When bad things happen to good dinghies

As cruisers, our dinghies are a lifeline. So when we heard from our friends on Ceilydh this morning that yesterday’s beautiful day had ended on a sour note when their dinghy was stolen, we had an inkling of the kind of gut punch it probably felt like.

that's a minivan
Better days in the tender to Ceilydh

As I can draw a finger along the path of our travels, there are only a handful places where we didn’t spend our nights at anchor. We have a few options for going ashore, but the dinghy is our fundamental  mode of transportation. And every once in a while, bad things happen to good dinghies.

Although we felt safer in Mexico than we have pretty much anywhere, there were a couple of places where petty theft could be a problem and it was imprudent to leave your dinghy in the water overnight. Word gets out on the “coconut telegraph” about hot spots. Lock the outboard, lock the dinghy to the boat, and haul them up in one manner or another. We would generally just use a halyard clipped into a webbing harness Jamie made for the dinghy and pull it up to about deck height, rather than going through the full stowage procedure. The über cautious (or those that don’t like cleaning dinghy bottoms!) haul theirs every time.

On shore as well, security was only occasionally an issue. In locales where it was, there was generally an enterprising person you could pay to watch your tender and ensure it would be there waiting for you after a shore trip. If not, we’d just turn it into a shuttle, and split up our trips.

It’s kind of a bummer that here, in what has felt like such a safe place, we seem to be around a dinghy hotspot. I’m not sure how often it happens, but it’s occurred twice to people we know- and that’s really more than enough. In Mexico, petty theft probably meant a meaningful income to the perpetrators. What appears to be the happening here skews toward hooliganism and joy rides, the by product of people who are probably just bored or drunk. It’s a lot harder to forgive.

Ceilydh has an inflatable kayak, but that’s not really effective as the single mode of shore transport for their busy family. So today, instead of enjoying a leisurely Mother’s Day, they were renting a car to tool around SE Queensland in search of a dinghy and outboard to purchase.

Some dinghies at the Brisbane city dock are locked, and some aren’t. We have had a far from a perfect record of locking ours, although I suspect we’ll be better now.




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4 Responses to When bad things happen to good dinghies

  1. Del Viento May 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Oh, terrible news. And especially when it is a dinghy that your kid grew up with and that you have trekked across an ocean, it is no longer just a dinghy. So sorry for Diane and family.

  2. Behan Gifford May 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Hey Michael, it’s so true. I think when you pile on top of that that this is a dinghy that Evan built, it’s even harder. Replacing a major brand RIB with another is mostly just a case of $$$. Replacing the dinghy that you chose yourself, that was JUST the right design for your needs, and then you BUILT it yourself- I mean, wow. Gut punch.

  3. rwc May 14, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Bummer.. Was it a CLC pram?

  4. On A Mission May 18, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    That is awful news! Sorry, I’ve been out of the loop a bit and haven’t heard the news.

    It’s weird for me, coming from South Africa where things get stolen ALL the time but for probably more acceptable or understandable reasons (i.e. severe poverty and hunger), it pisses me off that here in Australia people do all sorts of crime “just for the fun of it”.
    When I first moved to Australia, John and I bought this really awful station wagon dubbed Desert Storm because it had hardly any paint left on it – I mean, obviously not the kind of car you would generally steal, but Desert Storm got stolen twice! Both times for joy rides. We busted the one guy by doing some investigations ourselves and when we tracked him down it was an 18 year old boy who burst out in tears at the sight of John and his dad at the door! We made him come in the car with us to where they deserted Desert Storm under a bridge out in the sticks. The second time it ended up at the dump unfortunately. That car took us all over Australia, an oldie but a goodie 🙂
    Anyway, it’s a real bummer but maybe they’ll still track them down – the fact that Evan built it means he’ll know it anywhere! Just keep looking – it wouldn’t have gone far…

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