Even the 10 Commandments didn’t do away with thieves
It’s nothing new, there have always been thieves, those who choose to take what others possess. Even including “thou shalt not steal” in the 10 Commandments didn’t do away with theft, so what does that tell you? In the cruising world, the most coveted and easily stolen possession has always been the yacht tender. While it’s hard to make a clean getaway with an entire boat, especially when it only travels at 5 knots, a tender with a go-fast outboard is easy to take off with. Simply cut whatever it’s locked with, if it was secured at all, and go.
Thieves are after more than the dinghy itself!
Sadly, the thefts around here are not limited to the tender itself. Occasionally, if the dinghy is locked, thieves just remove the outboard engine. Typically that’s all they’re focused on in the first place. Lately people have taken to stealing outboard engine fuel cans. I recently gave one to a cruiser after his was stolen (we had two for some reason, and didn’t need both of them), and just yesterday, I heard of a second theft from the exact same location (dinghy dock in Fort de France). In at least one of these cases, the fuel can was locked to the tender. The thieves cut the cable to make off with it, proving that it was not simply the work of mischievous kids.
We are fortunately in that, at least so far, we have been able to keep our tender from going AWOL. We have done so at least partially because of what we do to protect it, but also becuase I think we’ve been a bit lucky.
In the first category, we always:
- Lock our dinghy when on shore.
- Raise our dinghy onto the davits each night.
Even that is not always an effective defense, as we came pretty close to having it stolen one time when it was locked to the dock. To be super secure, I’d recommend this system, keeping in mind the dangers of using a high-quality lock.
Deterring thieves on our next adventure:
How does this all factor into our biking adventure? Well, I can imagine that losing our only mode of transport, our bike, along with all of our possessions, would suck a lot. And yes, there are bike thieves around, both opportunistic ones, and pros. The latter are the most difficult to deal with, as there’s not much that’ll stand up to a portable grinder.
That said, we can at least try to not be the low-hanging fruit.
How to protect our bike?
- Never let it out of our sight, or the sight of someone we trust.
- If staying in a hotel/hostel, bring it indoors each night. If not, secure it.
Assuming that they’ll seldom ever be forced to let their bike out of their sight, some cycle tourers opt to forego carrying a lock at all, focusing on the weight savings of not having a big chain, or a heavy U-lock with them. Others compromise with a lightweight, but more easily-defeated cable, to deter at least the opportunists.
Hoping for a compromise, I have been keeping a list of some other options, ones that are both lightweight and strong due to their unique construction. Here are three that I have found:
- Weight: 0.9 lbs
- Cost: $99.00 US
- Weight: 2.4 lbs (Not so light after all!)
- Cost: $106.00 US
Ottolock (Not yet available.)
- Weight: 0.26 lbs
- Cost: $50.00 US
What kind of lock will we ultimately choose? I’m not sure yet. I’m definitely of the mind to bring something reasonably secure though, even if it will only be used on limited occasions. After all, our security habits, which focused on prevention, have served us well in the boating world.