Navigating the Sea of Life
Today’s post is the last in the series of posts about the Boston Whaler Dinghy Project. It is written by Steve with occasional comment or two by Joy. If you have missed the first two parts to the tale, please read those first so that you don’t miss anything. Click for part 1 and or part 2
Now that I had the exterior of the whaler looking brand new, it was time to work on some of the mechanical issues. I replaced the steering gears in the helm and the steering cable, but for me, the most fun aspect of the restoration came from installing new electronics and adding what I like to call “dinghy bling.” I ripped out all of the wires in the boat and started over. It was just a mess. I cut out and installed a new VHF radio and also added a new Garmin color GPS depth finder with fish finder. We especially need the depth finder as I have run aground more than once and torn up a propeller or two. The boat had a great stereo so there was no need to replace that. It has some really cool underwater lights and I added five lighted cup holders. I discovered that the speakers also had lights once I reconnected all the wires. All these lights combined are what gives the boat it’s absolutely awesome dinghy bling. If there were ever a reality television show called Pimp My Dinghy, I think I would win–no contest.
The dinghy sits in a cradle when it is not in the water. The cradle can be located on the foredeck like on many sport fishing boats. It can be also be located on the stern of the boat on the swim platform. The cradle for the dinghy on Meandering Joy is on the fly bridge. We have a small crane called a davit which raises and lowers the dinghy. Cradles are typically made to conform to the exact hull design of the specific dinghy model and make. Most cradle manufacturers are located in Ft. Lauderdale and want either the cad drawings of the hull or the boat itself to design a cradle that fits the dinghy exactly. I did not want to take the dinghy to Fort Lauderdale to have a cradle built. Fortunately, one call to Boston Whaler got me drawings for my 17-year-old dinghy. UMT Marine in Ft Lauderdale made the new cradle and our dingy sits on it perfectly.
The final upgrade required was to the davit. Our davit (or crane) made by Nautical Structures was designed to lift a boat weighing 800 pounds or less which is about what the new dinghy weighs. However, the davit struggled to lift the new dinghy. I bought and installed a 1000 pound upgrade kit from Nautical Structures. The steel cable had started to fray and the sharp points had begun to stick out like briars which made for painful experience. We replaced the steel cable with a new age rope called Dynema. The Dynema rope is not much larger in diameter than the 1/4 inch steel cable but has a lift capacity of over 8,000 pounds. It also has UV inhibitor and has a useful life of 10 years.
The last step was to register and title the boat in Florida just like Meandering Joy. The tax differentials in boat ownership between Florida and Georgia made it an easy decision to go to Florida. We only keep the boat in Georgia about 4 months of the year for hurricane season. The rest of the year we are in Florida or the Bahamas.
Steve & Joy