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Row, Row, Row Your Boat . . .

As we are getting ready to splash the catamaran, we have to figure out what to do with our dinghy. We have a Livingston 11' twin-hull fiberglass dinghy. Even without an outboard, it is super heavy. I won't lie. I kind of hate it. It's big, awkward, ugly, and not very practical. I really want to switch to something more like this little Takacat

We saw these at the boat show and are really intrigued by them. Think of it as a big stand up paddleboard, with two inflatable hulls, and an outboard motor. The whole setup can be deflated and stored in two duffle bags while the outboard gets safely stowed away. No worries about taking up the back deck space on the boat like our dinghy currently does, or building super strong davits with which to lift and hold our dinghy or another traditional dinghy. Our dinghy now weighs somewhere near 300 lbs without an outboard, and the Takacat that would give us the same approximate sq space - with more of it useable, weighs a whopping 76 lbs. Anyway, I digress, back to the dinghy we have in the here and now.

While we've been working on the hard, the dinghy has been stored down below the boat. We didn't want to lift the dinghy on the boat before we spalsh because that is a pain and then it's only in the way. The marina we will spend the winter at has a dinghy rack we can store the dinghy on, we just need to get the dinghy somewhere near the racks. So we decided to do that this last weekend. Adventures ensued.

First we loaded it on a little, but heavy, cart we found in the yard. Well, I say we, but it was really John who did it even though I told him to holler at me when he wanted to move it - LOL. Then we had to haul it down to the water. I didn't get any pics of the hauling, because that takes all the arms and hands availbe with none left for snapping pics. Hauling was most definitely a 'we' job.

Then we planned to paddle it over to the marina which is across the river from us. It's been super windy around here lately and we wanted to be going with the current or at slack tide, so we read the tide charts and figured out the right time. When we got down to the water, the wind was still blowing pretty good so we decided to wait a bit to see if it would calm down. Then our friend Brian comes motoring up in his dinghy. He's out on anchor right now and was coming in to the shower house so he could get a nice hot shower. He offered to tow us over, so we ate sandwiches for lunch while he showered. He called when he got back and we went right down to the water to meet him. And we were off.

While we were untying both boats and getting set up, he spoke of how hard the current was going when he and Beau went to rescue a guy that morning whose dinghy came untied and drifted away from his boat. They saw the guy jump in the water with only his boxer shorts on while holding a tupperware container filled with clothes, and then trying to swim to his dinghy. Not a smart move, especially on a cold day with a lot of wind and a really strong current. That is how you die people. So they hopped in their dinghy, pulled the guy out of the water, took him to his dinghy, and made sure he and his dinghy got back to his boat.

Next thing you know, we came around the dock and found another rescue situation that needed help. Not nearly as dire, but still, when you're stuck, you're stuck. There was a guy in a little day sailer that had gone too close to shore and gotten his keel stuck hard in the soft bottom mud. We motored over and Brian asked if he needed help, he said he did. So Brian tossed our line back to us while he worked to help the stuck sailboat. And that guy needed help. I think he was really nervous, but he couldn't throw a rope to Brian no matter how hard he tried. Brian had to come right alongside, hoping to not hit his own outboard prop on the bottom to get a rope from him. Then the guy was still holding on to the rope as Brian started to pull, with his hand right in front of the block the rope went through. I hollered over to him to move his hand so he wouldn't lose any fingers and he looked at me like I was calling him names or something. I felt really sorry for him.

So John and I started paddling and actually found that it was super easy and we went quite quickly. Just before we turned up along the first dock of the marina we were going to, I heard a motoring sound and turned around to see Brian coming up behind. He had gotten the guy unstuck and was coming over to us.

People, this is why we love our plan and what we are doing right now. Nearly everyone we meet is happy, kind, and helpful. Willing to share wisdom as well as a hand. Freely giving over a few inches of paint when needed, and asking for your help when they need it. The sailboat/cruising community is full of awesome people.

Brian pulled us the last little bit and we tied up to the dinghy dock while we walked around to look at the dinghy racks.

The problem with getting a big heavy boat out of the water and onto a rack, is it's always uphill. The new marina doesn't have a cart like we used to get to the water from the boatyard, their cart is much smaller and lighter, made more for a modern inflatable dinghy. So after walking around a bit and checking out everything, we decided to just paddle over to our slip and tie up the dinghy there for now. Instead of going out to the river and back in, we paddled along the docked boats til we found an opening and then went under the dock. Easy to do since it was low tide. At least easy to do if John got ducked down in time - LOL!

While we were tying up to the pilings at our slip, we heard someone shouting, so we looked up and saw a catamaran coming towards the dock, heading straight for us, with a woman on the front shouting to us that we were in their slip. We fairly quickly sorted out with them that we were in the slip next to theirs, and they pulled into their slip without incident. John was already up on the dock while I was still down in the dinghy, since we hadn't yet worked out how I could climb up on the finger pier sans ladder, so he helped them tie up. The next 20 or so minutes were spent meeting them, asking about their day sail, meeting their friends, and letting them know who we are. They are a delightful couple, Ela and Wes, who have owned their 38' Fountaine Pagot catamaran for quite a while, since they bought it new over 30 years ago. They live in PA and get out to the marina about once a month or so. It's always nice meeting new neighbors.

Once John reached down to help me get out of the dinghy and on to the pier, but I told him to wait until they were done tying up and off the finger pier. Not enough room on that to tie up the boat and pull me up about four feet. Plus I didn't want them trying to help or seeing me doing the beached whale impression that was likely to be the outcome of trying to get me on the pier. We waited until they seemed on their way down the main pier, and then I started to climb out. It actually went fairly well, however, they weren't gone yet and rushed back hollering that I was being dangerous and was about to fall into the water, trying to pull on my arm to help me up.

Sorry, no beached whale pics except this one.

I made it up on the pier just fine. Then we walked back to the boatyard and got our own hot showers.


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