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Old 16-06-2006, 08:46   #1
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Dinghy on foredeck? Pros & Cons

We just purchased a Morgan 38, and are headed for the Caribbean in 2007. We will buy an inflatable dinghy, probably not a RIB, say 8.5-9.5' long. What are the pros & cons of carrying this on the foredeck while making shorter, say 1-2 day passages? We arent' going to cross any oceans (at least not yet), but I am not convinced that davits are the answer, and I don't want to have to roll this thing up everytime we move the boat.

Any comments or personal experiences?



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Old 16-06-2006, 09:05   #2
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Davits or an arch is the answer. I towed a dink for years. Started putting it on the foredeck after losing one in a storm. A few years ago I finally broke down and got davits. Will never go back to towing or foredeck stowing. Is yours the Brewer designed Morgan?

If you change your mind and start thinking about davits, try the link. I was very happy with mine and the support I got from them. They're from B.C.
Ocean Marine Systems - Davits, Rails, Lifts, and Platforms.

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Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.
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Old 16-06-2006, 10:42   #3
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Yes, Vasco, it's the Brewer Morgan 38. The arch would be ideal, (the ultimate objective I think is an arch to hold a RIB/radar/solar/wind) but with a somewhat limited budget there isn't room for it right now. I hope we can store an inflatible on the foredeck for the shorter trips, and deflate it if we are going long distances.

We are going for a year, then back to work for at least a year, so maybe the RIB & arch will get in the budget after that.

Was there any specific reason you didn't like carrying it on the foredeck? Other than the nuisance of getting it stowed & re-launched I mean?

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Old 16-06-2006, 18:11   #4
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Hi John:

Interesting article in cruising world (i think) last month. Guy set up a system to hoist his dinghy on to the foredeck with engine attached. He had a spare spin pole and cut it so that it was just over half the beam of the combined boats (dinghy and yacht) then hoisted it up with a special halyard. I don't know why you couldn't make an attachment to your spin that would sit at 1/2 beam of both boats an a little use the topping lift and foreguy and then hook a 4 to 1 tackle on the end of the pole and use that to lift the boat up and pull the foreguy to swing the boat in. If you'd like I'll draw a picture. Foredeck is fine for short passages.
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Old 16-06-2006, 18:23   #5
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Don't get pooped with davits... following seas can rip your dink off.

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Old 16-06-2006, 21:48   #6
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Whewwwwwww... where to start ... okay ... at the beginning.

I was towing my dinghy behind and we eventually ran into some heavy weather (12 to 15 ft. seas and about 25 kn of wind). The long and the short of it is, I have my tow line and the cleat it was attached to - no dinghy (see my web site June 2003 for the full story).

Prior to my trip, I had tried to rig up a hoist with my reaching strut: hooked into the spinn eye on the mast, spinn halyard to the end of the 'derrick', a line from the dinghy thru the end of the pole to the winch on the mast. There HAS to be someone with control lines to the dinghy to keep it from swaying all over the place (and this was at the dock!), and someone to winch up (and down). My dinghy was heavy (140 pound), so it wasn't very simple. Thus, I wound up towing it - and losing it.

I got lucky and finally found another one just like it (Boston Whaler Sailing Dinghy). I now just plain a** hoist it with the spinn halyard with a fender or two along the bulwark and cap rail. A simple tag line attached to the dinghy. Raise the dinghy so it is just below the top life line and resting (more or less) against the lower forward shroud. Use the tag line (while keeping tension with the halyard - which has to be long enough to allow you to walk over to the dinghy and) to pull it forward and over the life line and then ease the halyard as you guide it into position. I do this single handed in a relatively calm anchorage and in my slip. I haven't yet tried it in a rough anchorage.

I would imagine that with an inflatable, it would be even easier.
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Old 17-06-2006, 03:56   #7
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There is one other alternative to davits, called the dinghy tow. It comes off the transom and lifts the back end of the dink out of the water, while the bow floats. Not sure how well it would work with a hard dink, but there is a Canadian couple, currently in the Med, that have used one with their inflatable for a number of years, and have nothing but good to say about it. Don't have to take the motor off either (at least they don't).
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Old 17-06-2006, 08:40   #8
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How's Your Back?

For 1- or 2-day short hops, many people start off towing their dinghies, then haul them up to the foredeck when they're not riding well because of deteriorating conditions. Seems to be SOP before investing in a "system."

Towing from the stern
pros: convenient (some even leave the motor in [Gad!]), requires no lifting, when you arrive, shorten your lines, attach propulsion, and dinghy is ready to use.
Cons: when the weather deteriorates quickly, an inflatable may swamp and become difficult to tow, and will demand your attention, and if you're in a chop and a freshening breeze, it will be hard to handle/haul aboard and secure; there're the possibility of a line parting or a knot loosening and losing the tender entirely (it does happen).

