Hummer Grill And Dinghy Davit Installation

As the title, implies this page covers installing "The Hummer" grill; and, installing the dinghy davits. These projects started in the summer of 2004, and were finally completed in the fall of 2009.

Everyone who was around me during the three years before we went cruising in November of 2004, knows the story of "The Hummer" grill. But, for those who do not know the story, I will expound! "The Hummer" grill is actually a Magma Avalon Grill. The thing is so huge that I nicknamed it "The Hummer". I originally purchased the Hummer (at an extremely good price because it had some problems) at the local West Marine store. Before the Hummer, I had a Magma Kettle Grill, and was very satisfied with the it. Hard as I tried, I really could not justify replacing it with something so unnecessary and expensive. Still, I did lust after the Magma Avalon that was on display, but told myself that, being retired, I simply could not afford it. When the opportunity came up to purchase the "problem" unit at a ridiculously reduced price, I could not walk away. And so, I became the proud new owner of "The Hummer". I was able to repair it without too much difficulty and expense, and have loved it ever since.

I am breaking this page into three sections, or phases. It sort of went from, "Lets Install a Grill" to "Lets Re-design the Back of DREAM AWAY". You know how those simple boat projects go. You want to install a grill, easy, not more than a couple of afternoons work will have it done. Two weeks later, you still have not had the first grilled steak! Phase One was just getting the Hummer onto the life rail so it was useable. Phase Two was installing some generic dingy davits, and incorporating the Hummer into the davit setup. Phase Three was getting serious, with a custom built set of dinghy davits, and incorporating the Hummer into the new davits setup. Of course, to be frank, there could have been a Phase 1.1, and 1.2, and so on. This whole project was a moving target, but now I think can say it is finished.

Hummer - Phase One

Hummer - Davit Phase Two

Hummer - Davit Phase Three, Backing Plates

Hummer - Davit Phase Three, Davit Fabrication

PHASE ONE: Of course, being the owner of a Hummer, and getting a Hummer installed and working are two different things. The first item on the agenda was deciding where to put the Hummer. If I just put it on the liferail as I had the Magma Kettle Grill, it actually blocked the deck. It was difficult to get around the Hummer. The Hummer also had to go on the back of the boat so that, when at anchor, the wind would blow over the front of the Hummer. A grill is designed to work optimally when the wind is blowing at the front of the grill. If the wind blows from the back or side of it, it is very difficult to keep it lit. During Phase Three, I really tried to come up with a mount that would turn to face the wind. It did not happen, but there might be a Phase Four!!

I finally came up with a solution to install the Hummer on the back liferail that worked very well. I actually already had most of the fittings and tubing needed to do the installation. Once the Hummer was installed, I had to purchase some new fittings for attaching the Hummer to my propane system. Naturally all of the fittings that I had for the Magma could not be used on the Hummer. But, I got it done, and let me tell you, those first two steaks and baked potato were well worth the effort.

Original Hummer Installation

Door Open On Hummer

Side View of New Hummer Installation

PHASE TWO: Because of the active storm season in 2004, we ended up staying in Houston longer than expected. Since we were in Houston, I decided to install a set of production dinghy davits. These davits were not specifically made for DREAM AWAY, so it was a challenge to get them installed, and then attached so that there was no flex in the system. Off with the Hummer, on with the davits! Once I got the davits on, I came up with a way to install the Hummer in between the davits.

Initially, the davit system worked pretty well, and the piece of tubing I had installed between the two davits for the Hummer Grill kept the system pretty stiff. It worked pretty well because we were still using our inflatable dinghy, and, when we were making passages, we always rolled the inflatable up and stored it in the front deck box. The only time we used the davits was at anchor when we wanted to lift the inflatable out of the water for security's sake.

But, after cruising for just a short time, it became obvious that our 10' inflatable with the 6-HP outboard was not going to cut it. Sometimes the distance that had to be traveled was just too far for our small package. We elected to purchase a used Avon RIB, and a used Yamaha 2-cycle 15-HP engine. This combination certainly solved the transportation problem. We could get up on a plane with with no problem at all with both Kitty and me in the boat, and also the groceries and laundry.

