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Old 02-20-2021, 12:14 PM   #1
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Crane Failure with dinghy suspended....?

No this has not happened to me (yet?) but it is one of my greatest fears in the category of gear failure.

The thought of having an 800lb dinghy suspended (at any elevation) from the crane with no ability to electrically or manually crank the crane fills me with fear.

The concern drove me to replace both solenoids and remove/service/replace the motor on my last boat. But with a new-to-me boat I am facing the same concern again.

I have thought about carrying tackle on board that would enable me to manually take control of the dinghy if needed. My thinking is that I would need enough mechanical advantage to control lowering the dinghy (either to deck or to water) so I would always be lowering the dinghy, and would not try to spec a tackle with enough mechanical advantage to actually raise the dinghy.

What are your thoughts?

Given an 800lb dinghy I am thinking I would need at least X5 or X6 mechanical advantage. Obviously I would then also need a substantial quantity of suitable rope Just guessing this would be 150' - 250'.

I could set this up with one double block (with becket) and a treble block plus 1/4" polyester rope.

Does anyone have any other suggestions or critique of this?

I haven't yet tackled any upgrade to the current crane, however I do plan to have replacement solenoids on board.

~Alan
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:24 PM   #2
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I used to carry a 'come along' hand winch like this one on our boat...
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...2271_200712271

We never did end up having any need for it. But we did get to use our dinghy crane to help elevate a friends hydraulic swim step up high enough so he could tie it in place and he could continue a trip without it dragging in the water.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty477 View Post
I used to carry a 'come along' hand winch like this one on our boat...
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...2271_200712271

We never did end up having any need for it. But we did get to use our dinghy crane to help elevate a friends hydraulic swim step up high enough so he could tie it in place and he could continue a trip without it dragging in the water.
I agree. Northern tools are good, but Harbor Freight is a cruiser's tool heaven.

https://www.harborfreight.com/
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by smitty477 View Post
I used to carry a 'come along' hand winch like this one on our boat...
https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...2271_200712271

We never did end up having any need for it. But we did get to use our dinghy crane to help elevate a friends hydraulic swim step up high enough so he could tie it in place and he could continue a trip without it dragging in the water.
That's is a great suggestion Smitty. I will need to figure out if I could rig it so that the handle would be within reach with the crane swung outboard and, if so it would be a more economical solution by far!

~A
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:44 PM   #5
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You can install a snap shackle which opens under load with a fid attached to a boat hook if the dink gets stuck in midair. But why not just proactively maintain the crane? These are no complex mechanisms at all.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:47 PM   #6
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Smitty, another question. Can a come-along be used in reverse, in other words does the pawl allow a load to be lowered under tension? I assume so but I have never used one.

~A
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:53 PM   #7
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Fair comment to do proactive maintenance. However even then a failure can occur.
I rely on the MacGyver techniques to overcome the unexpected.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:54 PM   #8
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I agree. Northern tools are good, but Harbor Freight is a cruiser's tool heaven.

https://www.harborfreight.com/
The Harbor frieght on I looked at had two issues - 1.the gears were not very robust made or their bearings, likely good for a few uses 2. the line lenght was insufficient for our needs.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:54 PM   #9
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You can install a snap shackle which opens under load with a fid attached to a boat hook if the dink gets stuck in midair. But why not just proactively maintain the crane? These are no complex mechanisms at all.
Thanks Caltexflanc that is also a good suggestion. I will be proactively maintaining the crane (as I did the last one) but my experience is that anything mechanical can fail and so the concern still lingered on my last boat even after servicing the motor and replacing the solenoids which were the only parts of the crane that I considered failure-prone. ~A
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:55 PM   #10
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That's is a great suggestion Smitty. I will need to figure out if I could rig it so that the handle would be within reach with the crane swung outboard and, if so it would be a more economical solution by far!

~A
Hello Alan - I remember you from the other board as well. Our plans were to take up the load of the dinghy and lower as much as we could before securing with another line if we needed another 'grab' to go the entire distance.
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Old 02-20-2021, 12:58 PM   #11
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Smitty, another question. Can a come-along be used in reverse, in other words does the pawl allow a load to be lowered under tension? I assume so but I have never used one.

~A
Yes - at least the one we had back 12 years ago did. The one we had I did used to lower some larger tree branches and the stop was spring loaded. Cfrank the load off the stop, push the release button, lower the load a full swing, and repeat each time you want to go down another length.
Did take some time but as I said we never used it on the boat.
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Old 02-20-2021, 01:01 PM   #12
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Smitty, another question. Can a come-along be used in reverse, in other words does the pawl allow a load to be lowered under tension? I assume so but I have never used one.

~A
Yes it has two pawls and can be worked carefully in reverse. But a read of product has a warning about do not use in the vertical position.
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Old 02-20-2021, 01:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by smitty477 View Post
The Harbor frieght on I looked at had two issues - 1.the gears were not very robust made or their bearings, likely good for a few uses 2. the line lenght was insufficient for our needs.
Well they are cheap and quality......depends! But if you drop the tool in the salt water, no big deal....LOL
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Old 02-20-2021, 01:57 PM   #14
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A chain fall or chain hoist might be a better solution. easier to operate than a come a long plus the chain used to raise/lower the load can allows the operater to be several feet away from the actual hoist. Distance depends on the model of the chain fall. they come with different lengths.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...6083_200756083
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:03 PM   #15
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I have a chain fall that allows 16’ of lift or drop. It is somewhat slow but in an emergency that is ok.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:11 PM   #16
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A chain fall or chain hoist might be a better solution. easier to operate than a come a long plus the chain used to raise/lower the load can allows the operater to be several feet away from the actual hoist. Distance depends on the model of the chain fall. they come with different lengths.

https://www.northerntool.com/shop/to...6083_200756083
If you do not mind more weight and costs there are all types and quality of portable winches out there powered by 12 and 120 volts sources.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:20 PM   #17
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Well, I drop my dinghy at the dock as I have an end tie and tie to port with my davit swinging to starboard. Then I tow the dinghy so I don't have to try to drop the dinghy when it is rough. Here is something else. Ok, we are talking an emergency, right? Well I use Dyneema cable on my davit hoist. If I have to, I can cut the dinghy loose and drop it. Like I said, emergency.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:41 PM   #18
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A simple and 'yachty' back up to electric crane motors is a single or two-speed
sailing winch in parallel to the motor cable(s). Small yacht braid and a cleat and voila.
You can even have a self tailing version. These are available used at very low prices.
Heck, I have a half-dozen left over and gathering dust from a former life.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:45 PM   #19
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Well, I drop my dinghy at the dock as I have an end tie and tie to port with my davit swinging to starboard. Then I tow the dinghy so I don't have to try to drop the dinghy when it is rough. Here is something else. Ok, we are talking an emergency, right? Well I use Dyneema cable on my davit hoist. If I have to, I can cut the dinghy loose and drop it. Like I said, emergency.
I agree with your 'in an emergency' statement.
Always have a means to cut any cable or line readily available.
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Old 02-20-2021, 03:01 PM   #20
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I'm looking to replace my 3:1 tackles with two 3 speed boat winches with dyneema cord.

Simple, cheap and easy enough for my 14yo to use.
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