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Davits and arches : Getting your dinghy back aboard your multihull

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Launching and raising the dinghy is generally a daily operation, sometimes even more frequent than that. Taking the dinghy out of the water improves performance under sail - or limits fuel consumption. It's also the best way to avoid having it stolen during the night... Given the frequency of handling, you should really have a decent system, to avoid lumbago or other back problems. With their large beam, multihulls and especially catamarans, offer the best solution for “ready-to-go” stowage of a decent-size tender. It’s not uncommon to see dinghies over 3 meters (10’) long on catamarans of around 40 feet. But it’d be a different story on a monohull, even if you were to fully deflate the dinghy. If we rule out storing it on the trampoline (always an option, though) and launching it with the spinnaker halyard (only valid for small tenders), there are several ways of storing it at the transom. Davits are the most common system, but the proliferation of aft bathing platforms is a recent boon for our tenders. Another possibility, often used by monohulls but now regularly seen on board our multihulls, is the arch. And, finally, the most extreme option: the hydraulic passerelle or crane, which is often seen on multiyachts.

Davits

This is the simplest and most effective way to lift your dinghy without too much effort. If your multihull isn’t already equipped with any, stainless steel models are available from chandleries from around € 300 per pair. However, these low-priced models won’t support a load much higher than 50 kg (110 lbs), which drastically limits the size of your tender. For a 3.50-meter (11½ foot) dinghy, you can expect a load of 150 kg (330 lbs) including outboard and fuel. For those who don't like the prominent design of these spars, there are telescopic models which retract under the transom gunwale. By fitting a set of blocks, the hoisting lines can be brought back to a winch: the mainsheet winch, for example. For performance enthusiasts who don’t want to add too much weight aft, some manufacturers offer models in polyester composite and even carbon.

A cradle on the platform

These days, many catamarans are equipped with optional bathing platforms. Whether they’re hydraulically or manually operated with a winch, they allow the tender to be launched very easily by lowering the platform below sea level. You’ll still need to install a cradle and lashing points to hold the dinghy securely. Cradles or chocks are available in stainless steel or composite; they can be retractable in order to limit the risk of getting your feet caught in them and enjoy the bathing platform. This arrangement is very suitable for a much heavier dinghy: hydraulic platforms can support up to 600 kg (1,300 lbs) and more. If your multihull is not equipped with an original platform, it is possible to fit one on the transom. Yard-mounted models are quite wide and heavy; there are smaller and lighter ones suitable for small boats or ...

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