I have never owned a new vehicle. My first car: used. Ditto cars two through four. Papillon is older than I am. And all three of our dinghies were previously enjoyed. (Even our former house was in its eighties when we bought it, but since it didn’t stand up and walk around à la Howl’s Moving Castle, I don’t suppose it counts.)
Last year, we did a bit of a dinghy shuffle. We sold the old inflatable, and took on a tinny and a small sailing dinghy. This was a good move. The sailing dinghy is fun for the kids – especially Stylish, who loves to row it around the anchorage – and the tinny is perfect for Pacific conditions. It can handle sharp coral-rubble beaches, and it is just right for longer trips around the lagoon.
But the tinny we bought was old and much-repaired. We knew that going in, and we got it for a song. It was the perfect tester; we knew it wouldn’t be a long-term solution for us. Much like the beater car that you can use in-town but not on the freeway, the Ramco will be great for someone sticking close to shore or going fishing up the river. But the dinghy is our family car, and it needs to perform. We needed something more. And since dinghy prices in New Caledonia are surprisingly reasonable, it was time to make the big leap to Buying Something New.
To make a long story short, we settled on a 3.4 m Blue Fin dinghy with the unlikely name of “Critter”. (Erik may not know it yet, but he will be removing that name from the side in short order. It makes me feel like I should be slapping mosquitoes and trolling for catfish under a tree root.) And I’ll admit it – I was excited. A brand new dinghy with no bumps or bruises, no cracks or imperfections, just shiny, shiny thick aluminum and a set of ribs to die for, all for us. I could hardly believe we were really doing it.
But – and you knew there would be a “but” – buying a dinghy is not the same as buying a car. When you buy a car, you expect a few extras. Things like seat cushions, bumpers, an exhaust system. A motor. When you buy a new dinghy, you get a hull. A pretty, empty hull. And instead of driving your new purchase home from the dealership, you get the joy of carrying your 70 kg dinghy out of the parking lot and down to the water.
Okay, great. Now you are in the water. Now what? Oh, right. Row home with the oars you brought along. (Those aren’t included, either.)
Now we’re tied up.
|Sorry, I’m busy making mirror eyes. I can’t be bothered to pretend to care about whatever it is you are telling me.|
All ready to go, right? Not so fast. Those metal sides are going to bash the heck out of the sailboat. Time to add a rub strake. But that’s easy – drill some holes, add some screws and washers, and three hours later, voilà!
Hmm, what next? Right, the chain. While those generous car manufacturers include car locks as a standard item, your dinghy isn’t so lucky. Break out the Loctite Red, and here we go!
Now all we need to do is add the chains to hang the dinghy from the davits, install the anchors, tie on the painters and spring lines, add the motor and we’re done. Easy peasy.
It may not be as easy as buying a car, but what fun would that be? It is a boat project, after all. Hopefully, we’ll complete a test drive by the weekend, and we can all enjoy our brand new dinghy in style.