Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Dinghy Has Set Us Free

2011 09 10

Ferragudo, Portugal

Here we sit at anchor in Ferragudo.  Five days ago we left the marina at Portimao just across  the river four or five days ago determined to make east to Seville.  It hasn't happened.  Cruisers' disease has set in and we are enjoying being at anchor so much we are just going to stay here a bit and continue to enjoy.

Life at anchor is radically different from life tied up at a marina and we are in no hurry to return to the marina life.  Since dropping our hook we have been to town only once and that was really just an excuse to fine tune the new dinghy with our old outboard.

The dinghy flies. Europeans are inclined to small dinghies, little more than waterwings actually and even smaller outboards.  Being typical North American motorheads we (I, the BC let me) got for the biggest outboard we could carry.  We (I) like big outboards and fast dinghies.

Our new YAM(aha) softbottom inflatable which ended up costing about $1,400 CDN after the horrific 23% VAT was paid is a joy.  It absolutely flies down the river with our trusty  9.8 Tohatsu driving it at half power once it is up on plane.  We have never travelled so fast in any marine carriage owned by us.

Gasoline today was €1.69 a litre make it $2.50 Canadian a litre or $9.50 a US gallon depending on how good a deal you get on exchange.  $50 for a 5 US gallon can of gas.  Nightmarish.

Having a more powerful outboard we can get up on plane.  This not only increases speed but reduces fuel use and I think we actually use less fuel point to point than the slow puttering  waterploughs we see making for town from neighbouring boats.

Of course going fast is so much fun and having a dinghy is still so novel that we burn a lot of fuel taking unnecessary trips to anywhere we can think to go.

If buying a dinghy in Europe you need to know that despite the profusion of brands most dinghies are fabricated by two companies: Zodiac at the high end and Plastimo at the Chevy end.  We are chevy drivers.  Although our dinghy is labelled YAM(aha) it was made by Plastimo and the only distinction between the 3.1 metre YAM and the 3.1 metre Plastimo is that our dinghy has a piece of blue fabric on the nose and the Plastimo has gray.  Every other detail, piece of hardware, oarlock, D ring is identical.

So just buy the cheapest dinghy in your length.  It is no different from the dearer dinghy with the nicer label.

But bring your outboard from home and get used to arriving first.

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