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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dinghy Disruptions… Again

Ok, there are dinghies worse than ours!  However, their boat is
on the hard, not in the water, in Pointe A Pitre, Guadaloupe.
They don’t need it to get ashore from anchor.  Then again,
maybe that’s why they’re not at anchor.…

Dinghy butt… aka a wet derriere courtesy a wet dinghy, is common condition among us low-budget cruisers.  In my case, my most frequently worn garmets are those with bottom-halves that dry the quickest – that is, we have chronically bad dinghy problem.  

It is the bane of our existence.  

We alternately pray it will work, make regular sacrifices on its behalf (mostly at chandleries – no small or large animals including human virgins, or alcohol were harmed in sacrifice).

Yes, we already...


That last episode, getting severely smacked about under a dock, resulted in the tube on one side separating from the transom (back of the dinghy), while water poured in quicker than it could be bailed out.  Once Wayne glued it (and all the rigamarole that goes with doing that properly) it held. 

After taunting us the promise of an apparent fix, it continued to leak like a sieve.  We toyed with either stocking it with fish, as the water level inside the boat was more than sufficient, exploding it, or hoping someone would be dumb enough to steal it, poetic justice for them while forcing us to replace it.  Yet we continued to bail and bitch....

Then, the other tube ripped itself off the other side of the transom.

Now we’ve gotten pretty good at bailing, plaining with the drain plug pulled so it empties while we’re underway (thanks, Tomaz, for that tip), and laughing about it.  And, it won’t fill until sinking; it reaches a certain level, about a foot of water across the bottom (for me, that's calf-deep and enough slosh up to the hem of my favorite sundress when sitting), then it stabilizes at that level and doesn’t get any wetter.  Still, after a while, it just isn’t funny.  Since our dinghy potentially doubles as our emergency life raft, which we hope and pray we never need, we do take its inadequacies seriously.

Part of our hike…. Our boat is by the little masts in the more
distant of the two bays, in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua.
So we took a 4-mile hike up and down hills, during the hottest time of the day  (this is the Caribbean equivalent to trudging 10 miles in the snow, barefoot, to school) unsuccessfully seeking the correct epoxy to fix it (the other epoxied side did hold, after all).  We settled for what was available at the third and final chandlery in the area, which, if our dinghy was working, wouldn’t have taken us long to get to.  We did get a huge break on our return trip, hitching a ride back from a local.

Dinghy onboard for repair... again.  This time it's in
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua.  
Wayne winched our decrepit dinghy onto our nice, dry bow deck, glued it, strapped it into place, gave it a day to dry, and…

It didn’t hold.  Not at all.

We’ve decided we will bite the bullet and spend the big bucks and replace it with something new and reliable.  We are currently researching our options and checking availability.

For worriers, waterlogged as our current dinghy is, it still won’t sink, and the places we anchor, we could easily swim to shore.  Transporting groceries from land to boat, however, swimming just can’t cut it and we’re too cheap and lazy to dock on the marina, especially if we’re going to spring for a new dinghy and maybe new outboard motor (that’s another story) for it too.

Meanwhile, it’s inflatable kayak and paddling time again.  We’re grateful we have that option.