Oct 25 – Feeling a Little Dinghy

Before…

We’ve just completed a major upgrade of our ship-to-shore transportation component. For years, we’ve struggled with the problem of how to get back and forth to/from Madge while she’s on her mooring ball. If we kept our dinghy in the water, we had a problem with bottom growth, filling with rain water, security, etc. Taking the dink out of the water meant removing the outboard and other equipment, then taking the dink home. When we had a 2.5 hp two-stroke motor, removingĀ it wasn’t a problem. We’d throw the motor on the back of the golf cart, attach some dolly wheels to the dink, and pull it home. The only problem we had with this arrangement was that sometimes the inflatable boat would sit too low on the dolly and the wheels would rub against the tubes. The friction caused a leak in our old dinghy, requiring repairs.

But when we upgraded to a new RIB (rigid bottom with inflatable tubes) dinghy with an 8 hp four-stroke that weighed 90 pounds, suddenly taking the motor off the dink became complicated. We needed a trailer.

…and After.

Now, we have one. We got this small-boat trailer kit a few days ago. It wasn’t too hard to put together, and it’s light enough that it can be moved around by hand, even with the dink on it. We can keep the motor on the dink, and also keep all of our typical dinghy equipment inside the boat. We used to have to remove the anchor, fuel tank, and other items in order to tow the dink behind the golf cart. The trailer is also small enough that it can fit in the garage on the same side as the golf cart, so there’s still room in the garage for a car. Visits to Madge out in the river are much easier now. Well, not as easy as having a dink in the water at the dock all the time, but there are a lot of advantages. The bottom stays clean. The dink stays in the garage when not in use. I can put the muffs on the motor and test it before going to the water. I can launch and recover the dink without getting wet. The trailer is street legal (after paying $12 for a tag), but it’s not rated for over 45 mph.

For our first test, we launched and went out to see how Madge was doing. It was our first onboard visit since the hurricane. Everything was fine, except she looks a little sad with all the canvas removed and no equipment or provisioning aboard. I wish we could go for a cruise, but we have commitments ashore. Sigh.

Since the dink won’t be sold with Madge, I needed some place to keep it. The trailer serves that function. It also means that I can use the dink for other things, like fishing in the marsh… once I learn how to fish. Ha!