Dinghy Lifting Winch

Getting a bigger and correspondingly heavier dinghy demanded greater mechanical advantage in our davit system for lifting it out of the water. An arch mounted winch helps a lot. We found one on eBay for a good price.

We first added a much more robust 6-1 block and tackle system on each side of the arch for lifting the dinghy out of the water. The red line in this picture lifts the aft end of the dinghy. The full up weight of the dinghy is around ~360 lbs, and we estimate that more than 2/3’s of that weight is at the aft end because of the engine. Doing a little math, the pull on the red line when lifting is about 45 lbs. I can pull it up with some effort, but it’s a real struggle for Paula. A self-tailing winch would be an ideal “helper” .
We needed to clean and re-grease all our winches anyway, so we started with the smallest self-tailing one we have – a Lewmar 16. Here it is removed from it’s normal mounting position. I did some test fittings to see if it could somehow be mounted on the arch with the swing of the winch handle not hitting anything in a full 360 degree turn. I found a good spot, but needed a “pad” of sorts on which to mount the winch.
Starboard to the rescue again. I went to my favorite online store for custom cut starboard and ordered a one inch thick piece cut in a 5″ x 5″ square with beveled edges.
We cleaned and re-greased the winch and mounted it on the starboard. The winch base has five 1/4″ holes for mounting.
On the underside of the starboard base I hollowed out each bolt hole to accommodate a fender washer and ny-lock nut. Standard 1 1/4″ machine screws were just the perfect length and did not protrude beyond the bottom surface of the starboard pad (the flange of the winch added the extra 1/4″).
The mounting screws on the left side of the pad go all the way through the smaller pipe and are secured on the other side with a fender washer and ny-lock nut. The larger pipe on the right side is packed with wires running through it from all the antennas mounted on top of the arch. For that reason, we did not want to drill holes through the middle of it. Instead, we found a pair of clamps that mount onto the outside of the pipe and present a reasonably thick flat surface into which bolt threads could be tapped. The clamps also raised up the right side of the pad creating a better angle of attack for the line as it winds on the winch drum.
This view shows how the pad mounts on the pipe clamps on the right side tube. Bolts go through the right side of the pad and screw into threaded holes tapped into each clamp.
Here’s how the mounted winch looks from the left side, slightly angled inboard. You can see the two thru-bolts in the left pipe.
Here you can see the “fair lead” from the top of the block and tackle down to the winch (red line). There is just enough room for the winch handle to make a 360 degree revolution without hitting anything. The angle of the winch will also accommodate winding in the line from the block and tackle on our swing out crane (white line with green flecks). The crane can be used to hoist the dinghy engine up onto the stern rail or to lift a person out of the water.

3 thoughts on “Dinghy Lifting Winch”

    1. Rich – I have a new post coming about the new dinghy with several good pictures. It’s a Walker Bay RIB with a 20HP Honda 4 stroke.

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