Thread: Dinghy Use
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:03 PM   #7
Scraping Paint
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Originally Posted by wizard View Post
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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