Two models of the dock-side cradle are available to you. The first, pictured below in Figure 1, is an early design with 5 ribs (3 ribs where you enter and exit the kayak (in the more shallow water), and two ribs where you enter and exit the cradle while seated in the kayak (in the deeper water). The cradle slopes down into the deeper water so that the kayak is held firmly by the 2x4's when you are getting in or out, and floats freely when you are entering or leaving the cradle while seated in the kayak.
The downward slope of the cradle into the deeper water results from the progressively longer inside and outside arms on the ribs as you move into the deeper water. The two smooth (and water-sealed) cedar
2x4's are bolted to the ribs (7.25 inches from the center) so that they support and cradle the kayak. Tests have been conducted with kayaks ranging in width from 22 inches to 30 inches and the cradle performs well at both extremes. The railings connecting the ribs provide stability to the construction and can be used to assist in entering and exiting the cradle while seated in the kayak. Rust-proof handles can also be attached to the dock and used to help pull the kayak into and out of the cradle while seated in the kayak. The cradle is attached to the dock using stainless steel bolts through short pieces of aluminum flat bar attached by hinges to the cradle.
The support arms (ie ribs) can be described in greater detail by reference to Figure 2 which shows the second rib in isolation from the others. In addition to having inside and outside arms which are slightly longer than for the first rib (and shorter than for the other three ribs), the second rib is equipped with two pairs of angled braces, welded to its inside and outside arms and to the bottom of the rib. These braces add rigidity when getting in or out of the kayak or canoe.
The other ribs are the same as the second except that they have no braces and have arms of different lengths (increasing in length the deeper the water).The holes drilled in the bottoms of the ribs are for attaching the 2x4's.
The cradle is attached to the pieces of flat bar bolted to the dock using hinges as shown in Figures 3 to 3d.
A hinge (Figures 3 to 3d) at each of the 5 ribs enables the cradle to be rotated up onto the dock when it is not in use. This prevents the bolts from being loosened by the rocking of the cradle in rough water.
The hinges consist of three pieces of 1 inch pipe each 2 inches long with a bolt inserted through them. At each hinge, two of the pieces of pipe are welded to the top of the flat bar (Figure 3a) so that they straddle one piece of pipe welded to the inside top of the inside arm of the rib (Figure 3a and 3b). The hinge is formed by inserting an iron pin through the three pieces of pipe (Figures 3 to 3c) and inserting a cotter key (not shown) through the hole in end of the iron pin. One of the 5 iron pins used in the cradle hinges has a larger hole (Figure 3d as compared to Figure 3c), so that a padlock (rather than a cotter key) can be used to hold that iron pin in place. Using a padlock rather than a cotter key deters theft of the cradle.
The entire cradle can be rotated up onto the dock when not in use (Figure 4 and the second photograph above).
When rotated up onto the dock any water seeping into the aluminum tubes through bolt holes will drain through small holes drilled in the top of the railing, and the cradle is protected from damage by rough water.
The second model of the dock-side cradle is a modification of the first model (just described) based on experience with the original design. There are three differences. The first is that it contains three rather than five support arms; the second is that it excludes the braces on the second support arm, and the third is that it contains one 8 foot railing rather than two 4 foot railings.
In both models, the railings are detachable, being bolted on (rather than welded on). The railings are detached to make a smaller package for transportation or shipping. The two main differences in our two models is that the first is more rigid (because of the sturdier construction) while the second is less expensive (because of the simpler construction). The second model is shown below in Figures 5 and 6.
We have found in numerous tests that the second model is very strong and stable enough for most users. It is only if the user needs an exceptionally rigid platform for entry and exit of the kayak that we would recommend the extra expense of the first model. For most users the 3 rib model will be stable enough