This is the first of many posts that will detail our Moondance Refit for sailors and non-sailors alike to share what and how we made our updates.
Challenge: What dinghy and outboard motor size do you get to cruise Mexico?
We were planning to get a 8-10 foot PVC dinghy with a short shaft 8hp engine.
PVC is better for warmer climates than Hypalon and the material lasts longer. As our boat bills were rapidly piling up, we started to scour www.craigslist.org for a solution. Luckily the gentleman who sold us Moondance called and asked if we wanted to buy his dinghy and engine that he was now ready to part with. The dinghy is a soft bottom PVC dinghy equipped with a floor, one-way valves, wooden oars, dinghy pump, and seat. It comes with a 15hp Johnson engine. The engine is too large for the dinghy (which has a recommended 10hp for it’s size) but we decided to take the whole lot. The dinghy planes well and we have only had to beach it once on a rock beach on Santa Cruz Island. As of now we are not planning to attach dinghy wheels for the sandy beaches of Mexico.We did buy a handheld vhf to accompany any dinghy for ease of communication and in case of an emergency.
We also learned that the best way to blow up a dinghy so that the air has staying power is to partially blow up each section, add the floorboards, then finish blowing up the dinghy sections. If one side is blown up completely before you start filling the other sides, the dinghy will not be able to hold the air as long, as per Sal’s Inflatables.
Downside? The engine is extremely heavy and we have to attach it to a halyard to raise and lower it off of the boat and dinghy. Cross you fingers for us that we don’t drop it in the ocean!
The engine lives on the stern pulpit when not in use. I am considering spray painting it a loud and obnoxious color so it will be less susceptible to theft.
Conor tries out the oars
We practiced pumping up the dinghy on the foredeck to make sure it would fit.
Test driving the dinghy- woohoo!