The problem this new transportation package caused was with the dinghy davits. With the Avon RIB hanging on the davits during a passage, the strain on the system was heavy. I did some major changes to try and support the davits better by tying the davits into the life rails. This helped, but it put a strain on the liferails that they were not designed to withstand. I was able to keep the system patched together, but when we came back from cruising the first time, we knew some changes had to be made. We needed better built custom davits. We also wanted to change from an inflatable to a hard dinghy. I was getting tired of the punctures letting inside air meeting the outside with the inflatable. (How do you spell de-flatable??)

The following pictures are of the Phase Two davit and Hummer installations.

Hummer Installed Between Davits

Close Up Of Hummer Between Davits

Deck Braces For Davit Bases

Port Side Davit Installation

Hummer On Davits

Davit Base And Wire Support

Side Shot Of Deck Brace

Side View of Davit Installation

PHASE THREE, BACKING PLATES: Phase Three turned out to be quite a bit of work. Check out the tools page to see how this really started. Kitty and I both knew we could not go cruising without a VERY good, strong set of davits. Again, as mentioned on the tools page, we had all of the tools we needed by the second week of January, 2009. Much as I wanted to get right into working on the davits, I had too many other projects started that had to be finished first. It was not that one project depended on the another, just that I could not get anything new started. I had to get the slate cleaned off some! There was the main mast rebuild, and the mizzen mast rebuild, to finish. I also had a haulout to plan and execute. And there was the aft cap rail and taffrail to remove necessitating fiberglass in the replacement. That project has not yet been written up, but I had to complete it because the davits were going to be attached to the aft cap rail.

The davits we wanted for DREAM AWAY had to be substantial. The Phase One davits were not even close! We wanted a set of davits that could lift our Livingston Tender, which came from the factory weighing 190 lbs. With all of the accessories stored in it, including oars, bimini, outboard fuel tank, and an Igloo cooler with stuff in it, it actually probably weights more like 250 lbs. Add to that 100 lbs for the 15-HP outboard, and the 220 lb captain (and also there's the first mate). That means we were looking at supporting over 600 lbs with the davits. While under way, the outboard is to be stored on it's bracket at the life rails, and the captain and first mate are not in the tender. So, there would just be the tender with some extra items stored inside it. But that meant we would still have close to 300 lbs hanging off of the davits during a passage. While cruising, and at anchor, we wanted to be sure we could lift the tender and motor out of the water and secure them to the davits with chains and locks. Yep, the Phase Three davits had to be substantial.

Soon after our Birthday, Anniversary & Christening party, I ordered the 1-1/2" schedule-40 stainless steel pipe needed for the new davits. This project was worked from both ends, in the sense I had to actually build the davits, and also had to prepare the area on the stern of DREAM AWAY on which to place the davits. With those thoughts in mind, I will cover the events of what had to be done on the inside of the boat, in the aft cabin, to get it ready to support the davits. Then I will go through building the davits, installing the davits, and lo and behold, putting a tender onto the davits.

I had fabricated base plates for the previous set of davits. My plan was to use part of those base plates in the base plates for the new davits. I had already drilled holes in the deck, so I would use those same holes, and the existing backing plates.

Because a second pipe was being used on this set of davits, I installed a second base plate to support it. This went over the transom of DREAM AWAY. This new base plate required that six more holes be drilled through the transom into the aft cabin. Naturally "Overkill Kenworthy" had to use 1/2" bolts. So I had a total of 10 1/2" bolts holding the davits on each side. That way, if you wanted to pick up the boat with the davits, it would be no problem! This extra base plate necessitated cutting into the teak trim in the aft cabin to get to the transom to install the backing plates along with the requisite nuts and washers. The hole cut in the overhead in the aft cabin for the backing plate of the Phase Two davits was not real offensive. The extra hole that was necessary for the second base plate on the new davits was not really pretty, but it was necessary.

We did our first dry fit of the starboard davit using the backing plate from the Phase Two davit base. The good news is that we did the dry fit to make sure everything fits properly and works the way it was designed. The dry fit brought out two problems. One problem was the 8" X 8" backing plate from the Phase Two davits. It was not big enough. When I got on the outer end of the davit, after it was installed, and put my full weight on it, the deck flexed really badly. The second problem was galling of the stainless steel bolts and nuts. When we installed the davit for the dry fit, I really leaned on the nuts to make sure they were good and tight.

