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Old 12-24-2012, 10:54 AM   #1
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Dinghy Use

Hello,
My wife & I will hopefully be entering the trawler life soon. We have primarily been looking at boats in the 39 to 46 foot range, typically pilothouse and europa models. Our use would be ICW and Bahamas, with a livaboard aspect.
One thing that I can't seem to resolve, is dingy storage. Of course there have been lots of discussion on the topic, but would like some additional perspective.
The assumption is that we would frequently anchor out and make occassional trips to re-stock, explore. So for discussion, let's assume that we would have 100 dingy uses a year, with a 8-10 foot RIB and an 8 to 10 HP motor.
Although I like the Sea Wise type of davit system, and to some extent the Hide-A Davit system, I just don't like the notion of putting the dingy on the back like that, for the reasons of asthetics, boat name (although I know one can/should mark the bottom of the dingy), and in addition, it can inhibit swim platform use.
So I've been looking at boats with capacity for upper deck storage. But the notion of launching the dingy down the side of the boat concerns me, and I don't want to hinder the likelyhood of using the dingy. And for cost reasons, I don't think I'll end up with one of the nice, upper deck single "arm" systems.
So the likely scenario is that I end up with a manual or electric mast system for my dingy. Yet I don't want to completely rule out the "dingy on the back" approach, not having any experience.
Any advice would be welcome!
Thanks!
Wizard
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:19 AM   #2
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2 years ago we were in the same situation as you are now. Gray Hawk didn't come with a dinghy or a dinghy stowage system so all options were open. We elected to spend the absolute least we could to get "something" and then used it for 2 years while we came to a final decision about what we really wanted. I bought a new Chinese knock-off of a Yamaha outboard and a soft floor inflatable, new as well. All in we got rigged up for less than $2000 and I just sold the inflatable and motor for $950 so it cost me $500 per year to figure out what we really wanted. I figure that was money well spent.

So my advice is don't worry too much about what you will eventually want - just get something cheap to start out and figure it out once you actually start using the boat.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Bob, that is perhaps the best advice I've read on this subject. It is easy to over think an issue like this.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:29 AM   #4
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Wizard

You might consider making your skiff and its launching method part of the boat purchase. That way you do not have to worry about the expense.

Many if not most boats will already have a method of launching the skiff.
The launch and storage method you prefer is based on allot of issues, and one of them is the design of the boat you buy.

For example many pilothouse boats utilize a crane style davit to launch and retreive the skiff from aft of the fly bridge. Thats what my boat has, and it came that way from the factory. I can launch the skiff in about 5 minutes, and around the same to retrieve it.

Whatever method is employed, when buying a used boat, its a good idea to buy one that the PO or the factory has already thought out these issues, and born the expense of them.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
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You want to get a dinghy storage system that fits your use, not only of the dinghy, but of the boat itself. As well, what you end up with has to fit your vision of what you want your boat to look like.

Not all people want this:

hanging off the back of their boat, others do. Easily accessed, hopefully quickly launchable to get it out of the way of the swim platform use, which should only get done when at anchor. If you intend to fish off the back of your boat while under way, fugetaboutit.

If you're going to use the dinghy very little, a roof top/boat deck storage might be better.
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Old 12-24-2012, 12:25 PM   #6
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Bob, that is perhaps the best advice I've read on this subject. It is easy to over think an issue like this.
Thank you. I just think that everybody's use pattern is so different that what works for me very likely won't work well for you. That's why I deliberately didn't include details about what we ended up doing because I think that information is irrelevant to the OP. Until he actually uses his boat he won't know what he wants to do or how he ends up using it.

