relative high, but ease and speed of lifting and launching the dinghy appears to be excellent for a couple who use it a lot. Will be having it installed in a few weeks and will give a detailed report as to how well it went - factory through installation.

The dinghy is currently on the aft cabin roof and utilizes the boom and mast to deploy. We found this extremely hard to do and frankly a bit scary from a control point of view. We will use the new found space on the cabin roof for a large storage box and possible addition of more refrigeration and/or freezer space.
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Old 09-28-2010, 12:17 AM   #10
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RE: Choosing Dingy Davits for Your Trawler

Marin wrote:

Actually, we've met and talked to experienced boaters who have always towed their dinghies for this exact reason even though they had boats that could accommodate a dinghy on the boat deck or aft cabin top. And a few of them had tales of how having the dinghy already in the water proved extremely beneficial if not actually lifesaving.
Big boat towing big dinghy exiting Victoria, BC harbor:

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Old 12-19-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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Has Anyone used the "Nick Jackson Pipe Davit System" successfully or have any comments about it's functional use?
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:33 PM   #12
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Ask Marty on Bay Pelican. I believe he recently acquired one. We have one of his traditional davits and love it.
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:47 PM   #13
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Aritex for us, it came with the boat. So 35k we can spend elsewhere.
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Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
Nordhavn 47 Hull #12
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Old 10-19-2016, 02:08 PM   #14
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We have a 34' Mainship Pilot and need to replace the leaky shower faucet. Haven't found a replacement one online with a 3 1/2" center, all are 4". Does anyone know where I can order one?
Thanks, Jeanne Gehrt
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Old 10-19-2016, 06:43 PM   #15
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We have the rotating davit type, but it is hydraulic, not electric. I don't use it when the boat isn't stable, but that is rarely the case when at anchor. And I have launched and retrieved, without any problem, while underway (8.5 knots). I tie off the dinghy bow line to a midship cleat while the boat is still in the air. Then as it contacts the water, all of the lateral force is born by the bow line, and the dinghy easily rides along side the big boat. We have launched and retrieved that way, but it isn't the one-man operation that launching/retrieving while anchored / moored is.
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:07 PM   #16
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Your comments are much appreciated. One warning not seen as yet: watch out for those davit cleats lest they bite you, bigtime.

A fellow cruiser recounted to me in Clam Bay this summer how he was fitting his bobbing dinghy into its davit, when the boat and dinghy surged and one of his fingers was severed right off.

Have an eye for Zen accidents, they're everywhere, lurking to become real. But you can see them first.
"I'm on the dock side of the road."
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Old 10-19-2016, 07:16 PM   #17
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We struggled with the davit's vs crane question for our AT 395. It wasn't an easy decision but in the end we decided on the crane. Davits simply take up too much room on the swim platform in this application. We wanted that space for easy access to and from the cockpit from the dinghy.
I'll let you know how it all works out!

American Tug 395, hull number 12, being built!
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