Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Favorite Gadgets #2 - The Outboard Davit

On our 1990-1993 cruise we did not make any arrangements for carrying or stowing our dinghy outboard on Kavenga. It was just one of those items on the project list that never got addressed. Consequently, the outboard wound up being stowed in the cockpit well (where one would normally put one*s feet when sitting in the cockpit).

When we wanted to use the outboard one of us had to lift it out of the cockpit well, horse it over to the side of the boat and hand it down to the other person standing in the dinghy. This was all well and good when we were in a smooth anchorage. But as was often the case, if there were any kind of chop or wakes running through the anchorage, it was a real test of balance, strength and timing to get the outboard into the dinghy and over the transom without losing it or wrenching a back muscle in the process. And we were 14 years younger back then.

So for this cruise we did two things to improve the dinghy storage and loading situation. First we made a custom mounting bracket for the stern pulpit so that the outboard could be clamped in a vertical position on the back railing of the boat. This also lessened the possibility that salt water in the cooling system could backflow into the cylinder and cause corrosion.

Second we installed an outboard davit on the stainless tower pole that supports the wind generator. This davit is in essence a small crane or hoist which uses a multi-part block and tackle system to increase the mechanical advantage. It is made of stainless steel and includes a cam-cleat which is a device that automatically holds the rope for you when you let go of it. It has a stainless snap-hook at the end of the rope, which clips on to a harness around the power head of the outboard.

Loading and unloading the outboard has gone from a major pain to a relatively easy task. One of us gets in the dinghy and positions it under the outboard. The other uses the davit to lift the outboard off its rail mount and slowly lower it down. Even in choppy water it is a relatively easy and controlled task, with little chance of dunking or dropping the outboard. Another nice thing is that the tasks are interchangeable, meaning either of us can do either task because there is no heavy lifting or toting involved.

The davit was purchased from a small company in California named Garhauer. They are well known for making high quality, reasonably priced stainless steel rigging equipment for sailboats.


At November 4, 2005 at 12:50 PM, Blogger Amon said...

Well done on a nice blog kavenga. I was looking for information on private yacht charter and came across your post Favorite Gadgets #2 - The Outboard Davit - not precisely what I was looking for related to private yacht charter but an interesting read all the same!


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