Charter Advisors' How To Guide
That cute little dinghy - Launching, Stopping, and General Use
That cute little dinghy - Launching, Stopping, And General Use
If you have a davit or lift, lower the dinghy so that it is floating with slack on the davit lines. Make sure the painter (dinghy docking line) is attached to a stern cleat on the yacht.
Climb in the dinghy and unhook the davit lines. Climb back into the yacht and clip the free davit lines to something so they don't swing or get into the way. They can get tangled or jump their pulley.
Your little boat is now tied to the back of the yacht by the painter only. Ready to launch.
If you do not have a davit, you can skip this step or you can do this step, but it won't take long if you don't have one. Yours is already set to launch as it is in tow rather than lifted.
Once the dinghy is "launch ready" climb in and do a quick check over.
Check the gas tank. Make sure you have back-up oars. Tilt the outboard into the water so it is sitting correctly. Make sure you have the clip key. If it is night or evening remember the flashlight. Place the engine in neutral and make sure it starts. Lastly but most importantly, never overload the dinghy with more people than it is designed to carry. You will see max load or people listed on the dinghy. Bad things happen when these things get over loaded. It's better to make two trips.
You will see people climbing into dinghies many different ways. Climbing down the stern of the yacht and over the bow of the dinghy, from the stern of the yacht to the side of the dinghy, from the side of the yacht into the side of the dinghy and so on. To help in this quandary we outlined below the safest way to board the dinghy.
1.Line the dinghy behind the yacht or alongside the yacht (if the yacht has a low freeboard) with the side of the dinghy facing the stern or side of the yacht.
2.With the side of the dingy facing the yacht hold the dingy fast with the painter line and a bit of elbow grease.
3.Have your crew board the dinghy while facing the dinghy, not the yacht. This will help them keep balance and keep the dinghy from being pushed away from the yacht.
4.Be sure no one sits or steps on the gas tank or gas lines.
5.Fire up the engine and untie the painter from the yacht.
That's it. The two key elements here are the crew boarding facing forward over the dinghy's side rather than taking a big step over the bow.
Stopping that cute little Dinghy / Docking the Dinghy
This is one of those things we just have to mention really quick. There are two main times when you will want to stop the dinghy carefully: docking at a dinghy dock and retuning back to the yacht. These suggestions work well in both cases. We've had hours of entertainment watching newbies crash dinghies head first into a dock. Sure, they cut the throttle, but they don't hit the brakes. Instead they hit the dock, bang! Good thing these things are inflatable!
Some try for the finesse touch. They head for the dock and swing the dinghy sideways to try to grab the dock with their hands. The momentum is more then they expect, that's for sure. A couple of slivers later...
Anything you can imagine basically.
There is an easy way to dock the dinghy
Slow your speed to idle as you get close. It will seem slow, but that's ok. When you're about 10 feet off the dock put the engine in neutral and glide in using the outboard as a rudder. As you get closer put the engine in reverse feather reverse gently to slow the dinghy to a stop. You will gently touch the dock and you will step off looking like a pro. The more you practice the easier this gets. By the end of your trip you will be flying up to the dock (within the wake speed limit), popping reverse, and stopping exactly at the dock edge, letting you walk right off the bow, onto the dock and tying off all in one smooth stroke. You're now one with the dinghy.
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