Colin - ex SV Island Pearl
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typo correction - OceanCraft make a new standard 2.9m aluminium dingy, not 2.0m length
Since OceanCraft (Delos "Maggie") factory just a short distance from our home here in Australia, we copied Delos and purchased an OceanCraft 3300 aluminium dinghy, but had it specially custom made to just 3.0m (instead of 3.3m) with floor and front locker built-in. This cut back size was helpful and allowed us to easily get around the deck and also better use the Genoa, however, OceanCraft now make a standard 2.0m one which would be even better we feel. We then made a custom timber cradle for our SM, similar cradle to Delos and circumnavigated with it with no real adverse effects, including in 6m swells / 55+knots mid-Indian Ocean wild seas.
As for the positives and negatives, and will we get another one on the bow of our next Amel in a few years time?
- This large dinghy was absolute gold when we had at times as allowed us to get everyone to shore in one go.
- Whenever we had long distances, inter-island etc., to cross we used it as it cut through any chop smoothly and was very fast and comfortable.
- We used it for most refuelling as we mainly visited many remote places and almost always refuelled via Gerry cans. Compared to our smaller Hyperlon Dinghy which took max 5-6 x 23L fuel cans, we typically loaded up 12 x 23 Litre jerry cans full of fuel (plus two of us too!) on the large dinghy which saved us so much time.
- In calm waters such as throughout the Maldives for 4 months, we towed it easily (over 800mn!) as we crisscrossed this cruising haven. That was such a luxury!
- When going forwards on the bow in rough seas one felt much safer having the dinghy to hold onto.
- The large dinghy on the bow became a wonderful storage area for all our fenders and other bulky light goods freeing up lots of space in the rear locker.
- It looks really ugly on the bow!!
- When tacking we always tacked by furling the genoa in at least 60% to avoid it catching on the dinghy, and also had a sheet line (like an inner staysail stay) running from the first spreader down to the anchor winch so that the genoa sheets would pull around this rather than catching on the dinghy. Whilst we got used to this and could tack without starting the motor, it still remained was a small price to pay but fortunately, on a circumnavigation, one is rarely tacking anyhow.
- The extra weight up front was fine (note we s/s welded a nice strong long shaft new outboard bracket on the rear rail opposite the Amel supplied one - and always placed our larger outboard there - never on the bow) and we never got any drips through our bow thruster until purchasing a new 110m chain in the Caribbean. Just in case though, before leaving Thailand, we had also devised a sneaky plan in case of any emergency bow thruster leaks by purchasing a new $10 bicycle tire tube from a Phuket bike shop (for a large rim, a fat tire bike) and we split it around the perimeter and cut it to form one nice long wide pliable new rubber strip in case of any emergencies. At the start of all major ocean crossings after this, we wrapped this tightly around the bow thruster area (where water may come up into the boat) in large rough seas and never got a drop of water in, even with all the weight up front. Also, boat balance in big seas also seemed unaffected.
- We tied both the timber davit itself and the dinghy very firmly with multiple straps and these both added to the "ugliness" and could become a trip hazard for any new crew who were not accustomed to running around on the bow on dark black nights. That said we never had anyone trip on these, so were fortunate.
- Visibility forwards was not great but fine as we cut huge "see-through" holes in the timber of davit itself without impacting its strength. That said, however, at night, with no moon, it took a lot of time to get used to working out if you were looking at the dinghy or beyond this!!
So, in summary, will we do this again in a few year's time after COVID when we purchase our next Amel? The answer would certainly be "yes" if we had any intentions of having more than just one extra crew member for any long periods of time. However, since most of our circumnavigation was just Lauren and me on our own, and we far preferred it that way, we doubt that we would do this again. We think an approx 3.1 or so meter hyperlon dinghy with a 15 is the way to go, but particularly ensure you get one that fits nicely on the rear deck with enough space to move around it, plus such that the mizzen sheet does not get caught up on it.
Colin, Scarborough, QLD
(currently boatless until at least 2022)
PS If any of you happen to be here in QLD, Australia, and want our timber davit for the OceanCraft get back in touch. The new owners did not want the extra dinghy or davit and my wife wants it gone soon from our garage. The dinghy sold previously so just a free davit available now with correct camber for the SM bow- Email me at colin.cruisingpoint@...
Merry Christmas/Joyeaux Noel/Buon Natale to all AMEL Owners. We are considering a new strategy for our dinghy and have a few questions for anyone that might be able to help.
1. Foredeck storage cradle. Who has done this? Do you have pictures? How does it fasten to the deck? Is it foldable/removable? Do you store it upside down? If not, do you keep the outboard on or off?
2. Maximum length and beam. I note that SV Delos has an 11 ft. Oceancraft on a cradle. Anyone with different experience?
3. Balance. How is boat balance affected with foredeck storage and the motor still on the dinghy?
4. Any other things I should consider?
Thanks and to everyone, please stay safe, healthy and happy.
Loca Lola II
0411 016 445
0411 016 445