Tuesday, July 3, 2018

On deck dinghy storage

Our aft davits are super convenient for hauling and storing our dinghy, and are plenty stout enough to carry the boat w/motor attached in most conditions without worry, but going offshore coastal is another story, especially in our area of the Central/North Coast. To many unpredictable factors out there to keep me comfortable with 250 lbs of dinghy hanging off the back of our boat when travelling. With our trip down to Southern California coming up in a few months, I have secure on-deck storage of our dinghy and motor high on the to-do list.

Our aft deck is cambered, with an overlayed flat Ipe wood deck for lounging. The deck is built around the a big aft cabin deck hatch. When we were building and welding out the hatch coamings, I had four stainless 3/8" chain half links installed at each corner of the hatch coaming. I figured they would come in handy for tying down emergency hatch covers or securing the hatch tightly closed if the latching hardware ever broke. These tie downs are now buried under the aft wood deck but with a little work, seemed like a good way to anchor a deck cradle for the dinghy. A set of 3/8" stainless U-bolts through the wood deck and hooked onto the tie-downs did the trick, and provided four strong points to secure the cradle to the deck.

The dinghy cradle design kind of evolved (like most of the boats fit-out) from a scratch design on a napkin. I wanted a rail style mount that was adaptable to other dinghys and skiffs. It had to be stowable so we can turn the aft deck back into a proper lounging pad when we get where we're going and put the dinghy back on the davits. I also want to maximize the light coming in through the deck hatch for the cabin below, and the hatch needs to open wide enough to allow emergency access in and out of the aft cabin when a boat is stowed on the cradle. Here's what we came up with.

The basic concept:

Speed Holes (to make it go faster):

Flat bar stiffeners:

Deck mount brackets added:

Checking fit-up for rails:

Fabricating rails. 2x4 redwood, notched, varnished, and carpeted
(the ONLY brightwork on the exterior):

The finished product:

Outboard goes on a home-made rail bracket (or can stay on boat):

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