No. 94 - October 1991

DINGHIES - THE HARD OR THE SOFT? TO TOW OR TO STOW? BY ARDEN WAITE:

 

The subject often becomes one of not so much of what is best or how do I handle it, to the one of what can I get and how can I make it do. Or the continual problem of - it's too big until you get there then it's too small!

 

Moondancer has two dinghies. One is hard and towed when we think we might need it and the soft one is always with us. They both have advantages and disadvantages.

 

First, the hard model because it was with us first. It became evident soon after acquiring our Tanzer 22 which my wife and first mate named "Moondancer", that we would need something to serve as a shore vessel for our first summer cruising plans. A quick look into the matter and it soon became evident nothing

was readily available and/or affordable.

 

As I had built boats before and had a good workshop and most of the required material on hand, it didn't take too long before we had a Glen L "8 Ball" minus the sailing gear. We had a lightly built 7 1/2 foot dinghy called "Dancealong". It has served quite well. Its advantages are that it tows straight and in good form. During the last few years it has covered many miles. Not bad to row and can carry a load. All in all, not bad. It fits nicely into a pickup which makes it handy to throw supplies into and launch at a ramp close to the marina. So easy to have our cruising supplies loaded on board Moondancer.

 

Disadvantages are, because it is almost flat on the bottom, all you need is a ripple on the water and it's slap, slap, slap. On a windless night why does a dinghy always drift around to the side right where one sleeps and go bump slap, bump slap?

 

I have been told "I like your dinghy" so why do I plan to sell it this spring? It can be smaller and lighter for my purpose. So I plan to build the same thing a bit smaller and instead of 1/4" plywood I'll use foam core and Fiberglas. I am sure I can make it easier to handle, tow and drag up and down the beach.

 

Soft dinghies. What a nice feeling to sail freely with nothing to drag your down. This works well on a daysail or when you know there will be wharf space at your destination. But should it happen that you are unable to make that destination and do have to anchor out. Wouldn't it be nice on such a warm evening to go up to that interesting place for a nightcap? Into the sail locker and out with the yellow canvas bag. Pump for a while and you are away.

 

Moondancer's nameless inflatable came in a package smaller than it will ever be again. But it is still small and easy to stuff away. I had been looking for something to do this job as well as fit aboard Moondancer. Many nice and expensive models were looked at. Then MMOS advertised their "Aqua 1". Small and cheap because it is only neoprene. For now it is great. The optional three piece 1/4" plywood floor is OK and fits under the port bunk cushion. The best feature of all - it is always with us. Nameless is small and is rated as a two man dinghy. But has carried the captain, second mate, third mate (six foot son) and nuisance mate (cocker spaniel) who is standing on one side on top. Didn't fall in either! Also one large bag of goodies from the food store and one folding bike. Needless to say there wasn't any room to row. The captain and third mate paddled and we returned safe and sound. One looses space this way rather rapidly but not stability. The dog remained dry and so did we.

 

 

The motor bracket works well - we use a small electric outboard

with a deep cycle battery. Nameless rows like any inflatable the pits. The rowing seat sags too much, a fender under helps.

 

Towing Nameless is like trying to drag a parachute so we generally deflate nameless and stow her below. MMOS no longer list the Aqua 1 but their Seasport IV made of Hypalon might be even better.

 

A RUST FREE KEEL BY JOHN CHARTERS:

 

Perhaps, just perhaps, there is at last a product that may, once and for all, solve our problems with rusting keels. It is called POR 15 MARINE.

 

I am sure many of you are familiar with so called rust preventive paints presently on the market. I am told these are little more than ordinary paints with fish oil added.

 

POR 15 is something different, according to the manufacturer, POR 15 Inc. "POR-15 works because it chemically bonds to rusted metal and forms a rock-hard non-porous coating that won't crack, chip or peel. It keeps moisture away from metal with a coating that is strengthened by continued exposure to moisture." (Quote from their brochure.)

 

Again, quoting from their brochure. "POR-15 is an ANHYDROUS product (made without water). It is VERY sensitive to water but not in the way you may think! Ordinary paints are softened, weakened and eventually destroyed by moisture. POR-15 Marine is strengthened by moisture. It has the REVERSE chemistry of ORDINARY paints. It sticks to metal like nothing you have ever seen and forms a rock hard, non­porous coating. ORDINARY paints dry faster on dry, sunny days. POR­15 MARINE dries faster on HUMID, DAMP, RAINY DAYS!

 

ORDINARY paints and coatings can be scratched with your fingernail or housekey ... or a stone or a rock. Once scratched, rust begins to form. TRY TO SCRATCH POR-15 MARINE. Use your fingernail, key or pocketknife. You will see how tough the coating is. Rocks and stones won't hurt it; yet it is very flexible! Metal can expand and contract without affecting the POR-l5 MARINE coating.

 

We said before that POR-15 MARINE sticks to metal like nothing you have ever seen! That is true, but it will also stick to YOU like nothing you have ever seen. And NOTHING will take it off once it has dried ... except TIME." End of quote. Sound too good to be true? I expect to try it out on my keel next Spring - I'll report back.

 

MOORING FROM CLIVE BEASLEY:

 

A few issues ago, we published a number of articles on moorings that had been sent in by our members.

 

From Clive - his method. He moors his Tanzer 22 "Kimbo" with three 22 lb. Danforth anchors. 80 foot rodes attached to a ring with a 10 foot pennant and two 25 foot mooring lines to the boat.