When I tried to loosen the nuts from the bolts, they would not come off in about 50 % of the cases. This was a serious problem. Not only were the fasteners expensive, but also the situation could not be tolerated. As you can imagine, continually buying 1/2" X 4" or 5" bolts, and the nuts to go with them, could not go on for long. The cause is galling, which is reasonably common with stainless steel. The solution I chose to fix this problem was to use silicon bronze nuts! That was for the future. But, at this time, I had to get five of the ten bolts broken off or cut off in order to get the davit off of DREAM AWAY. That was a real job, and it took up a lot of the afternoon, but the mission was finally accomplished.

The solution to the second problem was to use a bigger backing plate! I happened to have some of the 3/4" fiberglass plate left over from the aft cap rail project, and that was perfect. I was able to cut out two pieces into 16" X 12" rectangles to use as backing plates. Bigger backing plates meant I had to cut out a much bigger area in the overhead panel so I could get the new backing plate installed. More fun to come! As it turned out, the underside of the deck where the backing plate was going, was not flat. I did not want to risk breaking the backing plate, so I had to have a flat surface on which to affix it. The method I used for this was one I had used many times before, when upgrading DREAM AWAY. I mixed up a batch of polyester filler putty. This putty is much like Bondo, but it has long fiberglass strands mixed into it, so it is not only a filler, but also has some strength just by itself. I had to have help on this undertaking, so I called good friend Alan to come over and help me. I had to take up our bunk in the after cabin, and tape newspaper all around to catch any of the putty that was squeezed out during the process. To begin, I wiped the bolts to be used down with wax to keep the putty from sticking to them. I then had Alan outside on the after deck with the four bolts per side. I was down in the after cabin with the backing plate. I would mix up a good batch of the putty, add the hardener, then spatula the putty onto the top side of the backing plate. I then put the backing plate into position; Alan shoved the bolts down through the deck and the backing plate; and, I put on the washers and nuts. We then tightened the nuts onto the bolts, squeezing out the filler putty. We just waited until the filler putty kicked off, and we then had a flat surface for the backing plate. I had to do the same thing, but on a much smaller scale, for the angled piece of the second base plate that went on the transom. It was a very small backing plate, made from 1/2" PVC plate. I used the polyester filler putty, and had Alan shove the bolts through, and in the same manner as before, we tightened the nuts onto the bolts on these backing plates, and waited for the putty to kick off.

The new, larger backing plates did the trick. On the next dry fit with the davits, the deck did not flex at all when I hung on the very end of the davit and jerked on it. The actual transom was very flat, so all I had to do was cut the backing plates, and we were ready to go. Finally, when the davits were built, we installed them on the back of the boat. I sealed them to the deck and the transom with roof mastic, which is, in my opinion, a magic compound. It can be used for sealing just about anything on a boat. The type of roof mastic I use is available in rolls of varying widths and thicknesses. One brand I have used, called Ace Rope Caulk Weatherstrip, is from Ace hardware. The roof mastic was put on the undersides of the two base plates, which were then set into position. During the dry fits, we had learned the proper sequence for installing the bolts. The two bolts on the angle of the second base plate had to be inserted first, but just enough to get the backing plate into position, and then we put on their washers and nuts. Then we did the backing plate for the second base plate on the transom, along with its washers and nuts. Next, we installed the four bolts on the first base plate and its large backing plate, and I also installed the original Phase Two backing plate to add more stiffness. We then tightened all ten nuts on the bolts, this time in no particular order, but making sure the roof mastic squeezed out completely all around both base plates on deck.

Phase Two Backing Plate

Cut Out For Transom Backing Plate

Holes Drilled For Davits

Cutout For Backing Plate

Putty For Angle Backing Plate

Cutout For Backing Plate

New Port Backing Plate

New Starboard Backing Plate

New Starboard Backing Plate, Closeup

New Port Backing Plate, Closeup

Rick Helping With Install

Alan Helping With Install

Alan Helping With Install

Alan Helping With Install

Port First & Second Backing Plates

Port First & Second Backing Plates, Closeup

Stbd First & Second Backing Plates

Stbd First & Second Backing Plates, Closeup

PHASE THREE, DAVIT FABRICATION: The foregoing took care of the work that went into getting the backing plates, and other attachment problems resolved. Next came the actual fabrication of the stainless steel davits. As discussed in the tools page, we had all of the tools, and we had the materials, so we were ready to go.

The first thing we did was cut the base plate for the first davit. I did this at the shop, then took the base plate to DREAM AWAY to measure the angle of the upper pipe from the base plate, and to calculate where the bend in the pipe needed to be. I used two thin strips of wood screwed together as a template for the bend. I also wrote down the specifics of each step to make the fabrication of the second davit easier. I went back to the shop to get the new pipe bender set up to make the first bend. Once set up, we got the pipe into the bender and started making the bend using the template to get the correct angle.

This process was not as easy as it sounds, especially since this was the first time I had used this particular pipe bender, and I was not sure exactly how to get it done properly. The pipe bender consisted of a hydraulic bottle jack, with a bending die placed on the top of the jack. There were also adjustable rollers and the frame to hold it all together. The bending die is sized according to the size of the pipe you are bending. The pipe is then put on top of the bending die, and below the adjustable rollers. The jack pushes the pipe, that is resting on the bending die, against two adjustable metal rollers, were are attached to the pipe bender, and the pipe is bent as the jack is pumped up. The radius of the bend can be adjusted depending on the placement of the rollers. Moving the rollers closer to the bending die gives you a sharper radius, whereas moving the rollers further away from the bending die decreases the sharpness of the radius. Which bending dies you use is important because there are bending dies for pipe, and those for tubing. Pipe is measured ID (Inside Diameter), whereas tubing is measured OD (Outside Diameter). This was called experimenting! As Alan and I did the bending, I wrote everything down as we performed in each step, so it could be duplicated.

During the bending process, two issues came to light. One of the issues was the dimpling of the pipe. The dimpling was caused by the steel rollers on the pipe being bent, as it was being bent, This was solved by using a very thick piece of rubber, much like a piece of tire, to protect the pipe. This prevented the pipe from being dimpled during the bending process. The second issue was the "spring back" property of the pipe. I would bend the pipe to the angle required from the template, and then release the pressure on the bottle jack, but the pipe would "spring back", so it was no longer at the proper angle. The pipe had to be over bent so that, when the "spring back" took place, the pipe would be at the proper angle. So we had to experiment to find what amount to over bend the pipe in order to get the angle we needed. We experimented until we found the number of extra pumps on the bottle jack, so that, when we finished, the angle of the bend matched the template. The good news was that, once we found the correct number of extra pumps, that number remained very constant during the remaining bends.

We finished the pipe bending, and got the pipe cut to the proper length. Then we angled the bottom of the pipe. I also drilled a hole in the base plate to allow electrical and antenna wires to exit, after the davit was completed. I then tack-welded the pipe to the base plate. Next we started the process of tack and fit, weld and fit. I took the pipe with the base plate tack-welded to the bottom, over to DREAM AWAY to verify that the angle of the pipe was correct relative to the base plate. When I determined the angle was correct, I then completed welding the base plate to the pipe.

Another feature about welding I learned was that small metal parts tend to warp when heated to extreme temperatures. I had not realized this feature when I welded the first base plate to the pipe. After I welded the base plate to the pipe, I took it over to DREAM AWAY to verify the fit and the angle. The angle of the pipe relative to the base plate was right on. The problem was that the base plate was no longer flat! Back to the shop to fix that problem. My workbench was wooden, so I could not clamp the parts to the bench to heat them. So, I used a large piece of 1/2" aluminum plate on top of the bench vice, and clamped the parts to that. I eventually got the base plate flat, with the proper application of heat and clamps. I hoped to not have that problem happen again!

With the installation of the new davits, it was necessary to put a gate at the stern, to make ingress and egress to the tender much easier. I accomplished the installation of the gate without too many problems. The really great part about the installation was that, when it was necessary to fabricate some small stainless steel parts, I had all the tools and skills necessary to get the project completed. I had to make some end fittings to fit on the stanchion to which to attach the pelican hook. With the chop saw and the welder, it was done!!

So, the first half of the starboard davit was completed. Next, I had to measure the lower pipe. The angles were the same as those for the upper pipe, so I could use the template for the first bend to mimic the first pipe. I then had to bend the lower pipe upwards to attach it to the upper pipe so it could act as a brace. This was done, and the lower pipe was cut with the proper angles for a good fit. I tack-welded the lower pipe to its base plate, and took it to DREAM AWAY. Once there, we bolted both pipe base plates to the deck, and fitted, measured, and marked the placement of the lower pipe. Back to the shop to tack-weld the two pipes together. Then, back to DREAM AWAY to do another dry fit and verify the angles and measurements. When dry fit was completed, we went back to the shop to complete the welds. The lower pipe needed to be welded to its base plate, and the lower pipe base plate actually needed to be welded together as it consisted of two pieces of 1/4" X 5" plate. The end of the lower pipe had to be welded to the bottom of the upper pipe. We took the welded-up davit back to DREAM AWAY for another dry fit, and that went very well.

