The Second Time Around!
[E-mail letter received from a new Carver owner]:
There is a company out there selling a form of davits that I recommend you buy. It makes what would otherwise be a back breaking job a pleasure. What would boating be like without aggravation? Russ Lester (of Ultimate Die Corp.) is just too nice and would re-invent the wheel to satisfy his customers.
On a more serious note, I have owned over twenty boats and obviously have had a lot of experience with many boat dealers, venders etc. Russ is one of the most capable and concerned manufacturers I have had the pleasure of dealing with.
I installed Russ's PowerDavits on my last boat (a 35" Cruiser Motor Yacht). They worked so well that before I bought my present 47' Carver Motor Yacht, I had already contacted Russ to design a new system which would allow complete access to the swim platform when the dinghy was in the raised position and would allow easy access from the swim platform for my 87 lb. dog.
Russ's dedication and sincerity to his customer and continuous support for his product is unbelievable. It has been a pleasure to deal with Russ and his staff and I would not hesitate to recommend both he and his product to any boater who wants to make boating more pleasurable.
Excerpt from a letter sent by a customer to the Krogen Newsletter
WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE DINGHY?
Up down, up down, cleaning, checking - oh the joys of the dinghy. If it is top side then we have all the problems hauling it up and down, avoiding the satellite dish and follow me, not letting the Weaver davits [metal clips on dinghy from the previous system] damage the side of the boat, avoiding the gutters and so on. Not to mention that it takes at least 6 pairs of hands if there is any wind or wave action. If you tow it, you have to remember it is there when you back up, something we were not used to, and if you have no bottom paint on it you have to keep cleaning it. Yes we do have weaver davits, but since putting a new 4 stoke 15 hp engine on the dinghy it Is too heavy to rest on the inflatable pontoons, and not easy to keep lifting a heavy outboard on and off. On our last boat we used the weaver davits with no problems as we had a twin Vee hard dinghy and she and the motor sat happily on our transom.
As we are at anchor most of the time, we wanted a system that was quick and easy, as our dinghy is used most days, we looked at all the alternatives, power davits topside were out of our price range. We had booklets and information about so many transom davit systems. We looked at other boats and their systems. So many were too complicated, or mounted from the Centre, thus obstructing the transom door. When we were in the Bahamas, a boat docked next to my brother, that had a nice looking system, the owner demonstrated it for us and we decided this was the way to go, so easy, simple installation.
The name of the company was Ultimate Die, based in Tampa, not an inexpensive system, but you know what it is like on a boat, you have to weigh up what is most important for your day to day living, when you are a full time cruiser. This, we decided was the way to go.
We had planned to be on the West Coast of Florida, before we headed to Tennessee River, but with one thing and another, we arrived in the Tampa area later than expected and did not make the River trip. We contacted the company and they set things in motion. They agreed to do the work at the marina where we were staying in St. Petersburg.
They first set up the electrical system and working through the Lazarette, they cut two large holes in the transom, a bit nerve wracking to watch. Into these they applied fiberglass strengthening. Then access doors were put in. Our lines that hang on the aft deck hide these. They also came through under the swim platform and strengthened this area too. We had decided at the last minute to go with the heavy-duty arms, taking up to 1000 Ibs. of weight. The arms are stainless steel rectangular tubes, and can be operated independently of each other, to allow water to drain from the dinghy. There is no winch involved, just two electrically operated buttons. There are no cables or ropes to get tangled up and simple snap eyes rapidly attach the tender to the davits. We had a pendant switch with retractable coil put on, so you could operator the arms from the dinghy when you come along side. A remote switch is also available.
Ultimate Die did a great job, very professional work. We now have a quick, easy system, the flick of a switch and down she goes. Cables forward and aft support her, and we have extra straps to attach when at sea to stop any swinging around in rough weather.
Not everyone wants a davit system on their boat and I have not seen many Krogens with one, but for us it has solved all our dinghy problems, not cheap about $8000 installed, but the ease of deployment and the style of this system is great and we would recommend the installation for other Krogen owners looking for the answer to "what shall we do with the dinghy?"