 

This has worked in an open to the East mooring area which is two feet at low tide and 12 feet at high.

The boat has previously, a number of times, managed to drag a 4X4X2 block of one ton concrete, which is standard mooring material in the area, across the bay.

 

Clive's boat has lived through several hurricanes using this three anchor mooring.

 

LIFELINES BY JOHN CHARTERS:

 

If you have lifelines and race, you know what a pain they can be. No problem with a decent breeze and the working jib. But when the wind is light and you have the number one up, chances are, each time you tack the clew will get hung up on the lifeline. Which generally means a crew member will have to walk the genoa around.

 

When I was fitting out my Maine cruising boat, I decided to get rid of the lifelines on #1000, which after all is used mostly for racing, and install them on my cruising Tanzer.

 

However, Barbara and I still take the odd weekend cruise on our boat here. And when the wind pipes up, I sure miss those lifelines. What was needed was some sort of "detachable" lifeline system, to be removed when racing, but easy enough to re-install when required.

 

Fortunately, the stanchion bases were still fastened to the deck and even the lifeline anchors were still on the bow pulpit.

 

The first thing I did was to order a new set of curved stanchions from Eric Spencer (Yachting Services). These were re-installed permanently as they do not get in the way when racing. As well, having them on the deck makes getting up there all that much easier.

 

The second part of the installation needed a little more thought. The lifelines needed to be easily installed or removed, but sturdy enough to be useful. If it was going to take an hour or so to fit them each time needed, the whole purpose would be lost. Fast on and fast off was needed.

 

And this is how I did it. I did have a couple of ordinary stan­chions in stock which were cut to size. Then I ordered from Eric Spencer, enough lifeline to reach from the bow pulpit anchor, to the ring on the curved stanchion. A snap shackle at one end and pelican hooks at the other, took care of tension and those little grub screws were replaced with thumbscrews. Now it is but a moments work to install the lifelines whenever we wish to go cruising.

 

SNOOPY AND ME BY JOHN CHARTERS:

 

Earlier in this Compendium is Arden Waite's article on dinghies. And as I read it over, it brought back many a memory. I have gone through the torment of trying to decide whether to tow a hard dinghy, or stow an inflatable.

 

Because we do most of our cruising in Maine and always need to row Suzi, our miniature poodle ashore at least twice a day, we need a dinghy that is readily available. Don't ask why, but female dogs seem to wait until the very last minute to be asked to be taken ashore. Then it is an emergency! No time to be fiddling around trying to pump up an inflatable. So we tow a Fiberglas dinghy,"Snoopy". And I have a little two horsepower

Johnson outboard that we use when anchored far from shore. The rest of the time we row.

 

But I have a question. "Why is it that when it is cold and dark, late at night and when I am all alone, why is it at times like these, that I manage to capsize Snoopy, while getting on board?" It has happened to me twice!

 

There is the mother ship "Red Baron" anchored well out in the bay, with my wife snug and warm below, while I am splashing around in the frigid Maine water, trying to rescue the dog, round up the oars and what is far more difficult, trying to climb back onto a dock or float that is many feet above my head. Generally, with nothing to climb up on. There should be a rule, every float should have at least one ladder for clumsy people like me.

 

Have you ever tried to climb onto a wharf or float from the water? I can assure you, it is not the easiest thing in the world to do. Especially when fully clothed.

 

From now on, I am going to try to make it a rule. Never, ever row ashore unless wearing a lifejacket or floater coat. Including a lifejacket for Suzi, which we have but don't always use. Please, if you see me about to head ashore without wearing a lifejacket, remind me of the above rule.

 

GARY CLAIBORNE'S TILLER RESTRAINT:

 

This is about the simplest and no doubt the cheapest self steering device I have ever seen.

Gary took a 126" of 3/8" shock cord (bungee) and overlapped the ends about six inches. Then, using 80 Lb. braided dacron fishing line he whipped each end one inch. This leaves a four inch hole to slip over the tiller.

 

To use, slip "hole" over tiller and loop each end of the five foot circle around each cleat, port and starboard and equalize tension.

 

To adjust, slide bungee around cleat. With sails trimmed and the new rudder, Gary is able to hold a course for some time.

 

SERVICE DEPARTMENT:

 

The deck of your Tanzer 22 (as well as other areas needing reinforcement) is a laminate of plywood and Fiberglas. If, for whatever reason, water is allowed to collect and remain trapped between the two layers of Fiberglas, the plywood will eventually either rot or delaminate from the Fiberglas. Or both!

 

This is one case where prevention is simpler than the cure. if you suspect that water is leaking in via a through deck bolt or fitting, remove same and re-caulk with whatever caulking compound you favor. Don't wait until ugly brown stains appear on the gelcoat under the ports or around the hull deck joint.

If the deck has already delaminated or it feels sort of soft and spongy when you walk on it, the damage may already be done. The cure, as I said, is not all that simple. First, the wet plywood needs to be dried. Just about the only way I know is to drill holes through the deck, to the plywood, to allow air to enter and circulate. A fan may help. Or perhaps a hair dryer. Once dry, the plywood needs to be saturated with one of several products on the market formulated for this problem. Glu-vit, I seem to remember, is one such product. Con­sult with your local marine dealer. The final step is to fill the holes with gelcoat. Good luck!


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