Please select your home edition
Edition
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW LEADERBOARD

Stopping Dinghy theft - The four basic rules

by Nancy Knudsen on 29 May 2007
Dinghy locking device - watch the rust BW Media
Where you are boating in the world determines how vulnerable you will be to dinghy theft. In La Ligna anchorage near Gibraltar theft is so rampant that it has turned into a business operated by scouts with mobile phones.

These watch for a dinghy to be tied to the shore, notify waiting minivans, which arrive with bolt cutters, and within 15 minutes of the unaware cruiser's leaving the dock, the dinghy is gone to a workshop where it is re-badged then carted over the border to be sold. In this anchorage we were advised not even to leave our dinghies in the water, and if hauled out, lock them to the boat anyway.

On the other hand, in some anchorages, the locals have been known to be greatly upset by the sight of a visiting cruiser locking their dinghy, implying that the locals are not to be trusted. Sometimes it's just hard to explain. 'Well do you lock your car?' 'Yes of course' 'Well, it's just like that – we're used to locking our dinghy everywhere – no reflection on you.' Sometimes this works, but not always.

So how much of the advice here will apply to you will be a factor of the environment in which you sail, although some is just good common sense Here are the four basic rules that will ensure that you have the best chance of NOT having your dinghy stolen:

Always lock it. A 7-10 metre length of lifeline with an eye on each end plus two rustproof padlocks is one method of locking your dinghy. Cruisers who have had bad experiences or who are just plain cautious use a heavy chain to the same effect. At the dinghy end, loop the wire or chain through something secure on the dinghy itself, not on the outboard motor – this way you can lock your dinghy when not using the motor.

Always hoist it out of the water at night, either on your davits, or use the halyard to lift the dinghy, running spring lines forward and aft to secure it. If you have an anchor winch, this is useful for raising the dinghy without effort – or any suitably placed hydraulic winch. Otherwise, depending on the size of the dinghy, it's pretty muscle building.

Always lock your outboard motor to it – it's apparently the outboard motors that are often the attractive item, so no matter how well a dinghy is secured, it's a matter of seconds to remove the outboard motor. There are several ways of approaching this:

The most secure method is by purchasing one of the plastic coated locking bars that are available at many marine stores, or on-line from West Marine. They will also lock it to the yacht's rail. The advantage of these is that the lock is encapsulated in the mechanism and cannot be sawed off. The disadvantage is that they are not manufactured for marine use (how dumb is that?) and rust quickly. We have met one cruiser who had had a stainless steel version manufactured using the bought rusty item as a model – great idea.

Replace the plastic clamp handles found on most motors with stainless steel and then thread a lock directly through them Such a lock is, of course, vulnerable to being cut with bolt cutters.

Run a short length of chain through the lifting handle and secure it on the dinghy to a transom eye-bolt or some other secure fitting. This method is also vulnerable to a bolt cutter, but should slow the bastard down.

Wreck it.Don't run around in an obviously new shiny dinghy. Some methods of aging a new dinghy that have been used are:

File off the brand name and the size of the motor

Artificially age the boat by splatters of dark paint or using sandpaper to remove the shine

Age the dinghy by similar methods (not the sandpaper of course) – you might be sad to do this, but it's better than losing the dinghy.

We've met one cruiser who deflates one side of the dinghy to give it the impression of being leaky. He carries a small hand pump with him in his back pack to reflate the dinghy when arriving back at the dock.

Zhik 2021 Dec Choice of Champions FOOTERHenr-Lloyd 2021 For the love of foul weather FOOTERCyclops 2020 - SmartlinkNano - FOOTER

Related Articles

2021 ILCA 6 Radial Worlds in Oman overall
Emma Plasschaert and Nik Pletikos crowned champions The 2021 ILCA 6 World Championship concluded today in Barcelo Mussanah, Oman, with Nik Pletikos of Slovenia winning the men's fleet in the last race on the last day of the competition.
Posted today at 6:24 pm
The IMOCA skippers getting ready to return
There is nothing like an IMOCA sailor who is stuck on land There is nothing like an IMOCA sailor who is stuck on land. Just ask Pip Hare, the British Vendée Globe finisher who did not take part in the Transat Jacques Vabre as she and her team continue preparing their new boat for next season.
Posted today at 3:33 pm
America's Cup: Special General Meeting cancelled
The RNZYS Special General Meeting will not go ahead after the Requisition was withdrawn on Monday The Special General Meeting requested by a group of Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron members, set down for Thursday evening, will not go ahead after the requisition was withdrawn on Monday.
Posted today at 2:04 pm
7 days of Zhik cracker deals
Get yourself Christmas ready! Still searching for that perfect present? Every day, for the next 7 days we will be unlocking a great new deal on a selected product. Check zhik.com each day as they unlock.
Posted today at 12:14 pm
2021 Manly Cup O'pen Skiff Regatta
Incorporating the NSW State Titles Last weekend Manly Yacht Club hosted its 2nd annual Manly Cup, which incorporated the NSW State Titles. We had a large fleet of 57 boats across three fleets with a handful of sailors traveling from VIC.
Posted today at 11:58 am
75 boats complete 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre
150 sailors and 75 crews have made it to Martinique from Le Havre The 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre ended today with the very last boat, the Class40 Terre Exotique, crossing the finish line less than an hour before the cut-off time.
Posted today at 10:40 am
Stransky secures race victory at ILCA 6 Worlds
Mara Stranksy finally found her form on day 5 Tokyo Olympian Mara Stranksy finally found her form on day 5 of the ILCA 6 World Championships in Oman. The young Queenslander shot up the rankings to 6th overall after three solid races including a win in the last race of the day.
Posted today at 5:55 am
2021 ILCA 6 Radial Worlds in Oman day 5
The quest for medals will go down to the final day A dramatic penultimate day in the 2021 ILCA 6 Worlds ensured the quest for medals will go down to the final day in both men's and women's races. After a week of low wind, today was completely different and saw many sailors show their true form.
Posted today at 5:35 am
Cabbage Tree Island Race Start
A damp, but fast trip north to Cabbage Tree Island for a large, mixed fleet of vessels A large mixed fleet set off for Cabbage Tree Island on Friday evening heading for a damp, but fast trip north. LawConnect took out line honours, IRC overall to Zen and the 2 Hander Division went to Speedwell.
Posted on 5 Dec
Team France wins Sailing Arabia – The Tour 2021
Wrapping up the title in style Team France claimed the Sailing Arabia - The Tour 2021 trophy with another win in the final leg at Al Mouj Muscat. The debuting crew led from start to finish, winning seven of ten days.
Posted on 5 Dec