Then, because of my nature, (Overkill) I decide to weld in three pieces of tubing between the upper and lower pipes of the davit. This was to prevent any flex or movement between the two pipes. I also decided to add an extra brace between the upper pipe and its base plate. This brace was to prevent the base plate from flexing due to heavy lifting at the ends of the davits. I also had to weld a piece of flat bar, with a hole in it, at the end of the lower pipe, from which to attach the tender lifting hardware.

This pretty much finished off building the starboard davit. Then it was time to take the davit to DREAM AWAY to do a final fitting. This was successful, so back we went to the shop for some final touches. I had not purchased polished pipe, so I took a wire wheel to the davit to shine it all up and make it look really pretty. This turned out to be a HUGE mistake. I used a mild steel wire wheel instead of a stainless steel wire wheel. So what I was doing was not shining the metal, but rubbing off minute pieces of mild steel all over the davit. Guess what happens when you are in a salt water environment?? It has taken me a long time to recover from that mistake. The eventual cure was to sand down the whole davit system with 220 and 320 grit sandpaper.

Fabricating the port davit was pretty much just duplicating the starboard davit. Naturally the exact placement of the two base plates was a bit different than it had been for the starboard side. As I have said before, I am sure that two families built my boat, each with a responsibility for one side only, and they never ever communicated with each other. Finally, we were able to get both of the davits bolted onto the stern of DREAM AWAY.

Then I had to fabricate a cross member using some of the remaining 1 1/2" stainless steel pipe. This cross member was used to tie the two davits together at the very end of the davits. The cross member was also used to house the stern light, the flag holder, and some antennas. I also had to fabricate a cross member out of 1" stainless steel tubing to hold the Hummer grill. The problem with these two cross members would come if/when we had to dock with a Med Moor. In that situation, the cross members would inhibit getting on and off DREAM AWAY.

The method I chose to alleviate the problem with the Med Moor scenario was to make the cross members removable. That would also make a davit replacement much easier, should one get bent or broken. To facilitate this idea, I used two methods of attaching the cross members to the davits since I was using pipe for one cross member, and tubing for the other cross member.

DAVIT AFT CROSS MEMBER: My plan was to weld tabs on the inside end of each davit for each cross member. The tabs were cut from a 2" X 1/4" stainless flat bar. I would then cut a slot into each end of the aft cross member, into which to fit the tab. Then I would drill two holes through the top of the cross member, and through the tab, and then through the bottom of each cross member. I would use 3/8" bolts to bolt the cross member and the tab together.

With the davits bolted in place on the stern of DREAM AWAY, I was able to measure for the outer cross member. I brought the chop saw over from the shop, and measured the devices to make sure the angles on the cross member and the tabs were all correct. The davits were marked for the tab placements on the outer and inner cross members. Once this was all double- and triple-checked, both davits were removed from DREAM AWAY, and taken over to the shop.

At the shop, I welded the two tabs on each davit. I now had the chop saw back in the shop, so I cut the slot needed in each end of the cross member. I also welded a cleat, fabricated from 1/4" stainless steel round bar, onto each davit. I welded two pieces of the round bar onto the davit. These were then heated, and bent over, so they looked and functioned as a cleat. These cleats are for tying-off the lines used to raise the tender onto the davits. This pretty much finished the fabrication of the outer cross member.

HUMMER CROSS MEMBER:  I was able to take a different path when attaching the Hummer cross member. I cut two pieces of 2 X 1/4" stainless flat bar, and then, with my Oxy-Propane Torch, I bent the two pieces into an "L" shape. I then welded a stainless steel stanchion cap onto the vertical side of the "L" piece. The actual Hummer cross member was to fit into the stanchion cap. I wanted to bolt the "L" piece to the tabs on the davits to make the cross member removable.

