Six weeks after purchasing our Walker Bay dinghy (see our earlier post Dinghy Fever), we finally bring it to Take It Easy. Our three day weekend is spent getting it organised to hang on the davits, learning to set it up for sailing and having some fun.
The new dinghy had been sitting at home, since we had a few items to attend to. It all took much longer than anticipated. As with all things nautical, nothing is ever quick or easy; We think BOAT stands for “Beast Of A Task”.
- Wade wanted to fit a pair of wheels to make it easier to drag the dinghy up on the beach – should be straight forward to install, however the back of the dinghy is curved, so the wheels looked pigeon toed and had to be screwed onto shaped wedges of wood to straighten them up. Thank you to our boat building mate Chris Guthrie for making these for us.
- The dinghy’s RIB had a very slow leak which we wanted to fix before it got worse. The tiny puncture was right on a seam, so we took the RIB to ‘the man’ who professionally repaired it.
- OK, so now we just tow the thing to Paynesville, and swap Peasy1 for Peasy2 on the davits. There comes the third challenge: it’s hanging too low, in fact below the bridge deck. Wade shortens the hang points, but although the dinghy now sits higher, it wobbles from side to side… Can’t have that! After more playing with strings he gets it secured.
- A trip to the signwriter sees the tender signage organised. Finding a clear spot to stick the name Peasy on is a bit harder than we thought since the rear of the tender is covered with the big wheels and the bracket for the little outboard. It might have to go vertically!
- And lastly, where to stow the sail kit? There is the mast in two sections, the sail wrapped around the boom, the rudder and centreboard. With a few brackets strategically placed under the solar cells, we manage to put away all but the centreboard and rudder, which go straight to the toy cupboard.
By mid afternoon, we are ready for an escape away from the jetty. Or so we think… Another Welcome Swallow’s nest has to be dealt with, this time in the other engine box. This one is very cute, lined with feathers and down. They are quite amazing really, made of mud and straw stuck against the corner of the box. The swallows must enjoy the sheltered hideaway, but again it has to go.
Dinghy Sailing Test
We head for Duck Arm, a sheltered spot in the Gippsland Lakes to moor Take It Easy and try the sailing dinghy. The next day, with a light breeze and sunshine, it is time to put Peasy to the sailing test. We first have to remember how it all goes together. It takes a bit of messing around to figure out what goes where, but eventually we get it together.
Wade’s first sailing attempt, straight downwind and into the shore, looked rather frustrating. “There’s always the oars” I yell… Back he rows to get out into the middle of Duck Arm, raises the jib, then the main. But by then the breeze has died and the Viking returns rowing! It’s a funny sight. A second attempt when the breeze picks up is far more successful. Up and down Duck Arm Captain Wadie goes, looking good. “It really heels like a real yacht!” I have a go too. You can feel what you are doing a lot more than on the ‘mother ship’. We’ll have a lot of fun on this.
We enjoy a gorgeous few days: sunshine, play, relaxation, photography. The birdlife is beautiful: various cormorants, cockatoos, herons and sea eagles. There is plenty of material for future bird photography challenges. With a SW change on the last night, the sun is gone but a nice breeze is blowing. So on our last day, we take the long way back to our jetty: doing a ‘loopy’ around Raymond Island. We are going at 8.9kn, charging along. The AIS is on, and shows a boat doing over 9kn. “It has got to be a motorboat… nobody could sail faster than us” says Wade! It’s fun, but very chilly.
So there you go… mission accomplished. The dinghy is organised, and we have another toy to play with this summer. It sails well and is quite stable. It does require time and effort to set up and put the sail kit away when finished. So we would not get it organised just for a couple of hours. Once at an anchorage, we think we will leave it set up and tied to the back of Take It Easy overnight. If you are wondering what will happen to the original Peasy, it is going to a good home: Chris Guthrie is adopting it for Outback Dreamer! Here are a few images organised in a gallery. Click on any of these to display in full screen.