A Different Family Car

Our family car is about to be sold, we are replacing it with a Rover, but not the type with wheels.  Kinship came with an Avon Rover R2.81 roll up dinghy with a Nissan 5hp outboard engine.

A dinghy is an important link to the shore and to other boats.  We will use it for shopping, social calls and sightseeing ashore.  Much as you use your family car on land, the dinghy has a very similar function when out cruising.  And, just like home, reliability is really important as this might be your only way to get back to the big boat.

I have been involved with boats for 40 years and I have a great distrust of outboards.  The dinghy and outboard seem to be about the same age as Kinship – 18 years so we had a suspicion that they might not work well.  We tested both the dink and the engine when we picked up the boat over a year ago but that was the only time we have inflated it and even then we tested the engine in a test barrel, not out on the water.  This past week we got serious about getting the dinghy going and getting the dinghy lift system into use.

2016-07-28 16.28.51 So here we have the “after” picture, total success.  Kathleen can start the motor, the boat will plane with 2 on board, but not with one.  Kathleen and I motored around the harbour, we got used to the boat going just about any direction but the way it was pointed.  Reversing is more like dancing, a little motion backwards and then a graceful pirouette.  We got the hang of it and were both able to get back Kinship and clip onto the lift.

The process started at the weekend with gluing the rub rail back on.  The rub rail had detached from the tubes with about half on and half off.  We pulled it all off when we realized that the glue had failed just about everywhere.  The overall project took about 15 person hours, mainly cleaning off the old glue from the rail and the boat.  This involved lots of lacquer thinner (pure toluene would have been better) and a huge amount of elbow grease.  Kathleen did far more than her fair share and was better at getting the glue off than I was.  We forgot to take pictures of this stage but here is the dinghy ready for the gluing to start.

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The glue is a special contact cement for the Hypalon and costs $60 per can and we needed 2 cans.

At this point we did start to wonder if all the time and expense was going to be worth the end result.  We persevered and soon we had the rub rail back on the boat.

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Here is the last section going on.

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We rigged temporary lines to hang the boat from the lift and once we had it set up the way we wanted, I spliced some 1/4 Spectra line to make the lift lines, overkill in strength, but a nice look with the grey of the boat and easy to splice.

Overall, we are really happy, the dinghy looks almost as good as new and the motor seems to work well.   Kathleen has dinghy chaps on her sewing to-do list and with the chaps we think we can get 2-3 more years out of our little Avon.

Perhaps the best part of this is how well the dinghy lift works, you can raise and lower the dinghy easily and getting between the boats is very safe, the lift gives you an extra hand hold and the dinghy is held on the stern and is not going anywhere until you unclip the lift lines.  Coming back on the dinghy you just grab the bar, pull the dinghy into position and clip on, it could not be simpler.

Shakedown Cruise


Our plan at the beginning of the year was to enter the LO300 race as a test sail.  This went as far as paying the entry fee but reality had another idea.  At the time,we had assumed that we would have been sailing for a few weeks, that moving onto the boat was a few weeks away and that work was under control.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Our delayed start to the season and moving on to the boat a month early meant that the 2 week trip to Toronto and a full on race of about 200NM was not going to happen.  The boat wasready  and we had crew, Lisa and Paul, who are planning to join us for the Caribbean 1500 rally in the fall.

Plan B – head out to Lake Ontario, sail for 125 NM and then sail back.

Lisa and Paul arrived on Friday night, we had a quiet dinner at KYC and an early night.  The planned 6:00am start was a little after 7:00am into the early morning calms.  before long the winds came up and we were off. Seas past Main Duck were lumpy and about 1/2 metre, by mid afternoon we were beating into 15kts, with one reef and 1 metre seas.  The waves were very close together and Kinship hobby-horsed and bounced about quite a bit.  These are just the conditions that have produced major seasickness in me, but careful planning to make sure we were all rested, well hydrated and dosed up on Stugeron.  This worked, Lisa and I had some issues, but nothing developed past feeling a bit off.

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A Home with No Address

In perhaps the biggest step of our plan completed so far, we have moved aboard full time.  Our house is in the hands of our house sitters and we are mostly settled in on the boat.  We have packed away clothing, food, supplies and the boat is still floating above her marks so we will count that as a success.  We did not take many photos of the transition, but here is one.13511992_1259822270695607_6567196440264793882_n


We follow a number of blogs and vlogs, one of our favourites is Gone With The Wynns, here is there take on moving onto their new boat from an RV

The Wynns are making a fast switch from full time RVing to full time sailing, buying a boat and moving on board in a matter of weeks.  We sort of sneaked up on it over 18 months, so we had less to do, but a bigger transition from land to sea.  The boat has swallowed a huge amount of stuff and we still have space for more.  That said, friends have one more car load for us, but I think we have places for most, if not all that gear.

All  has not been sweetness and light in other areas, we had quite the unfortunate Canada Day weekend where some unkind power boaters decided to have a 3 day party inches from our boat.  This is likely going to result in a relocation from Confederation Basin to Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, we just need to try out the dock we have been offered.

And then we have pumps. Boats have a lot of pumps and we have had more than our fair-share of issues in the last week.  We have been trying to find out why our bilges have more water in them than they should.  We had all the floors up and under the last but one, we found a leak coming from the foot pump that enables you to get water from the tanks without using power.  This was a happy moment as it explained the water in the bilge and it was an easy, throw-money-at-it fix.  So in goes a new pump and we are good to go, right?

Not so fast! to test the foot pump we needed to fill the water tanks to pressurise the pump to make sure all the connections we good.  When you fill our tanks the vent sends the excess to the bilge.  So we fill the tanks and all is well, well with the foot pump.  We notice that the bilge pump is running and running and running.  This is not normal.  so I take a look at the pump and it looks like the bearings have failed 🙁  I just need a new pump, more throw-money -at-it, but an easy fix, I am waiting for the new pump to come in and it will be installed by the weekend.  So we are good to go right?

Not so fast! we have water in the bilge we should pump out.  We normally used a manual pump located in the galley for this task, but for some reason I thought to use the pump in the cockpit that draws from the same place.  Kathleen grabbed the handle and pumped, nothing happened.  OK, so I need to rebuild the pump, no big deal, other than accessing the pump from the sail locker.  So good to go right?

Not so fast! I got the pump out, opened it up for the rebuild and find that the interior of the pump is destroyed.   The casting had corroded so badly that the rubber flaps that make up the valves would not seal.  New pump required 🙁 So off we go to Marine Outfitters for a new pump.  After about 45 minutes spent in the sail locker, the pump is installed and we are on the way to being good to go.

In retrospect it was great that the bilge pump failed when we were looking at it, we could see the issue and get it fixed at the dock, if this had happened at some other time, it would  have been a bit scary, the bilge alarm going off, the pump turning and but the water level not dropping. We might have assumed that the issue was a leak and not the pumps.   On the other hand, I don’t want to dwell on the amount we have spent on pumps in the last week.