Boat Davits

I have written about designing the boat davits for our Friendship Sloop on “the Boat Page”. I wanted to go back to that subject, because I think it encapsulates the classic dilemma that all cruisers face; how do I carry everything I need on board without making my vessel a mass of clutter.

            I think the heart of any modification to your vessel has to be reversibility. I have seen a number of beautiful boats that were marred forever because the owners made permanent changes. If the premise of any design change is one, where “we can always remove it if it does not meet our needs and we will be back to what we have now”, then the options are greater and the possibilities are easier to embrace.

           Our boat davits are a nice example of this. As I point out on the boat page, our quandary lay in wanting to have a way to bring our tender aboard in certain conditions without adding some massive, out of place contraption and wrecking the lines of our beautiful boat. The clearance between boom and cabin top is not adequate to store a dinghy upside down on the cabin roof, towing our bathtub in a following sea is dangerous, and on a long delivery, towing creates a lot of drag. Please do not bring up the subject of inflatables; I will be prone to rant.

            The solution we came up with was removable boat davits that could be shipped easily because they could attach directly to our boom-gallows, which are incredibly strong. Further, our davits can be struck even more easily than they can be shipped, which allows us to remove them at will and return our vessel to her original appearance and function. Lastly, we went with a construction method that compliments the nature of our sloop, so that even with the davits shipped and the ship’s boat slung aboard, the appearance of our boat remains in character.

Shipping the boat davits

              What we did was to make up laminated hardwood davits over a pine core. The result is strong, durable, functional, and aesthetically about as compatible with a classic wooden sailboat as we could get. The sheaves for the blocks and in the ends of the davits themselves were made on a lathe, and the shells of the blocks were made from teak and stropped with rope. You can see from the diagram how simple the actual davits are.

Davit construction

             We have been very pleased with how this modification worked out on our vessel, and best of all it is reversible.

Shipped davits with boat aboard, Note the boat is not shown lashed for sea.


One Response to “Boat Davits”

  1. walt Says:

    i too, have a classic wooden sailboat. i’ve been trying to decide how best to make this neccessary addition without marring the lines of the boat… she is a 42″ garden porpoise ketch. i think this design might work for us. thanks for posting it! do you have any photos of the finished product and/or possibly comments from the owner as to it’s functionality? i will check back here for a reply and also have a look through your other posts when i have a few minutes….

    cheers, and thanks again for the post!


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