Stowing on the foredeck
pros: tied-down & secure, you won't have to take any more time with it if the weather changes; zero chance of fouling your prop with lines later when you arrive; no maneuvering hassles; sometimes fun to stretch out on the overturned, bouncy hull on the foredeck to relax.
Cons: physical exertion required to haul it up on deck which might be a two-man job, and if it's windy, it might turn into a show for the neighbors; will cover anchor locker, so quickly deploying the anchor when the engine quits in tight quarters may take too long (crunch), and if you intend to anchor anyway, you'll have to arrange things so that you have access to the locker when you come in; will cover any foredeck hatches, reducing light/ventilation.
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Old 18-06-2006, 07:51   #9
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IMHO it is far easier for me to deflate my dinghy and stow it below than to wrestle with it on the foredeck then have to worry about it / work around it. Even for short trips I prefer to do that - inflation only takes a few minutes. And if the weather's bad when we arrive we're likely not going anywhere in the dink for a while anyway.

I will not tow anything that I care about keeping.

When I buy that RIB of course the equation will be different....
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Old 18-06-2006, 14:20   #10
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Inflatable in wind

I used to have trouble with my old Zodiac inflatable in the wind and heavy seas until I rowed ashore (without the outboard because the waves were so big that I was concerned about dunking the engine) on a deserted island once for exploration. Upon time to leave the wind and waves were worse and I couldn't get past the breaker line without a wave pushing us back onto the beach. Bailed out and tried again and again.

Finally I left the water in and relatively easily rowed past the breakers without any instability. Since that time I have had occasion to purposefully ship water inside to keep the stability and not have the wind/waves turn it over, especially when unattended on the end of a line (not towing).

Another time I had to go from the beach through the breakers with the Zodiac full of dive tanks and weights. Only room for four of us to sit on the tubes. A BIG wave picked us up at the breaker line and I could not believe that the boat did not go over but it didn't with all that weight in the bottom and we managed to power back to the boat just fine. Since then I sometimes use weight rather than water when in cold areas and I don't want to get wet.

Wore the bottom out of that Zodiac and glued in another one twice. Finally have an aluminum bottom RIB (made in NZ) that is very much lighter than the Zodiac and its wood insert bottom or a fiberglass RIB. This one is a delight to haul up and over the saftey lines onto the foredeck to go to sea (compared to the others). Naturally I use a tackle at the stern to remove and stow the outboard first.
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Old 18-06-2006, 15:52   #11
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With my current mast configration (running backstays and running checkstays), davits are not an option on Insatiable. While I probably will convert to a more conventional cruising rig, this is probably 4 or 5 years down the track yet. So, for the time-being, dingy stowage and/or towage is a real issue. Much of the local cruising is very sheltered, so towing is fine, but there is quite a lot of lovely crusing coastline that you need to head acroos some potentialy pretty rough open water to access - often 4m+ (13') swells, strong winds and confused swell - wind - slop - chop & current...not ideal for towing.

For the time being, I have got around this problem by purchasing a relly small inflatable that is easy to manhandle by a single person - I can easily pull it out of the water by myself, and it stows quite neatly on the foredeck. The outboard is a little 2hp air cooled yamaha that I can lift with one hand. This set-up is not entirely ideal, because the dinghy really is very small (6'), so I really wouldn't want to use it in anything less than pretty flat water. But its better than nothing, and will do me until I do the rig replacement or conversion.
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Old 18-06-2006, 18:14   #12
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We cruised for years on a 36ft racer cruiser with a 9' roll-up dink. Never rolled it up.

1 - Either towed it - when conditions permitted and never overnight.
2 - Put it upside down on the foredeck.

Never had any issues with the boat on the foredeck. You just need to make sure that all lines are lead fair and watch the lines on tacks and jibs to make sure the don't jam under or around the dink

FWIW we still put the dink [9' RIB] on the foredeck for longer passages even though we have davits. On overnights with the dink on davits we also make sure the engine is off to reduce loading.
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Old 18-06-2006, 18:50   #13
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Dinghys on davits

Jon D's points are well supported by the cruising experts who have written and recommended (at least since the 1960's) that one should not carry a dinghy on davits when at sea.

They also define coastal cruising as being at sea as far as such safety precautions are concerned.
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Old 20-06-2006, 10:37   #14
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I have my 9ft rib inverted on the bow ,i have 3 strong points attached in rib 2at stern 1 in bow they come together at a central point , i lift and lower using spinaker haliard no need for out rigger <on my boat> To secure i use 2 old car seat belts criss crossed and tied to strong points. On crossing English channel in 50+ knots it didnt budge.Allso reasuring to know that ding is inflated and ready to deploy quickely if need be ie chuck it over, with oars attached inside.If you have the room i would'nt do it any other way,Carl.
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Old 20-06-2006, 11:49   #15
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Rubber Ducky

I tow my RD often, but most of the time it is on the foredeck, always on the foredeck when it is rough. If it is really nasty I let the air out and bundle it up. Mine is light enough to be able to lift on board over the side. For me this is a basic requirement, more important than rowing or motoring ability. I do not want a speed boat, just a ship to shore or ship to ship dinky. I put a cushion under each end. Mine fits between the inner forestay and the mast. To hank on the storm jib to the inner forestay the RD must be deflated. It only takes a few minutes to pump it up later.

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