Next, I had to take the outer cross member, the "L" pieces, the piece of 1" stainless tubing, both davits, and the chop saw, back over to DREAM AWAY. Before I could check the cross members fittings, I had to install the davits for the final time. I sealed them to the deck and to the transom with roof mastic. In my opinion, a magic compound for sealing just about anything on a boat. The type of roof mastic I use comes on rolls of varying widths and thickness. One brand I have used is Ace Rope caulk Weatherstrip, from Ace hardware. I put the roof mastic on the under side of the two base plates, and set them into position. During the dry fits, we had learned the sequence of installing the bolts. The two bolts on the angle of the second base plate had to be inserted first, but tightened just enough to get the backing plate into position, and to attach the washers and nuts. Next came those for the backing plate for the second base plate, on the transom, along with its washers and nuts. Then, we tightened the four bolts on the first base plate and its large backing plate, onto which I also installed the original Phase Two backing plate, to add more stiffness. We then tightened all ten nuts onto the bolts in no particular order, but making sure that the roof mastic squeezed out all around both base plates on deck.

Now was the time to fit the outer cross member, and clamp it into place. I drilled two 3/8" holes into the top-half of the cross member, through the tab, and out through the bottom half of the cross member on the starboard davit. I took the clamps off, and cleaned up the holes with a countersink.  Then I bolted the cross member to the starboard davit. Next, I clamped the cross member to the port davit, and drilled the required two holes there. I took the clamps off of the port side, unbolted the starboard side, and then cleaned up the holes in the port side with the countersink. Next, I put the cross member back on the davits, and bolted down both sides.

The next step was to clamp the fabricated "L" fittings onto the tab on the starboard davit for the Hummer cross member. I drilled two holes through the "L" fitting and the tab, and cleaned up the pieces. This procedure was repeated for the port side davit. With the two "L" fittings bolted onto their respective tabs, I could measure how long the Hummer cross member needed to be. With the chop saw, I cut the 1" tubing to the proper length. I took off one of "L" fittings, inserted the 1" tubing into the "L" fitting, and bolted them down. Then the Hummer cross member was cut and fitted. I knew from the previous installation of the Hummer cross member on the Phase Two davits that the weight of the hummer would cause the tubing cross member to sag. So this new cross member for the Hummer had to be reinforced, and the reinforcement placement had to be done carefully. The Hummer was attached to the 1" tubing using mounts that has a 4" handle to tighten the mount to the 1" tubing. I had to allow space for this handle to turn. I mounted the Hummer on the single cross member, and measured where the reinforcing pieces should be. I also measured the aft cross member for placement of the three plates for mounting the stern light, flag pole holder, and the antennas, that I was going to weld there. When the measurements were all marked and recorded, I removed the Hummer and the aft cross member, and took them over to the shop.

I had been saving 1" tubing forever, so finding the short pieces of tubing I needed for reinforcing the Hummer cross member was no problem. Cutting the pieces was no issue, although it would have been nice to have had a milling machine. I had to round out the ends of the tubing so it would fit snugly over the second piece of tubing. The less space there was between the two mating surfaces, the less fill welding would need to be done. But, since I did not have a milling machine, I had to use a file and grinder to get the metal surfaces close to matching. Eventually it was done, and the hummer cross member was finished.

I had to prepare the three plates for welding onto the aft cross member to accommodate the accessories I planned to install. I had a fair amount of 1/8" plate around the shop, so I was able to get three pieces cut out and trimmed. The three pieces were to be arranged with one to port, one at the center, and one to starboard. A VHF antenna was to be installed on the port plate. The flag pole mount and the stern navigation light were to go on the center plate, and the Sirius Radio antenna and the WiFi amplifier antenna would go on the starboard plate.

I drilled holes in the middle of the port and starboard plates to accommodate wires that might come with future additions of accessories. The mount for the VHF antenna was welded to one side on the port plate. The VHF antenna I used had the antenna cable coming down the center of the antenna. This necessitated drilling a hole in the plate after the mount for the VHF antenna was welded on. I had to drill a hole for the flag holder on the center plate. Then I welded the flag holder and the stern light mount onto the center plate. I welded the antenna mount to the far starboard side of the starboard plate, making room to add the Sirius Radio antenna also on it.

At about this time, I realized I had not clamped the plates before doing the welding. Unfortunately, the welded plates were now horribly warped. This was not good, and it meant I was going to have to start over with all new plates. It was wonderful to have the chop saw as it would have been difficult to do it all over again without that handy tool. More good news, I still had plenty of the 1/8" plate around the shop, so I cut out the three new plates. I was able to cut the antenna mounts off of each plate and use them again, and I was able to cut off the stern light mount and reuse it. I could not save the flag pole mount, but I had another of a different type that could be bolted onto the plate.

