We have got ourselves

The un-inflatable inflatable dinghy!

4th September 2015
Living on a boat
How to make money
The melting dinghy

Help…. Our dinghy has melted!

Good Evening.


This post is a bit like the evening news. It will start by saying “Good Evening” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t!

At the moment we are feeling a bit deflated but not as much as our dinghy. It is flatter than steamrollered cat which is no bad thing by the way. Just remember that you need to go forward and backwards ten times just in case that rumour about 9 lives is true.

 

You could die in this heat.

I have to say Greece has been particularly hot this summer. Too hot in fact with temperatures way up in the nineties. Now most people would welcome blue skies and the heat but it was just too much. Some nights it was so hot we felt like we were going to die. I always imagined that I would die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car. That is not true by the way. I intend to live forever and so far so good.

 

Our dinghy has fallen apart!

Melting dinghy

Where has all the glue gone?

 

The incessant heat brought about other problems. We got up one morning and found that our dinghy had problems of its own. It dropped apart, literally. The makers signs had dropped off, the fittings which held the lines on it had dropped off, the tubes that keep you afloat came apart so you could see inside them and the transom which holds the engine on had come away.  This was not good. On closer examination almost every part which was glued had come apart in the heat. Not only did our dinghy have more parts than an Ikea flat pack kitchen putting it back together was going to be far harder.

I spent days on end trying to remove old bits of glue and melted a few horses in the process to make something to stick it back together but there were just too many problems.

 

Our dinghy is or was our family car.

Our dinghy is like the family car as we are always anchored and without it we were lost. For a millisecond I did think of asking the gods for a new dinghy but I know they don’t work that way so I thought about stealing one and asking for forgiveness instead. We did think about asking the bank manager for some money to buy a new one but banks are places that will only lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. I tried to find a pessimist to borrow money from but there were none around. If you are going to borrow money always go to a pessimist as they don’t expect you to pay them back. Money cannot buy happiness but it could buy us a dinghy and make misery a lot easier to live with.

 

Cruisers are good people.

Angelina's taxi service provided by Kenny, Angela and Wilson (he is the fury one)

The American taxi has arrived

 

The good thing about the liveaboard and sailing life is that there are so many magnificent people who will do their best to help you out. We had met a wonderful Maltese couple who offered to sell us their dinghy very, very cheap but it would have tipped over with the weight of our engine.

We have been sailing with an American couple for the last month and they have been providing a taxi service for us but now we have to go different ways. In the meantime we have been looking for a second hand dinghy but they don’t seem to exist out here. Apparently we are not the only ones with melting dinghy syndrome.

 

That sinking feeling low down.

We could try using our old dinghy but it would be a real risk. I did talk about it with Angelina and said if we had one life jacket and the dinghy was sinking I would miss her and think of her often. This was probably not the best thing to say as I learnt that women may not hit hard but they do hit low! Actually I am very lucky and married my “Miss Right”. I just didn’t know her first name was “Always”. To be fair she usually is but don’t tell her I told you.

 

We need a plastic surgeon.

Inflatables

Angelina testing “Wicked Wanda”

So, at the moment we are stuck or should I say unstuck with various piles of plastic that should make a dinghy but without a glue factory and a plastic surgeon, don’t. We have been unable to find a second hand one and most new ones are way out of our price range. In fact the only inflatable within or price range is called “Wicked Wanda” and Angelina refused to row ashore on her.

 

What to look for when buying a inflatable dinghy.

Over the last five years we have learnt a lot about dinghies and what you should look for when getting one for long term cruising. Like a cruising boat there is no such thing as perfect and often there are compromises (ladies, please look up compromise in the dictionary. It really does exist).

Not all inflatables are created equal either. Some are truly excellent. Others are like getting into a fight with an ugly person. You should never entertain the thought as they have nothing to lose. These are some of the points you should be looking for:-

 

  • Materials

Basically there are two materials, Hypalon and PVC. Think of Hypalon as the Chuck Norris of inflatable materials, rugged, does not mind the sun, hard wearing and strong but all that comes at a price. About 3 times that of PVC. PVC however comes in various grades from Bruce Willis in a white vest right through to Homer Simpson in a string vest. The Bruce is not as good in the sun as Chuck but look after it well and it will last you till at least Die Hard 9.

 

  • Size

Size does matter

Bigger is not always best

Some people will say that size does not matter. It does. Too big and you cannot find anywhere to put it, too small and it is pointless having one. Then again, a dinghy like ours that you cannot get fully inflated is akin to playing pool with a length of rope.

 

  • The floor

This tends to come in three varieties.

A flat floor….. The flat floor is good for storage aboard but getting it to go just where you want it too on the water is almost impossible. If they say that Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results than a flat bottomed dinghy is for you.

The hard blow up floor…. Good for storage, will go where you want it too but dragging it ashore on anything but sand can be like washing your face with a cheese grater.

