A Dinghy Saga, lemons in paradise….#8

storm picLiving on a boat/yacht isn’t all sunshine and roses, beaches, food and friends. If you are doing it on your own (no crew to help) there is a lot of work that has to be done. If you own an older boat, things break and many times they are important and must get fixed. I’m very lucky Dan is so handy and knowledgeable with all this stuff.

If you are following my Blog you know we got a hole in our dingy. We first noticed it when we took a stop on Orcas Island at the ferry terminal, so I could go grab a few things at the grocery store. The wakes were really big and the dock and dingy were jumping around really hard. As we pulled away, the tube on the aft starboard side was making a bit of noise that we had never heard before and looked like it may have lost a small amount of air. Luckily we were in Blind Bay minutes away from our boat. On arrival I didn’t think much about it and unloaded our stuff, Dan went to investigate. Dan discovered some type of hole, but we couldn’t tell how big it was. So we adjusted plans (this happens a lot when you own a boat and something turns up wrong etc.) and had to pull the dinghy up on top in the racks to get a good look and fix if possible.

“For Non-boaters… your dinghy (or tender) is your car to shore. It is a necessity to have a working dinghy. You don’t want to be without one for any length of time”

Once we got it up on deck we could see that we had a 2 inch cut or tear and would need a big repair. Dan used a life raft clamp on the tube just in case we needed to use the dinghy. It wasn’t a permanent solution but would do in case we needed the dinghy for some type of emergency.

life raft clamp

We made the decision to put off the fix until we got back from Portland. We had to get to La Conner to rent our car and head to Portland. (Portland story in eps #7)

After returning from Portland we decided to stay a few more days in La Conner so we could do the repair. (Much easier to do a repair at a dock rather than anchored) The complication with the repair was; the tube that was damaged was on the far back corner. When it was lifted and put onto the facing forward position it would have been dangerous and almost impossible to try and fix, as the damaged corner almost hangs over the starboard back deck corner .

“Size/weight = 19 feet, 1500 pounds, 130HP Honda Outboard”

Our solution was to attempt to put the dinghy on “backwards” on the rack.  The crane, rack and dinghy isn’t set up to do that so we had to figure out how to make it work. The dinghy engine was the tight fit while swinging it backwards on the crane as the actual crane arm was not letting it go past. We had to keep adjusting it to the correct angle and squeeze it by… Now would it land on the rack backwards, was the next question? We took it down very slowly and it fit, not perfectly, but good enough. Dan started the process of cleaning, sanding, setting up a flat backing to press on, then gluing the patch. Now wait 48 hours for the glue to dry.

We then headed to Bainbridge Island to meet Kylie and Ryan for the weekend.  BTW, We did travel with it backwards in the rack, if you were wondering.

When we arrived at Eagle Harbor Marina we filled the dinghy with air and she seemed to be doing well, so we put her in the water and headed for a test run. Dan noticed a few bubbles that didn’t seem right. We didn’t think the leak was much, so the kids and I convinced Dan to grab some lunch, then hurry back and check on it. Lunch took longer than we wanted. They certainly weren’t the fastest. But by the time we got back it was almost flat and the transom only had about an inch of freeboard left!!  Dan pumped it up right away and we took it back up top, backwards again. After looking, Dan saw that there was a second hole near the first one, another patch was needed. This one was not as big. AND the process began again…

There was a lot of discussion that night about what we would do and where to go if it didn’t work. We realized that it may have gotten more damaged than we could fix. We decided we would hauling her in to a Seattle Inflatable business at Ballard locks called Waypoint Marine Group….not what we wanted to do but we can’t live without our car. We also realized that it may take weeks to repair if they were busy. So we crossed our fingers for a good outcome with the patching process.

So, 48 hours later we took her down to test her out again.  SUCCESS!!! She is still holding air and we think it will work for some time. We may have to get a new tube later, not sure how long the patches will last. Dan might add a second layer for more protection. 


More trouble in paradise…. As we started to get underway from Eagle Harbor Marina to go anchor for a couple more days, our port engine didn’t start, at all, didn’t turn over, didn’t make a sound. So Dan started his trouble shooting efforts again. We were planning on being out of the marina by noon…. but it took a couple hours to figure out what was wrong. Dan chatted Ken Williams on the phone for ideas to look at as well.  Dan found that we had a short in the ignition switch and instrument circuit, so he traced the wires to figure out what was wrong. He found the short in a power wire to an alarm system and isolated that. Used up a bunch of fuses with that troubleshooting until he determined what was going on. Engine is now working but we have a disabled wire that will have to be traced.

We also were having an issues with our starboard engine starting. The cylinder wasn’t getting fuel and struggling to start. Dan discovered the Racor fuel filters are draining back to the fuel tanks. He found a priming pump that was out of commission. The pump’s power supply was disconnected and he reconnected that and installed a new fuse. Now we can prime the engine and it starts easily. Dan still needs to rebuild the Racors so the check valve works properly.

Welcome to our life! Constant troubleshooting and repairing. Does it ever end? I’m guessing no. I think we will always be troubleshooting something. Thank you Dan for all you to to help us with our dream life and for data input on this article.

If you guys have questions about any blogs we write and or suggestions on what you want us to write about please let us know in the comments section below, or shoot me an email.

Don’t let the lemons ruin the party, Drink Lemonade, Cheers!

12 thoughts on “A Dinghy Saga, lemons in paradise….#8”

  1. Angela, you are a fantastic blogger! Thanks for sharing this adventure with all of us! Safe travels and I’m toasting my own lemonade to you! 🙂
    Jennifer @ CRYC

  2. Keep on trucking….. All those troubles just make it more interesting…. Enjoy every minute….Thanks for your blog…..love it….

    1. Thank you Tylene. Yes, the good does out weigh the bad. It is just part of the journey. We get to do repairs in paradise!!❤️

  3. Thanks for the memories! Have been in these “fun & challenging” situations many a time & yes, lemonade (adult syle) keeps the smiles on our faces & thankful for the adventures. Loving your blogs, thank you so much & congrats to you & Dan for letting us go along for the ride. Cheers & blessings!

  4. Sorry you had those issues to deal with, but glad Dan is so handy. And, I know you are too. Continue to enjoy your adventures, you are seeing a lot of beautiful places.

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