I tow our dinghy most of the time, but there are times when I want it on deck and out of harms way. If we sail through a lot of rain, for instance, it would fill with rain water and become unmanageable. It’s also a poor idea to tow it in very chopping conditions – this is how folks lose their dinks without knowing it. Anyway, there are all sorts of reasons for carrying the dink on deck vice towing. On our last over-night to Dun Cove, I wound up with a dinghy half-full of rain water. My solution was to lift it partially out of the water, bail the remaining water while it was vertical, and then set it upside-down on deck. This was workable in the calm waters of our anchorage, but it would be very difficult in a chop or heavy swell, so the secret is to put your dink on deck before you get into poor conditions.
Several years ago, I worked out the system for lifting the dinghy with a halyard to either launch or retrieve it. It takes about 10 minutes, and is not difficult, nor does it take a lot of strength. It just takes a little patience.
I lift our dinghy by the bow eye. It is a sturdy piece of hardware, and the bow transom is reenforced for this very purpose. It is easiest to tie a loop in the painter (this keeps me from having to lift the bow and attach the halyard shackle to the ring). I attach the main halyard to the loop, and use the winch to lift the bow by degrees, pausing as necessary to adjust or move the dink.
This takes a little going back and forth. Finally positioned correctly, I lift the dinghy completely off the deck, and leave it suspended just below the top safety line. (I got involved with the process when I took these photos, and forgot to get a final photo or two of the dink suspended on the other side of the safety line.) I walk forward and help the transom over the top line. Now the bottom of the dink is resting against the safety line. At this point, I begin to ease it down. Descending slowly, the dink’s transom floats away from the mother ship’s topsides at 90 degrees, then comes to rest fully on its own bottom again with the halyard all slack. This method does allow the dink to take on a little water over the transom, but a couple of swipes with the bailer that lives in the dink easily fixes that.
I also have a harness that attaches at three points with which I can lift the dink. Frankly, it’s more trouble, as I have to get her right-side-up to use it, and that is difficult to do on the foredeck. It might be handy for lifting her clear of the water while at anchor if we really want to secure the dink from theft, or if we just want to get the bottom out of the water for overnight.