Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dinghy part one

Our dinghy is an 11 foot fiberglass peapod type. It rows and tows well and it can hold a lot of people. It would be a pretty good lifeboat if called upon.

I strung some small diameter fenders along the side. They can be flipped in when not in use. There is also some canvas and rubber fendering at the bow and stern.
When I bought the boat it had decaying foam flotation under the seats. I replaced this (in the fore and middle seats) with fenders, black so the dirt and mildew doesn't show. These fenders are very securely fastened, because if the boat were swamped and the fenders were called upon to hold the boat up the fenders would come under a fair amount of strain, trying to get out from under the seats.  The fenders are fastened with doubled nylon webbing through the eyes at the ends and a strap of webbing across the fender. The webbing is screwed to the underside of the seat with short fat stainless wood screws, with finish washers. Finish washers grip fabric really well.

Under the middle seat you can just see a white PVC pipe with a piece of webbing across it. The pipe holds a really good waterproof flashlight (Pelican brand). The required lights for a row boat under 20 feet is [sic] a flashlight. And if, like me, you have ever rowed in the dark and had a powerboat bearing down and you without a light, you'll never be without one again.  I keep a good whistle on the outside of the pipe, with a little piece of velcro.

Under the forward seat I keep another of those sharp, inexpensive stainless sheath knives they sell at commercial fishing supply stores. The idea is that if the boat were suddenly to sink, I'd have a knife to cut the dinghy painter. Maybe it's unnecessary, but I put it there years ago.

The painter is 33 feet of 1/2 inch yellow polypropylene. Poly floats, making it somewhat less likely that I'll wrap the prop when I mindlessly back over the line. Polypropylene is also nearly as strong as nylon, and inexpensive. When you're putting in an eye splice you need to make some extra tucks, say 6 or 7, to accommodate the very slippery new rope. At 33 feet, I can secure the painter to the mooring pennant and the dinghy will hang astern of the sloop.

In the stern of the dinghy you can see a 1/4 inch nylon line. I use this to tie the dinghy alongside, about which more in the next post.

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