Now I was in major clamp mode! I clamped down the starboard plate to the piece of 1/2" aluminum plate I had in the shop, on top of the wooden work bench. I clamped it all to the vice, and welded the antenna mount onto the plate. Just to make sure, I kept it clamped down for another 1/2 hour before I released the clamps. Using the clamp it to the max method, I got the other plates welded, and they were all very flat when I was finished. Then I had to weld the plates to the aft cross member. That also required a bunch of clamping, which I did! It was time consuming, but not as much time as it would have taken for another do over. All of the clamping, pre- and post-weld, paid off.

Now came the time to see if all of the preceding work had done the job. The answer would be yes! The outer cross member was bolted onto the two davits, just as planned, and the plates were parallel to the water. The Hummer cross member was bolted right on, and the Hummer went right onto the cross member. It was time for a toast! The Captain drank a toast of Zaya rum to celebrate the event. Just to make sure all is right with the world, and to placate the gods of wind and sea, a portion of the Zaya rum was also poured onto the davits and cross member.

Lets see, I built this great pair of davits so I could toast the davits and drink rum. Oh, wait, no, I went to all this work so we could suspend our tender from the dinghy davits, and put a couple of antennas on them. I decided to make some rigid spreader bars to support the tender, rather than use line. The rigid spreader bars would keep the tender from swinging in the davits when we were under way. To build the rigid spreader bars, I used some 12" pieces of stainless steel square tubing I found at Momentum Metal Recycling. I have mentioned how great this place was in the Main Mast Rebuild 2009 page. The spreader bars had to be about 4' long, so it was necessary to weld four or five pieces of the square tubing together to fabricate a single spreader of the proper length. Of course, the front of the tender was wider than the rear of the tender, so I had to have two different spreader bars, and they would not be interchangeable. Welding the spreader bars went very well, as I was getting good at major clamping, and then welding. The ends of the square tubing were cut true, so it was a matter of pushing two pieces together, clamping both pieces, then welding,  unclamping, spinning the piece 90°, clamping and welding again. This continued until all four sides were welded. Then with all four sides completed, I clamped another piece of square tubing to the already welded piece, and continued with the clamping, welding, and turning, until I had a single spreader bar of the necessary length.

When I had the two spreader bars cut to length, I measured for the center of each bar. I drilled a hole through the spreader bar at the center into which I would install a 3/8" eye bolt. A carabiner was first attached to the eye bolt, then attached to the block and tackle on the davits. From the Phase Two davits, I already had pad eyes at the four corners of the tender to effect lifting it out of the water. I just measured the outer ends of each spreader bar to the proper length, and drilled a hole for the 3/8" eye bolt. This eye bolt was inserted into the spreader bar in the opposite direction of the center eye bolt. With a carabiner attached to the outer eye bolt, it could then be attached to the pad eye in the tender.

Now it was time to get the accessories installed on the flat plates of the aft cross member. These accessories consisted of the stern navigation light, a VHF antenna, a WiFi antenna, a Sirius antenna, and the associated wires and cables. The pipe to which the aft cross member was attached had a hole drilled in the underside to allow cables and wires ingress to the boat. Naturally, the hole in the pipe was right where the cross member attached. All of the mounts and holes necessary for the accessories were already installed. I had even remembered to run a messenger wire from the hole in the pipe to the base of the davit so that running the cables and wires would be fairly easy. I installed the stern light on the center flat plate with the flag holder, the VHF antenna on the port flat plate, and the WiFi antenna on the starboard flat plate. The Sirius radio outdoor antenna would come at a later date. The accessories' installation on the new davits was complete.

This is nearly the end of the Phase Three Davit Installation. I decided to repaint the bottom of the tender with new anti-fouling paint. It just seemed that, if I was to show off these new custom davits, the tender should be looking as good as she could. I therefore sanded down the anti-fouling paint that was still on the bottom, taped off the three hulls of the tender, and applied three coats of the anti-fouling paint that was left over from the DREAM AWAY haulout of April 2009. When the tape was removed, the tender looked as good as new, and was a fine compliment to the new davits.

The last couple of items needed to actually finished off the davit project were discovered after we took DREAM AWAY out for an overnight stay. Two problems surfaced during this outing. Although the davits functioned with no problem, and I was very pleased with all the work and the finished product, the tender was moving both vertically and horizontally while in the davits while under way.