In our case we discovered that dragging the dinghy over oyster covered beaches was a big part of our use pattern. I would have never considered that or the implications of that ahead of time. I think you are right - overthinking this is the problem. Its a relatively minor expenditure that can have a huge impact on how much you enjoy using the boat and you can't really imagine ahead of time where you will end up.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Although I like the Sea Wise type of davit system, and to some extent the Hide-A Davit system, I just don't like the notion of putting the dingy on the back like that, for the reasons of asthetics, boat name (although I know one can/should mark the bottom of the dingy), and in addition, it can inhibit swim platform use.
So I've been looking at boats with capacity for upper deck storage. But the notion of launching the dingy down the side of the boat concerns me, and I don't want to hinder the likelyhood of using the dingy.
Bob's advice is very good. To it I will add that one consideration some people overlook is the use of their dinghy in an emergency situation. While there are auto-deployable life rafts that make a whole lot of sense if one's boating has the risk of needing something like this, the fact is that most of us boating coastal waters don't have these. Either for reasons of cost or lack of places to mount one. Or we just don't think we'll be in situations that warrant one.

So by design or default our shore boat/dinghy becomes our sole means of abandoning the boat or getting to shore in an emergency of some sort. Which, as we all know, can happen at any time and may not happen when the water and winds are calm the birds are chirping.

To that end, I personally feel boat-deck or cabin-top mounted dinghies are a bad idea. They take a long time to launch and most of them are dependent upon an electric winch to launch them. There may be manual backup systems to use if the electric winch fails or won't run, but there is still the issue of getting the dinghy down the side of the boat safely.

As I've stated before, we've witnessed dinghies that were being launched from a boat deck break windows and cause fairly serious injury because the dinghy "got away" from the people launching it. And these cases were all in the relatively calm water of an anchorage. Imagine trying to launch one at night in the wind in rough water.

So we much prefer a stern-mounted system, as unaesthetic as one might think they are. The Seawise Davit is terrific, probably the best system out there for coastal/inside water cruising. But it's majorly expensive.

Weaver Davits are basic and pretty foolproof. The challenge they present is an easy way to lower and raise the dinghy and what to do with the motor. Because if the motor is carried separately, lowering it down and attaching it to the dinghy can present the same challenges as lowering the whole dinghy from a boat deck of cabin top, just on a smaller scale.

In our case we have a swivel mount on the dinghy for the motor and we launch and recover the dinghy using the boom fall and multiple sheave blocks which make it a one-hand job to lower and raise the dinghy. But it's a small motor and a low-freeboard dinghy, not a combination we would want if we had to cover any distance in rough water.

Other people opt for a set of stern davits of which there are many varieties from self-designed (see photo of a friend's boat below) to all manner of off-the-shelf systems.

Personally I think stern davits is the best way to go if the boat can accommodate them. The motor can stay on the dinghy/shoreboat, the dinghy can be launched very quickly and safely with no risk to the main boat or the people on it, and the boat is in the proper position to go into the water.

So I think there are important considerations to be taken into account besides just the "where's the easiest place to store it that looks good" question.
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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Idea?
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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Personally I think stern davits is the best way to go if the boat can accommodate them. The motor can stay on the dinghy/shoreboat, the dinghy can be launched very quickly and safely with no risk to the main boat or the people on it, and the boat is in the proper position to go into the water.

So I think there are important considerations to be taken into account besides just the "where's the easiest place to store it that looks good" question.
After over a year of chasing this same problem I'm at the same conclusion as you. I tried an inexpensive method but although the system works OK I'm not totally happy with it. For starters with the boat on my swim platform it gets really dirty as my exhaust is just under water at the port stern. So not only do I get some diesel on the dink it is wet diesel at that. I'm going to go with a system that puts the boat up even with the rail or higher.

There are several that will work it is just a matter as to which I like best and how much I want to spend. I like a couple that do not need to be mounted on the transom but can be mounted on the swim platform in such a way as to not render it useless. They pivot at their bas and the whole lift moves toward the aft and bends down to the water to launch and retrieve the dink.

So soon someone will be able to buy a good set of Trick Davits to mount on their swim platform at a good price.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:22 PM   #10
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Wizard, my 2.7m inflatable is more than adequately powered with a 5hp 2 stoke Tohatsu, I could use less,and less is lighter. 8-10 hp is probably more than you need, and more weight.
Good advice from others above on storage, you might be lucky with a PO who figured it out already.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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Many cruisers use dingies like pickup trucks. Carry all kinds of loads, in all kinds of situations and can go some pretty good distances (5NM) pretty quickly against some weather and tides.

