Dinghy Hanging Bridle

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October 2008 --

I have no room for dinghy davits at the stern, but still need to be able to hoist the dinghy out of the water. It's not just to keep the bottom clean, but also to keep it safe.

The goal was to make it as easy to use as stern davits,
so that putting the dink away
for the night isn't
a big production.

This works out well. The bridle snaps onto the the four corners, and the spare jib halyard lifts it.
Once the halyard is attached, it's easy to stand on deck and clip the pole onto the bridle, and winch the whole thing out of the water.

The pole keeps the dinghy away from the boat. With the engine attached, it's important that it not swing around and hit anything.

Tying the painter to the boat keeps it from swinging around, and another rope can be attached to the stern. After playing with it for a while, though, the stern line isn't as important. However, in a rocking anchorage, it might be needed.

I'm glad I spent the extra bucks
to rig a sliding car for the pole, with control lines.

The whole operation might be a lot harder
if you have a fixed ring on the mast.

With the sliding car, you can raise and lower the pole easily. Between the sliding pole and the halyard, there is an incredible amount of control over the dinghy.

The whole thing works like a derrick.

Finding the correct length for the bridle straps was the hardest part of this project.

I got it wrong twice, and spent a lot of time at the dock measuring, and trying to find the right balance point.

Here's a picture of my second attempt, after spending about 16 hours doing splices. This is where I said "heck with it" and decided to do the job with webbing.

About ten years ago I picked up a spool of Dacron rope, and still have a ton of it, so this seemed like a good chance to use some of it .

My first two attempts were with ordinary triple braid rope.
I actually enjoy doing splices, and hadn't spliced
ordinary rope for quite a while.

There were two big problems
with this approach.

First, the rope is stretches about two percent. I thought that would be a good thing, to reduce shock loads on the dinghy rings. However, with the weight of the dinghy and outboard, the stretch made the lengths disproportional.

The second problem was the amount of rope consumed by the splice.

I spent a lot of time doing Algebra, computing the stretch factor and percentage of rope lost to the splice, so that the final installed lengths would be correct. I probably could have got it right on the third try, but was tired of messing with it.

I had two types of leather, and initially picked the thickest, heaviest stuff for this.

That was a mistake, and after breaking four sewing machine needles I switched to a lighter weight of leather.

Fortunately, I already had a bunch of
two inch nylon webbing.

The most expensive part of this project was the D Rings, which cost about $30 US.

A scrap of leather protects the nylon webbing from chafe.

Here's a good look
at the top of the bridle.

The big stainless steel ring
cost $10.

Right now, the straps are attached with caribiners, just because I have a bunch of them.

Since they're permanently hooked up to the ring, though, I plan to replace them with small split rings (below) whenever I find a good deal on them.

The bridle and pole setup
also makes it really easy to hoist the dinghy on and off the foredeck.

Here, without the outboard,
the bow is hanging low.
That actually works out well.

First, the dink is hoisted high with the halyard, and
the pole is moved up the mast.
That brings the dink close to the boat, and it can swing right over the foredeck.

Holding the painter controls the bow.

By adjusting the halyard and pole height, the dink is maneuvered into position.

Then, it's lowered
until the bow touches the deck,
and the pole and front straps
are disconnected.

To project the nylon from UV Rot,
both sides of the strap are covered
with scraps of Sunbrella.

This thing will spend a lot of time hanging in the sun, so I think the extra effort is worth it.

The white thread is heavy Dacron.
The clear thread is Tenara (Gore-Tex.)

Dacron thread will rot out in a few years. The Tenara is extremely UV resistant, but not very strong. So the Dacron is structural, and the Tenara will hold it together when the Dacron rots out, so that the whole thing can be resewn easily if necessary.

Then the stern is raised high with the halyard, and the dink is easily flipped over, and lowered into position.

No sweat, no cursing,
and no dragging the dinghy
over the lifelines.

Launching is exactly the reverse process.