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LWinters 12-22-2006 12:01 PM

Cruising with a Hard Dingy on Davits
So I am having a hard time reconciling something in my mind. I've got a heavy duty 12 foot hard dingy on davits with a 15hp outboard. We are gearing up for a long offshore cruise, and while I like the dingy for its seaworthiness it becomes exactly the opposite while underway. It's too heavy and large to bring on deck for stowage, but seems a great danger to leave on the davits should we encounter a breaking sea.

So where is the best compromise here? Sell the old hard dingy for one of the new hard bottom inflatable that can be stowed on deck, but that may not be as reliable as transport in heavier seas when you need it to take out a second anchor. Or, keep the heavy duty dingy on the davits and just wait for the perfect weather window every time? What scares me is what to do when it really gets nasty. I like the series drogue as the best storm option, but with a dingy waiting to get swamped turning the boat stern to doesn't seem a great idea. I guess I could ride a sea anchor and hoist a riding sail on the mizzen which would minimize the dingy exposure to heavy, breaking seas.

How have others handled this?

camaraderie 12-22-2006 01:18 PM

LW...I would definitely go for a Rib on deck. I don't think you realize how stable and safe they are in use. I have carried out second anchors in tough weather on my 10 footer with no problem at all. The dangers of getting a hard dink on davits pooped are significantly greater I think.

mandovai 12-22-2006 01:52 PM

Davits on a normal sized cruising boat are great for coastal waters and island-hopping. If you are not a superyacht or a Big cat, you wouldn't want to use them offshore. Hard dinghies are great. If you find one that fits on your deck because of the size or because it is a two pieces dinghy, buy it. If you decide for a Rib, don't make the same mistake I did: Buy a hypalon inflatable. The sun destroyed my first 3 inflatables within 2 years. Then I bought a Caribe 8 in Hypalon and after 7 years it is still on deck inflated under the tropical sun: it is very stable to carry second anchors of 45lb, the weight is in the right place of the boat when crossing, and it is also our liferaft, ready for launching. But if you have the space on deck, take a 9 or 10 ft.

LWinters 12-22-2006 04:01 PM

Thanks guys. You've confirmed what I was afraid of. The tender was a part of the purchase transaction and I was hoping to save a few bucks, but I don't think I can get away with it. Too big and heavy for the deck means it is time to get a new dingy for offshore work. Any idea what a custom built 12 ft. fiberglass dingy is worth on the used market?

CaptainForce 12-26-2006 09:54 AM

LW...I keep my caribe on davits while cruising offshore with the dinghy outboard secured on deck. I always choose an acceptable weather window, but that doesn't mean I won't be caught in some short term squall. I don't know the weight of your hard dinghy, but their not always heavier that the inflatables. As you have the ketch rig, be sure to consider some of your unique options. Not only can you use a halyard on your mizzen to assist in moving your outboard on and off your dinghy, you can use such running rigging to support the load on your davits. I have permanently attached adjustable backstays from the top of my mizzen to the aft end of each of my davits. You must consider the impact on the strength of your standing rigging and the transmission of this load through your triactic and forestay. Of course be sure this would clear your mizzen boom as well. I also keep the load within my dinghy light while offshore; removing the dinghy anchor, fuel tank,etc.. and I have redundant lines preventing the dinghy motion and chafe. On inshore and protected waters I leave the outboard and load in the dinghy for convenience. I've been cruising with these added "davit stays" since 1986 and since 1995 they have also helped support a 100 watt solar panel. The only negative affect has been an additional prep for entering the travel-lift stern first. 'Take care and joy,-Stewart Force onboard Aythya, email

LWinters 12-27-2006 12:11 AM

Hey Captain,

Thanks for the view from the other side. I didn't expect to hear many pros for the offshore davit set up. I am with you all the way on the benefits of the ketch rig with the exception of the "davit stays". Interesting twist on your standing rigging set up. My davits were home built and probably over engineered to the point you could lift the whole boat by the davits themselves. I am sure that the rig could handle the dingy weight, even swamped, but more concerned about the sudden force of a breaking wave. Why have small cockpits for ocean sailing only to hang a big dingy on the back? I suppose I could limit the strength of the hoisting tackle so that it would break in such circumstances? But then again, if I am in the middle of a breaking sea a davit that has just parted its tackle is the last thing I would want to deal with. I just hate to sell such a good dink. I am still a little split on this one.

camaraderie 12-27-2006 08:32 PM

Jones...a tarp will help but the bigger problem is the impact force rather than the residual water left behind to drain.

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