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Old 06-03-2006, 05:32   #1
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Dinghy davits on small boats

We have had a number of boats over the past few decades and have done a fair amount of cruising/living aboard, but we have never had a dinghy davit. Now we are 24/7 living and cruising on the smallest boat of all (Bristol 31.1) and considering a dinghy davit in order to free up some space on deck. I thing the transom is too small for an effective arch/davit combination and there is also a concern of weight and windage aloft. But we think that a small davit (like one from Guerhaur Marine) might be an asset. Plus there is the added benefit of using it as a platform for a solar panel or two. Anyone have any experience with davits on a relative small vessel?
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Old 06-03-2006, 05:51   #2
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Hi,

I have a medium sized vessel (these days). One of the factors I became aware of as I was getting used to using our davits and purchasing a tender was the length of the tender as compared to your beam.

A nice 12' RIB sounds fun, right? Not so if it sticks out too far and you are heeled over and/or catch an odd-shaped wave. You will have to pay attention to your beam (at the stern too... not amiships) and be sure your tender will not drag when you are heeled excessively.

Also, I recently found out how to get your dinghy up high. If you have a solid floor in it... bolt right through the floor so the dinghy can raise up as high as possible.

The keys are to have a short enough dinghy and to get it way the heck up away from the water.
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Old 06-03-2006, 06:32   #3
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Roger, I think you're accurately ID'ing some of the problems with moving to davits on your smaller boat. Conceptually, the basic problem with this choice is that the system you want to add - davits, dink, panels and perhaps more before it's over - are all fairly independent of boat size. IOW you could have a Bristol 35.5 or 38.8 or even 41 and yet all the add-on's would likely be roughly the same size and same weight. OTOH their impact on your smaller boat will be more detrimental.

I think one issue we all become somewhat experientially oblivious to is the impact of all this stuff on windage, primarily because we incrementally add all this 'stuff' and incrementally suffer from its effect on the boat. As one example, let's imagine making anchor & rode choices for your boat as it came from the factory; you could be reasonably assured that you wouldn't have to load up the bow with beefy anchors, chain & windlass and yet hold well in a tough anchorage. But now let's add the normal liveaboard assortment of 'stuff', then add the canvas 'stuff' (no doubt including a bimini), perhaps add some extra pieces like a radar array, whisker pole and jug farm, and now add the davits/hoisted dink/solar panels. When we think about it a bit, it's easy to imagine that the challenge of staying anchored has measurably changed and so we build up that "anchoring" side of the equation to compensate. Of course, this just adds to the negative side of another equation, which is how the boat handles (in comfined harbor basins, sailing in light winds, heavy weather handling) and on it goes.

I don't think this impeaches the idea of davits...but it's another step down the road of asking a boat to perform like a boat while making it more and more into an RV. For protected waters, probably not a big issue. Long term and with longer runs in mind, that might not be true. Obviously, in the end that's your call.

Jack
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Old 06-03-2006, 07:04   #4
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Very well-said, Jacl!
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Old 06-03-2006, 11:27   #5
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Dinghy tow

You might want to consider the Dinghy Tow. I came across it in the current issue of Good Old Boat in an article about a couple and their Ontario 32 in the Med. They seemed very pleased with it. Of course, that doesn't do much for a solar panel mount But it might be a better solution than davits.

John
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Old 06-03-2006, 19:00   #6
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My Bristol 31.1 came with davits. I did not use them. In the end, you can not leave the dink in the davits if you expect a blow - the dink is in the way back there, too and makes it harder to dock in some situations - Bristol has a narrow beam and even narrower reversed stern, so 8', maybe 9' dink is the max - unless you have added a stern ladder, access is tough.
We decided to drag an old 8' Dyer and stow an inflatable. This really forced us to compromise on the type of inflatable to buy, and we found that one that deflates small enough to fit below for at least part of the time was the best way.
We traded up this winter to a 35.5 without davits and we plan to stick with the original compromise. We can drag the Dyer for short cruises and use just the inflatable for longer cruises. Same with motors - small 3 h.p. is good enough.

Larry
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:58   #7
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Roger, re: John's note about the Dinghy Tow, that might be worth reading up a bit more on. Aubrey & Judy Millard are the couple John's referring to and they have a l-o-n-g set of logs that cover 6 years fo serious cruising which can be found at www.searoom.com

The Canadian Dinghy Tow is not a "solution" so much as it offers a different set of issues to consider. Some of Aubrey's logs make this point when they suffered breakage or had other issues when using this system. It is not an offshore solution IMO, so you still face the deflate/on-deck issue on blue water runs (even short ones). OTOH that's not always been Aubrey's choice (occasionally with regret) so there's a judgement call there.

Give some thought to how this system would be to live with, day to day, for your style of cruising; it may be a viable choice for you. As one example, how often do you side-tie at a berth? The minute you accept this berthing option, you have to do something with the dink since it can't occupy dock space. Just give it a good think and see if this is for you.

Jack
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Old 07-03-2006, 06:03   #8
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Thoughtful comments guys. Thanks Jack, Gord, John, and Larry. I went over to the other docks yesterday and looked at the new davits a friend has on an older model Hunter 40. I think that it would be asking too much from a boat that sails well. Great comment Larry on your Bristol 31.1. We started cruising on this boat in June 2003 after I retired and we were in the Great Bridge area at first installing a fridge at Atlantic Yacht Basin. At first we had a small Caribe RIB and it was a hassel to store; so we sold it (regret that some). Now we have an Achilles with a wood floor (Caribe was better but the Achilles has a small footprint when deflated on deck). Would like to find a lightweight hard dink like the Dyer to tow and row. We had one back in the 70s that we routinely towed behind our Morgan OI. I guess we will elect to KISS (keep it simple) and forget the neat looking davits. Now to find that hard dink! It is always something.............Roger
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Old 07-03-2006, 07:39   #9
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I found our Dyer by occasional Google - led me to an ad in Soundings. They do come available. I have a photo of a dingy dock in Maine from 20 years ago - 30 glass dinks of all descriptions and a couple of Zodiacs. The dingy dock at my marina now has 100 inflatables (most West Marine) and a few old glass. Things change !

Larry
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Old 07-03-2006, 14:59   #10
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Cool

I found that davit are great motoring around, anchoring and light breezes. Getting into and out of slips with a 12' dinghy on the back can get scraped if the wind pushes you going in and out if the slip has tall pilings at the end of the finger.

A dinghy tow would be nice on nice days, I think haven't seen many do that though.

I would lash it to the foredeck when gouing out of the golden gate.
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Old 07-03-2006, 15:44   #11
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Sailing* on smaller boats (always < 30'), I've always (had to) towed my dink.
I keep a knife near the helm, and over 25 years, have reached towards , but never used, it.
BTW: A 'pooped' dink can stop a 7500#boat doing 5 kts, dead in it's tracks.
Towing's not ideal, just another of the famous cruising "trade-offs".

* Great Lakes, AICW, Bahamas, Caribbean.
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