Monday, August 24, 2009

Dinghy Davits

Some time ago, Michele and I bought a Chesapeake Light Craft sailing pram, intending to carry it as our dinghy. Well, it took quite a bit of time, but we finally got the sail kit, had the kit finished, and had the pram modified to accomodate it (thanks, David!). With the pram ready, it was time to get davits installed on the boat.

I spent lots of time investigating options: Kato, Ocean Marine, Hurley, Forespar, St. Croix, and some others. I even went so far as to purchase and return Hurley davits; I liked the swim platform mount (no transom modifications), but in the end, decided the dinghy needed to be up higher to avoid swamping in rough seas. I finally settled on St. Croix removable davits, for a couple reasons:
  1. they're removable, leaving only the shoe on the transom, which is great when we don't want to take the dinghy with us,
  2. the swim platform is relatively unobstructed when the dinghy is launched, vs. rotating styles that have cross-supports,
  3. they're less expensive than most rotating styles.
Installation, however, is a bit of a concern. The transom top is not big enough to accomodate the shoes -- they'll hang off the back by about an inch. Plus, it is unsupported, so the weight of the dinghy will have a tendency to twist the transom top upward. St. Croix offers a "Sportfish" mount, which installs under the transom top, and connects down to the cockpit sole. However, because our transom top isn't big enough, it would not fit underneath. We'll need to find another way to reinforce it.

Mark Cline has the same davits on his Cape Dory, Brandywine. I studied his installation, and then with his help, did a similar install on Mariner II. Here's a series of pictures, along with my comments.

This is "before":

Holes drilled for the mounting shoes:

We fabricated a base for each of the shoes out of 1/4" starboard. This was both to give the shoe extra support where it will hang off the back of the transom, and to dress up the appearance. We cut the starboard plates on a table saw, with a 30° angle on the edges, and sanded them smooth:

Backing plate made out of 1/2" thick starboard. This is a temporary plate -- I made templates for much bigger backing plates that will extend from the hawse to the first stanchion on each side. The inside bolt from the hawse and all three stanchion bolts will also go through the backing plate. (Update: the permanent bigger plates are now installed.)


Here are the mounted shoes. It took some time to get the angle just right before we started drilling. We put the davit arms in the shoes, and tied a string to end of the arms to keep them at the right distance. It took three of us to manage this -- one person holding each davit arm and shoe, and one keeping the end of the arms spaced apart and marking the positions.

This is "after":

Mark's feeling, based on his experience, is that this is sufficient in the short term, but that I'll want to either glass in some reinforcement under the transom top, or find some other reinforcement. I'm considering running a shroud cable from the underside of the transom cap down to the deck. That would be an easy installation: I could attach an eye directly to the center bolt of the plate, attach the turnbuckle & cable, and run it to a pad eye (through-bolted and backed) on the deck by the scuppers.

Now we just need to get the davit rigged, and hang the dinghy.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Replaced exhaust elbow
Replaced belts

Dick Vosbury had been to the boat during the week to replace the exhaust elbow and the belts, following last week's assessment. Take a look at the old elbow -- wow -- I'm glad we didn't wait any longer on that! The inside actually looks ok, but the outside is in rough shape.

The bridge alarms are still not working though. I'll need to call him to see if that repair is still pending, or if he just forgot about them.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Last winter, while visiting Michele's parents, we went to the Grove City outlets north of Pittsburgh. I found a phenomenal deal at the Black & Decker outlet on a new-in-box 1000 watt inverter (model #VEC049DCB): $45. I could not resist. I finally finished installing it today, after Dick Vosbury left.

The inverter is under the bench seat, just above the house batteries. Inverters draw a lot of current for continuous periods, so they must be mounted very close to the batteries. Ours is close enough that I could use the 3' long #6 AWG cables that came with the inverter. The installation included a terminal fuse block on the postive battery post (including a 200 amp fuse), and a new 250 amp bus bar for the boat's main DC ground cables.

I actually had all of this in place last week. One problem: We would need to tear up the bench seat every time we wanted to turn it on or off. Plus, I'm certain we'd forget at some point to turn it off -- out of sight, out of mind. Fortunately, this inverter includes a jack for a remote on/off switch (model #VEC003). I ordered one online for about $20, and finished installing it today. I put it on the side of the helm just below the A/C control, where we can reach it from the galley or the main cabin area. I had to cut a 1.5" x 1.5" square hole in the wood to recess the control circuit. I always have a little nervous breakdown when I make permanent changes like this, but I think it came out ok.

Michele already bought a little crockpot for making dinners underway. Next purchase: electric blender. Anyone want to buy a slightly used hand crank blender??

A Visit from Dick Vosbury

Word on the Bay is that Dick Vosbury (of Vosbury Marine) is the man to call if you have an old Volvo engine. I've been trying for quite a while to figure out a time to have him look over our engine in Mariner II. Lately, my concerns have been increasing as I've noticed a few new problems: rust in a few areas, weeping injectors, and continuing shaft movement at the stern tube that I've never really liked.

For the most part, he didn't see any serious problems.
  • Rust and corrosion on the exhaust elbow is a concern, he recommended replacing it. New elbow is on order, and he'll put it in next week.
  • He considers the shaft movement well within tolerable range, and thinks we don't need to do anything further with it. This surprised me, but that's what Hartge said too, so maybe I'll convince myself to believe it.
  • Rust around the water pump can just be sanded and repainted. The pump was leaking at some point, but it appears that I stopped the leak when I replaced the gasket.
  • Injectors were leaking. He put washers on them (they were missing), tightened them down, and said that probably will take care of it.
  • Need to have the heat exchanger and oil cooler removed and cleaned, but we can wait until winter to do that.
  • The engine warning buzzer on the bridge isn't working. He checked it, and seems to need a new alarm circuit. He's going to replace it next week, when he returns to do the exhaust elbow.
  • Finally, he's going to replace the belts next week as well.
Overall, not bad.