Thursday, December 15, 2011

How Do You Hold Your Dinghy?

 Swing Set came with a 9' Achilles inflatable dinghy and Weaver davits were already installed. The way our Weaver davits worked was sort of like the "hook" and "loop" of Velcro, only the dinghy has two "loops" and two "hooks" are installed on the swim platform of Swing Set.

 This picture of our dinghy shows the "loops" on the port side of the dinghy, which for you land lubbers, is on the left side of the dinghy, but on the right of the picture. Yeah, I'm confused too.

What you do is clip the loops onto the hooks and flip the dinghy up on its side and attached stand off rods from the boats transom to clips attached to the dinghy. The dinghy rides on edge on the boat swim platform. The idea is fairly simple, but there are bugs in the system. Most people using this system keep the outboard stored separately and mount it when the dinghy is deployed. One of my mottos is "less is more", in that if it isn't easy to use, it won't get used. We bought the lightest outboard we could find, within reason, and we also bought a swivel outboard bracket for the transom of the dinghy. This way we could keep the outboard attached as it would swivel and hang vertically when the dinghy was in the stored position on the swim platform. But then that presented another problem as now the whole setup was nearly too heavy to flip up into the stored position by one person. Also the "loops" installed on the dinghy are just glued on and the tension created on the brackets while under way, (the dinghy tended to bounce) was too much for the glue and rubber to overcome.
 After using this system for several years, and once we started to formulate a plan for long term cruising, we decided to sell the original dinghy and look toward a different solution.
 I had seen several "hanging dinghy davits" on some boats in our area and it turns out that one of our acquaintances was responsible for custom fabricating those davits. At one of the local social events, I approached "Little John" Bicknese about making some brackets for Swing Set. I said, "How do we go about getting some dinghy davits made for our boat?" Now, Little John is a hard working man of few words, and those few words are always straight and to the point. Picture a salty fellow working at a boat yard in New England and you have a pretty good impression of Little John. So in response to my fairly vague question about getting some brackets made for a dinghy on Swing Set, Little John looks at me and says, "First, ya gotta get a dinghy". I'm not sure if I have ever been issued any simpler instructions.

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