No Gas, No Smell, No Weight, No Speed

May 3, 2020

The question of a dinghy for Tardis has always been a quandry.  I could see myself rowing into the WoodenBoat School or Mystic Seaport with all the old salts nodding approvingly.  (“Now there’s a wood boat guy.  No rubber ducky for him.”) But where to store it and how to transport it on Tardis was a big question.  Mark designed (and I built) a fancy lifting boom and tackle to hoist a tender onto the deckhouse roof.  And I built a very light dinghy “Offcut” using 1/4 inch plywood from the Tardis build.  And since I more or less know what I’m doing now, it’s a very nice boat.

But as I moved Offcut around for the finishing touches, it was just awkward.  60 pounds isn’t much, but it’s a handful spread over an eight-foot by four-foot package.  I could see her on the end of that boom in a breeze, bashing the heck out of Tardis as I struggled with the lines.

And how would it look riding around on Tardis?   Somehow I had a picture of a chihuahua trying to make puppies with a St. Bernard.

Then for the second Florida cruise, I cleaned up the old Mercury inflatable dinghy we had on the Memsahib voyage.   It only weighs 40 pounds.  I can grab it by the painter and haul it onto the roof with no problem.  But the question was propulsion.  It  barely rows at all.   We had a 2.5 Honda outboard on it for the Voyage, which was reliable, but still gas, smelly, hard-starting, all the problems of a gas outboard.  Then I bought a Mercury 3.3 from Ray, a really good motor, but not so good after I gave it a saltwater bath in Vero Beach.

Ray’s Torqueedo electric outboard on his Herreshoff 12.5 was a great motor, but still a little heavy, and very expensive.  But that led me to the EP Carry — I can lift it with one hand, the battery pack is separate — and floats. During this last Florida cruise it did exactly what I wanted it to do — get me from the boat to the shore.  I don’t use a dinghy for “exploration” because I have an exploration boat.  I just want to get to the bar and dinner (in the good old days) or to look around in town or get a shower.

The EP claims to run an hour at full speed or two hours at half — but it’s only weakness is that it has no battery meter.  I am always thinking that I will be very low getting back to Tardis, and look at my watch and we’ve been out all of 20 minutes.

The EP has four speeds — slow walk, fast walk, slow jog and fast jog (5-hour marathon type).  It will never know the term “plane.”  But I don’t care.  I will trade speed for reliability.

Which leaves me with a very nice wooden dinghy to get out of the shop.  The price is very reasonable for MV Tardis followers — come and get it.





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