Whatever conbo can do that for you is suitable...when it comes to cruising dingies...less isn't better.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:23 PM   #12
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While cruising, I tow. In between cruises, I carry on regular davits from the top of the transom. My dinghy is a 12' RIB with a 40hp outboard. I have had this one for 3 seasons and regret waiting so long to move up. A bigger dinghy is definitely better. as psneeld already mentioned, having a pickup along wherever you go is a great benefit. The only reasonable way to get this big a dinghy (750 lb) out of the water on my boat is with regular davits. Mine were not strong enough when I bought the boat, but over the years have been beefed up with the addition of braces that transfer some of the load to the transom from the bulwarks. The three part tackle has been increased to a 4 part, and I keep the rope winches well maintained for hoisting. All good, as when hoisted, the dinghy is secure; when I need it in the water, launch time is under 5 minutes; it tows well; most important, the wife doesn't get splashed, even at 20mph.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:48 AM   #13
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To me the keys to a dink are quite different.

#1 Can your bride use it as she wishes , with no fear ?
Launch , recover and operate?

This usually calls for a bride that is a good 2 or 4 stroke mechanic
OR a boat that can be rowed . The easiest is usually an aluminum dink with oars.

A condom boat with a fisherman type electric outboard ($100. used ) also works .

If the dink is going to be used in & out of a marina dock , all that's needed is a 25 ft long painter.

And registration and fire ext and and and as the local law Leos require.Show me your papers!

However if you are planning on going exploring on beaches the condom boat may get shredded before the sun dissolves it.Might be a long swim home.

The dink should have an easy to reach drain plug so it wont weigh 1000lbs after every rain storm.

You should be able to depart a dock in the normal manner , not worrying about an overlong dink hitting pilings or boats.

AS you may forget to pull the plug the mounts must be way over rated for the dink, and on extended cruising the dink will be the temp dumpster , holding a week or two of trash waiting for the next dock.

An aluminum sailing dink that can be rowed by 2 folks at once (tandem) is my favorite Grumman, , but it wont pull water skiers and the 2 -4 hp outboard is not attractive to too many thieves.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:59 AM   #14
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Many cruisers use dingies like pickup trucks. Carry all kinds of loads, in all kinds of situations and can go some pretty good distances (5NM) pretty quickly against some weather and tides.

Whatever conbo can do that for you is suitable...when it comes to cruising dingies...less isn't better.
Yup. We have always tried to get the biggest dinghy that will fit the boat. It's our (your) car. We provision with it, get fuel, fish out of it and sight see. It is not uncommon to have to travel several miles for provisions in less than ideal conditions.

We have a 10.5' RIB with a 15 hp 2 stroke currently. It will get up on a plane with 4 average adults and with Lena, Morgan and I, we can travel comfortably at planing speeds. I think a lot of it comes down to what you are going to do with your "car" and the area that you cruise in.
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:40 AM   #15
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Personally I think stern davits is the best way to go if the boat can accommodate them. The motor can stay on the dinghy/shoreboat, the dinghy can be launched very quickly and safely with no risk to the main boat or the people on it, and the boat is in the proper position to go into the water.
Here is an interesting system ...
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:19 PM   #16
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Or, if you want quick access and keep it out of the weather too:
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:00 PM   #17
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dinghy use

SeaWise, we didn't have a choice of where to keep it but even if we did I like it close to water.
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:30 PM   #18
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Seawise and love it. Boat and motor stored and lowered in minutes......easily!
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:54 PM   #19
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Seawise and love it. Boat and motor stored and lowered in minutes......easily!
Agreed. Seawise has a great system.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:01 PM   #20
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The Sea Wise allows us use of the swim step for boarding, swimming or fishing off the starboard side. If the dink is not being used, and we are sitting in the cockpit, it can be partially lowered (45 deg) to allow for full scenic views to the aft.

The dink can be fully lowered, gas tank connected, and boarded in a couple of minutes. Boarding is very stable while the dink is in the water but still attached to the davits.

If it is calm, the dink can also be temporarily moored by attaching it to the davits and left in the water without need for any fenders or lines.
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