The newest edition
“Who the heck is Darryl?” you might be asking. Well, Darryl is our NEW dinghy! I find it more fun to name random objects because it makes life a little more interesting (wouldn’t you agree?) Darryl has been with us now for a little over a month and we just love him SO MUCH!
He’s a 10’2″ inflatable hypalon dinghy from West Marine. Sounds huge, right? Well, he is, but we didn’t really have a choice in picking Darryl. He kind of picked us.
The back story
You see, we were in a predicament. After our debacle during our crossing to Puerto Rico, we set out to get a new outboard. The new engine (an old 2-stroke Yamaha 8hp) would not fit on our Walker Bay 8, so we sold it. Just like that we were dinghy-less (which is a problem). As a cruiser/live aboard, our dinghy is the only way off the boat. Sure, our sailboat can take us long distances, but to get to shore through shallow water, you need a dinghy. If our boat is our home, then our dinghy is our car.
Not only did we need a dinghy for day to day living, but we had a very special guest who’d be onboard with us for a while. Our pal Schuyler was coming to visit us within days and we were planning on sailing around PR with him. We needed a dinghy ASAP! The pressure was on.
Thanks to our cruising pals on SV Jasaru, we got a major discount at a local West Marine where we purchased Darryl. (You guys seriously saved us, we cannot thank you enough!) So now, let me gush about our new family dink.
His best features
Since Darryl’s an inflatable dinghy, we’re able to get up and out of the water, or reach ‘plane’ as they say. It’s a much smoother, comfortable and safer ride to be in a dinghy with a planing hull than it is to be in one with a displacement hull (which pushes water out of the way). Not only is he more comfortable, but he can hold a lot more stuff. Groceries, people, snorkel gear, whatever. You could say he has a lot of depth. Oh, and since he’s a big boy, he can handle a bigger motor too, which means we can get where we need to go in a flash AND we can go farther!
Our old Walker Bay 8 wasn’t nearly as awesome. For starters, the old girl was pushy. Being a displacement hull, it wouldn’t matter how big of an outboard motor we had on her, she’d never get on top of the water. She’d just push it out of her way. This always made for a wet ride. One should never had to wear a plastic garbage bag as an accessory when trying to make it over to a friends’ boat. It’s not cool.
Don’t get me wrong, she was tough and could handle being dragged over rocks and coral, which was great in the Bahamas, but she performed best in calm, flat water like the kind you find inland of the ICW. This kind of water doesn’t really exist anywhere else (unless there is NO WIND, which is rare at anchorages).
She was quite tipsy too. Step in the wrong spot and you’d go overboard. Not the best for climbing back into once you fell out either. In addition, we could barely fit anything inside of her without sitting deep in the water and risking a wave breaking over the bow. She just wasn’t made for rougher water, which we usually encounter when dropping the hook off of deserted islands and remote anchorages.
Also, being rated for a 2HP motor limited the Walker Bay from ever getting us anywhere fast. We were basically “put-putting” everywhere we went. Our pals on SV Jasaru and SV Charisma came to the rescue and helped tote us around while we were in Georgetown, Exumas because we were basically trapped on Alli Oop. Unfortunately we missed out on a lot of awesome beaches and snorkeling spots in the Bahamas because our old dinghy couldn’t make the trips.
You may be wondering why we just didn’t buy Darryl in the first place. I (Alli) had been trying to convince Dave that we needed a dinghy like Darryl since the beginning, but he was convinced that we wouldn’t be able to fit a big, inflatable on our deck. We don’t have dinghy davits, this handy contraption mounted on the back of sailboats to lift dinghies out of the water while your cruising in the ocean. So, we have to hoist our dinghy up on our bow and flip it upside down. It’s a giant pain in the butt, but the only option for us since we don’t have davits (maybe I’ll win that battle someday).
“It’d be too big!” he’d argue with me. Well, guess what? Darryl fits perfectly on our bow. Yes, we had to remove our wind scoops(another contraption)in order for him to fit, but it all works out. He is one of the best investments we’ve made so far and we can’t wait to use him to his full potential. I only wish we would’ve gotten him sooner!
PS: Darryl was named in memory of my favorite work mascot at my previous job. For those of you that know what this means (2nd floor Swain Dest, what?) I miss you all! 🙂