After a brief wait for some custom swimstep davits, the new inflatable is ready to launch and mount on Jolly Mon’s swimstep! After hauling it to the marina in the back of the pickup, the transom-mounted beaching wheels made it a breeze to roll the new dinghy across the parking lot and down to the dock for launching. They sure will be nice for pulling her up on the beach without damage.
Once in the water, the dinghy was floated behind the swimstep to determine the davit locations. Custom swimstep snap davits were ordered from Weaver for a nominal upcharge. Due to the taper of the inflatable’s tubes, the forward davit needs to be higher than the rear davit to keep the centerline of the dinghy’s hull level on the swimstep. The forward davit is raised three inches. The Tolly has a pretty meager swimstep, so I elected to extend the swimstep davits four inches to ensure adequate room for the Weaver Leaver to be mounted and operate.
We determined the required offset for the forward davit by running a string line down the centerline of the dinghy. Once we had that point of reference, we were able to measure to the davit rings and compare measurements to determine the difference. When the davits were mounted and the dinghy tipped up into the hauling position, we were happy to see that our meaurements were pretty much spot on!
Once the detail of mounting the swimstep davits was completed, it was time for the maiden voyage. Jonathan and I mounted up the outboards and headed for the breakwater. I run a 6 hp Johnson, while Jonathan runs a 8 hp Yamaha.
As we exited the breakwater, we opened the throttles. These boats, mostly due to their length, are noteably slow to plane, but once on step they perform nicely. According to GPS, I clocked my speed at 15+ knots, pretty impressive for a 6 hp outboard.
It was a nice evening, and wanting to play around with the new toys a bit, we ended up running out to the end of Guemes Channel. The new boats felt very safe and comfortable. (Yes, Mom- we were wearing our life jackets..).
First impression is this is going to be a great dinghy. So far I am thrilled with the quality, ride, and performance. I will be adding a Doel-Fin to the outboard with hopes of improving the planing speed, as well as install a Weaver Leaver outboard bracket in the coming weeks.
TO BE CONTINUED…