One of the pleasures of cruising is dropping anchor out at your preferred gunk hole and launching the dingy and taking in the sights of the area or visiting other vessels; it’s a great way to meet new acquaintances. But if your dingy is not very accessible or hard to launch, you will not likely use it often.
All tenders require adequate storage. Towing is not always practical and can be dangerous in bad weather. The same goes for on deck storage; a big wind and you may lose it. But if properly setup your yacht with the proper davit system, your tender will offer carefree service.
However before you select your davit system, you’ll need to select the right tender for your boating needs. Do you prefer a rigid dingy or inflatable? Remember punctures are very common with inflatables? Where will it be used? On the high seas or inland waters? How big do you need her?
Many of the answers to storage locations and systems lie in how large it is and much your dingy weighs.
There are 4 standard davit systems ready to store a dinghy:
· clip-on, where the dingy lies on its side on the swim platform;
· stanchion mounts on the transom, the dingy hangs over the stern;
· rotating davit mounts on the decks; and
· hydraulic – powered lifts mounted to a swim platform to raise large dingies or personal water craft.
Clip-on davits are a great product. Weaver Davits, one of the lead marketers, are an economical selection for trawlers with swim platforms and small tenders and outboard motors up to 10 horsepower. But the outboard must be removed from the tender before hoisting out of the water. Most boaters have an outboard motor storage rack attached on the transom for easy access. Another worry is raising the tender from a horizontal position in the water to a standing position for storage. Weaver Davits are limited by the weight of the tender. I have the davit system on our trawler and I could not be more pleased. We can launch and recall the tender in less than 10 minutes.
Stanchion mounts are secured to the rails, deck or transom. Designed for heavy dinghy-engine setups, these davit systems come with universal riser arms for a custom fit to your yacht. Big dingies may call for optional support kits attached on the transom or swim platform. When properly installed, the tender rests horizontal from the stern of the boat. On these installations, the tender outboard motor can remain in place. On a negative side, the tender setup requires a fair amount of hand-operated labor to lift the dingy using 2 block and tackles. These are common setups on sailboats.
Rotating davits raise, rotate and place the dingy onto the foredeck or sundeck. If the deck can sustain the load, these systems can be directly mounted, or the supporting post may be based on a lower deck. Most setups are provided with an electric winch to mechanically lower and raise the tender. Dingies with large motors (15 horsepower or more) often combine a rotating davit on the transom with a cradle for the tender mounted on deck. The setups provide retrieving for the heaviest of tender/motor arrangements. On a down side, these arrangements may place the operator at heights that could be dangerous in rough waters. In addition, care must be made to keep the outboard motor from striking the mother ship as the tender is raised or lowered, breaking windows or damaging the gel coat.
Hydraulic – powered lifts have become popular on large boats to lift big dingies or personal water craft. Most are complicated and not easily owner installed. Prices for these davit systems increase as the lifting ability increases- the heavier the dinghy, the more high-priced the davit system. To use, the lifts are brought down into the water and the tender is driven onto the cradle. A negative feature is that these units may not work well in a following sea.
In most examples when purchasing a used boat, the dingy and davit system is already in place. You will just need to familiarize yourself with it to see if you like it. If you do not, there are other options for you.