Three Tips for your Dinghy

1) Build a Dinghy Sling By Tor Pinney
Author:
Updated:
Original:

1) Build a Dinghy Sling

By Tor Pinney

 This easy-to-make lifting strap makes it a cinch to lift the dinghy in the davits without putting stress on the glued-on towing rings

This easy-to-make lifting strap makes it a cinch to lift the dinghy in the davits without putting stress on the glued-on towing rings

I bought a 9-foot inflatable dinghy to take cruising, intending to carry it in davits when island-hopping. Its plywood transom had a secure attachment point for a davit hoist line, but there was no provision for hoisting the forward end. I tried attaching lift lines to the port and starboard towing rings, but realized they would chafe the tubes over time and might stress the glued-on D-rings. So I designed a wraparound lifting strap, which works well.

The strap is made of heavy-duty 3½in nylon webbing covered with some chafe-resistant material my canvas shop had lying around. It passes around the entire front end of the dinghy, with a seamed joint at the sides to shift the angle so that it lays flat against the tubes. The ends overlap on top—amidships, level with the flotation tube tops a foot or so abaft the bow—and are strongly stitch-bonded together, making a sturdy joint through which I installed the eyebolt to which the davit hoist line clips. To prevent the sling from slipping forward, it is lashed to the dinghy’s port and starboard towing rings. The strap’s eyebolt is also tensioned with a line that runs aft through the transom’s midship attachment point and is brought up tight with a rolling hitch.

Although the lifting sling can be easily removed, I find it convenient to just leave it on when the dinghy is in the water. In fact, when the dink is tied behind the boat I habitually clip on the davit line as a second “safety painter.” As an added bonus, whenever rainwater collects in the dinghy below its transom drain, I can drain it in a minute by lifting the bow with the davit line.

Photos by Tor Pinney

2) Just Say "No" to Inflatable Dinghies

By Sebastian Smith

DINGHYMaine

Why we chose a Dyer Dinghy over an outboard motor

Take one look at a typical dinghy dock and you’ll see inflatables with outboard motors have won the popularity debate. But we use a hard Dyer Dhow dinghy with oars and a sail and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I concede, there are disadvantages. Sometimes it is hard rowing against the wind, or you might not want to row at all, especially knowing that a powerful motor could get you there. As for launching, putting a hard dinghy over the side in a strong wind can get hairy.

 Whether rowing or sailing the benefits of an engine-free dinghy are many

Whether rowing or sailing the benefits of an engine-free dinghy are many

But here are the pros: we carry no potentially dangerous gasoline. We don’t have to do annual outboard maintenance. We make no noise. We get exercise. Our dinghy doesn’t fall apart in the sun. Our dinghy doesn’t mind getting scratched on rocky beaches. And she sits very well overturned in front of the mast and provides a spray and rain cover for the open hatch below.

The Dyer is a good dinghy because it is light and rows well. We row with good long pine oars, which are amazingly useful, especially if you’re used to struggling with the little toy oars that come with most inflatables. Best of all, in the right conditions, we can put up the little sail and actually go as fast as a motorized dinghy, using just a fraction of the effort.

Photos by Sebastian Smith

3) Always Lock Your Dinghy Oars

By Tor Pinney

 A simple way to lock your oars to the dinghy without affecting their ability to row

A simple way to lock your oars to the dinghy without affecting their ability to row

It’s a story you never like to hear: the inflatable’s oars had recently been stolen, so there were none aboard. When the outboard motor died outside a St. Thomas harbor they simply drifted away downwind, with no food or water. A couple of days later they were spotted and rescued off Culebra, sunburned, dehydrated and lucky to be alive. Of course, if only they had locked the dinghy’s oars in the first place, the entire misadventure could have been avoided.

It’s no secret that inflatable dinghies row indifferently at best, and their oars tend to get short shrift because they are rarely used. If they are aboard at all, you’ll often see them, cheaply made and undersized, perched atop the side tubes or lying haphazardly on the dinghy’s sole. Mostly, they’re just in the way, and yet when you need them—when the engine suddenly stops working—you really need them. That’s why it is prudent to invest in a pair of quality dinghy oars.

However, good-looking oars might tempt an admiring passerby. To keep honest sailors honest, drill a hole in each oar blade; it will not noticeably affect their performance. Make up a cable with a thimbled eye at each end, run it through the paddle holes, and padlock it to the transom. Always keep the key handy, perhaps hidden in the dinghy, and the lock greased so you can deploy the oars quickly if necessary. Treat your dinghy’s oars with a little respect, and protect them. They just might save you someday.

Photo by Tor Pinney 

Related

SunFast-600x

Video tour: Jeanneau SunFast 3300

Jeanneau America's Mike Coe takes SAIL aboard the brand new Sun Fast 3300 for an exclusive tour. This mid-sized stripped-down racing boat has a perfect balance of amenities and weight-saving simplicity to make it a blast to sail. Though it boasts sleeping space for up to six, ...read more

furlex2

Know-how: Installing an Electric Furler

Push-Button Reefing Boats have never been easier to sail, and yet, designers and builders still strive for that extra iota or two of convenience. A case in point is the growing acceptance of powered headsail furlers. Roller-furling headsails are ubiquitous not only on cruising ...read more

New-Lead

Know-how: Modify a Blackwater System

My dissatisfaction with the head and holding tank plumbing arrangement on our 1987 Sabre 38 had grown as we cruised the boat away from the comforts of a marina for longer periods of time. When we are tied up at a marina, the use of regular bathrooms generally trumps the ...read more

01-LEAD-Suzuki-55f19d31e297c

Choosing the Right Outboard

Two of the most indispensable items on board a cruising yacht are a dinghy and an outboard motor. At anchor or on a buoy, of course, they are your only means of getting ashore. They also have a thousand other uses. For example, they can allow you to motor across to friends’ ...read more

2019-giftGuide

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Sailing America Rizzoli International Publications has released this striking portrait of American sailing by nautical photography legend Onne van der Wal just in time for the holidays. Featuring 200 stunning photographs spanning the length and breadth of the sailing scene—from ...read more

01-Sailing-La-Vagabonde,-Outremer-48

Cruising: the Vagabonde Life

Once upon a time conquering your dream of sailing off into the sunset was enough, but these days it seems like you have to be popular on social media too. Balancing the stresses of sailing around the world while keeping a successful—not to mention financially lucrative—social ...read more

191114

Video: 11th Hour Racing Arrives in Brazil

Team 11th Hour Racing finished in fourth place this past week among the 29 IMOCA 60s competing in the 4,335-mile doublehanded Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Aboard were American Charlie Enright and French sailor Pascal Bidégorry, ...read more

Video--Edmond-de-Rothschild-Maxi-tri-Pitstop

Video: Edmond de Rothschild Maxi-tri Pitstop

. On Sunday, after having been first across the equator in the Brest Atlantiques race , Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier aboard the Ultime maxi-tri Maxi Edmond de Rothschild reported they’d be making a pitstop in Salvador de Bahia, in Brazil, after damaging one of their ...read more