Custom arch and dinghy davits with a semi-custom price from Wells Marine.

Today and tomorrow I want to take a look at what I call prefab boat solutions and by that I mean custom products that have been manufactured in a way that makes them effectively semi-custom and that means they are usually delivered faster, more cost-effective and take the guesswork out of creating something for your boat from scratch. 

Wells Marine has been selling stainless steel arches for cruising sailboats for nearly 25 years.  You can sometimes see Wells at boat shows where you can go through their library of binders with pictures of boats they’ve adorned with roughly 100 lb arches made of 1.5” 316L stainless tubing.  I even found my boat in their binders, a Celestial 48 which is relatively rare.  Wells has experience with arches for Catalina, Hunter and Beneteau but also for other production boats like Valiant and Cabo Rico.  They even have arches for Lagoon and Prout catamarans.

About the only thing you need to do if you’re choosing an arch for which they already have the pattern, is decide what kind of add-ons you want including cleats, light and solar panel mounts, davits, or a wind generator fixture.  They basically build the arch, cut it up, package it for delivery and ship anywhere in the United States.  On your end, you find a welder to install it which will cost around $!,000.  Completely custom arches are available too and they will walk you through how to measure but the key here is that if you can find your boat in their books, you’ll spend less time working out the details and probably less money in design consultation.  And you’ll get o see what the arch will look like on your transom before you get started.

Prices start around $5500 and can go up to $12,000 depending on the size of your vessel and the details you want included.  That’s not cheap but anything stainless is expensive these days so why not save on the design time and expense and see if you can find your boat at