I used 3" PVC pipe to solve the vertical motion problem. I cut the pipe to the proper length, and then notched each end so that one end fitted around the tender, and the other end fitted around a davit. I tied a line onto the tender, ran the line through the PVC pipe, and then tied the line off on the port side davit. I did almost the same thing on the starboard side. These PVC pipes may change if time and necessity prove this method insufficient. But, for now ,this solution works.

I have used the two block systems left over from the Phase Two davits to solve the horizontal motion problem. I have installed them in such a way as to keep the tender from moving horizontally back and forth in the davits. I tied the blocks to the davits with line, and I used the cleats for the tender lifting lines to tie off the end of the lines. The arrangement worked, but was temporary. As a permanent fix, I welded tabs to the port and starboard davit lower pipes to attach the blocks directly to the davits. I also welded on another set of cleats on which to tie off the line leading to the blocks. I had to do the necessary welding with the davits on the boat. I had to wait for a very calm morning, with no wind, to undertake this task. If there had been any wind, it would have blown away the Argon gas used in the welding process. A very calm morning arrived, and I got the job done. I had to get new line to run in the blocks as the old line was not long enough.

It has been over two years since the davits were installed, and everything has held up very well. They survived a pretty rough Gulf crossing, an anchor drag situation, and the everyday abuse of cruising. We are very pleased the results of the effort.

Setting Up For First Bend

Setting Up For First Bend

Measuring Bend With Template

Measureing Bend Again

Welding On Base Plate

Aft Gate Fittings

Fitting Stbd Davit

Fitting Upper & Lower Davit Pipes

Fitting Upper & Lower Davit Pipes

Welding Up First Davit

Welding Up First Davit

Welding Up First Davit

Welding Up First Davit

Welding Up First Davit

Welding Up First Davit

Stbd Davit Baseplates

Welding Up First Davit

Clamping Support On Baseplate

Clamps To Keep The Parts From Moving

More Clamps Added Before Welding

Clamps From The Other Side

A Very Nice Weld

Stbd Davit Near Completion

Stbd Davit Near Completion

Stbd Davit Near Completion

Stbd Davit Ready For Installation

Stbd Davit Ready For Installation

Stbd Davit Ready For Installation

Dry Fit Stbd Davit

Dry Fit Stbd Davit

Dry Fit Stbd Davit

Matching Port Davit To Stbd Davit

Matching Port Davit To Stbd Davit

Matching Port Davit To Stbd Davit

Tacking Port Side Baseplate

Clamping And Welding

Dry Fit Port Davit

Dry Fit Port Davit

Dry Fit Port Davit

Admiral Supervising

Installing Port Davit

Measuring For Aft Crossmember

Measuring For Aft Crossmember

Measuring For Aft Crossmember

Rick Supervising

Jim Working On Aft Gate

Jim Working On Aft Gate

Davits Installed

Davits Installed

Davits Installed

Port Davit Installed

Stbd Davit Installed

Davits Installed

Parts For Plates On Crossmembers

Parts For Plates On Crossmembers

Captain On Break

Captain On Break

Hummer On New Crossmember

Hummer On New Crossmember

End Of Hummer Crossmember

Accessory Plates Ready For Welding

Accessories Welded On, No Clamps

Port Accessory Plate

Center Accessory Plate

Plate Clamped For Welding

Plate Clamped For Welding

Plate Clamped For Welding

Plates Welded On Aft Crossmember

Welded On Plates - Flat

Plate Clamped On Crossmember For Welding

Post Weld Plate On Crossmember

Aft Davit Crossmember Installed

Toasting Davit Completion

Zaya Rum For Davits

Welding Tender Spreader

Welded tender Spreader

New Accessories For Aft Crossmember

Crossmember Awaiting Parts

Puss-N-Boots Supervising My Work

Accessories Installed On Aft Crossmember

Stern Light Installed

WiFi Antenna Cable

Stern Light Cable Entering Davit

Accessories Installed

Spreaders On Tender

Tender Spreaders On Davits

Tender Hanging From Davits

Tender Hanging From Davits

Admiral Next To Tender

Captain Next To Tender

Prep Tender For Paint

Masking Off Tender Hulls

New Paint Applied

New Paint Applied

Tender Lifting Tackle

Stbd Davit At Cross Member

Port Davit At Cross Member

Modified Aft Gate Wires

Tender Lashed To Stbd Davit

Tender Lashed To Port Davit

Temporary Tender Horizontal Lashings

Temporary Tender Horizontal Lashings