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I must preface this post by telling you a secret. The dinghy and I are in a fight. More specifically – the outboard motor for the dinghy and I are in a fight. As in, he won’t start for me. Flat out refuses to in fact. I typically end each session crying and cussing. It is quite a sight to see.

To be fair – the last time I tried Bo couldn’t start it either. So there.

So writing an entire post dedicated to the thing that makes me cuss seems a bit ironic. But, he is critical to our daily success, so he does deserve his own post, I guess. And inquiring minds want to know how we do this life – and this is a major part.

Think of mr. dinghy as our car. If we want to leave the boat and go anwhere (shower, workout, ice machine, etc…) we hop in the dinghy and off we go. If only it was so easy….

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The dinghy starts here. On the front deck of Selah. Anytime we are in the ocean-ocean (anything besides the ICW) he rides up front, strapped down. That way he doesn’t go flying off or get carried away by a wave.

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Step 1: Unstrap him. Sailors have very complicated ways of rigging things up, so I let the professionals handle this part. Lord knows I would most definitely do it wrong.

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Typically, while Bo is unstrapping I am getting the other bits and bobs ready. This halyard (rope) is what we will attach the dinghy to and hoist him up.


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The other end of that halyard and this winch is what we will use to lift him high in the sky.

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Once it is all hooked up I winch it up while Bo guides it over the life lines. If it is especially windy out that day this can be exciting. I don’t know how much dinghys weigh – but I would say it is a couple hundred pounds, suspended in the air on a rope. Kind of like a flying VW bug that could take you out at any moment.

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Eventually it hits the water and step 1 is done!  Yay!  Pause for a quick celebratory drink??!?!

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But really, the fun is just beginning. Compared to the outboard, the dinghy is a piece of cake.

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My nemesis. Sitting there so smug on the davits.

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Again, we do a lot of hooking up. Fancy ropes and hooks and stuff. I keep my distance.

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This dude (the outboard, not Bo) weighs about as much as me. And tends to swing wildly in the breeze as well. That can be exciting. Once he is safely secured by safety lines on top of safety lines (you do NOT want him to end up in the water!), Bo lifts him off the mounts and scrambles into the dinghy down below.

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We don’t have many pictures of what happened just there, because I was busy doing it. Basically I use the fancy pulley-thing and slowly release him down into the dinghy while Bo stands there and guides it onto the back of the dinghy.

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He screws it on and we are just about done.

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Don’t forget the gas!

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And we are ready!  Each trip we are accompanied by life jackets, a light, a VHF radio and a sponge. Every time you press that little garage door opener and out pops your car from the garage think of us!

We even filmed a time lapse of the deployment so you could see what we’re talking about!
[Video should appear below. If not, click here.]

Life Aboard Selah: Deploying the Dinghy in :60 from Bo Cordle on Vimeo.

SailingBA | Bo

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