The ridged hull…. This is a bit like being alone in the Sahara desert and swallowing a whole bottle of Viagra. Yes you have a firm base that that lasts but finding somewhere to actually put it can be a problem.

 

Phone home

There are many other things you should look for in a dinghy but I would also add a couple more. Many people put the name of their boat on the dinghy and some insurance companies request you do so. To me this is a bit like sterilising a needle before a lethal injection. Firstly, when your dinghy is ashore it shows your boat may be unoccupied and secondly, if you find a dinghy floating around then locating the owner from a boat name is difficult. Our solution is to put your mobile number all over it. We lost our dinghy way out at sea (Our lost dinghy blog) but got a phone call the next morning from someone who had found it so we know it works.

The second thing I would add would be a notice that says “In an emergency, notify:” I tend to put “Doctor”. Well, what’s my mother going to do?

 

And finally.

New inflatable dinghies

Trying out new inflatables

And finally, as they say in the news, if anyone knows a good dinghy manufacturer out there who has a heart of gold and would like us to do a long term write up and test on their product then please contact us. We will still be bobbing around out here on Cygnus III as we cannot go anywhere and with sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine.

Just an update. Eventually we saved up enough to by an AB rib which is built better and we hope as a dinghy it will last in the sun.

 

Swan

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19 comments

  1. Hi Mark,

    Absolutely hilarious blog, really brightened my day! I’d suggest a few wet towels may stop any future Sun related glue melting incidents, but to be honest travelling by blow up doll sounds far more entertaining anyway… don’t know where you would plumb in the outboard though.

    Good luck with the hunt for a new inflatable tender.

    David

      1. Hi Mark,

        I can see from your map that you’re currently in Corfu? I’d recommend for your next adventure you go upto Croatia, amazingly clear waters and some fantastic history (Dubrovnik and Hvar are must-see destinations). I’ll mention to my employers that you are still in the market for an inflatable. 😉

  2. Your post never fail to entertain and enlighten me. All of these blogs need to go in a book. ,Great stuff. Keep it up, like the 3rd dinghy,, IKEA bahaha !!

    1. Joel, thank you for the comment. At last I have enlightened someone. The last person was when I got too close with a can of hairspray and a lighter (don’t try this at home kids, well not at least whilst your parents are around). I am glad you found my deflated problem enjoyable.

  3. Lol@the ridged hull. That is my favorite part of this article. Nothing worst than having a stiff one and no place to put it. Great write up as usual

  4. We loughed a lot reading your dinghy story (and not only). We had our dinghy melted as well in the Caribbean and as this was a gradual process we have learned to operate it in minimum three people. One was pumping dinghy by a small footpump, second was working hard with bailer and the third was paddling. On top of this we had a few fenders attached to the dinghy, making sure we don’t sink. Every time we stoped ashore, it was getting completely flat and we have seen people gathering and commenting ” poor people.. “. We were laughing and driving this dinghy to our Oyster :).
    We tried to glue it back with no success and as this had 5 years warranty we managed to give it back under warranty. We wish you lack finding a new dinghy or maybe try to operate it like we did 🙂

  5. Sorry to hear that you have lost your ‘wheels’ Mark, but I can always count on you to turn your loss into hysterical laughter. Blowup dolls, Viagra and a good argument for why ‘size matters’…plus a new word ‘compromise’. Love it. Hope there is a ‘sponsored’ dinghy in your future.

    P.S. I am certain that Angelina is always right.

  6. Come to Australia I will give you my FIBERGLASS duck , it has 5 airtight compartments, no pumps required. It is closer than New Zealand, I will keep a look out for you,it is rigged for sailing also. Cheers Terry

  7. Just read all your blog in one go. I am inspired! Now looking for boats on flea bay.looking forward to your next post . Hope you get a tender soon ,good luck.

    1. Ade, Do they allow you to read blogs in prison. You must have been held captive somewhere to read them all in one go.
      It really does make a difference to us when someone takes the time to leave us a message saying they have read something so thank you.
      Anytime we can help just send us a e mail.

  8. I can’t believe you are marooned. What can I do from here, that won’t be too time-intensive? I know…perform a Google Search

    Oh, and share the post. Good Luck!

  9. Mark I will lend you my dinghy. You just have to come to New Zealand to pick her up. Her name is Vittoria and she is a zombie movie film star. She knows exactly what to do if there is a zombie apocalypse any time soon.

    On a serious note – make sure your life raft isn’t sitting in that same hot sun. I read an article the other day about how life rafts baking on deck in hot climates having all their glue melt off too.

    PS I think Wicked Wanda would be a most excellent dinghy.

    Good luck!
    Viki

    1. Viki, I read your post where Vittoria was the Zombie film star and really enjoyed it although our dinghy could star in “nightmare on Ikea street” as it is now more of a flat pack.
      We have just set off for New Zealand and should reach you in about 34 years, 7 months, 28 days and 6 hours give or take an hour or two.

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