byon 02-19-2013 at 09:01 PM (4023 Views)
Many a solution to the hard dinghy storage issue. You see dinghies on the foredeck, on davits off the stern, canted over the transom, lashed to swim platforms, suspended from the bow like a sausage, hung from the mast vertically as if they'd made a terrible mistake, left home in the garage, chained to public racks, or left to share the slip like the good companion they are. But that doesn't work for long because of marine growth and rain.
The best part of a hard dinghy is that it's enjoyable to row and sailing it you can feel every puff. I wanted the 7-foot 6-inch Eastport Pram available to use, not stored. There was room because I'm in a 35-foot slip. A raft made sense, just enough buoyancy to keep the bottom of the 60-pound boat off the water. The result is made from 3-inch PVC drain pipe, which is very cheap.
The cross bars are 2x4s, the sides are half that dimension, and the PVC is mated to the wood with webbing and ss screws (no holes in the pipe). Add two elbows and some carpet held down with stainless steel staples. There's no cradle because you need to be able to slide the boat on and off any side of the raft. I made the cover from Sunbrella ("linen" color), with a shock cord margin. The oars store under the cover.
I've found it works better to keep the raft at the bow end of the slip, since we don't usually tow it daysailing. To go for a row I pull it off the raft and onto the dock and launch from there.