We bought a dinghy! The anticipation has been killing us. Last summer we were walking around our marina and saw a dinghy that appeared to be extremely nicely built. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. It had a rigid plastic floor, a squared off bow for greater interior space, nice large tubes with built in rub rails, great seats. I don’t know. You just know it when you see it right? I inquired around only to find out it was our marina owners’ dinghy. I asked about it and looked at them online and really liked what I saw. It was a Walker Bay Genesis 310. It’s a 4 person rated RIB dinghy with replaceable tubes, 10′-2″ long, and can take up to a 15 hp engine. I looked at them online a few times and decided that a dinghy with a solid floor was the way to go for us. I don’t see needing to roll it up and stow it very often, if ever. And I think that a davit system built into the stern of our boat is most likely in our future as well. The benefits of having the rigid floor is that it can plane and act more like a real boat in the 95% of situations you get it into and that we would just have to deal with the size and weight of the thing when stowed aboard as best we can in the few times when that is needed for longer offshore passages.
So, fast forward to this last Monday when completely randomly I did a search on Craigslist for a dinghy and found exactly what I wanted. A 2008 Walker Bay Genesis 310 with a motor and trailer for sale. Marge and I talked about it and thought about it for the afternoon and realized that it was a pretty good deal that maybe we shouldn’t pass up. The boat is in very nice condition and was used in the Apostle Islands by a couple who had recently sold their 30′ Carver powerboat. The person they sold the boat to decided not to purchase the dinghy and we were able to make a deal for it. The boat was located in Tomahawk, WI, about 3-1/2 hours from our house. I took Friday afternoon off work and made the grueling drive down there to pick it up.
We purchased the boat complete with a 1989 Johnson 9.9 hp 2-stroke engine, a very new looking trailer with perfectly working lights, a storage cover, fuel tank, oars and battery powered LED navigation lights. The motor was run and appears to be in great working order. It will be good to get it out on the water and put some time on it. I always feel better about engines when I can spend time with them, get a feel for their quirks and hopefully learn to maintain and gain trust in them. It seems to be a nice engine and should push this boat along quite nicely. From what a friend told me, these are quite fuel efficient and dependable little engines.
Being Friday the 13th of November, the weather decided to throw us a curve-ball. In the 2 days leading up to Friday we got 4+ inches of snow at home and more between me and the boat. Luckily, the roads cleared up and I was able to get the boat home fine. The issue I had was that the temperatures were in the 20’s and the boat decided that it would shrink up, losing pressure in the tubes, which kept loosening the straps that we had put around the boat to hold it to the trailer. I stopped several times in the first hour driving towards home to check on the boat, trailer and straps. The best decision I made was to affix additional straps from the hard transom directly to the trailer so that they weren’t relying on the air pressure of the side tubes to hold the boat in place. Good thing I did because somewhere along the way I did lose one of the straps holding the boat to the trailer. Not really a problem since it was already held firmly down by the bow and the stern. After that, the rest of the trip home went without a hitch, and I was able to get her tucked into my heated shop at home by about 8:30pm Friday night. Once in the heated shop, the air pressure returned the tubes to normal and all appears to be perfect with the boat. Nice! So she’s coming back home to Lake Superior, and I guess she’ll just have to learn to follow a sailboat around now. For our part, we will really enjoy having a dinghy that can get us into deeper trouble! Or out of it, depending on how the day goes.
We knew we’d need a standard, motorized dinghy eventually, but we’ve been getting along just fine with our Sea Eagle inflatable kayak for years. It allows us to get ashore, get into the sea caves, and have a mobile life raft. It is very light, stows easily on our bow, is fun and incredibly versatile. I have been very impressed by the construction, so much so that we bought a new one a few years ago after having our first one for 10 years. Sailing in mainly the Apostle Islands has been an easy place to be and really hasn’t required a more robust, motorized dinghy. There have been times when it would have been nice to venture further and times when we could have used the safety of a powered dinghy to assist ourselves, but we always made due with what we had. As the years of sailing went on, more and more of our friends opted for more standard inflatable dinghies with motors, and we could see the benefits. We love our kayak and will continue to use it as much as we can because it is that nice. Plus we have really loved the exercise and quiet of the kayak and the ability to get into the sea caves. I am sure there will be times when we blow up the kayak just for fun and take it out for the day.
We named her Baby Toe, and of course she’ll get a pair of bare-feet stickers on her transom as part of the Wandering Toes Family. So now there’s officially 2 dinghies in the family, something that all of you were probably aware of for quite some time!
2 thoughts on “Baby Toe!”
Haha, two dinghies. Looks like you’ll be quite well set up for amazing adventures in 2016!