Sunday, July 6, 2014

A mystery dinghy for my Columbia 43

The new mystery dinghy for Oceanus. By the way, the cooler was heavy, its not just my butt that's making her down in the bow. Which begs the question, "Does this dingy make my butt look fat?"
I bought a mystery dinghy for my Columbia 43 Oceanus. I've been looking for a Minto or one of the small Gig Harbor Boat Works dinks, or a Fatty Knees for a tender. When I saw an ad on Craig's List I thought from the bad photos it was a Minto. It's not. Mintos are 9 feet 1 inch. This boat is 8 feet 6 inches on the nose.

This boat has no maker's mark or builder plate. It also does not have a U.S. Coast Guard hull identification number molded in the stern, which makes me think it was built before 1972 when HINs became mandatory. It was undoubtedly professionally built and has molded in lapstrakes. The boatbuilder knew what he was doing, he spiled the planks so they look just right.

It has a fairly deep keel for a dinghy and a generous skeg which makes it track well and easy to row. I rowed in a fairly strong crosswind without a problem. She is so much fun to row that I found excuses to row her, like rowing the garbage to the head of the dock instead of walking. The keel will make it a little tippy after landing on a beach, but the great directional stability is worth it.

It weighs between 80 and 90 pounds. I can carry it fairly easy onto my shoulder and carry it to the water. I can also lift it into the back of my pickup alone, but a helping hand is always welcome.

There is plenty of room on Oceanus's foredeck for a hard dinghy of this size. Using a spinnaker halyard and the spinnaker pole, it shouldn't be too difficult to bring her aboard.

It came with the fancy stainless hardware to mount it on the swim step of a trawler yacht. I took it off and it's available to any blog reader who wants it. My guess is that the dinghy spent most of its life decorating the stern of a sea pig.
I bought 8-foot oars. Shorter ones would work, but the eights feel great. I love to row this boat!
It needs some work: the teak on the gunnels is beat up and cracked in two places and most of the screw plugs are missing in action. There are no quarter knees or  a breasthook, which makes it look a little funny to my eye. It also needs paint and filling the holes left by the fancy hardware I took off. I have more pressing projects aboard Oceanus, so these projects may have to wait until we are in the Sea of Cortez.

The good news is I bought it for $150. The bad news is I went to West Marine after and spent $195 on these two wood club things they claim are oars and some oarlocks. The oarlocks look passable, but I may have to do some whittling on the oars before I can stand to look at them. I bought 8-foot oars, 7 or even 6 foot would have worked, but the eights feel great and they'll be long enough to stand and scull.

So, what do you think I have? Who made this little gem? I've been looking around on the web and nothing seems to fit. There's a good article on Cruising World's web site about dinghies, but all the fiberglass ones with lapstrakes in this article are the wrong size.
She doesn't spin like a flat-bottomed pram, but she's still very maneuverable.