The bad news is that after I got it out to the boat, because of the arrangement of my arch, the closeness of the hulls, and the design of the davit-system – this dinghy is very close to working in my current setup – but doesn’t. I could make it work, as is, but it would require two people to lift the damn thing – and that’s just not intelligent. There are many a time when I lift the dinghy alone.
This was heartbreaking, but could have been avoided. I’ve become fairly adept at kicking my own self in the ass. The real kicker is that I would now not be able to raise my dinghy at night. And there’s nothing more appealing than a brand-new dinghy and a brand-new Yamaha Enduro 15 – to the thieves in this part of the world. I was able to borrow a heavy chain to lock the dinghy to the mothership while I sorted out my davit issue.
The davit issue was a real one. Even as I write this it’s not totally sorted. But we’ve made some progress and welding began on the solution already.
The solution was fairly apparent, but the devil is always, always in the details. Especially when you’re talking about welding heavy-duty stainless onto an existing structure in the hopes that it will not only lift your dinghy – but take shock loads when the dinghy is slamming around back there in bad weather. This had to be absolutely, totally correct. Overbuilt should be an understatement.
And since I’m having this done, I might as well correct another issue that was designed into the construction of the boat – a low-hanging davit system. A low hanging davit system can mean real trouble if you have a following sea and you catch a breaking wave, into your dinghy hanging on said davit system – that means the whole structure on the back of your boat get’s ripped off. You don’t just lose your dingy – you may very well lose your boat. A fairly serious concern.
I was lucky (?) in that I had an existing heavy-duty arch which I could add onto. That’s a big deal and most people don’t have this heavy-duty of an arch, especially on catamarans.
Since this needed to be 100% correct, I went into town, bought a 2×4 and cut it into two pieces. Then we mocked up what I thought would be the right solution and then I brought out the welder and other people smarter than me to help me with the solution. After an hour or so of playing with things, we came up with a rough idea of the materials needed and a sketch of the solution.
Then it was up to the welder. This guy is pretty damn good and I trust his instincts on welding and structural strength – he proved that to me when he strengthened my dinghy engine lift, my bimini support structure, and my additional seating on the rear of NOMAD. The welder made his measurements, gave me a quote, and we were off to the races. This was going to take some time and we needed to cut and weld and support and tie everything together and it couldn’t look like fit was designed by a kindergardener. It needed to look good (though I like the look of stainless on catamarans, almost without exception). Not a small job, not an inconsequential job – but we got it started.
So how did my dinghy buying go? Great. I have the dinghy that I want, it even has my boat-name on the side of it. It was delivered directly to Club Nautico, where I was anchored. I’m having a dinghy-cover made. The only issue is that I really, really opened up a bag of worms when I decided to increase the size of my dinghy. That was, though, a perfectly rational response to the problem I was presented with – an aging dinghy that had proved too small for my freediving/spearfishing/exploring/fishing.
The end-result of the dingy davit debacle is yet to be seen, but as soon as I figure it out – I’ll post up some pics and let you know how it went. I have high hopes, but these things rarely go as planned. After it’s all tied together, I’ll also take some pictures (maybe some video?) of the arch and davit system. I’ve had a couple of requests for this (sorry guys!) and will comply. Eventually.