Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Falling Apart at the Seams

Something was wrong with our dinghy.  Very wrong.  Every time we got in it we had to pump out at least three inches of water and by the time we got to our destination (usually no farther than a 5 minute ride - we've never *really* trusted her) we would be ankle deep in seawater.  Luckily, we have this handy little pump which is incredibly efficient (and arm toning all in one!) at removing water.

We've been going along like this for months.  Scott tried to silicone the bottom back in the Bahamas (on the recommendation from the man we bought it from), but it did little to quell the flow.  We knew the leaking problem was getting worse, but neither Scott nor I really wanted to address it.  We happily kept pumping like mad, accepting the ritual as normal, and joking ourselves into thinking this was something we could live with.  It wasn't that bad, after all (yes, it was).

"How's the dinghy look?" Scott would yell from down below as I gingerly moved in the sloshing mess to get to the pump.

"Ya know...not so bad...I think maybe it rained more than we thought last night",  I'd reply with a hopeful, feigned smile - knowing full well that I was lying to myself as I vigorously pumped out six inches of water.

We tap danced around our little dinghy issue like this until the other day when Scott and I were swimming in the water.  We were floating along in the midday sun, enjoying our recently purchased foam noodles and having doggy paddle races (don't knock 'em till you try 'em!), when Scott caught a glimpse of a flap hanging off the bottom of the dinghy.  He swam over to investigate.

"Uh...Britt.." he said as he cautiously lifted the flap, "I can see through to the other side".  I extricated myself from my comfy noodle position and swam over.  It was true.  We had a giant hole.  Right in the bottom of our dinghy.  So that was where all that water had been coming from!  We both spontaneously smiled (even chuckled!) at the relief of knowing where the heck all the water had been coming from - mystery solved! - and then groaned at the realization that it was a much, much bigger problem than we thought.

Adding insult to injury Scott added, "Oh...and the pontoons are leaking" - he splashed a little water on an old patch to show me where the precious air was evacuating, "see?"  I put my ear to where he indicated and sure enough, I heard the telltale "ffffffffffffsssssssssssss" of a pinhole leak.


You know you're dinghy has had it when it's the first thing you check when you wake up in the morning.  Not because you think it might have been stolen, but because you think it might have sunk.

We took our boat out of the water the other day to assess the damage and discovered, much to our dismay, that the bottom of the dinghy is just a party barge's wake away from peeling completely off.  Our dinghy is literally falling apart at the seams!

Luckily for us we a) can laugh at this (because, looking back on all the dinghy rides where our feet were submerged, it *is* pretty funny) and b) we are very close to our "end" destination of Grenada where we will be at a marina for at least a month and where we will be able to buy a new dinghy*.


Scott and I are literally having conversations nowadays that sound like this:
"Oh my god - you know how great life will be when we get a RIB?"
"The possibilities will be endless..."
"No more soaking wet feet!!"
"We'll be able to put things on the floor!"...
"What will we do with all the time saved not pumping out water?!"
"Imagine not having to worry every morning that it has sunk!"
"We can go more than a half mile away!"
"Hard bottom!"...
"Planing hull!"...

At least we have something to look forward to!

Brittany & Scott

*Right now we are looking at either this dinghy or this dinghy.  And before you tell us to get a bigger one - please keep in mind it will not fit on our bow!


Bill said...

Life will be a lot better when you can get on a plane! There is a reason people refer to inflatable dinghys as "deflatables"; it's only a matter of time :)

At least you guys are characteristically optimistic and taking it all in stride.

SV - Akupara said...

Ever look into a nesting hard dinghy? Rowing is free and nobody wants to steal the motor. That said, we have a rib, we especially like the false bottom that keep things dry even when there is some water in the boat.

Robert Salnick said...

I couldn't tell from the links what the models you might be interested in were made of - but I would strongly recommend on you choosing Hypalon fabric. It costs more, but it lasts way longer in the sun.

s/v Eolian
Seattle (yeah, like we have sun here)

Cabatach said...

I have a 2.7 metre inflatable dinghy with an inflatable floor and blow up keel and hard transom. will fit on the foredeck of my rasmus but better still will roll up into its bag and sit low on the foredeck for passages. Its by Waveline but you get equivalent from lots of people.

Cabatach Rasmus 126

andy said...

our last dinghy was an 8' Mercury . It only lasted 5 years. Our new one is a zodiac hard bottom that has a bag and deflates flat. It is about 10' It is awesome. When in the bag it is about 8X3.5' and only 10' high. Awesome on the bow. It did cost us 2k at the Annapolis boat show, but well worth the extra couple bucks

Last Paradise said...

AB all the way. The Carib is nice, we had the L8 on NoNews but could barely plane with Jeff & I in it, neverming laundry or groceries!- tried our motor on an AB and planed with no problem. Needless to say, we went with the AB on LP. Good Luck! XOXO Abby

Mike said...

Hey guys. AB is solid. When we
Purchased our boat it came with a 10 foot AB RIB that had been in service in the tropics for almost 10 years an itwas still going strong when we sold
It to get a smaller version. She planed out and did about 20 knots with four 200 lbs people and a 15 hp two stroke

Anonymous said...

Yeah... very familiar with this. So much so I renamed my dinghy "patch". Intending a Pacific crossing this year, from the Carib, though, so will need to say goodbye to trusty, leaky old patch, at last...

Aye, from Almacantar.

alina said...

Hello guys If you really want to buy any electric pump then I suggest you first preference give the dinghy foot pump

Unknown said...

I had to laugh when I read this, we had a similar mishap in Croatia last year, there are some pretty sharp rocks on the south side of Hvar island and some of them are pretty hidden under the waterline. Our dinghy got multiple rips and I ended up with my leg through one of them, unable to move until the whole thing flipped up, dumping me into the water. I've just had to buy another tender, settled on one of the smaller models from 3D Tender. I think all inflatables probably have a limited timespan, especially if you don't check what's under the waterline!

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