Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Loving your dinghy - Tips in dinghy dexterity

by Nancy Knudsen on 26 Jul 2012
Love your dinghy well and it will never let you down .. .
When going sailing, for a day or a year, it's easy to pay all your attention to getting your boat and sailing skills right and forget to consider the pitfalls of dinghy ownership. A dinghy is your vital connection between boat and shore, and it is wise to consider the issues.

Dinghy security:
How much you need to worry about security depends on where you are sailing and keeping the boat. If you arrive in a new cruising ground, check with other cruisers about the relative safety. In some areas of the world no-one would dream of even locking their motor to the dinghy, while in others the motto is 'Lock it, lift it, or lose it.' Even worse, anchorages such as La Ligna near Gibraltar have long had such a bad reputation that it's not safe to leave your boat for even 15 minutes at the shoreline.

So here are the options:
1. Lock your motor to the dinghy with a bar and padlock. This is simple and sensible.
2. Use a chain as a painter with a secure lock. This will stop most thieves at the dock.
3. Lock your painter to the boat or the dock at all times when you are not present.
4. Make sure that your chain or wire painter is long enough to reach the dock even if there are multiple dinghies blocking access.
5. Lift your dinghy out of the water while not in use.
6. Remove the kill switch as an extra precaution.
7. Do NOT have the name of your yacht on the dinghy - this advertises that you are ashore and makes your sailing boat ripe for burglary.
8. An old-looking dinghy (especially the motor) is less vulnerable to theft than a shiny new one. Some cruisers scuff and paint their motor to look old, even when it is brand new.

None of these absolutely assures that your dinghy won't get stolen, but they all help. The degree of security that you decide on is a matter of judgement.

Dinghy care:
As a vital part of your cruising your dinghy needs as much attention as your sailing boat:

1. If you are using a rope painter, make sure it is a floating line so that it cannot tangle with either the boat or dinghy engine. Having your painter wound around your prop is not a pretty predicament.
2. If you are tying the painter to the boat, have a second security line as well. If the wind is offshore and your line is compromised, you could be searching for your dinghy for days.
3. Carry a repair kit, with spare valves.
4. Use a dinghy cover to prevent abrasion with docks and damage from sunlight.

Using your dinghy safely:
Many a sailor has been lost to the sea when they set out for their boat on their dinghy but never arrived.
1. Make sure you have a means of security for yourself if you are traveling alone, particularly at night - either a life jacket, a PLB, or a tether.
2. Your boat being the furthest away in the anchorage and an offshore wind can be a lethal combination. One woman drifted for three days off the coast of Malaysia before she was found by some fishermen.
3. Make sure you carry oars, an anchor and a baler.
4. Can you climb into your dinghy from deep water? If not you need to consider a ladder which works for your dinghy.
5. When travelling at night always use a torch. It will not only aid your own vision, but it will also advertise your presence to other boats/dinghies on the water.

Finally, read through your insurance policy to see the conditions which pertain to your dinghy, not just the yacht itself. Sometimes there are conditions which a prohibitive for the cruising sailor and a little negotiation can have them quickly removed.
Colligo Marine 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
D-Marin Farr 40 Zadar Regatta – Overall report
Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Those two top-notch programs have resumed their rivalry this week in the waters off this historic city along the Dalmatian coast.
Posted on 23 Sep
Impressive tow-in freestyle show on the water in Cold Hawaii
The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competitio The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competition as expected with light winds and small waves.
Posted on 21 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The hurricanes headed for Hawaii and Florida
The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The first of two hurricanes headed toward Hawaii lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Meanwhile, in Florida, a tropical storm gained in strength and is now designated as a hurricane.
Posted on 4 Sep
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun