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Old 06-16-2021, 08:50 PM   #1
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Short term dinghy cleats

We are in the process of upgrading our dinghy davits on Escape. The St. Croix davits are showing their age and hoisting the dinghy is already getting old. Part of this project is to improve our short term tie up on the swim platform. A search of Trawler Forum did not turn up much on this subject in the last several years, so here we go.

The swim platform and transom will remain almost entirely clear when the new Dinghy Butler is installed. My tentative plan is to completely remove the St. Croix davits and seal over any holes left by their mounting hardware.

Keeping the platform clear of toe rippers is important, though we already have a folding ladder there to rip toes. Folding cleats are attractive, unless they tend to pop up at inopportune times. Of all the options for a short term tie up from the swim platform or transom, what do y'all like best?
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:18 PM   #2
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Barefoot on the swim grid? All the time.
My cleats are at the bottom end of the davit braces, so about 16" above the teak swimgid and well above toe ripping level.
You could also attach your cleats through the transom itself, at the same level. Well above danger level.
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Old 06-17-2021, 12:26 AM   #3
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I've been looking at these folding cleats for our swim platform. https://www.fisheriessupply.com/acco...in-and-4-1-2in
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Old 06-17-2021, 02:50 AM   #4
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I've been looking at these folding cleats for our swim platform. https://www.fisheriessupply.com/acco...in-and-4-1-2in

There are also cleats that are spring loaded and pop up when needed.
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Old 06-17-2021, 05:31 AM   #5
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Installed wood cleats might be easier on feet?
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Old 06-17-2021, 07:39 AM   #6
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Pop ups or fold ups sound like good options. Schaefer makes a base that you can add a nice sturdy cleat into without tools and remove it quickly, a racer cruiser I sailed on had these for midship cleats and they were handy but pricey and always a risk of dropping overboard when installing.

A fixed set of cleats close to the transom could work, my parents boat has a small set at the front of the platform and they work well. They are used to secure the dingy on its pivoting davits as well as to tie up when in the water.
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Old 06-17-2021, 01:07 PM   #7
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We've got D-rings on our platform, through-bolted to the frame of the hydraulic platform structure below the wood. They serve double-duty for tie down while underway and a quick tie off with a few half-hitches in the bow painter line threaded through it. Makes it easier for guests aboard to understand loosening/securing the line if they're unfamiliar with cleats.
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Old 06-17-2021, 02:29 PM   #8
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The D Rings available locally will begin to rust before you get the screws all the way in.

For high quality,
https://www.zoro.com/3m-dbi-sala-d-r...4aApLuEALw_wcB

bring your credit card.
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Old 06-17-2021, 04:59 PM   #9
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The D Rings available locally will begin to rust before you get the screws all the way in.
Agreed. I don't have any pictures of the rings on there now, so I don't know the brand. The ring is probably about an 1.5" wide, and made from pretty decent quality metal, that I'm assuming is polished stainless. They've been on there quite a while and show no signs of any corrosion.

I use some stainless clip shackles and yellow floating line to attach various floating items for the kids. A good 50' of the line is also handy to let the dinghy out a bit.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:00 PM   #10
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I had pop-up cleats installed on the swim step for dinghy tie-ups. They definitely save your toes and maybe even a fall! They have never deployed by themselves. They are also not cheap...,
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:18 AM   #11
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Those pop-up or lift-up cleats seem like the best compromise between providing a secure tie off point and not turning an ankle stepping onto the boat or tearing off a bare toe.

While not nearly as convenient a grab point as a traditional cleat, they also offer a ridge at each corner of the swim platform to hand hold when arriving. That's really the problem I see with traditional cleats mounted on the transom. They are too far away to reach from the dinghy when approaching the stern. Perhaps I am overthinking that part of it?
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:38 AM   #12
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The other location often forgotten is the underside of the swim grid. There aa cleat is never going to be a toe problem, if within a couple of inches of the edge, just as available from the dinghy, just as secure as if it were on the top side.
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Old 06-18-2021, 10:29 AM   #13
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Hmmm, interesting idea. I've got plenty of clearance under there for a cleat. I'd have to work at tying upside down, but I bet it becomes natural pretty fast. I'll check it out this weekend!
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