A number of you have asked about how we launch and retrieve Beer Can (our larger aluminum dink). I will start with a bit of commentary.
Our last boat was a Nordhavn 50 and the dink was stored on the upper back deck area some 12 to 15 foot off the water. Launch and retrieval was a scary affair even in benign conditions. Add even moderate winds and waves and it was downright deadly. Imagine 800 pounds of dinghy swinging on the way up past the salon windows and then imagine trying to wrestle it to ground on the top deck while it was chasing you around like an angry billy goat – all while you had no escape route except being thrown off the top deck. Not good.
Things are much more civilized and reasonable aboard Iron lady. First, the dink rests just a bit more 6 feet above the water on the back deck. Second, it only has to be raised a few feet above the lifelines to launch it or retrieve it. We have launched and retrieved the dink in winds of up to 30 knots with nasty waves and nobody was in danger.
Here is our procedure with 2 people (one is doable but would be tougher in less then ideal conditions).
First order of business is to set things up. The lifting bridle is generally left in place. Remove the stainless turnbuckle tie downs on the dink, raise the motor, release the fore and after guy lines on the boom, and reeve the dinghy hoisting tackle back to the aft deck winch.
The dink painter is tied off to the small winch on the aft deck as a safety line.
One of us runs the winch to lift the dink while the other guides it off the cradle. As it is raised, the one running the winch moves over to guide the stern of the dink out.
Once clear of the rail (the dink naturally drifts slowly out as it is moved outboard), one of use guides it down as the other feeds the line off the winch.
That’s it – once in the water, we remove and hook the hoisting tackle to the the port lifelines and drift the dink back to the swim platform with the painter.
Retrieval is simply the reverse process. VERY simple and straightforward. The whole process doesn’t take much more then 5 minutes including cleaning up the deck and lines and can be managed in some pretty nasty conditions without putting anyone in jeopardy.
Another huge plus to the FPB64.