A. and R. G.
46’Silverton Motor Yacht
Home Port: Chattanooga Yacht Club
Re: Lester Power Davits
To Whom It May Concern:
My wife and I started exploring possible options for handling our dingy in October of 1999 when we acquired Liberty. We’ve considered all of the options…Weaver Snap-Davits, Nautical Structures Hardtop Cranes, TNT Swim Platforms, Atkins & Hoyle Transom Davits and lots of other systems. We were looking for functionality, cost effectiveness, looks and resale value. After talking to friends with davits of all types (many of which never use their dingy because it is too much trouble) we decided against the hardtop/crane systems primarily because of adding that much weight up that high creates an unstable situation, impossible for one person to launch, $17,800, etc. The TNT looked like an acceptable alternative. After many discussions, we discovered with the cost ($18,000), installation, haul out, etc. that we were looking at $24-$25,000. That left us with Weaver, A & H and Lester. Weaver’s system was the cheapest. Drawbacks for us were the weight of our dingy (2002 Triumph, 18HP Nissen, 12 gal. Fuel, gear, etc.) is 600+ pounds. Try and pull that out of the water, even with pulleys! A&H was not acceptable aesthetically and left the dingy in the way of the swim platform. That brings us to the Lester PowerDavit system. We traveled to Tampa, met with the owner and the salesperson, saw an installation in progress, operated the system on the owner’s boat and knew that this was what we were looking for. We ordered the system, spent 2 days installing and have been using every weekend since Labor Day. Would we recommend this system…YES! And after seeing it in operation, we have several friends interested also. This system meets or exceeds all expectations…high quality parts (almost all are Stainless Steel), ease of installation, touch of a button 90 second launch/retrieval, does not interfere with use of swim platform or ladder, and offers a great cost/value equation. If your intent is to use your dingy, I do not think that there is a better system available.
E-MAIL RECEIVED FROM A CUSTOMER IN EUROPE
FROM: K. S. - Barcelona, Spain
TO: Russ Lester - Ultimate Die Corporation
SENT: Monday, February 11, 2002
SUBJECT: Lester Power Davits
At last some proof for you the davits were actually installed on the boat! (Pictures were attached to e-mail)
Having the davits has made a huge difference to our cruising. In the old days, launching the dingy from the flybridge was such an ordeal that often we would not bother. Likewise, getting it back on board was also a hassle, especially if there was any wind or swell in the anchorage.
Now, launching and retrieving is so simple that we do it without thinking. Around the Greek islands there are lots of small anchorages without much swinging room. This means that you need to anchor and take a stern line ashore to tie to an Olive tree or rock. Since we do not like to tow the dingy it means we need to launch it every time we arrive at an anchorage. What would have been quite difficult is now a simple thing to do. This means that we can visit anchorages that we would otherwise have avoided.
You may be able to notice from the photos that I have used a system of straps to hold the dingy to the davits. These are webbing straps that go from the ring at the end of the davits, under the dingy and then tie off on the davit brackets. In addition, I attached small rubber blocks to the top of the inboard tube on the dingy. There are 4 blocks, one pair for each davit. The blocks are spaced the width of the davit apart so that when the dingy is raised the davit seats itself between the blocks. This stops the dingy from swaying as the boat rolls. These 2 methods combined hold the dingy rock steady.
I notice that you are advertising in Passagemaker magazine; hope this works for you. As far as the European market is concerned your biggest problem is the type of boats sold here. For the past 5 or so years, nearly all European motorboats have had integrated walk down bathing platforms rather than flat transoms. Boats are berthed stern to with no fingers between boats so the aft end needs to be kept clear for boarding. Also, most motor boats are planing hulls; not many semi or full displacement boats here (a bit strange considering fuel is $3/gal). However, if you could find a good way to focus on this fairly narrow market, your products would be competitively priced here. Perhaps your bathing platform mounted version could work.
This year we will be heading north to Croatia which is reputed to have some of the best cruising in the world. There are thousands of islands and anchorages so your davits are going to get a good workout!
Best wishesK. S.